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The World Stands With America, Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize

In these recent days things have gotten very divisive and we see just how hard the path to change is, but Obama is clear that he is not going to quit on the American people.  No matter how difficult things are at home, Obama has already brought change to the world, he has changed the tone of aggression to one of peace and equality.   With his progress with Korea, Russia and Iran we see the possible results when people are trying to work with him and not just stalling for political purposes. He treats other leaders with dignity and respects the sovereignty of nations.  For all who question why Obama won they just need to listen to the reasons given by the committee.  We are all very proud of President Barack Obama. Americas standing in the world has improved according to country rankings of most admired nation.

Ahnolt-GfK Roper Nation Brands IndexSM
Overall Brand Ranking
(Top 10 of 50 Nations)

2009 2008
1. United States Germany
2. France France
3. Germany United Kingdom
4. United Kingdom Canada
5. Japan Japan
6. Italy Italy
7. Canada United States
8. Switzerland Switzerland
9. Australia Australia
10. Spain, Sweden (tie) Sweden

Source: 2009 and 2008 Anholt-GfK Roper Nation Brands IndexSM

The perception of america abroad is not the same since Obama has been elected.  He is a symbol of peace, hope, and change.  We must continue on the path of reform, the world is watching.  According to the Nobel Prize Committee:

 Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts. The vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations. Thanks to Obama’s initiative, the United States is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened

Read full New York Times Article:  http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/10/world/10nobel.html?hp

The Presidents reaction to winning the Nobel Peace Prize:

A Total Change

So I decided to do it. Ever since I was a little girl I dreamed about writing, I remember writing my first book when I was about fourteen years old. It was a teen romance novel. I can remember being so proud of it, passing it around the community not really understanding what I had done but proud still. Well I ended up losing track of that first book, so I started a second one. It was called “Growing Pains” my own take on growing up as a teenager in the Bronx and clearly borrowing from the popular television show of the day. I was still proud of it and worked on it daily. I never finished that book because I left it while in Jamaica on vacation. I would never see that book again either, but I still dreamed.

My desire to write and express myself felt natural to me; I was always the outspoken child, the one who always had a question, the one who thought too much about things. People often said why you can’t just be like everyone else and stop asking so many questions. I just couldn’t. It was in the DNA. I was raised in the church, we went every Sunday. Saturdays were choir rehearsal, but looking deeper I was able to find contradictions to everything I was being taught. I started asking questions and was rebuffed and told it was just like that. Interesting. It was in those early days that I began to get my nickname “trouble”.

The thing was being so young I did not comprehend that “trouble” to some meant questioning the status quo, or that it meant questioning what was happening in my own home. I thought trouble meant bad, so then I thought I was bad, and I started to live out my nickname. I became trouble. Trouble dropped out of high school, trouble also had a baby as a teenager. Desperately looking for what I lacked at home, I fell into the arms of men looking for what I had seen on television, my knight in shining armor. Mr. Tall dark and handsome, Mr. Right—yes all the clichés. When I couldn’t find that I thought a baby would answer my need to feel wanted and loved and at least would have a man with it. Well neither worked in my case and I was left to raise a child on my own. It was a harsh reality, but it became my life.

Now instead of living out my dream, I had to become responsible, no one would let me forget that I had a child to feed and how could I forget there she was staring at me with those beautiful eyes. All she wanted was someone to take care of her, thing is so did I. I was a broken little birdie, but I had a chick of my own and I was determined to rise to the challenge, so I got a job. Yes, a job. That became my focus, making money. Making money, how can I make it rich quick? I thought of the many ways, rob a bank, work for a rich person, invent something, marry a rich person, and win the lottery. I thought winning the lottery was my best chance so I started to play.

Well after about a month and I didn’t win, I figured I might not get rich that way. So I focused on working, and after I got fired from that first job I focused on getting another job. But I also remember taking my income tax check and investing in a computer, now why had I done that? I couldn’t even type, but Trouble liked to read and ask questions. It was the dream again there lurking in the back ground, ever darting it troublesome head. So when I got fired from my second job I decided to go to school. I weighed all the career paths, doctor, nurse, lawyer, executive, business person. I liked to watch congressional hearings, and political conventions…it was all very fascinating it I began to develop an interest in government and how it affected lives of people. I wanted to learn the more about civil rights, Africa, Queen Elizabeth, Hannibal, Caesar, and Malcolm X. I wanted to read Shakespeare, Nietzsche and Kant. I wanted to sculpt clay, take pictures, my interest were vast and divers–I did not want to reject any subject except math.

When in school I joined student government and found my voice as an activist, I had gotten bit, and I liked it. We lobbied and rallied Giuliani, Cuomo, and Clinton. I wanted to give voice to the inner-city youth, the single mother, the immigrant, the student. After school I wanted to now go out into the community and do good works. That’s where I was hit with reality. I wasn’t ready for reality. I learned how territorial non-for-profit can be. That sometimes even people claiming to do good can be misguided, myself included. Again I focused on working and making money, forget about the good of the nation, the world or even your community…just think about yourself and the mouth you had to feed.

I was stunned along with the nation at the 2000 election results, and after the verdict handed down by the Supreme Court I was left thinking I might as well just do what is expected so I faded into the background and left school and got another job. Yes, another job. I geared up for the next round and in 2004 I resigned to the fact that I was just going to work a job and retire in about twenty years. I worked that job for eight years. Staying at a job eight years I thought that was a great accomplishment, but what happened to me during those eight years was not so great. I gained about forty pounds. I started to write but again never finished, I started real estate and gave up, I quit smoking and gave up, I fell in love and gave up, I almost just gave up. Something kept propelling me forward somehow, it kept me trying new things, it kept me dreaming and thinking I could actually accomplish something.

Well in light of the recent events in the country I did something that some may think is totally crazy. I left my secure job and decided live the life I always envisioned for myself. I WANT TO BE A BLOGGER!! Crazy, huh—yeah, and in this economy. So far everyone thinks I’m nuts except the little baby from twenty years ago. Why now? Well I figured why not, I can’t think of a better time to try change…

How could I sit it out with the Obamas in the White House, the media out of control and Bloomberg trying to weasel his way into another third term I feel the urge again, that urge to add my voice to the dialogue, my urge to ask questions, and take things a little deeper. Who knows where the day might take me or what the question may be but the thrill is in finding the answer. Everyone wants to know the plan, they want me to be exact but I don’t know exactly what will evolve I only have a plan of not giving up and continuing to move at least one step forward. Sort of how the media is hounding Obama for specifics about the direct impact stimulus will have on Mary Jane living on Willoughby Street. Sometimes we don’t know the detailed outcome, but what we do know is we want to do something and are willing to take on the challenge. So here is to change, hope and challenge and here comes the Pollitikat, to some that might mean “trouble”. I hope you take time to read some of my previous post

"Wow" Happy Presidents Day

At his final rally in the general election Barack Obama looked out at the crowd of 75 thousand gathered in Virginia late November third and simply said “WOW”. That’s my wrap up of the past year. After wondering in the wilderness of the Bush Administration I can finally see the light. I feel like the past eight years were lived in a fog of fear, greed, and hatred. John Kerry described the previous administration; I believe the word he used was “thugs”. It gave a reading of the temperature in Washington, DC–brutally cold and ruthless. With Bush winning a second term I dug in for the next four years the one bright spot-Bush would definitely be out after this term. John Edwards was the first to announce and I remembered liking him when he ran for vice-President and wishing he were at the top of the ticket. John Edwards was saying all the right things focusing on poverty, healthcare, and speaking to the working class. I supported his candidacy and when Obama announced I openly blogged on Edwards site for a partnership with Obama, not caring in what order the ticket fell, I did believe America might have to be eased into a black presidency, maybe with a vice-president first. I worried about defeating the Clinton machinery, but by late fall 2007, I was solidly an Obama supporter.

Things heated up when the voting began, I rushed home from work January 3rd to catch the results and listen to analysis. I was hoping for an Obama win but did not underestimate his major competitors Edwards and Clinton. I watched as the numbers began to come in—oh my goodness, the inevitable candidate came in third and the freshman Senator from Illinois pulled a major upset. With that win came a tectonic shift in the political landscape.

Iowa was significant because it changed minds. I was a firm believer before, but Iowa made me move into action, I started getting involved in the Obama campaign, donating time and money and I didn’t looked back—I had never volunteered or gave money to any presidential campaign, this time I was “FIRED UP”!

The Democratic Convention was the best convention ever; it felt grand but mostly American. The convention offered everything by way of political theatre—there was the so called tension between Obama/Clinton camps and after seeing Michelle and the girls on opening night I don’t know how the media continued pushing that story. Hillary’s speech on Tuesday followed by the drama of the nomination of Barack Obama on Wednesday officially brought the primaries to a close and showed the real tapestry of America as delegates danced, cried and cheered—it was reality TV.

Paired against the war hero John McCain, Obama presented a tough but consistent campaign for change. By not choosing a woman to be his running mate Obama left the door open for John McCain, as I blogged during the primary if Obama didn’t chose a woman John McCain would in an attempt to split the female vote. Barreling through the door of opportunity John John McCain played the female card, choosing an unknown Governor from Alaska. When John John McCain chose a woman I realized he was going to be engaged strategically and wouldn’t just give up. The media immediately began the marketing of the Republican VP, this could have been a brilliant move on McCain’s part but it backfired because John John McCain and his running mate represented all that we needed to turn away from: war, Vietnam, racism, sexism, hatred, fear, lies, ignorance, Bush. Just as it had stunned the Clintons during the primaries, the Obama organization made political minced meat out of the John McCain campaign.

Obama and his surrogates fanned out across the country; there was Michelle, Joe and Jill Biden. He also had Bill and Hillary Clinton, political icons. There was real drama all the way through. During the primaries Obama rolled out his endorsements or policies at key moments to emphasize the influence or deflect from an unfavorable story and he continued the trend in the general. His logos were artistic and as simple as the message. The name Barack Obama and the Obama “O”, the words “hope” and “change” are synonymous with our now Presidents campaign. Then there was the man himself. He was dashing, well spoken, knowledgeable, tough, likeable, strategic, decisive, and uncorrupted, an elite political athlete. The message was simple, and stayed that way his voice striking just the right tone. I was down in the Dominican Republic early last year, wearing my Barack Obama gear declaring myself part of “Team Barack” with “Obama 08” on the back, a woman came up to me, she was from Italy and noticed my shirt. She barely knew English and I knew zero Italian but somehow we had a conversation about Obama and the American election. “I want him to win” she said clutching her chest. “We hope” I responded and she said “yes, we hope” and we hugged. Showing his political superiority during the final months of the general Obama dominated in organization, headlines, fundraising, debates, and finally the Electoral College. This was the most interesting and fun election ever, looking back all I can say is “WOW”!!

I was fortunate enough to be able to travel to Washington DC for the Inauguration ceremony; I had never done that before. I was sharing this moment with my daughter a first time voter. She said she never thought she would see and African American president in her lifetime and she is only twenty. We arrived in Washington in the early morning hours on Sunday but you could feel the excitement. When we woke up later that morning and stepped out of our hotel for breakfast we were swept up by the river of people marching to the concert being held at the Lincoln Memorial, forgetting breakfast we joined the throngs and headed towards the memorial. The crowds were amazing, I saw people with walkers and wheelchairs, and I even saw someone on crutches. There were children of all ages none of them complaining, all of them anxious for the same thing “Obama”.

I walked around DC for the next couple of days dwarfed not just by the large stone buildings but the rich history. I thought of those who came before, Harriet who ran, Sojourner who preached, Rosa who sat, and Maryann who sang. On the morning of inauguration the scene was crazy, streams of people filed down every street for the mall or parade route. We cheered and chanted, danced and ranted all in the spirit of celebrating this dynamic moment. Yes it was cold but after a while you just got numb and anticipation was the temperature, There was people as far as the eye could see as diverse in age as we were in color and I’m quite sure background. It was a beautiful mosaic that formed one big picture called America. We–the people had done this. We had all gathered together as Americans, this was our moment and we were coloring in our pages of history. As a Jamaican national living in this country for thirty years for the first time I was proud to live in America. The inauguration was grand and steeped in traditions and protocol; it was majestic and yet still felt very festive and cozy even with the millions of people. All I could say was “wow”.

Standing on the mall watching Obama getting sworn in as the 44th president my mind passed over the fact that not far from where I was standing Washington crossed the Delaware in the war for independence and landed on the U.S. Constitution. I gained a new respect for those who had written the document, the foresight and wisdom they exhibited in drafting something so fluid that would allow someone like the Obama family who would have been slaves in their days to be able to ascend to the White House. Like Obama, they too had put themselves on the line facing the greatest challenges of their day. I thought of the debater Madison with his federalist paper, Jackson through trying times, Lincoln struggling with the state of the union, and Wilson declaring war. Roosevelt faced with Depression, Kennedy and Johnson walking the tightrope of the Civil Rights Movement. They were fearless visionaries and it was their day as well.
Now we are celebrating Black History and Presidents Day—it seems fitting that these two holidays coincide sharing the same month because “Black History” is “American” history, not myths but real men and women who advocated democracy and fought for freedom. We celebrate not only those who created the documents that govern us today but also those who fought to ensure the documents lived up to their potential. People like Homer Plessey, Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Dubois, Howard Thurman, Malik Shabazz, Huey Newton, and Martin King Jr. We celebrate those who moved barriers and those who crashed through. They would have been on the mall on January 20, 2009.
I feel an urgency that must have permeated the society during the days of those great Americans and although we are celebrating progress I remember the mission to create a more perfect union. As exemplified in Washington DC in the past couple of weeks the debate lives on and there is a real struggle for the consciousness of America. Obama has already articulated that his election is not the change we seek, we need a change in the mindset, we need to build on the shoulders of those who came before and not be ignorant about what they were fighting for. In case you forgot here it is:

“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America” –Preamble, US Constitution,

My daughter said to me the other day “This Presidents Day means so much more to me now” words I never thought I would hear from her but she was also speaking for me. I finally had full appreciation for the men we were supposed to honor on Presidents Day. This Presidents Day represents the realization of the declaration that “all men are created equal”. It is an American holiday to pay homage to those who stood up when it wasn’t easy in order to move the country forward ideologically, it’s the Preamble and we have just taken a giant leap, moving ever so closer to a more perfect union. I can barely think of words to describe the moment, all I can say is “WOW”.

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