Thursday, May 29, 2008

Be Not Afraid


HEAVEN is the place where fear turns to autumn leaves, and drifts away.

I haven't been able to blog much. Despite having to focus on my tennis blog and fulfill other responsibilities, I have been left emotionally gutted over the last few days by all the recent talk of assassination. As wish, as hope, as political tactic.

Only when a statesman calling us to repent our wicked ways (yes, I'm going there) wins over the support of millions, awakens the politically cynical to action, and calls upon a revolution through Movement do his foes issue permission slips to the nutcases to go into their basements and closets and sheds to pull out their artillery and grease it up for sport.

It's at once disgusting and heartbreaking. I've been disgusted and heartbroken.

In a murderous time, the heart breaks and breaks to keep from breaking.

But more than that, I've held onto hope. I called up my good friend and spiritual sister Gail and told her it was time to call all the spirit warriors she knew and put them on high alert. The time had come. The people have gotten so afraid they're contemplating murder. As action, as solution, as salvation.

Time for a prayer shield.

On Tuesday, Michelle Obama attended a fundraiser in Phoenix, Arizona, where she was put on the spot. Dawn Teo over at Daily Kos tells the story best:

She called on another supporter, whose voice quivered and broke with barely contained emotion as she explained how important it is to her, personally, that Barack Obama be elected. How important it is to her, personally, that our country change its course.

She was on the verge of tears as she explained that she just returned from Oregon where she campaigned for Obama and attended the 75,000-person rally by the river. She had noticed, she said, that the Secret Service had increased security dramatically for Barack Obama's rallies since the Phoenix rally in January.

The room collectively gasped and murmured, some aghast that these fears were being spoken aloud directly to Barack Obama's beloved wife. Some nodded, concern and fear clear on their faces. Others shifted on their feet, displaying a range of emotions -- concern, discomfort with the topic, indignation -- it is not often that such topics are broached in polite company.

Pulling herself together, the supporter asked,

"What can you tell us..."

and then her voice caught and broke as a sob rose up from her chest. She paused for a moment to quell her emotion, to find her voice again.

"I'm afraid of what might happen. What can you tell us, after last week's comments..."

...another sob broke up her words...

"after last week's comments, to make us feel more at ease."

She cried unabashedly after finally getting out her words.

The room that had been electrified with positive energy throughout the evening suddenly became still and quiet, all eyes focused on Michelle Obama. Michelle Obama's eyes, though, were focused on that concerned supporter. She paused, allowing the clearly distraught supporter to pull herself together. It seemed like several minutes went by, as we all waited, wondering how she would answer this highly personal and evocative question. Probably only 30 seconds went by, but it seemed like several minutes. Finally, she said simply, firmly,

"I'm ok.

"Really. I am ok.

"And if I'm ok, you should be ok."

She paused, then talked for a moment about what this means, personally, to her.

"You know, we talked about this as a family."

She held the microphone with one hand, the other curved inward over her heart as she talked. Her tenor and body language was clear. Michelle Obama was talking as a mother. She was introspective and intimate, looking the questioner in the eyes as if they are the only two in the room.

"We talked about this as a family."

The room remained still and quiet. Imagine having that talk with your children. Then, she paused, gathering herself, pulling herself up, seeming to grow even taller, Michelle, the campaigning wife returns. She says,

"I've talked about this before. Barack is probably safer now than he was before. Kids are dying in the street in our community. They get shot walking to class, sitting in school, taking the bus home. They are dying in the street."

Her eyes roved the audience, and she implored,

"Send us good vibes. Pray for us. Think positive thoughts. But most of all, be vigilant. Be vigilant about stopping this kind of talk.

"It's not funny.

"You don't have to like Barack to dislike that kind of talk. Be vigilant about stopping that kind of talk."

In that moment, Michelle Obama's voice displayed a mixture of emotions. She was talking as a mother of two young girls who need their father. She was talking as a wife, whose love for her husband is plain to see in her eyes. She was talking as a compassionate human being who believes that kind of talk is inappropriate and unacceptable about any political candidate, not just about her husband, not just about the father of her children -- about any politician.

What Michelle Obama says next was powerful. It would have brought the crowd to its feet if the crowd weren't [sic] already standing. She reminded us what we are fighting for, and why it is important to forge ahead with no fear,

"Fear is the reason this country is where it is today. Fear is a useless emotion.

"Don't ever make decisions based on fear. Make decisions based on hope and possibility. Make decisions based on what should happen, not what shouldn't.

"Don't ever make decisions based on fear."

Amen. Halleju. Amen.

Who can doubt this family's love for this country? Black people have loved this country even as this country has hated Black people. There are no better patriots.

Barack Obama may have never served his country in uniform, but the recent tenor of this campaign proves beyond all cynical doubt that he is putting his life on the line everyday in order to fight for this country's core values. His wife is no less brave than those sitting at home praying for their husbands to be delivered from evil, from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And his children, just as those of the soldiers overseas, know that he may never come home again. Know that if he doesn't, he'll live forever in their hearts as a hero.

Barack Obama received Secret Service protection shortly after announcing his candidacy. Thanks to a desperate opponent in South Dakota, a foolish politician in Kentucky, a hateful newspaper editor in Georgia, and a shameless talking head on Fox News, his protectors are now on high alert.

But we must not be afraid.

We must not be afraid.

We must not be afraid.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Keith Olbermann: 'Clinton, you invoked a nightmare'

WHILE many of the talking heads are making excuses, Keith tells the raw, chilling truth.



Thursday, May 22, 2008

Obama for Kennedy at Wesleyan Commencement


SENATOR BARACK OBAMA TO DELIVER WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS

Chicago, IL – On Sunday, May 25, 2008, United States Senator Barack Obama will deliver the Commencement Address at the 176th Commencement Ceremony at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut.

Senator Obama is honored to speak on behalf of United States Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who was previously scheduled to deliver the address.

"Ted and I talked about me filling in for him at Wesleyan University earlier this week. Considering what he's done for me and for our country, there's nothing I wouldn't do for him. So I'm looking forward to standing in his place on Sunday even though I know I won't be able to fill his shoes," Senator Obama said.

The War on Barack Obama

SO in the last week, today inclusive, we have:

Barack Obama draws 75,000 people, almost all of them white, to a rally in Portland. The corporate media hardly notices. I guess the revolution won't be televised after all.

Hillary wins Kentucky big; Obama wins Oregon big. The media obsesses over Obama's "problem" with white voters.

All the Clinton surrogates go on air and say that Hillary has won the popular vote.

John McCain tells a group of Cuban Republicans that Barack will have an unconditional meeting with Raul Castro. That's a lie. But it's repeated by all of McCain's surrogates.

Geraldine "He Wouldn't Be Here If He Wasn't Black" Ferraro goes on another media tour and says that Barack is a sexist.

The View peddles the suggestion that a man is stealing the nomination from the woman and people are mad at the woman for complaining about it.

Clinton gives a radio interview that says a whole bunch of sexists and misogynists have hurt her chances to win the nomination.

Clinton peddles the notion, in Florida, no less, that Barack's place at the top of the ticket would be illegitimate, akin to Bush winning the 2000 general election. Not to mention Zimbabwe.

Lanny Davis, a Clinton surrogate, goes on Fox News and claims that the "liberal" media has given Hillary the shaft while being soft on Barack, and that Fox is the most objective network. He also claimed that he now knows what Republicans, who are based in the liberal media, feel like.

The New York Times and the cable news outlets are peddling the lie that Obama has trouble with Jews, despite a recent Gallup poll analysis that suggests the reverse.

Mortimer Zuckerman is telling Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC that Barack is willing to talk to Hamas, even though that's a flatout lie. Andrea Mitchell lets the lie go unchallenged.

Underneath this interview is a headline that says: OBAMA CONTINUES TO CLAIM HE'S CHRISTIAN, NOT A MUSLIM

The corporate media cherrypicks a few polls that suggest Obama would lose Florida and Ohio to McCain while Hillary would beat McCain in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Offers all this up as BREAKING news.

The War on Barack Obama is in full throttle.

Ford Cuts Down American Production for 2008


BREAKING. Ford motor company will shut down North American operations for the rest of the year because of spiking oil prices. Oil is now at $135 a barrel and the nation's first carmaker can't afford to keep making cars that no one is buying.

Since this story is breaking on cable news, I have no links or further details. Suffice it to say, this is a huge setback to working people in the heartland.

UPDATE. Ford isn't shutting down all production, just that of the biggest gas-guzzlers.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Gambian President Promises to Behead Gays


DISGUSTING. Absolutely disgusting.

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh says he will “cut off the head” of any homosexual caught in his country.

Addressing supporters at the end of his meet the farmers tour here Sunday, Jammeh also ordered any hotel or motel housing homosexuals to close down, adding that owners of such facilities would also be in trouble. He said the Gambia was a country of believers, indicating that no sinful and immoral act as homosexual would be tolerated in the country.

He warned all homosexuals in the country to leave, noting that a legislation “stricter than those in Iran ” concerning the vice would be introduced soon.

President Jammeh said he was bent on making the Gambia one of the best countries to live in, adding that his government had spent over US$ 100 million towards the development of the country since 1994.

I'm too outraged to even make a coherent thought. No surprise he's in bed with the leaders of Iran.

All I can do, for now, is pray for those whose lives are threatened simply because of who they are.

Barack Returns to Iowa, Claims Virtual Victory


THE CANDIDATE who has won the majority of pledged delegates has never lost the nomination.

For all intents and purposes, Barack has clenched the Democratic nomination. Nothing she who shall not be named and her bitter surrogates do or say can change that. And no, she won't be his runningmate.

Know hope.



Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Senator Ted Kennedy Has Malignant Brain Tumor


BOSTON - A cancerous brain tumor caused the seizure Sen. Edward M. Kennedy suffered over the weekend, doctors said Tuesday in a grim diagnosis for one of American politics' most enduring figures. "He remains in good spirits and full of energy," the doctors for the 76-year-old Massachusetts Democrat said in a statement.

They said tests conducted after the seizure showed a tumor in Kennedy's left parietal lobe. Preliminary results from a biopsy of the brain identified the cause of the seizure as a malignant glioma, they said.

His treatment will be decided after more tests but the usual course includes combinations of radiation and chemotherapy.

Kennedy has been hospitalized in Boston since Saturday, when he was airlifted from Cape Cod after a seizure at his home.

"He has had no further seizures, remains in good overall condition, and is up and walking around the hospital," said the statement by Dr. Lee Schwamm, vice chairman of the Department of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Dr. Larry Ronan, Kennedy's primary care physician.

They said Kennedy will remain in the hospital "for the next couple of days according to routine protocol."

Kennedy's wife and children have been with him each day since he was hospitalized. Senator Kennedy's son, Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., plans to stay at the hospital for the time being.

Continue reading...



HAVING lived in Massachusetts for 16 years, I sometimes felt that Kennedy lived right around the corner. Of course his political skills are impeccable. He may go down as the greatest Senator in United States history.

But more than that, his spirit and humanity are so powerful, you feel you know him even if you never met him.

My thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family. Here's to a full recovery, Teddy.

Know hope.

Related Article
Barack Obama: "I Stand on his shoulders"

Obama Adopted into the Crow Nation (UPDATED)



AT THE AGE OF 34, Barack Obama became an orphan when his mother died of ovarian cancer. His father, who abandoned him when he was two and whom he only saw once, died in a car accident in Kenya when Barack was around 20.

Yesterday, before Barack gave an address to the Crown Nation in Crow Agency, Montana, he got new parents.

Earlier, in a private ceremony, the candidate was adopted into the Black Eagle family of the tribe under the name Awe Kooda Bilaxpak Kuuxshish, or "One Who Helps People Throughout the Land."

Crow Vice Chairman Cedric Black Eagle said a purification ceremony was performed in which the candidate faced east — the source of new life — and was prayed over by his adopted father, Hartford Black Eagle.

Just the thought of the ceremony brought tears to my eyes. Touched me a place just beneath my navel. My adoptive father was part Blackfeet. Growing up in Wisconsin, I was exposed to Native American people and culture and have incorporated some Indian ritual into my own spirituality.

Barack Black Eagle is the first national politician to step foot on the Crow Nation reservation in history.

But make no mistake, Barack's adoption is "official." It's a spiritual/familial thing that goes far beyond politics. And he knows it.

It starts with a sense of respect. It starts with the belief that all people are worthy of respect. I will never forget you. You will be on my mind every day that I'm in the White House.

We can make sure that we have a President who's committed to what's right: respecting you, honoring you. Where I grew up there weren't a lot of black families, so I know what it feels like to be an outsider. And now that I'm a member of the family, you know that I won't break my commitment to my brothers and sisters.

He also said that “few have been ignored by Washington for as long as native Americans – the first Americans.” He told his family that he intended to appoint a Native American adviser to his administration. He also vowed to improve the health care and education opportunities on reservations across the nation.

I have no doubt he will keep his word for he is one who helps people throughout the land.

That this adoption happened on the same day that Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia, a former member of the Ku Klux Klan, endorsed Barack calling him a "noble-hearted patriot and humble Christian" in whom he has complete faith, made yesterday a huge day for Barack Black Eagle and for America herself.

Know hope.

UPDATE: Barack Black Eagle


Saturday Night Live Does it Again

Monday, May 19, 2008

75,000


WHAT POLITICIAN can do this? A record 75,000 people showed up for Barack's rally in Portland, Oregon, yesterday.

75,000.

Make no mistake, Obama is a man, not a religious figure, no matter what some of his detractors say about him and his supporters, but 57,000 showed up at Madison Square Garden to see the Pope.

75,000.

Oregonians are sending a clear message that Barack doesn't have a problem with white voters. Cable news broadcasts wouldn't even show the pictures.

That's that I'm for. Here a few links to some great slide shows of the event.

Overwhelming - Portland Pix
Oregonian Photo's Slideshow



Sunday, May 18, 2008

'I'm Glad There Is You'



CARMEN MCRAE, the forgotten diva of jazz.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Saty It Again


President Kennedy with George McGovern, Director, Food for Peace, 1961. Source: National Archives 306-PSC-61-10707; Credit: White House photo

“I HAVE three daughters and one son, and 10 grandchildren,” McGovern said. “After I endorsed Senator Clinton, all 14 of them enlisted in the Obama campaign. That is some measure of the influence I had at home.”

George McGovern, hailing Obama as a second Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, May 15, 2008

California Sup. Court Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage

THE CALIFORNIA Supreme Court just overturned that state's ban on same-sex marriage. The full decision can be found here. Governor Schwarzenegger has said he "would abide" by the Supreme Court decision and repeated his opposition to the constitutional amendment on the November ballot. Here are a few quotes from the Court's decision:

In light of the fundamental nature of the substantive rights embodied in the right to marry — and their central importance to an individual’s opportunity to live a happy, meaningful, and satisfying life as a full member of society — the California Constitution properly must be interpreted to guarantee this basic civil right to all individuals and couples, without regard to their sexual orientation.

It is true, of course, that as an historical matter in this state marriage always has been limited to a union between a man and a woman. Tradition alone, however, generally has not been viewed as a sufficient justification for perpetuating, without examination, the restriction or denial of a fundamental constitutional right. (Cf. Perez, supra, 32 Cal.2d 711, 727; Sail’er Inn, Inc. v.
Kirby (1971) 5 Cal.3d 1, 17-19 (Sail’er Inn).)

(...)


There is, however, no authority whatsoever to support the proposition that an individual who is physically incapable of bearing children does not possess a fundamental constitutional right to marry. Such a proposition clearly is untenable. A person who is physically incapable of bearing children still has the potential to become a parent and raise a child through adoption or through means of assisted reproduction, and the constitutional right to marry ensures the individual the opportunity to raise children in an officially recognized family with the person with whom the individual has chosen to share his or her life. Thus, although an important purpose underlying marriage may be to channel procreation into a stable family relationship, that purpose cannot be viewed as limiting the constitutional right to marry to couples who are capable of biologically producing a child together.

I'll have to gather my thoughts about this in a subsequent post. But this is great news for the advancement of equality and civil rights.

John Edwards Endorses Barack Obama


PERFECT timing. A few weeks ago, I predicted on Jack and Jill Politics that the day after Obama got trounced in West Virginia by 30 or 40 points, John Edwards would endorse Obama at a big event and take back the media narrative.

I like being right when the result is so good.

Many Obama supporters were complaining that Obama wasn't doing a good enough job of controlling the media narrative of this campaign. That he was giving she who shall not be named too much space to do her dirty work.

I countered that Obama was one of the shrewdest politicians I've ever seen and the timing of the Edwards endorsement would prove it.

Well, here we are. Just as she who shall not be named was set to have all her evening news interviews aired last night, Edwards flew into Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Obama presented him to the crowd as a surprise.

The huge crowd went nuts.

Without further ado:



After this, Obama gave a rousing and forceful address. More forceful than he's been all campaign. How brilliant that this event would happen in the second largest city in Michigan in the conservative western part of the state, a state where Obama had not been able to campaign in the primary.

The best part of all this: the idiotic talking heads had to stop peddling their propaganda that Obama has a problem with "hard-working Americans, white Americans," as she who shall not be named presented it. Obama now has Mr. Populist himself in his corner. The same man who took 7% of the vote in the West Virginia primary.

Know hope.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Politics of Miscegenation


I WOULD have never thought of Barack Obama as the miscegenation candidate. But thanks to a reader over at Daily Dish, I've had my eyes opened:

Blacks, Asians, Jews - all of these were perfectly respectable associates. But marrying one, for a "white person", was completely unacceptable. The ultimate taboo, really. For older people, and people who live in areas that have long been predominantly white, the miscegenation issue is the last bastion of knee-jerk racial identity. And whites are not alone in this. Every well-defined racial and cultural group has this taboo actively at play, even today, regardless of political bent.

That's (one of the reasons) why Obama is portrayed as an unpatriotic, untrustworthy, radical Black separatist, and secret Muslim terrorist.

He's the son of miscegenation.

I posted about the recent death of Mildred Loving, the matriarch of interracial marriage. We are reminded that the offspring of these unions were the children of taboo. And the archetype of the tragic mulatto in Black literature, crystallized in the writings of Harlem Renaisssance author Nella Larson, is a direct result of this taboo.

Many of the children of miscegenation who could pass as white passed in order to avoid public scorn. But their internal conflict drove many of them to madness.

If Appalachia is caught in a time warp, it's no wonder that the mixed-raced candidate can carry nary a county. It's also no wonder why he would avoid campaigning there almost entirely.

In contrast, Minnesota has one of the highest percentages of interracial marriages per capita in the nation. Obama won the Minnesota caucuses by 34 points and is polling way ahead of John McCain in general election polls.

Do the math.

This election is scraping the scabs of all our national wounds. Every single one of them. And that is why it will be a majestic victory when Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th president of the United States of America.

Know hope.

They Were Eating Cake


POWERFUL. If this ad runs in Louisiana at least twice a week for a month before the general election, John McCain is in trouble. See more here.

Monday, May 12, 2008

SNL Turns on Hillary Rodham Nixon


SATURDAY Night Live helped her before the Texas and Ohio primaries. But after her latest drivel, the show's writers have taken her head on. She's a sore loser, they write, her supporters are racist, and:

"Unlike Senator Obama, I have no ethical standards. Even my critics would agree that once I get the nomination, I will stop at nothing--absolutely nothing--to win. Whereas, with Senator Obama, there are some things he simply will not do. Take, for example, the race card, which he has been reluctant to play. As in, 'anyone who doesn't vote for me, is a racist.' I, on the other hand, will be happy to play the gender card and claim that anyone who doesn't vote for me is a sexist. In fact, once Senator Obama is out of the picture, I look forward to playing the race card myself. As in, 'anyone who doesn't vote for me is both a sexist and a racist.'

Now for those of you who say, 'she'll never do that, it doesn't even make sense!' I answer, 'if you believe that, you don't know me.' So there you have it: sore loser, racist supporters, no ethical standards, qualities Senator Obama simply can't match."

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Petals

AS I sit and reminisce
I am reminded of your
strength and courage in the
face of hardships. I

see a little boy safe under
your wings of love grown strong
from storms of broken dreams
blizzards of pain. But

you prevail, weary
but wiser to impart your
insight deep
within him. He

honors you such
a remarkable woman
unfaltering amidst
life’s contrary ways.

You always see
tulip bulbs in
dense weeds
leaf buds on

bare trees foretelling
the mystery of rebirth,
reflecting all the
majesty that is you. He

hopes to return to you,
unyielding, the blessings
of your love
fully blossomed.

Cherishing, respecting
loving you
the little boy, grown-up
reveres his mother.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

For White Girls Who Have Considered Fratricide When the Rainbow is Enuf


NOW for something more positive and more in line with Barack's message, I must post this marvelous call to action which references the title of the seminal choreopoem by Ntozake Shange For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf. Here's the stirring introduction:

Sisters,

I write this as a aging Black Man who is sympathetic to your cause. I know that I have not walked a mile in your heels, but believe me – I see and feel your pain.

This election cycle we have seen a marvelous evolution come to fruition in America. For the first time in our history we have seen a truly viable woman candidate run for the highest office in the land. One who presumably was the inevitable winner, with every condition favoring her victory. This after a national history of women’s legal and social submission to a patriarchal system, with its’ legacy of social and physical brutality and economic discrimination. A sister had a real chance to lead us all. How proud you must feel! How empowered! To have one of you stand tall in the halls of power and privilege would no doubt be a beacon for our daughters and proof of the ability and competence of all women. So I understand the disappointment and heartache that her apparent defeat causes among those who have invested so much emotional capital into her effort. The loss of heart, the sense of worthless struggle – the feeling almost of despair that follows on the heels of once again coming up short after a magnificent effort.

But I encourage you to rise above the emotional myopia caused by the personal pain of disappointment, to take another look at this country we love. The evolution IS on going. For the winner of this competition was not one of the many White Males who crossed the starting line – and who tradition and history would expect to cross the finish line first. No, this time the winner was a person of color, one of those who also inherits an historical legacy of exclusion and discrimination to match your own. For the first time, in the history of our country, one of the inheritors of our history of exclusion and discrimination has fully overcome our national past to stand before all of our fellow citizens as an equal, to be judged for who - not what he is. In truth his victory is your victory too.

Read the rest.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

By The Balls


Source

Tom Hanks Endorses Barack Obama


THE TWO-TIME Academy Award winner cites a moment in history to symbolize an Obama presidency:

"This November we have a chance to witness another moment like in 1797 when George Washington transferred power to president elect John Adams, and for the first time in recorded human history, leadership of a great nation was passed from one man to a non-relative without death, rebellion or violence being the cause. It was a seismic shift in the political and social fabric of the 18th century. And here in the thrid meillennia we need another seismic shift.

"In November, Americans will have redefined our republic when President George W. Bush watches president elect Barack Obama swear on the Holy Bible to preserve, protect and defend our Constitution. Around the world, to friend and foe alike, our nation will live up to the great promise once shaped by our founding fathers when they came up with the grand American idea."

Related Article
This is a Truly Historic Moment; Let's Savor It

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Blacks and Jews

FOR ALL the media (mis)hype about Obama's "Jewish problem", Obama is polling better than McCain among Jews and his support has increased during the Rev. Wright debacle.

'We Now Know...



WHO the Democratic nominee's going to be."

He Took The Words Right Outta My Mouth


ANDREW Sullivan, as usual, is on point. Black voters did it. To use his own phrase, here's the money quote:

This will be history's verdict: in the end, the Clintons were defeated not by Republicans, but by African-American Democrats. How wonderful. How poignant. In the end, the karma gets you. Maybe it had to be this way. But this final coup de grace against these awful, hollow, cynical people is a beautiful, beautiful thing.


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Barack Obama Routs Clinton in North Carolina


AND AS of this writing, he is oh, so close to pulling off an upset in Indiana, an important historical region for the Ku Klux Klan.

Barack Obama deeply loves this country. Period.

I have no other words.

See editorial reactions via Daily Dish.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Mildred Loving, Matriarch of Interracial Marriage, Dies


RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Mildred Loving, a black woman whose challenge to Virginia's ban on interracial marriage led to a landmark Supreme Court ruling striking down such laws nationwide, has died, her daughter said Monday.

Peggy Fortune said Loving, 68, died Friday at her home in rural Milford. She did not disclose the cause of death.

"I want (people) to remember her as being strong and brave yet humble — and believed in love," Fortune told The Associated Press.

Loving and her white husband, Richard, changed history in 1967 when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld their right to marry. The ruling struck down laws banning racially mixed marriages in at least 17 states.

"There can be no doubt that restricting the freedom to marry solely because of racial classifications violates the central meaning of the equal protection clause," the court ruled in a unanimous decision.

Her husband died in 1975. Shy and soft-spoken, Loving shunned publicity and in a rare interview with The Associated Press last June, insisted she never wanted to be a hero — just a bride.

"It wasn't my doing," Loving said. "It was God's work."

Mildred Jeter was 11 when she and 17-year-old Richard began courting, according to Phyl Newbeck, a Vermont author who detailed the case in the 2004 book, "Virginia Hasn't Always Been for Lovers."

She became pregnant a few years later, she and Loving got married in Washington in 1958, when she was 18. Mildred told the AP she didn't realize it was illegal.

"I think my husband knew," Mildred said. "I think he thought (if) we were married, they couldn't bother us."

But they were arrested a few weeks after they returned to Central Point, their hometown in rural Caroline County north of Richmond. They pleaded guilty to charges of "cohabiting as man and wife, against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth," according to their indictments.

They avoided jail time by agreeing to leave Virginia — the only home they'd known — for 25 years. They moved to Washington for several years, then launched a legal challenge by writing to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, who referred the case to the American Civil Liberties Union.

Read the Rest of the AP Article



Loving for All

By Mildred Loving

Prepared for Delivery on June 12, 2007,
The 40th Anniversary of the Loving vs. Virginia Announcement

When my late husband, Richard, and I got married in Washington, DC in 1958, it wasn’t to make a political statement or start a fight. We were in love, and we wanted to be married.

We didn’t get married in Washington because we wanted to marry there. We did it there because the government wouldn’t allow us to marry back home in Virginia where we grew up, where we met, where we fell in love, and where we wanted to be together and build our family. You see, I am a woman of color and Richard was white, and at that time people believed it was okay to keep us from marrying because of their ideas of who should marry whom.

When Richard and I came back to our home in Virginia, happily married, we had no intention of battling over the law. We made a commitment to each other in our love and lives, and now had the legal commitment, called marriage, to match. Isn’t that what marriage is?

Not long after our wedding, we were awakened in the middle of the night in our own bedroom by deputy sheriffs and actually arrested for the “crime” of marrying the wrong kind of person. Our marriage certificate was hanging on the wall above the bed. The state prosecuted Richard and me, and after we were found guilty, the judge declared: “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.” He sentenced us to a year in prison, but offered to suspend the sentence if we left our home in Virginia for 25 years exile.

We left, and got a lawyer. Richard and I had to fight, but still were not fighting for a cause. We were fighting for our love.

Though it turned out we had to fight, happily Richard and I didn’t have to fight alone. Thanks to groups like the ACLU and the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, and so many good people around the country willing to speak up, we took our case for the freedom to marry all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. And on June 12, 1967, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that, “The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men,” a “basic civil right.”

My generation was bitterly divided over something that should have been so clear and right. The majority believed that what the judge said, that it was God’s plan to keep people apart, and that government should discriminate against people in love. But I have lived long enough now to see big changes. The older generation’s fears and prejudices have given way, and today’s young people realize that if someone loves someone they have a right to marry.

Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don’t think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the “wrong kind of person” for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people’s civil rights.

I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.


Saturday, May 03, 2008

Where is That America Today?



BEST SPEECH of the primary. President Barack Obama. Let it be. Let it be.

Bill Moyers: ‘I’ve Never Seen Anything Like This’


THIS WHOLE situation still makes me hurt. Makes me unable to organize my thoughts and feelings into a language anybody but I can understand. All I can do is share the words of others who've been able to wrap their minds around it, because much as I try, I still can't.

And it makes me hurt.

Beware the terrible simplifiers.

Closing Argument



NORTH CAROLINA and Indiana, I implore you to do the right thing.

Clinging to Bitterness

PEGGY NOONAN, a white, conservative baby booming female, gets it.

But beyond that, her writing in this piece is nothing short of devastating.

In one fell swoop, she makes an argument for Obama's connection to Rev. Wright and his bitter comments and she never bats an eyelash.

Here's hoping her audience gets it, too.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Holocaust Remembrance Day

The Jewish Cemetery in Prague

TODAY is the day that we remember the Holocaust. Barack Obama released this statement:

Today, we remember the light that was brought into the world by each of the six million Jews who lost their lives in the Holocaust, as well as the terrible darkness of the Nazi genocide. We also renew our commitment to combat the scourge of anti-Semitism everywhere, and to stand up against extremism and prejudice of any form.

Let us resolve to confront genocide and work to prevent mass atrocities, beginning with greater action to stop the killing in Darfur. And let us stand with the Jewish State of Israel, a strong and resilient democracy that emerged out of the shadow of the Holocaust, but which still has enemies that threaten its destruction.

The years may pass, but our memory of the Holocaust will never fade. Instead, it guides our commitment to honor those who were lost, recall the crimes that were committed, and work for a more just, peaceful, and hopeful future for all people.


The Empire Strikes Barack

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Say it Again!

FINALLY, someone shows some testicular fortitude and calls out for unity.

"A vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote to continue this process, and a vote to continue this process is a vote that assists (Republican) John McCain.

"While I was hopeful that a long, contested primary season would invigorate our party, the polls show that the tone and temperature of the race is now hurting us. John McCain, without doing much of anything, is now competitive against both of our remaining candidates. We are doing his work for him and distracting Americans from the issues that really affect all of our lives.

"[Obama] has shown such mettle under fire. The Jeremiah Wright controversy just reconfirmed for me, just as the gas tax controversy confirmed for me, that he is the right candidate for our party."

Joe Andrew, DNC chairman under Bill Clinton

UPDATE: Joe Andrew's powerful and brave letter to the super delegates can be read in its entirety here.