So as promised, here’s the original Obama post I wrote, way back in February on NY Primary Day. Actually, it’s a slightly excerpted version–I cut a couple of minor paragraphs. At the end of this post, I’m going to add some of the comments I received in response to the rant. I don’t post those because people are responding to my writing, but to illustrate the passion that we’re working with here.
I don’t usually write (or read, for that matter) notes on Facebook, and I stopped updating my Myspace blog many months ago. I’m not likely to start up again anytime soon. But today, I’ve got something to talk about, so here I am, and I say what I’m about to say without irony:
America felt especially beautiful this morning.
New York City feels especially beautiful today.
I can’t quite wrap my head around how beautiful the whole world might look tomorrow morning.
I voted today. I’ve never voted in a primary before. I’ve been registered as Independent since Nader–and no, I didn’t cost Gore the presidency, Mom. When I moved back to New York, I re-joined the Democratic party. I did it so I could vote for Obama.
So okay, it’s not a shock that I’d be voting for this guy. I’m a member of the hip-hop generation. There’s a cool ass Black dude–a Progressive cool ass Black dude–running for President? Of course he gets my vote. He’s from Chicago, he plays basketball, he owns up to his youthful indiscretions? Sign me up. And he can speak? He can speak with rhythm, with flavorful cadences, with enthusiasm and passion and accessibility? He can speak to me, directly to me, the way so many hip-hop artists and theater artists and neighborhood geniuses have spoken to me, full of confidence without bluster, swagger with compassion, spirit and spirituality and yeah, I say this without irony, love in his voice and his heart? And he’s young, he’s handsome, he’s–I can’t believe I’m saying this–electable? I’m voting. I voted. I ride for Barack.
AND he sounds like The Rock? Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeit (c) Clay Davis.
I’ve voted in two other presidential elections in my lifetime. Nader had me (and many of my peers) fired up because he represented something different. He was a voice for the issues we felt were important. We knew he wouldn’t win. We didn’t care about him winning. We went Green and independent because we were independent, because we needed to be heard somehow, and he was the way to get heard. And we lost, and our second choice lost, and it was disheartening, yes, but it felt like we were speaking loud and clear, and lo and behold–our second choice is now the greenest motherfucker in politics. And film, for that matter. As Fergie and Daddy Yankee would say: “Impacto.”
In 2004, we mobilized and we mobilized strong. We rode hard for Kerry, not because any of us really dug Kerry, but because–well, you know. And we lost. I remember being at Southpaw on election night, watching Baba Israel and J-Love and company bring hip-hop and funk and US to the presidential election. We went to bed that night thinking we had changed the way things were done. We woke up to find out the efforts had fallen short. The students I had been working with on the campaign said things like: “Why should I even register when I turn eighteen? We did all this work, and it didn’t make a difference.” I knew where they were coming from. I couldn’t teach that day. I cried tears of frustration in the office when no one was looking. The tears weren’t about losing so much as anger at the process–we poured this much work into getting behind a guy that NO ONE really wanted to see as President. And we still almost made it happen. Imagine if it was Edwards. Imagine if it was a cool ass smart ass Black dude. Things would have changed.
But of course, things do change, and impacts are made, and now, today, it’s soggy and nasty in New York, but The Giants are parading in the Canyon of Heroes, and there’s an energy here, yo.
Brooklyn College (the most ethnically diverse institution I know of in NYC) is buzzing. For a primary.
Emerson Middle School, where I voted, was buzzing. For a primary.
There’s a guy we care about, and he’s running against a woman who, all things being equal, would be a President I could stand behind. Hell, there’s a crazy old Republican with a crazy way old mother who I could stand behind (The old guy, not the mom. No wait–the mom too). There’s an internet rock star independent thinker sticking around, stirring things up. And yeah, there’s a business as usual Mormon robo-politican around, and a religious conservative dude–but hey, no Rudy.
And there’s Barack Hussein Effing Obama, who has put tears in the back of my eyes, who has me believing in Bob The Builder slogans (Yes We Can!) as a sign of potential social change.
I’m not convinced he’s going to win.
Hell, I’m not convinced he’ll get nominated.
And I’m sure that if he does win, he’ll never–NEVER–live up to everything that my generation is expecting of him.
He might not be the best President ever.
And you know what? It wouldn’t matter.
Because right now, a whole lot of people fucking care for once.
And we care because this dude is here.
And now, the comments:
“so many people have said to me that they felt proud voting in this election.
that’s a first for my folks.”
“Kris…what a great manifesto that encapsulates how so many of us feel and have felt. Rock on! Go Obama!”
“I voted for Barack at the outlet malls in Draper, Utah. That night, he won Utah. And Alaska. And North Dakota. And Idaho. And Minnesota. If that ain’t change, I don’t know what is. The time is now. Obama ’08.”