Tag Archive: current-events


 

While every Presidential election is hyped up as having the potential to ‘change the direction of the country’, 2012 represents a year where that could be the case regardless of who wins next week’s election.  President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney have established different viewpoints on several important issues, and have messages that cater to two completely different demographics. In this election, I’ll be voting for the re-election of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.  I’ll give you a few (but not all) of my reasons below:

1. Obama is the more progressive of the two candidates.

‘Socialist’ is too extreme (and we will be coming back to the ‘e’ word), but an argument could be made that President Obama is the most progressive Commander in Chief in a long time.  It certainly hasn’t been perfect, but a real attempt has/is being made on reforming health care in America.  You can be cynical and call it a political ploy, but the fact remains as a sitting President up for re-election, Obama came out in support of gay marriage.

Vice President Biden brought up an excellent point in the Vice Presidential debate: in the next four years, it seems very likely that 2 new Supreme Court Justices will be appointed.  The legality/legal repercussions of the issues we debate now (and issues we haven’t thought of yet) will be going in front of the highest court of the land.  My personal preference is that the man making nominations for these posts would be a man with an already proven track record as a forward thinker.  Which brings me to point 2:

2. Degree of Difficulty

For some of the reasons mentioned and a largely understood but unspoken reason (don’t worry, I’m getting there), the sitting President of the United States has had one of the higher degrees of difficulty for his term in office to be considered a ‘success’.  We’re looking at a long road ahead before ‘the average American’ most likely will look at his (and his family’s) state of affairs and call it ‘prosperous’, but there is a sense that things are ever so slowly turning.  Unemployment numbers are moving again in the right direction, the housing market appears to have bottomed out.  As Commander in Chief, there was a plan for Iraq, there was a plan for Osama bin Laden; for those reasons, I’m willing to give President Obama some leeway when it comes to foreign affairs.  In terms of the alternative…something’s left to be desired.  Beyond the economy and Obamacare, you could bring up Guantanamo, Syria…a number of things to challenge the Obama presidency.  It feels like it started to come out during the debates, but why does it feel that way.

Which brings us to number 3:

3. ‘There, but for the grace of God go I.”

Man, listen.  Politics is probably the dirtiest business there is.  Even if you’ve never run for political office, in the ‘real world’ you’ve probably seen more politics than you’ve ever wanted to (even if you’re not always aware of it).  From nearly his first day in office, President Obama has exposed a very, very ugly side of this country.  Something beyond “Bill Clinton is a womanizer,” or “George W. Bush is a frat boy legacy kid.”  This is Donald Trump demanding a birth certificate (most of us learn in middle school you have to be born in this country to run for President; even someone as cynical as I have enough faith in our National Security to trust they would notice something that glaring.)  This is Hank Williams and Ted Nugent telling their fans about our ‘Muslim President’.  Obama is not a Muslim I assure you, but if he was…what is the problem?  And yes, of course, this is the Tea Party.

Now I know my fair share of Republicans.  We come from different backgrounds and obviously have different ideas about how to handle society’s problems.  That’s America.  You have ideas, I have ideas, we find a middle ground in the give and take, and keep the peace without resorting to disrespect.  That’s how politics usually function.  Maybe he didn’t have a choice in the current climate, but Governor Romney has chosen to embrace the most extreme elements of the Republican Party.  In 2012, it was probably what he had to do to win the Republican nomination.  In 2012, it was also, simultaneously, a move that antagonized a significant number of moderate minded voters (I’ll spare you a pun about an exact percentage).  But having said that, it should keep the President, the Democratic Party and many others wide awake for the next two weeks that for some of the things that have been said, no one feels this will be a landslide re-election.

Regardless, my vote will be going for Obama-Biden 2012.  My last point is just that; vote.  I’ve heard some of my more militant brothers and sisters say they’ll abstain from voting.  They have their reasons.  But as I’ve often noted, I’m a direct descendant from the rural South.  Any ‘right’ that my ancestors have bled and died for will always be a right I take full advantage of until the day I die.

Lighter subject matter later this week (I promise).

The Choice 2012

 

Let’s start with the answer to the question that will come up: I’m a registered Independent.  The short answer why, is while I certainly lean in a certain direction more often than not, I also have an aversion to giving any political party the assurance they can count on my vote no matter what they do.  So with that lovely introduction…

Malcolm X had a funny analogy he used when talking about American politics.  I’m paraphrasing but essentially he would compare Republicans to the wolves who bared their teeth (so you know exactly where they stood) and Democrats to the wolves who kept their teeth hidden (waiting to gain your trust before they ate you).  Near the end, his viewpoint evolved somewhat, and he saw positives in participating in the political system (the Ballot or the Bullet).  But in this current climate, I’ve thought more often than not about his older analogy.

Political Science 101 taught us that with a two party system, both sides will campaign toward the center (the magical ‘swing vote’ territory) before returning to their natural position after the election.  For the first time in my voting life however, we seem to be in the middle of an election cycle where the two parties are going into their respective National Conventions with ‘lines in the sand’ very far apart from each other.  In simpler terms, this year it seems improbable that anyone who follows politics could be ‘undecided’.  Depending on where you fall on the spectrum, both parties have done a great/horrifying job of painting the picture of what their plan will be for the future of this country.  The only thing both campaigns seem to have in common is an underlying message of ‘And do you know how screwed up we’ll all be if the other guy wins?”

As disconcerting as it is to think there are simultaneous campaigns for the Presidency using fear as a prime selling point, I’m more worried about what happens post November.  This much I know: one side will win, the other side will be even more angry and frustrated than they are now.  If this was a movie, we would be at the point where the supervillain shows the hero his two hostages, and lets the hero know he only has time to save one.  In the movies of course, this always works out: the hostages save each other or some ‘deus ex machina’ comes into play.

But again, this is real life.  When one side emerges victorious, are they going to extend an olive branch to their opponent?  Will the opponent accept it and go back to business as usual as far as politics go?

At this exact moment, I don’t know…

 

A short story to start the week…

A few people have asked me, now that ‘the Dark Knight’ chapter of my life has officially ended, where am I going next?  As time goes on, that will fully reveal itself, but this is a nice segway:  part of my time now is being a part of study group (directly related to my previously referenced intention of maxing out my abilities/life).  At the end of our last session, our moderator asked us what/why do we want to accomplish, and my response was ‘I want to be an advocate for peace.’

And immediately after the words left my mouth, I thought to myself, ‘Wow, that might have been the most pretentious thing you’ve ever said in your life.’  But you know what?  It was honest.  One of the side effects I’m sure to not being beholden to any particular corporation right now is that the ‘political filter’ that every adult has protect their various interests is not as stringent right now as it would be otherwise.  So while my Wyandotte side is saying to me, ‘Alright Mohatma, go ahead and push peace on the people,’ I think it may be time to use this space more often to express my opinion on more serious issues.  Time as always, will tell.

So here’s to Ramadan already being 1/3rd over.  Onward and Upward!

So this past weekend I was back in front of the camera.  My character was the ghost of a black kid from the 50s who was killed by a lynch mob for doing something he wasn’t supposed to be doing.  In this case, ‘doing something he wasn’t supposed to be doing’ meant talking to a white woman.  I wasn’t playing Emmitt Till (the young man pictured above), but the influence was obvious.  Trayvon Martin was never mentioned by name in the story, but again, the influence of his life was obvious.

As an actor, I wasn’t overly happy with my performance, but that comes out of my desire to constantly challenge myself and get better at the craft.  I also know from experience, ‘Lady In My Life’ specifically, that when it comes to television and film performances, a good editor will use your best takes from the shoot and create the best possible performance.  So we’ll see how the finished product turns out.

What this post is really about though is the larger issue.  Evidently someone got creative with a road sign in Michigan, there was a shooting spree in Tulsa last week that may or may not have been racially motivated, people are still marching here in Los Angeles and in other major cities.  It’s an…interesting time to say the least.  Across the board, we’ve often joked that we’re living in the ‘Too Much Information’ Era; it seems like we may finally being seeing the ugly side of that sentiment.  I highly doubt, percentage wise, there are more ‘extremists’ now than there have been before.  But as we now live in a time where all of us (present company included), can broadcast their thoughts to the entire world, we’re constantly learning who knows how to filter their ugliest thoughts, and who takes advantage of the relative safety of standing behind a keyboard to say what they really think.

Who knows where this is going?  All I know is I don’t like it, and I’m not the only one.  Dealing with people who operate in extremes is like dealing with children in my opinion: there are times when the best course of action is to ignore them so they won’t feel their behavior will be rewarded, and there are other times when you have to confront them head on to let them know their behavior is unacceptable.

What’s needed now is the latter.

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