Skip to main content

Sensei Obama's Chill Dojo

At first, I was angry at the protesters who spat on Representative John Lewis and hurled racial epithets (not “epitaphs” as one reporter called them) at Lewis and Representative Emanuel Cleaver II. Seething, mind you. Then I was angry at Lewis and Cleaver for not commenting on the incidents. Then I was angry at President Obama for not calling the protesters on their racism.

And then I chilled.

Consider me a new student in President, or rather, Sensei Obama’s Chill Dojo.

I realized that, like President Obama and Representatives Lewis and Cleaver, I could not allow the N word to have the power over me that those who used it on Lewis and Cleaver wanted it to have. I, like President Obama, needed to focus not on the extraneous and the offensive, but the goal itself – enacting health care legislation.

I know my husband, Black Man Not Blogging (BMNB), has heard criticisms of President Obama at his barber shop to the effect that the President needs to be “more black” – and, in this case, I think that meant “more angry.” I know my first inclination when I heard that Representative Lewis, who had literally taken blows in Selma to march for the freedoms I enjoy, had been called the N-word and spat on, was to take up arms. I wanted to show those protesters that I wasn’t part of the non-violent Dr. King civil rights generation, but the “by any means necessary” pre-Hajj Malcolm X generation. And that I wasn’t alone.

And that’s exactly what they would have wanted – that Lewis, Cleaver, and even President Obama – lose focus. That they give power to that most offensive word at the expense of representative democracy and social justice.

So I took my cue from the President. And when the House vote hit 216 Sunday night, I quietly rejoiced and realized that had the President and Representatives Lewis and Cleaver given those racial epithets the power that those who used them thought they had, we might not be talking about a health care victory today, but what could have been had we chilled and remained focused.

I guess that is the first rule of Sensei Obama’s Chill Dojo: Chill and remain focused.

Indeed.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Retired Man Walking: Too Young to Retire, Too Old to Take Shit

A while back I ran into a friend and fellow professional employed by the State of California, and he offered me his perspective on State employment as a tail-end Baby Boomer like myself -- someone who can't retire because he lacks the requisite age or years of service, but, unlike myself, is tired of taking shit from superiors who don't know what to do with you.

Although my friend gave his permission for me to use his name in this blog entry, I decline to do so because what he does is so specialized that it would not be hard for anyone to identify him as one of the few African American men, if not the only African-American man, in California state civil service who does what he does. For purposes of this blog entry, I will refer to him as he now refers to himself:  Retired Man Walking.

Retired Man Walking, or RMW, has an interesting philosophy he applies to working for the State as a professional who isn't old enough to retire but has been around long enough to know the s…

My Prayer and Mantra for 2017 -- Do Not Waste Time on People and Things That Don't Matter

In this era of fake news, fake political candidates, and fake people all around, my prayer and mantra for 2017 is simple:  Do not waste time on people and things that don't matter.

In 2016, I spent too much time and money on things and people who didn't matter.  I allowed myself to become distracted by stuff that, for me and Black Man Not Blogging, didn't really matter for our happiness.  These distractions not only didn't improve the quality of our life together; they decreased it with additional and unnecessary stress.

The good news is that, for the most part, we're okay.  Yeah, Trump and his ilk really suck, but instead of a lot of hand wringing and commiserating, I'm going to do the one thing my late mother She Who  Is Exalted (SWIE) did better than anyone I know:  Play the hand you've been dealt.  My mother was a black female without a college education and with six kids, so playing the hand she was dealt was her survival skill.  Now it will be mine.

S…

Hillary Clinton Can Stop Trump -- If She Releases Her Electors

Hillary Clinton isn't going to be President of the United States.  At least not yet.  And not in 2017.

But she can possibly stop Donald Trump from being President by releasing her pledged electors  in the Electoral College to vote for a compromise Republican candidate.

This is part of the strategy of the Hamilton Electors, members of the Electoral College who see that Donald Trump is not qualified to be President.  They argue that the Electoral College's role is not to rubber-stamp the popular vote -- which, in this case, would belong to Clinton -- but to serve as a check on the popular vote to make sure that no one who is unfit assumes the office of President.

According to the Hamilton Electors, named for Founding Father Alexander Hamilton (Yes, he of the very popular musical for which I can't get tickets) Hamilton stated that the Electoral College's test for fitness to be the President was as follows (and I'm quoting):

Election of a Qualified Person: As Hamilton s…