Sunday, November 23, 2008

Vive L' Obama!

On December 7, 1941, after Japan's successful attack on Pearl Harbor, a somber Admiral Yamamoto uttered these prophetic words, "I fear we have wakened a sleeping giant and filled him with a terrible resolve."

Sixty-seven years later, America has elected its first black president, Barack Obama. African-Americans came out in droves to assure that victory. They have been singularly disciplined this election cycle, and profoundly effective. Along this road to history - in what some may call "a detour" - 7 out of 10 African-Americans voted down gay marriage in California.

In a microcosmic way, that "California" vote has generated its own seismic thunder. Ellen DeGeneres is "crushed." John Stewart of "The Daily Show" wonders whether "the oppressed has become the oppressor."

Could it be that Barack Obama has shaken African-America from its slumber? Having long shirked its responsibilities - from letting its neighborhoods fall into disrepair, to failing to tell it sons to "pull up your pants" - is this troubled community now inspired by the president-elect and filled with a new resolve? Let us all pray that it is.

Despite the gay community being up in arms, we must not lose sight of the bigger picture. Voting in such large numbers (70%) to disallow gay marriage is not about blacks flexing their muscles. Rather, it is an affirmation of the deep-seated conservative values they have held all along. This stand has less to do with gay rights, and more to do with a greater paradigm - the union of man and woman. That institution must be held above all other rights of man. It is a matter of survival.

The French have a saying: "Vive la difference!" (veev lah dee-fay-rawnss) or "Long live the difference!" (between the sexes). Could that "California" vote to ban gay marriage have been a vote for "la difference," and the survival of the species?

Today we challenge gay marriage. Tomorrow, will we have the resolve to challenge drug dealers and drive-by shooters - and the many other forms of chaos and indolence that would profane our families and threaten the survival of our communities? Entertainers for so long, are we now ready to take on the mantle of "man"? If so, then all I have to say is, "Vive L' Obama!"

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Just Published: The King of Pearl

The King of Pearl is now available. Order your copy today!

Here is a quick overview to wet your appetite:

Sirius Boa has night sight-an uncanny way of affixing to inanimate objects that which lets him see them in the dark. He first became aware of this talent during a midnight raid on a chicken coop. As he matured, he honed this faculty until he could imbue an ottoman with the aura he once bestowed upon anthills. He calls it, "giving breath, then space."
He has other talents besides-he can discern faint whisperings. But it is his night sight that will guide him in his battle against the terrible dark that has descended upon the Rouen countryside.

This is the story of Sirius Boa, an American called to Rouen to help heal a stricken friend. It is the story of Giselda, the mysterious Gypsy he befriends, and of Madame de la Plume, doleful mistress of the magnificent and tragic Briand estate.

This is the story of a haunting, and of an entity that has existed upon the plains of central France for millennia. It is the story of two people who find each other in the midst of this haunting, and of a third person who is part lover, part hater, and part key to their very survival.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Doing It With Mirrors

What can a thousand billion dollars be worth when it issues from a ten thousand billion dollar debt? More to the point: How much will the few remaining dollars in our pockets be worth once that ungodly sum floods the market?

We're not out of the woods; we're not even moving in the right direction. Rather, we stand still, at a crossroads, so to speak, looking down a narrowing way. That is the easy way - the way to our desires. It has always been the wider road, with its endless possibilities and its wide cliffs. The cliff remains wide. The road, itself, has narrowed.

Let us understand this: There is obvious value in the buildings we live and work in, and in the land those buildings stand upon. There is value in the products that come out of those buildings, and in the services rendered when we enter them. The land upon which we grow our crops has great value. We can put our arms around these things.

What we can not put our arms around is 85 billion dollars to AIG, over 100 billion to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, 25 billion to GM, 20 to Bear Stearns, 750 billion to the bail out, 150 billion to the stimulus - we're talking real dollars, right? We have a ten trillion dollar debt, yet we can prop up these fooolish banks and failing businesses with a thousand billion dollars? Is that real money? Sounds like monopoly money to me.

Throwing money around like it's paper is no way to climb out of a financial hole. Rather, it is an attempt to buy our way out - that is, to "credit" our way out, (although "credit" is what has gotten us here.)

Trying to do it with credit is like doing it with mirrors - simply more illusion. It is like we have gone into the Fun House and have gotten lost. "Send in more clowns," we say, "and more mirrors."

There are signs that some of us are trying to make an adjustment. I hear "lay-aways" are coming back, and people are driving less - taking less joy rides and more walks. That's a start. It will take a lot more of the same - the walking, the saving, the sacrificing; the spending of "earned" dollars instead of "free" (i.e., fake) ones.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

You Go Girl!

Hillary Clinton won the New Hampshire Primary. They say it was her strategic show of emotion that saved the day. I say: Her tears won her the primary but may have lost her everything else.

That mist moment came in a New Hampshire cafe when Hillary thought she was hopelessly behind Barack Obama in the polls. She was feeling sorry for herself, and let her tell it, feeling sorry for the American people. It was a watershed moment that some pundits believe turned a 10-point Clinton deficit into a 3-point win - an unprecedented one-day swing, especially considering Obama had done nothing noticeably wrong to lose the vote, and Clinton had done nothing noticeably right to win it...except to cry.

What does it say about us when we are driven by fear in on election (2004) and by tears in the next (2008)? It does not bode well for the world when the pre-eminent standard bearer of democracy persists in voting out of weakness.

Barack Obama speaks of bridging the great divide. His message of change crosses lines of race, politics, and nations. It is a promise he cannot deliver himself; only we, the people, can fulfill that promise. Obama promises to help.

Hillary pooh-poohs Obama's message - calls it "just words." "Just words"? Where would America be without its words? Do we think the American Revolution could have been fought and won without Patrick Henry's "Give me liberty, or give me death"? How could Americans (and the world) put the slaughter of the Civil War into perspective without Lincoln's Gettysburg Address? The words of great Americans resound through the centuries, assuring us, and moving us forward.

For those women who are inspired by Obama "words," but feel desperately bound by the bonds of sisterhood, you might consider this:

On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr stood within shouting distance of the White House and delivered his "I Have A Dream" speech. Two weeks later, racist white men tossed a bomb through a church window in Birmingham, Alabama killing four young African-American girls. It is a stain on this land that cannot be erased, except it be erased by a sight that warms our hearts with a clarity equal to the hateful act that broke out hearts 45 years ago.

Today, two young African-American sisters by the name of "Obama" move inexorably toward the steps of that same White House. And you thought Hillary was the most important female in this campaign. Au contraire, female voters of America. That distinction belongs to you - you desperate housewives - and to the little Obama girls.