Memories are short, then again thanks to technology we are living at warp speed. Captain Kirk would be rather impressed at our array of gadgets and while we still haven’t quite made it to Jetsons style living. The world we now live in is a vastly different place than it was just 20-30 years ago.

All of this fast paced living though, has a tendency to wreak havoc on our memories as we constantly consume knowledge and eventually it all melds together to the point that the happenings of just 3-4 years ago seem hazy.  Back in 2008, here in the United States, many of us were scared as we saw the economy teeter on the brink of collapse; it seemed almost weekly we were hearing about banks going under. We were at the height of the presidential election season and people were scared and looking for hope and for many it became clear that Barack Obama was that hope after John McCain and his running mate made a series of high profile blunders. Even the most hardened racist among us, started to care about only one color…green and how much of it they had in their possession.

In the wake of Barack Obama’s election, many proclaimed we were truly a post racial nation, after all America had elected its first Black president. However quite a few of us though weren’t jumping on the post racial bandwagon, after all electing a Black man president in the middle of a shit storm was hardly proof we had risen against the hate that is ingrained in the very fabric of this nation. I took to joking privately that some people probably figured that much like action hero Will Smith, maybe some people thought that Barack Obama would play the role of magical Negro and make everything all right again in America. I was told I was being much too cynical, where was my hope?

Well after almost 4 years where we have seen the rise of the Tea Party, a group that no matter what they say basically came about as a direct result of Obama’s election and whose root opposition to Obama seems based in his blackness. Hate speech has increased, even in the current election season; we have seen people at political rallies with shirts that are clear in their intention “Put the white, back in the White House”. Hate crimes have increased, there are far too many incidents for me to rattle off in this space but two minutes on Google will give you all you need. Racism is real, it’s ugly and for those of us of color, most of us never bought into the media manufactured spin that we were truly post racial.

For anyone who doubted what many people of color have said since 2008, the proof is out with the release of the AP survey that since 2008, anti-Black sentiment is on the rise. In other words since we supposedly went post racial as a nation, nothing could be further from the truth, average Jane and Joe White People are not feeling Black folks or even Latinos. The unspoken truth but one that has been discussed in dribs and drabs is that a growing segment of the white population in America is increasingly feeling as if they have become the new millennial nigger.

Sadly such thoughts may play a role in delivering the White House to a man who pretty much doesn’t care about any of us unless we are wrapped in the color green. Yet for many they would rather have “the white back in the White House” no matter what.

I wish I could say that all of this shocks me, it doesn’t, America is still a young nation and true maturity and growth takes time, but I suspect post racial America is not something I will ever see in my lifetime. We are still too close to the seeds of hate that that helped form this country, I think about that every time I think of my grandparents who were share croppers in Arkansas. We have come a long way but this journey is not even half way over.

The evil one, so they believe

I have been staying away from any hardcore discussion of politics since there are so many bloggers that handle it far better than I am capable of…but with the midnight resignation of Van Jones ( ex-green czar) and the hoopla surrounding President Obama’s speech planned for today to the nation’s schoolchildren. I felt it was time to say something.

First off, I have spent the past several days laid up in bed praying what I had was a bad cold and not a raging case of H1N1 which meant I have had a lot of time to watch tv. Kids, Glen Beck is one crazy motherfucker. I actually rented a video of his and tried to watch it, um…anyone who watches that man on a regular basis and believes him is a few brews short of a six pack. (I know rude as hell, but I have to call it like I see it) Personally I see Beck as an entertainer who would switch sides if it meant more pesos in his pocket, he is a stone cold loon and he admits he doesn’t really consider himself a journalist. He is just a loud-mouth ignoramus.

That said, he is as vicious as a pit bull and as fellow bloggers were reporting he scored a victory this round with the resignation of Van Jones. (feel free to Google if you want back story, too tired to get into it)Though I will say this, um,  Mr. President how come I feel there is a pattern you are developing of throwing folks especially Black folks under the bus? Just a question.

Now to the meat and potatoes, as you probably know by now, Obama is planning a speech to the nation’s school children. A nice stay in school, work hard type of message; this sort of thing has been done before by other presidents and while yeah, there may have been a few Democrats screaming it was a waste of tax payer dollars back when a Republican president was doing it, the outrage was nothing like what we are seeing now.

Oh no! I have watched the news, read the blogs and man oh man, there are some folks who really feel that we are gearing up to live under a socialist regime and that Obama will be subliminally sending messages to the kids via this speech. Um, who really drank the kool-aid? Yet when we take a look at the folks yelling and screaming about Obama and his socialist ways, I have noticed an interesting thing except for a few delusional Blacks that are probably hired, most of the folks yelling are white, they tend to look either very Christian or very working class and are quick to say racism is not an issue.

As my Granny used to say, youse a lie! Look Black folks know though our more liberal white brethren try not to admit it but all this talk of socialism is just a smoke screen. Fact is Obama could be less government more business, free Nascar passes to folks and you know what? People would still hate him, you know why? Because he is Black, technically he is only half Black but in America  we still have that unofficial one drop rule and you are Black so in this case he is pretty damn Black. 

The bottom line is Fox News, Glen Beck and all the crazies out there are exploiting working class white folks fear of the unknown..aka the Black man. Guess what? Its working too, these folks are riled the fuck up and I swear any moment I expect RAHOWAto break out because the real truth is the birthers and the townhall nuts fear change by a Black man. In many cases we are looking at folks old enough to remember when all a Black man could do was shine their shoes and now he is the damn president of the United States. Mind blowing I guess, if you are mind is that small.

So I say, quit lying and stop misusing words like socialism, believe me Obama is hardly radical in fact if I had it my way you would indeed feel a touch of real socialism but in this country that will never happen.

Burnt Out

Maybe it’s because the dialogue around the health care issue is starting to get ugly (when will folks just get real and say the issue is the fact that a Black man is in charge? Quit pussyfooting around) or maybe its because work is getting crazy…in any event I am in a rare place where I almost don’t want to know what is going on in the world. I wake up listening to my local NPR affiliate station and generally in the evening I  watch the local news station; I have always been a news junkie but lately watching or hearing the news feels so heavy.

In November after the election, I was filled with so much hope for this nation. Now though I think we are on a one way course back to a dark place. Birthers, town hall folks….I was so saddened when I heard about a protester at one of these discussions that held a sign up (sorry too tired to link it) saying death to Obama, Michelle and their girls. What the fuck is wrong with people? Seriously, if I were Michelle Obama right about now I would be saying baby, you need to quit….do a Sarah Palin and just exit stage right.

I guess we ought to be lucky though that the First Lady does not think like me but I can only imagine if I find all this nastiness stressful, how hard must it be for their family? 

All this to say I am feeling burnt out on world events and happenings yet because of my work its hard to escape the ugliness that exists in the world. I see families daily in so much need, families mired in generational poverty that at times makes me feel so silly talking about my own financial woes here at BGIM. After all, while my financial situation is a tad shitty at the moment, fact is I write these posts from the comfort of my home that is mortgage free. My freezer is filled with good healthy food and while Visa, MasterCard and that bitch Sallie Mae want their money, all my basic needs are met. The work I do is often good at keeping me grounded and making sure I don’t wallow in self pity too long.

Nope, truth is I am burnt out, its strange because if I didn’t like blogging so much I would say its time to say good bye yet I do like blogging. But most of what I write is about current happenings so not sure what that means for the future of BGIM. Any ideas? Maybe more posts on the simple life in Maine?

Well, have a happy weekend! We are expecting a heatwave so I suspect I will be logging in plenty of time on the beach this weekend.

Rules, manners, protocol…

I find that when I write about world events my readership drops off, its all good, by my own admission I am a lightweight when it comes to commenting on world affairs but by the same token, its my blog so I write what I feel… That said, what is the deal with folks blasting Barack and Michelle Obama over their lack of manners and style on the international stage.

See, this is why I couldn’t be the president or the first lady because my outspoken behind would be on the telly telling folks where to stick it….ok, no I wouldn’t but it did sound good to say that. Seriously though, the blogosphere was all ablaze because Michelle Obama dared to touch the Queen of England….and the problem is???? Oh, turns out mere humans should never deign to touch the woman. Now I have heard folks saying this was a mere blip to folks even in the Black blogosphere lamenting over Michelle’s lack of knowledge when it comes to etiquette.

Now I have seen the picture and the Queen didn’t look pissed, shit the woman was probably glad to have someone treat her like a fucking human being. Newsflash the Queen is a human like the rest of us, meaning she even makes stinky in the potty like us plebians. Imagine that the Queen wakes up and goes to the bathroom just like you and I? The horrors.

Really so what Michelle touched her!!! Of course then there is Michelle’s tendency to wear outfits that some find questionable like being sleeveless, um she is in her 40’s and very possibly starting to feel the flutters of menopause, maybe she gets hot flashes. Again this is all silly shit…world is going crazy and we are all in a tizzy over who the First Lady touches and what she wears.

On the other hand, the more I thought about the issue, I found myself bugged about how she is being asked to follow some “rules” that others of her stature have done before…you know other First Ladies. Well maybe its time to change the rules, after all the rules pretty much dictated up until recently that only White Folks were in charge, maybe having a Black president and First Lady will allow us as a nation and world to see there many different ways of being. So what Michelle is overly expressive (yeah, Michelle…you do make a lot of facial expressions) as long as she presents a proper front who cares? I don’t.

Now let’s not leave Barack out either, our favorite smooth talker is gaining a reputation for being a shitty gift giver, after all he gave the Queen an I-Pod, imagine that? Now I read that it was actually something she requested, not sure if that is true or not. On the flip side she is the fucking Queen, I suspect she doesn’t lack for much so what do you give someone who has everything? Yeah, I know if it was me I would be stumped, shit, I would baked her some damn cookies.

Of course lets not forget Obama’s gift to Gordon Brown, a  box of DVD’s of American classic movies. Rumor has it that Brown isn’t much of a movie buff and Brown and his wife did bring a nice array of gifts for the Obama family. Well I admit the movies probably weren’t the best gift but again, hey he got the man something. Plus truth be told with the country on the brink of economic collapse I want this man working on our issues not looking for the best gifts to impress.

Again, things change and with the Obamas in the White House that is already a visible sign of change, maybe its time to rethink some of what we consider protocol. After all who really decides what’s right or not?

They don’t know what to do

So I woke up this morning and as usual was listening to NPR and the discussion was focused on President Obama signing this massive stimulus package. On the surface that may sound like a good deal after all, at this point everyone agrees that the economy is in shambles and needs some help like yesterday. Crazy to imagine that just less than a year ago, Americans were running around spending money like kool-aid and now folks is holding what shekels they have left close to their vest.

I don’t know but I am starting to wonder does Obama and his crew really know what’s going on and do they really have some solid answers to attempt to fix this problem. I will admit I don’t know all the specifics about this stimulus deal but what I have heard has me feeling a tad confused about how this is going to solve the problems we face as a nation.

So Jane and Joe Worker will see a few extra bucks in their pay checks, I believe the figure I heard was $8 a week for a single person and $16 a week for a couple….um, how the fuck is that going to stimulate the economy? Some behavior economist I heard this morning was saying that with small amounts like this that the average Joe is going to see unlike the big stimulus check of last year, people are more likely to actually spend these small amounts of money rather than save. Ok, Mister Educated Economy Man, but um….I think you are wrong. Folks are not going to foolishly spend that extra $32 a month on fun shit, sorry but we have tasted the juice of hard times and even a former shopaholic like myself is down with saving. I just don’t think its going to work.

Problem as I see it is, we still want to hold to this model of Americans as consumers and now Americans with any iota of common sense are realizing that spending for the sake of spending is a bad idea.  I know that by and large Americans have short term memory but with credit lines reduced and no more equity to tap from, we are confronted with the reality that American wages have not kept pace with reality for most folks. I’m sorry but now that creditors have come face to face with the fact that the average Joe has no money, I just don’t see that easy credit being extended anymore.

Gone are the days of buying a car with no cash down or only a thousand down. Instead folks will be fixing up their clunkers and we will be like the cats in Cuba driving these rides until they really cannot run any longer. Shit, I just heard a story about how in Westchester County NY, the auto repair places are doing a booming business. Folks cannot afford new cars, who has 20-30G’s just sitting around to buy a car outright? Yeah, I thought so. Nobody.

Look Obama and company, right now all your policies sound like the same shit that has been done before…O-man I like you, you seem like a cool cat and your wife and kids are adorable but where is the change? I know some of us keep saying give you time. Well I hate to tell you but some of us are drowning, we need that same energy and drive that convinced a racist nation to vote you in. Honestly watching you try to be bipartisan is starting to piss me off, guess what? Them republican cats have no intention on working with you, so quit trying because all you are doing is pissing off folks who voted for you.

I don’t know but maybe Obama needs to start reading James Howard Kunstler for ideas on how to really stimulate the economy, whatever he does though it better be quick since states like California and Kansas are facing some rough times.

You must quit

Barack Obama and I share a vice, we are both smokers in a time where smoking is seen as a really bad thing. Like Barry (can I you that Mister Prez-Elect?) I have tried quitting. In the past I have gone a few years without quitting but life will throw me a curve ball and since I gave up all my other vices (no drinks and drugs for me anymore) and after once taking a Louisville slugger to some furniture in a moment of stress, it seems nothing soothes that stress like a Benson and Hedges Ultra Light.

Now let me be clear, I am married to a non-smoker, I don’t smoke in my car or house or around my kids and since I only have 2 friends that smoke, it pretty much means I don’t smoke as much as I used to. Many years ago, I was a pack a day smoker, now a pack lasts me days. Pretty much I like a smoke in the morning with a cup of steaming hot coffee and now that its 8 degrees outside it really makes me not want to smoke. I also like to enjoy my afternoon hot berverage from Starbucks with a butt.

Before you feel compelled to tell me how bad this habit is, let me make it clear that I do know how bad it is, see my Mom died from lung cancer that metastisized to her brain. Yeah, my Momma was a smoker and like a dumb ass at 14, I picked up the habit. Thankfully my little brother hates smoking so at least one of us didn’t follow the dumb path.

I must admit that with a family history that includes my Mom dying at 50 thanks to cancer, its always on my mind that even though I am not a heavy smoker anymore that I need to quit….really its a filthy ass habit.

Which brings me back to Obama, frankly the fact that this guy is not caught with a butt in his mouth or hand constantly is great testament to what he is made of, shit I think I have stress, I know he has stress but dude you about to be the president, so guess what you gotta quit. After all you promised your wife, now after peeping those photos of you in Time its clear your love affair with the tobacco goes back aways like mine, but dude we are not cool.

So as I enter 2009, my only resolution is to slay the smoking beast and get it out of my life once and for all, Barry I encourage you to join me, its time…we must quit. We both have kids and you have a country to repair, yes we can!

Gone Fishing

That’s what the sign says on the Oak Hill General Store in Standish Maine, after it became national news that the owner of this fine establishment was found to be hosting a betting pool on when President Elect Barack Obama would be assassinated.

However as a Black chick in Maine while I am disturbed as hell that this incident even happened, I am happy that Mainers are coming together to say we don’t play this shit in our state. The local government is meeting today in Standish to address this issue, by the way Standish went for Obama in the elections and the local media is reporting that the actual owner of the property that houses this lil store is a known Obama supporter.

The local papers and discussion boards around here are abuzz with folks saying we don’t appreciate this shit, seems even folks who didn’t support Obama feel this was a bonehead move. Maine is a funny little place, its a live and let live place.

I have been here almost 7 years and in that time, I have traveled to many parts of the state and overall I have always been met with a warm or at least decent reception. Even up north where seeing a speck of color doesn’t happen too much. Once I was in a town of about five thousand not far from the Canadian border and stumbled across a snack place that had a lot of bikers there, had I not been hungry, I would not have left the car for anything. However there weren’t too many eating options, so a sista had to get out of the car. I stood in line scared as hell thinking my Black ass was toast, instead I ended up talking with a few bikers and they were decent folks. By the time I got my food, I felt considerably more comfortable. That’s the type of place Maine is, folks might look at you but for the most part they look at anyone who is from away, that’s just a Maine thing.

So rest assured that while more old time racists will be coming out the closet, at least here in Maine, folks will do their part to keep these bastards hidden away like the crazy uncle you only invite over for Christmas because he is too crazy to see any other time of year.

Stay tuned for tomorrow where I will wax poetically about what happens when a sista leaves this state and journeys back home to the Chi-town.

Its starting

I must admit in the weeks leading up to the election, as a Black woman living in Maine, I was wondering what would be the impact on average Black folks like myself in places like Maine if Obama won. Well the time has come, I no longer have to wonder because he won and reality is starting to settle in. http://www.wmtw.com/politics/17991950/detail.html

Seems in a town not far from me, an hour or so away from where I reside, at a local store they were setting up an assassination pool for when Obama would be assassinated. The local media is downplaying this since as a whole Mainers are fairly decent and tolerant folks, that said, the owner of the general store in Standish, Maine didn’t exactly take a stand against this seemingly bad idea. Of course he can now explain to the local government and the feds why he allowed such a bad idea to happen on his premises.

There have been a few other incidents reported through out the state, effigies of what appeared to be Obama up in a town well known as a getaway for the rich. In my day to day life, I will admit some of the neighbors seems a tad salty but they still make nice and wave. I won’t lie, I am on point and ready for the first motherfucker who decides to say the wrong thing to me.

Its a sad thing that I even have to be ready but I am old enough to know that just because many Americans caught the Hope and Change Express, there are still a fair amount of bitter ass white folks clinging to their guns and ready to start some shit.

I will be honest with all the personal storms I am weathering the idea that I have to be on alert for crazy white folks with a grudge doesn’t exactly make me happy, thankfully most of the folks I encounter are decent folks who welcome change. However I woke up election day thinking that if the Obamas could do what they are doing to create change in this country, then the least I could do is get ready to deal with a few pesky white folks looking for trouble.

Its taken too long to get to this point in this country and I refuse to let anyone steal my joy, shit if my Pops could endure the segregated south, then anything I am dealing with or may deal with is minor in comparison. So while we are all still celebrating, the somber reality is I think we can fully expect to see increased incidents of madness from folks stuck in a time warp.

Anyway off to the office, gotta work on saving the world.

Haters gotta hate

To quote or perhaps paraphrase my boy Katt Williams “Haters gotta hate, that’s they motherfucking job.”  See today I was continuing to walk around in the afterglow of Obama’s win, yet I knew some punk ass bitch was going to say or do something that smacked me back to the fact that America is still a fucked up joint albeit a tad less fucked up since more of us came together than not to choose change.

Anyhoo, yesterday out in cyberspace I came across a few of my mothering blogs where there were mothers gnashing and wailing their teeth because they are sure that Obama’s win means innocent babies will die. Look newsflash, Roe v. Wade could be overturned today and some women would still get pregnant and choose to abort even if that meant they would do things that might cause them to lose their life in the process too. Hello….women used to die because they did not have access to a safe and legal abortion.

I’m not gonna lie, I am pro-choice, see as a woman who has had kids, I feel that parenting is too tough a job to do if you don’t think its the job for you. See unlike other occupations, you can’t just quit being someones Mama if you start the gig and decide its not the job for you. Oh, yeah you can leave  but generally if you decide to hit the door after you give birth and have spent some time on the job, you are almost guaranteeing that is one person wandering the earth with issues.

My Mom’s birth-mother did that to her and my Moms was fucked up despite the fact that she was raised by her father and his family until my grandpa remarried when my Mom was seven. My Mom came face to face with her birth-mom at 16 and she never quite got an answer as to why her Mom after carrying her in the womb for nine months and then raising her for 8 months,  decided she didn’t want to be a Mama. Of course it didn’t help that this same woman went on later to have seven more kids, now I will admit I talk to birth grandma but its a strained relationship at best.

No, my Mom had issues and to some degree she carried those issues over to her own life when she became a Mama. Nope, parenting is serious work and the potential to fuck up a human up along with 1-2 generations is too great should you do the job wrong. So since I have been old enough to understand what abortion is, I believe it has a place in society. I have seen too many unwanted kids become adults and that shit ain’t pretty.

I also am bothered by the fact that those who scream the loudest about abortion, aside from seeing them picketing abortion clinics and running bogus clinics designed to scare the shit out of women, how come they never do anything helpful for preexisting people to help better their plights on the planet?

So I get it that some folks feel that Obama will be handing out abortions on the corner, even though that is just some bullshit as far as I am concerned, perhaps these assholes should watch something other than Fox News.

So the other category of haters are the gun folks, they seem to believe their rights to bear arms will be seriously restricted. Now I will admit I got a serious bias with these folks as I am a former pacifist who still leans heavily towards non-violence though I admit sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. That said, seems a lot of folks really like guns and that truthfully that scares me. See unless your ass is hunting Bambi to turn that bitch into a casserole, the only other reason I see for a gun is to kill folks, so I ain’t really all that cool with guns. Yet I respect that some folks really dig em, however I just don’t see Obama  taking away your right to bear arms though I admit there are certain folks and no not felons I sure wish didn’t have any guns, but shit I don’t always get what I want. C’est lavie.

However even after taking my tour during the white blogosphere and reading through all the gloom and doom posts, I was still feeling good until an encounter with someone locally who cares about these crazy issues refused to even acknowledge that as a society electing Obama did mean change.  I know it was a small thing but honestly it pissed me off and actually just served as my wake up reminder that the more things change the more some shit stays the same.

Don’t get me wrong, I refuse to let this one person piss in my Cheerios but it does tell me that while many of us are still celebrating to be cautious and know that Rome was not built in a day, so turn that music up and pass me a drank while I keep on celebrating. Now that I vented, the party can continue.

He did it!!!!

Last night as the numbers started to trickle in, when Obama initially just had 3 electoral votes to McCain’s 8, for a brief moment, I thought shit, they will not let this man win. I got discouraged, yet as we all know now, things quickly changed, yet in the back of my mind, I kept thinking about 2000, we all know how that went. Thankfully the days of elections that never end and need deciding by the courts seem to be behind us at least for this election.

 It wasn’t though until I saw and heard John McCain give his concession speech that I sighed and actually let it sink him that the next president of this country will indeed be a Black man. A country that not all that long ago used to treat Black men lower than dirt and still has lapses of this bad behavior. A country that was founded on the premise that Blacks were inferior and were forced against their will to provide the labor that helped to make America the great country she is yet as a people were denied their humanity.  We have now come full circle, Black folks will inhabit the White House and they won’t be serving anyone. (damn, Michelle and the girls are amazing)

I’m gonna be honest, I have been crying buckets, I’m crying for all who never thought we’d see this day in America. A ceiling did indeed break last night, shit Barack put his foot on it and broke that ceiling down. I have no idea how successful he will be as a president, but based off his track record, it seems that everything he touches turns to gold.

I must admit that even this morning, I am still choked up, I suspect I am not the only one feeling that way today.

Congratulations President-Elect Obama and family. I have no idea what the future holds but today, I just celebrate this victory.