Hello. Come on in. The daddy writes about current events, literature, music and, once in a while, drops something on you from back in the day to make you pause and ponder, stop and stare, and begin to wonder. Who knows? You may start to pace the floor, shake your head from side to side, then fall down on bended knees in a praying position and cry, "Lawd, have mercy! What is this world coming to?" Check yourself! But this blog is NOT about the daddy. It's about you: your boos, your fam, your hood, your country...our hopes and dreams of a better tomorrow. So let's make a pact: the daddy will put it on the track if you'll chase it down and hit him back. Together, we can definitely take it to another level. Shall we?"

Friday, November 7, 2008

The election of Barack Obama: What it says about America, what it means to black Americans

"We the Kenyan people are immensely proud of your Kenyan roots. Your victory is not only an inspiration to millions of people all over the world, but it has special resonance with us here in Kenya."
--Mwai Kibaki, Kenyan President

Today, the daddy is feeling two articles about the importance of President-Elect Barack Obama's victory, its connection to the founder's concept of American democracy, especially to African Americans in the southern part of the United States: "An Eternal Revolution" by Harvard sociology professor Orlando Patterson and "An Open Letter to Barack Obama" by writer Alice Walker.

In her article, Walker, a feminist, womanist (a kind of special kind of feminism for women of color), author of "The Color Purple" and Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction, makes the point that Obama's victory had deep meaning for blacks from the South, the depth of which Obama (having not lived in the South) could not fully appreciate. She also expresses the hope that, beside providing great leadership as president, he will continue to be a good role model for all Americans.

Patterson is a scholar, but he is best known for his insightful, if controversial, Opions in the New York Times. In "An Eternal Revolution," Patterson, frames Obama's victory as a result not only of Obama's brilliant, steady leadership and brilliant intellect but as "an ever-evolving process that began with the election of George Washington in 1789." He argues that a key element of that process has been the persistent struggle of three groups that were originally excluded by the founding fathers, three groups that played a key role in the election of Obama: women, blacks, and youth.

An Open Letter to Barack Obama
by Alice Walker

Dear Brother Obama,

You have no idea, really, of how profound this moment is for us. Us being the black people of the Southern United States. You think you know, because you are thoughtful, and you have studied our history. But seeing you deliver the torch so many others before you carried, year after year, decade after decade, century after century, only to be struck down before igniting the flame of justice and of law, is almost more than the heart can bear. And yet, this observation is not intended to burden you, for you are of a different time, and, indeed, because of all the relay runners before you, North America is a different place. It is really only to say: Well done. We knew, through all the generations, that you were with us, in us, the best of the spirit of Africa and of the Americas. Knowing this, that you would actually appear, someday, was part of our strength. Seeing you take your rightful place, based solely on your wisdom, stamina and character, is a balm for the weary warriors of hope, previously only sung about.

To read the full story, click here.

An Eternal Revolution by Orlando Patterson

BARACK OBAMA’S victory marks the end of another magnificent chapter in America’s experience of democracy. But rather than being seen as a radical transition, it is best viewed as part of an ever-evolving process that began with the election of George Washington in 1789. To interpret it as a foundational change, ushering something new and unknown, is to diminish the past, to unduly singularize Mr. Obama’s achievement and to raise unrealistic expectations about his presidency.

Mr. Obama owes his victory, first, to his gift of leadership and personality: the hybrid cool of his charisma, his cathartic power to mine unity from difference. But his triumph depended on voters, first prone to see his candidacy as exotic, to recognize it as something that could (and would) only happen here. That they did stems in large part from the founding fathers’ clear vision of the ideal makeup of a democracy: an inclusive electorate, political participation and political power sharing.

To read the full story, click here.


Anonymous said...

Daddio thank you for the Alice Walker jewel. She said it all.

Anonymous said...

Mr. MacDaddy, I read Patterson's comments about black men. Don't agree with him. Don't like this article either. Boring. But Walker's article was great. She really understands how we feel. Can you write more about her?

nickii nicki tembo said...

I enjoy the thoughtful and careful consideration that you put into selecting and posting sometimes contrasting other times complimentary pieces. I appreciated and was able to digest both works. Thanks again for sharing them.

Torrance Stephens - All-Mi-T said...

great job as usual scholar/poet

SagaciousHillbilly said...

Good articles Mac. Thanks for the links.
Of course Alice Walker's piece was beautiful and what's to disagree with?

As a student of American history. . . all of it. . . I find myself agreeing and disagreeing with Mr. Patterson. Yes, it is part of a process that I believe began with the first Continental Congress, but in a dynamic and growing society, culture and political process there are events that affect punctuated change. These events sometimes change the fundamentals of the process. The two greatest events I've witnessed in my life are the election of Barack Obama to the presidency and the process of putting a man on the moon. Both were quantum leaps. That have and will cause broad sweeping changes in our society.
Obama's election has rocked the fundamentals of our existence and we must note and bask in the greatness and glory of this event. . . all of us.
Now I gotta stop because I'm infringing on my next post.
Have a great day Mac!

MacDaddy said...

anons1: Yes! Alice Walker-- what a writer!

anon2: Yes, Patterson can be dry reading. But sometimes boring academicians have something to say.

nicki: You make me smile. Thanks.

torrance: Love you, dawg.

sagacious: I found the two greatest events you witnessed to be very interesting. I think of the assassination of Bobby Kennedy and the election of Barack Obama as the greatest for me. Instead of Bobby Kennedy as president-- who was totally against the Vietnam war-- we got Richard Nixon. And the rest, they say, is tragic history.

Don't you think It would be interesting to do a post asking people what were the two greatest events they witnessed or experienced in their lifetimes? My guess is that we'd get a variety of answers, but the election of Obama as president would be the one most mentioned. Blessings.

Nun in the Hood said...

Thank you, especially, MacDaddy for the Alice Walker 'jewel', as one of your readers put it....I will copy off the entire piece when I get by a computer with a printer.....I lover her words directly to President Elect Obama:
'You were with us and in us' all the time......What a statment! said...

Hello there MacDaddy!

I saw that letter from Alice Walker yesterday and it was just so incredibly touching....

Thank you for sharing it and opening up discussion about it.

Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!

Somebodies Friend said...

I really appreciate the Alice Walker piece McDaddy.

We have been waiting for you!

You are one of a kind!

It could only have happened here!
Only in America!

Love it!

SagaciousHillbilly said...

Yea, Bobby's death certainly changed things, didn't it?
My thoughts on the Moon Shot are that our society changed in innumerable ways technologically as a result.
I doubt that we'd be sitting here discussing this between our computers had JFK not made such a bold decision. So many technologies that we take for granted would have either not occurred or happened much later in time had it not been for the frenzy of technology that happened in the 60s around the space race.

Yes, good idea. Ask folks!

R.J. said...

I really liked the Alice Walker article. We need to remember that the fight isn't over. Not as long as the bigots in the GOP are still around.