Sunday, March 16, 2008

Still 8 months until the election...oye!

Minneapolis, Minnesota

The day I turned 21, the only people who celebrated the occasion with me were a self-employed black man and his wife. They took me to Sir rah's House in Cleveland, Ohio. Mine was the only white face in the place. I have been forever grateful for that wonderful occasion, which was only a part of my continuing education about what it means to be black or different in America.

If there is to be a first (at least half) black president at all, the country and its voters will have to wrestle a lot this year with the issues of race. An honest reckoning will challenge blacks, whites, Hispanics, men, and women. It won't be pretty. There will be firestorms -- and the instant controversy about Obama's pastor is merely one. Time will tell if it is the last one.

People upset with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright need to get a grip. As a gay man, I have heard and read the words of preachers, pastors, priests, bishops, and even the current pope in his prior role of cardinal. Regularly, their words consign me and others like me to hell. Many of them want me dead. Where is the outrage and indignation about that?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

About Florida and Michigan

Minneapolis, Minnesota

It is well established that political parties have the right, not subject to review or overturn by the courts, to establish their own rules and procedures. The Democratic National Committee made it clear to all that, except for a small handful of states, including Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, no states would be allowed to process delegate selection before Feb. 5. The parties in Florida and Michigan understood this ahead of time, as did all of the candidates who originally asked to be considered for the nomination. That is why none of the Democratic candidates campaigned in Florida, and why all of them except Clinton removed their names from the Michigan ballot. The rules cannot be changed now, in the middle of the game, for a do-over. That would be unfair to Clinton and Obama, and also to Kucinich, Richardson, Edwards, Biden, and Dodd. It is unfortunate that Florida and Michigan chose to disenfranchise their people and their rights to elect the delegates of their choice. At this stage of the game, a fair compromise -- in order to allow these states a "presence" at the Democratic convention -- would be to divide the delegates in both states evenly between the two remaining candidates, Clinton and Obama.