May I let my voice be a clarion call. I will use these words for justice. I will use these words for truth. And humour.

Friday, August 31, 2012


sfood h "daddy, what did invisible obama say to clint eastwood?"

this post is pre-work for a sermon.  it is not in the order i would present it, nor is it developed at all.  it is basically some ideas i wanted to put out right now.  and posting publicly because in this case, timeliness is more important than a fully-fleshed out and cohesive linear argument.

this is an anti-racist diatribe from a white ally, to be reworked into an "AR(anti-racist)AO(anti-oppression)MC(multicultural)-creating" / "racism-oppression-uniculture dismantling" sermon.

on the screen at the center of the RNC without his consent or knowledge, is president obama, invisible, brought into the room, and having somebody else speaking for him (as if him).  words spoken by a white man, a cowboy, no less.  in a suit and tie.

sorry clint, but you appeared like an unscripted codger.  i know you are a great actor, and perhaps this whole performance -- including the awkward pauses and meandering -- was intentional.  i definitely saw racism at play, blaring actually.  i do not see the racism here as inherent within you.  i saw it within the spirit of the words, and the nature of the presentation.  it was mean-spirited.  and you implied our president saying something that most wise black men would abstain from saying (and obama always has).  i think however that many might want to say it though, after the centuries of inequity and the PRESENT INSISTENCE of inequity.

but here is me -- a white man -- speaking on behalf of what a prototypical black man might say.  i do recognize the irony in that, and i also recognize that this might need to be a dialog between whites, to make space for EVERYBODY's AUTHENTIC voice at the table.

in the past, when black men get angry and voice that anger -- or for that matter, when they express any emotion that could be perceived as challenging -- a chill rises, and white people get scared, and act in strange and scary ways themselves.  we might need some white men to get angry to make that space for authentic voices of anger, of love, and fear, and hope.  we might also need white men to speak to white men to open them to make space within themselves to hear others' authentic voices.

i believe there is a fear in the whites of retribution for the inequalities and grievances visited upon people of color.  there is a fear of sadness when we admit the wrongs of the past and the ongoing wrongs.  when this culture's heart finally does melt -- and i believe it will if we do not destroy ourselves -- i foresee the sadness, but i don't see the retribution.  i see continued forgiveness, and an insistent request for TRUE equity of human relationship.  and more soul for everybody.  our white-person fears tend to keep us from getting down and getting groovy.  IOW, mitt romney could not sing al green, because he has not experienced a life that correlates.  what *would* mitt sing? (WWMS?)

now as regards the unspoken words of the invisible obama: any vulgarity-culture-aware american would know that in the dialog, when eastwood says, "no i'm not going to tell Romney to do that to himself." he is responding to the words he put in invisible obama's empty chair, saying "tell him to go f**k himself."   he was expressing the black man's anger that obama has been so -- just wow -- capable of dispelling, swallowing, or whatever, and really done an amazing job for four years of quelling the racist energy in the room, and in the country, and not reacting to it with hostility.  with as much power as the US presidency still affords, i likely would be very tempted to really use it to go off on those who really need a self-importance/privilege attitude adjustment, were the stakes not so amazingly high.  despite overt racism, both direct and indirect.  perhaps his doctor prescribes good medications that help him to remain so patient, but perhaps he really has an astounding ability to remain under control in the face of the ongoing overt (and underlying) racism....

back to my point, eastwood's words are ironic.  because without speaking them, he created a sea-change, by crossing a boundary, and creating a new atmosphere -- a paradigm shift.  clint eastwood spoke on behalf of a black man, putting angry vulgar words into his mouth.  those words, if they actually existed, would be a fair reflection to white americans who insist on maintaining their privilege.

for too long, the fevered pitch has had an underlying assumption and concern: "obama, a black man, cannot actually be our equal or better.  we cannot allow it."

then again, i'm a fellow white man.  others may see it differently, and they're free to do so and voice their opinions, if this is a democracy worthy of an open democratic media, allowing for conscience to be spoken from a multi-cultural post-modern subjective-experience-acknowledging perspective.

but again, maybe eastwood was just acting.  he's been a good actor.  maybe he was taking advantage of the opportunity to say what needed to be said, so we can move on to the next stage of human relations.  if that's the case, thanks clint.

to close: clint, what is the best thing you can say about your candidate, that is true?

also, here is another opinion from Jamil Smith about this.  as i continue to hone this sermon, i want to go back to it.

lyrics: "fine, i'll play my song when you're not around.  you only want to hear your song.  and you won't know me as you might."

colors: red, white, black and blue
mood: solemn
chant/prayer/mantra: may there be peace within all peoples, and may the glory of love fill all the earth.

pax hominibus,
agape to all,

ps - i am being climbed on by my son right now, trying to get my attention. in order to post this important missive. he wants me to look at pictures of tree-houses.  he is three and a half.  it hurts to be disregarding him.  but he does need to learn the value of giving me ten minutes of downtime.

pps - now its later and we got a chance to play airplane and helicopter and read a book together.

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