I work in the political field. I believe that I have a fairly sophisticated analysis of progressive politics. I have worked for almost 15 years in a wide range of political efforts including radical grassroots social change as far right as conventional electoral politics (ranging from the Democratic Party to the Independence and Green Parties). Each year, I have gained a clearer and clearer image of the world I would like to see and a better understanding of some of the tools that will get us there. I also know that reform will only take us so far. At some point, whether we prepare for it or not, a revolution will again hit this land mass---and I know that with preparation that can be a democratically based revolution made through the creative use of just democratic practice that acknowledges and compensates for oppression or it will be a bloody revolution with an outcome that is unknown but will, most assuredly, result in great repression.
I know that Barack Obama is, at best, a strategic choice for moving forward with some of the reforms that are necessary to make a democratic revolution possibly. I know that on the great and most pressing issues of the day: war, capitalism, systems of power based in oppression, American hegemony and empire, a President Obama will be more palatable than a Republican president but he will be no messiah signaling the end of those societal cankers.
Yet, with all my heart and soul, I pray that the next President of the United States is Barack Obama.
This evening, I met with two of my co-artists from the group Los Palabristas (www.myspace.com/palabristas). We met to record some of our poetry. I recorded two poems tonight: Stump Speech, which you can find on this blog, and Big Sam, which I will post shortly. One poem is my response to this election year and this country in general. The other poem is a story about my family's history as slaves. I then logged onto my computer and saw an ad that asked the question, “Will Barack Obama be the first African American president?,” and I felt the spirit of Big Sam draw in breath.
Whether or not Obama will be a history maker in terms of presidential achievements to me, at this time, is a hope but not the point. For me, right now, in this moment with a deeply racialized anger sitting just beneath my skin, I want Barack Obama in the White House for the simple reason that 50 years ago, the prevailing attitude of the majority of people living in this country was not only would no black person ever sit in the White House but that no black person had the intelligence, integrity, or ability to do so. The day that President Obama takes his oath of office will not be the day that all past wrongs against people of African descent will be reconciled. Most definitely not. But it will be the day when the spirit of all black people on either side of the ocean, will have the chance to utter a collective fuck you to those that once consider us beasts of burden lacking a soul and having a mind that was akin to that of a child.
I know, academically, that Western civilization owns its existence to Africa. I know that some of the greatest social and scientific thought and achievement of the modern and ancient world has been created by people of African descent. I know that when Columbus invaded America there were empires in Africa of such wealth and learning that they would not allow European scholars to teach in their universities and European monarchs were weak barbarians in comparison. But the academic knowing of my history and its strength is not sufficient to overcome a spiritual malaise that was beaten into my ancestors at the end of a whip and choked into them at the end of a rope.
Barack Obama represents the greatest and most powerful “kiss my ass” to the legacy of racism, slavery, and genocide in these several states.
And for that reason, I will be casting my vote for Senator Obama on November 4, 2008.