Monday, July 7, 2008
The syndicated columnist and MSNBC political contributor Eugene Robinson did an outstanding job raising the issue of "black patriotism" in an Independence Day weekend column. He went through naming the contributions of African American soldiers of different eras stretching back to Cripus Attucks' death during the Boston Massacre. He used the evidence of his father's service to this country in the military to fortify his argument that folks need to try and understand the patriotism of Senator Barack Obama in spite of whatever reservations folks might hold. I appreciated Robinson's contention, "the fact that African American patriotism is never simple doesn't mean it's in any way half hearted; to the contrary, complicated relationships tend to be the deepest and strongest." Of course, Mr. Robinson is right. As his contention began to flow into my psyche I thought about my own feelings watching the Olympic games, following American politics and local issues in the various places I've lived including, Chicago Illinois, Chattanooga Tennessee, Miami Florida, Sarasota Florida and Denver Colorado. I've always hoped that African American "heros" and "sheros" in every facet of American life would be lifted up and honored and loved because of the skills they've shown and the contributions they've made. I've also hoped for the love to flow because of the people these individuals are too. My heart swelled with pride thinking of the achievement of the Williams sisters at Wimbeldon during Independence Day weekend. As an older sibling I loved that Venus Williams went on and beat Serena in the tournament. Their achievement was an American one in a year when no American males made the finals at Wimbeldon. What kinds of feelings did you have knowing that two African American women played in the finals at Wimbeldon and won the doubles there too? Isn't there room for more USA love being shown to achievers in athletics, politics, government, business, religion and community advocacy who are achievers who just happen to be African American? I think there is room for more love....What do you think? Post it....and let me know! And keep the USA love flowing!
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
The great heavy weight fighter Muhammad Ali once said, "I hated every minute of training, but I said, don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion." Life can deal us some knock out blows. Goodness knows life will stretch us at times and we've got to look around for mentors, support and positive affirmations. In spite of hard times I believe our Creator has built us to persevere. I have seen the courage to persevere in hospital rooms, in assisted living homes and in places where I least expected it. Every time you're tempted to give up, give in or give out try to remind yourself again that we're built to persevere. God has built us and made us stronger so we not only will face battles but win them too. I remember training for my high school swim team, track team and baseball team. Training always took place behind the scenes where people couldn't hear me straining and stressing to stretch and work out. But I wouldn't have won one race, or achieved anything significant in my life without deciding to go on and do the hard part even when folks couldn't see me doing it. Remember that you too are built to persevere!