Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Election Reflections

Today when I read the news about the Republican party celebrating their wins in the states of New Jersey and Virginia, the media made it seem like their wins are some huge blow to the Obama administration and to Pres. Obama personally. I have to laugh. Why? Because politics is ALWAYS about ebb and flow and during the years that we had a Republican president many Dems and various other party leaders won big elections in their respective states. So why the big hoopla now? Could it be some folks want to knock the black pres down a notch by pointing out the wins for the opposition? Yes I said black pres. We don't really want to talk about the racial under and overtones that are still plaguing this country. I know what many of you are thinking. Why should we talk about this? Color is not an issue. We, all the people, elected the man after all. Well it's like this. If you hire a bunch of people of color in your office and then sit by and watch all the white employees harass the new hires and say nothing then there is a problem. Okay that was a bit dramatic, but you get my point. I know that Obama has a thick skin. He's not sweating it or at least he's making it look real good, but the truth of the matter is we still have a lot of work to do on the race front. But the election of President Obama has changed a few things in this country in a big way.

I have not seen or heard of so many people of color being elected to certain offices for the first time and some of them boldly in interracial relationships. Something that would have been frowned upon, I'd say even less than 20 years ago, for an elected official. Here in New York our newly elected Public Advocate Bill de Blasio is married to lock wearing black woman. Why do I emphasize the hair? You know why. Also my friend Setti Warren who just won his seat as the first African American mayor of Newton, MA, where I grew up, is married to a white woman. Here in New York we also elected the first Asian American Comptroller, John Liu and my mother informed me that in MA the first Latino mayor, William Lantigua, was elected in Lawrence, MA and the first woman, Linda M. Balzotti, was elected to the office of mayor in Brockton, MA.

I know that the offices I listed above are not governors or senators so their will be an arm of the media who want to make you believe that some folks are getting their "good old America" back with the election of two Republican governors. Let me say first that as proud as I am to be an American, the good old days were not good for all of us.

In New York mayor Bloomberg bought/stole this election and although I'm not happy about his return, I will say that hopefully next time whoever runs to unseat him won't rest on their laurels and they will work a little harder against old money bags. Bill Thompson almost won. I will admit that I didn't love everything about Bill, but just a little more push and...well...woulda, coulda, shoulda. We have term limits for a reason people. Just because someone is doing a "good job" doesn't mean they have the right to stay in office. This is not a dictatorship. There should be no King of New York unless his name is Jay-Z and even that is up for debate.

My grandfather, Matthew Jefferson, was an Alderman in the City of Newton for as long as I can remember. When I was growing up it was politics all day in my house. I was a part of running campaigns with my grandfather. He had bumper stickers, buttons, hats and all the things that made elections fun for me as a kid. As I got older I remember thinking that my grandfather should have run for mayor. Everyone knew him and loved him, but I also remember thinking that if he wasn't black he probably would have been mayor. He became the President of the Board of Alderman and after many years it was from that office that he retried from politics. My mother told me last night when she called that my grandfather had a hunch that Setti was going to win and he did. I know it's doing his heart really good. My Grampee is 85 and he has now witnessed the first African American President and Mayor of the town that he has lived in over 60 years. Kudos to you Newton, MA. His work was not in vain.

Exercise your right to vote. Let your voice be heard. It means something. We can continue to change the world!