Black Lives Surely Mattered This Year
What a waste. Nearly four years, over 235,000 lives, untold damage to the environment, friends betrayed, alliances broken. What a waste.
But now we have a chance to start over, and I want to credit one source for the grace and vision and strength behind this chance to recover -- the Black public figures who made such a big difference.
In the same year that a white police officer openly ground a Black man’s life into the pavement, the best and brightest helped elect a centrist who might, just might, pull some disparate parts together again.
The tone of this election year was set by Blacks who have been preparing for years, for decades, for centuries, for this moment. One great part was former President Obama sinking a feathery impromptu shot as he strolled through a gym – one and done – and as he kept moving he said, over his shoulder, “That’s what I do” -- Just as when he sang “Amazing Grace” in a church honoring slain members.
The tone of this election year was set early by Sen. Kamala Harris who began a primary debate by reciting racial injustices to one of her competitors, former Vice President Joe Biden. He blinked and took it, seemed to be listening, and months later he had the grace to select this accomplished lawyer/prosecutor/campaigner as his running partner. Grace under pressure, by both.
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Now I want to praise four others who raised the grace level in this country:
Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland passed last year, after setting a high level of righteousness in Congress. I witnessed him leading some sports/drugs hearings years ago, and ever since I have referred to him as The Prophet. In his final months, he admonished balky witnesses, “We’re better than this.”
Rep. John Lewis also did not make it to this election, but he had been setting an example since the police beat on him back in the ‘60s, at lunch counters and on the Pettus Bridge. He survived that, served in Congress, seeming so innocent but actually a living holy man, tempered in the flame.
Stacey Abrams lost a narrow race for governor in 2018, and soon used her intelligent smile, her knowledge, her persuasiveness, to help register voters – Black voters – in the South, where the desire to vote means standing on line in heat or rain for many hours, by Republican plan. This week, Abrams’ work helped throw two Senate races in Georgia into runoffs, early in January.
Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina changed history by endorsing Joe Biden, who had just gone through two disastrous primaries in the frozen North. Clyburn is one of the most composed of politicians, no bluster, no swagger, just serene confidence. He read the mood of South Carolina perfectly, and gave the nation a Democratic candidate who could balance the disturbed posturing and fatal incompetence of Donald Trump.
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The positive effect on this nation will carry over into the new year, the new regime. Trumpites gloried in their man depicting Philadelphia, any urban setting, as dangerous, but a white President and a Vice President who is part Jamaican and part Indian live up to the professed ideals of this country.
As it happens, my family has some Jamaican and some Indian ancestry, as well as Black American, and Latino, and Asian, all kinds of Europeans, including the lady I live with who can trace herself to William the Conqueror and early New England settlers.
One young man in the family – with some Black ancestry -- called his grandmother in a nearby Atlanta suburb on Saturday to deliver the news that Biden had won.
* * *
And Saturday evening, a joyous, liberated, masked, socially-distanced, horn-honking, all-colors-of-the rainbow-crowd in a parking lot in Delaware greeted the new look of the Biden and Harris camps -- people who seemed to like each other, and love their children and speak comfortably of making this country work for everybody. The mixed racial makeup in that crowd seemed to match the impromptu crowd in the streets of Minneapolis when George Floyd was murdered, only this time not to protest but to cheer, to smile, to breathe,
Maybe, just maybe, things get better.
11/7/2020 07:08:50 pm
Agreed! oh and that shot that Barrack hit...it was a Fade Away Three! Come on now, degree of difficulty, give it up! And since he already put up a fence/wall, could we just make The White House Trump's correctional Home? Lock the gates and disable the helicopter. Maybe the whole clan could live there...no masks allowed. Finally I can't tell you how great it was to talk to you today! The show will be posted on Sunday https://590thefan.com/radio-shows/stl-united-fc/
11/8/2020 09:35:59 am
Tom: It's always a pleasure to talk with the Men in Shorts in St. Louis. Thanks for letting me give you my Kid-From-Queens rant. Next time we'll talk soccer best, GV
11/8/2020 10:52:35 am
Tom, BTW, I have some spies in St. Louis who tell me that you are known to let fly from the same distance as Obama....maybe every time you have the ball. Is that true? GV
11/8/2020 10:55:30 am
I rarely get that close!!! Actually my concession to age is moving in and working on my drop step
11/7/2020 07:42:59 pm
AMEN! posted Ray Charles singing America the Beautiful on my Facebook page. Be well.
11/8/2020 09:37:52 am
Ed: You mean the one where he sings, "America...sweet America...?"
11/7/2020 07:58:14 pm
11/8/2020 09:24:54 am
Yes, Chris is my kid brother -- our mother called him "The Educated One." He is otherwise known as Christopher Vecsey, Harry Emerson Fosdick Professor of the Humanities and Native American Studies in the Department of Religion, Colgate University. -- GV
11/9/2020 03:18:20 pm
You and Chris share a common spiritual humanism, it seems. In the late 50s a “genius” mentor—I use that word rarely- who was developing a unique theory of therapy for communication disorders, began to read religious leaders. We were surprised a psychologist, would go there and she told us, “There are at least 4000 years of religious experience, there are lessons to be learned.” We began reading, Paul Tillich’s “Shaking the Foundations” and the sermons of Harry Emerson Fosdick, as highlights in my memory.
11/7/2020 08:47:20 pm
11/8/2020 09:40:47 am
Bruce: I have two words for him:
11/7/2020 10:42:25 pm
How sweet it would be if, as a tribute to John Lewis, people in Georgia voted for the Democrats in the two runoffs for Senate seats there in January. That would make the Senate 50-50, with Kamala Harris casting tie-breaking votes.
11/7/2020 11:55:36 pm
11/8/2020 09:43:21 am
Gene: As Scarlett O'Hara said, "I'll think about that tomorrow."
11/8/2020 11:33:57 am
It is poetic justice that Whimpey Trumpy was undone by African Americans led by the women. Granted, Biden’s rise began with Jim Clyburn’s comment that “Joe Biden knows us”, but it was the tireless effort of Stacy Abrams and other black women supporters that made the difference.
11/8/2020 01:03:09 pm
Love this string. Here is a story Alan just told, updated a bit. My younger son Bruce, a talented musician, worked in a Manhattan recording studio, playing, helping produce, records and television commercials. The ad execs would often come and order changes, re-takes, etc. One highly frustrating and long series of repeat takes was ordered, despite the fact that the ad guy had “no clue.” Finally he was satisfied. The studio boss asked Bruce, how he did it. Bruce said, I played him the last one we did, and just made it louder.
11/8/2020 04:45:12 pm
Ed, you are so right. It is amazing how far a little common sense goes.
11/8/2020 02:18:26 pm
11/8/2020 06:04:07 pm
While we're talking about wise elders, we had one in my childhood in bucolic Queens (Half a mile east of Trumpland.) My friends played hardball in a large lot, 6 on 6 or 7 on 7....and if we had a dispute we would go across 188th St, to the Mobil Station and get Bill to arbitrate.
11/9/2020 10:21:17 am
Anyone growing up with a Dutch Uncle like "Mobil Station Bill" was very fortunate.
11/9/2020 01:10:20 pm
Alan: How did we segue from BLM to childhood memories....but to paraphrase that lefty shooter at the top of the blog: "That's what we DO!"
11/10/2020 10:10:30 am
George, we both had positive educational experiences with an African-American man when we were young. It seemed perfectly natural then as it does now.
11/10/2020 11:29:25 am
The bully has been stopped. This is all reflex motion.
Comments are closed.
“I don’t think people understand how Covid affects older Americans,” Mr. Caretti said with frustration. “In 2020, there was this all-in-this-together vibe, and it’s been annihilated. People just need to care about other people, man. That’s my soapbox.”
---Vic Caretti, 47, whose father recently died of Covid at 85.
---From an article by Paula Span, who covers old age for the NYT, which currently has 2646 comments, the majority criticizing the American public – and public officials – for acting as if the pandemic is “over.”
Classic wishful thinking, at a lethal level.