Monica Roberts

Difficult Days Ahead

Filed By Monica Roberts | August 29, 2008 6:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Politics
Tags: 2008 Election, African-American, Barack Obama, Houston, Monica Roberts, Texas

Like many African-Americans I was literally 08DNC_barack acceptance speech.jpgcrying tears of joy last night as I saw a major political party nominate someone of my ethnic heritage for the highest office in the land. The fact that it was my party, one that I have supported since my late teens and it occurred on the 45th anniversary of Dr. King's 1963 March on Washington "I have a Dream" speech made the moment even more special.

But what triggered my tears was thinking about my late Grandmother Tama at that moment Sen. Obama recited the magic words accepting the Democratic party nomination. My grandmother was a poll worker in her precinct for several years.

As y'all probably noted, I'm a serious political junkie. I love politics along with "errbody" else in my family. My grandmother and I talked about local, state and national politics regularly when I'd spend my off days hanging out with her in her Sunnyside area home. I'd get us a couple of fish baskets from a fish market around the corner from her house and listen to her expound on all the history she'd witnessed over her 82 years and talk about the issues of the day.

I remember how happy and proud she was along with many African-American Houstonians when we finally got Lee P. Brown elected as our mayor in 1997. He also made Houston history as our first African-American police chief and his picture went up on her wall next to the ones she had of Dr. Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy.

Unfortunately my grandmother passed away in February 2002 before she had a chance to witness former Dallas mayor Ron Kirk unsuccessfully make a historic run for the US Senate seat John Cornyn narrowly won in the Lone Star State.

Hopefully Rick Noriega can take back the Texas senate seat this fall that Lyndon B. Johnson once occupied.

The conservatives were not only drinking Republican red Hateraid from 55 gallon drums on Faux News last night and all week, their prayers to Conservagod for rain weren't heard since the weather was clear and cool last night. In fact the weather in Denver all week was nearly perfect save for the tornado that dropped in the 'burbs on Sunday.

The one thing that I've noted is that the echoes of history and its imprint were all over this particular DNC convention. I wrote about the efforts of Denver area African-Americans a century ago who jump started the debate about whether to pursue our people's interests in a Democratic Party that was then hostile to us or stay in a Republican one that was increasingly ignoring us.

Our African-American ancestors who conducted that spirited debate 100 years ago in Denver and elsewhere in the country would have been pleased and proud to witness last night's events. They would have been amazed to see the television camera pan the stadium and see the rainbow of humanity that is the Democratic Party. I can guarantee that what you'll see in the Twin Cities won't even approach that and will be overwhelmingly monoracial and predominately male.

24% of the delegates at this just concluded Democratic National Convention were African-American, the highest percentage ever. One of those delegates was a transwoman who shares my heritage. There were 44 congressmembers of African-American descent who are also wielding historic levels of power as well as being members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Oh yeah, there was a CBC member US senator who just got nominated for president.

I thought about how pleased and proud my grandmother would have been to witness not only last night's slammin' acceptance speech, but the campaign he ran just to get to this historic point

But to paraphrase Dr. King, we have some difficult days ahead of us in order to make this particular dream of a President Obama become a reality. The Republican Attack Machine and their status quo donors will throw everything but the kitchen sink at him. The nut jobs like the ones caught during the convention will redouble their effort to gain with the bullet what they've failed to accomplish so far at the ballot box.

We have recalcitrant people in our own party still miffed that their candidate who was also on a historic quest on behalf of women lost. All I have to say to you right now is that if Cindy McCain's own half-sister isn't voting for McCain, why should you?

The next sixty days are going to be a historic date with destiny. While I'm exceedingly proud that for the first time in my life, we'll have a Democratic candidate that not only reflects my values and my ancestry as well, I'm still anxious about the outcome on November 4.

I'm damned sure going to do my part to help give my niece a wonderful birthday present on January 20. I want my niece to wake up on her ninth birthday to the historic sight of an African-American being inaugurated for president.

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I think a lot of people's grandmothers were pleased last night. Thanks for the wonderful story, it dusted some cobwebs off of some memories for me too.

And you're right, the hard work starts today.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | August 31, 2008 12:05 AM

Beautiful Monica, but all things considered I think the Repugnatcans have a bit to worry about considering their convention may well be turned into a telethon for hurricane relief.

You don't suppose those prayers backfired now do you?

I had the pleasure of watching the speech at Monica's abode, with Monica and our friend Dawn Wilson. I'd liked Obama before then, admired him as a speaker, but didn't have the excitement about him that Monica and Dawn had expressed for some time.

I get it now.

Basically, I characterize myself as a moderate-to-liberal, more a pragmatist than anything else. I watched, as Barack Obama started to wind up, then throw fastball after fastball of issue stances, stating exactly what I'd given up hope of hearing a politician ever say before a Democratic Convention, as if he'd been listening to my political rantings and ravings.

Of course, to Monica and Dawn, it has a different meaning. They're people of color, and to them, Obama represents a first, a vindication, similar to what JFK's nomination meant to Roman Catholics. But they're pragmatists, too - Dawn happens to be a Republican, although hardly an arch-conservative, and Monica isn't as liberal as she might portray herself to sound on her blog or on her postings here. The fact is, he's right down the middle on the issues.

Governing from the middle is, of course, what our most successful Presidents have always done. Also, keep in mind that Obama cannot be elected as a true liberal: much of the American public is in the center. He's doing it the right way.

As for his position on marriage, keep in mind that he cannot help you until he's elected. His votes on issues in recent months reflect the pragmatic need to take issues away from McCain, to allow him to frame the race in a way that gives him the upper hand. It is a technique often used in Chicago politics. I've no doubt that, by the time an Obama administration ends, DOMA will be history. He's spoken of supporting an inclusive ENDA - nobody else who was in the race after February did that.

I'm watching this campaign; it's going to be a real chess match. I give Karl Rove his props: he's like Lucifer, he's evil, but he's very very good at what he does. Obama (and Axelrod are their match, and they'll play just as rough as Rove/McCain will. it will be something to watch.

November 4 can't get here fast enough for me.