Sunday, November 02, 2008

Some Men See Things As They Are And Say Why; I Dream Things That Never Were And Say Why Not...

What's good, soul children? I greet you today with eyes closed, head bowed, and fingers crossed...

For the past several weeks, I've been meditating on what HOPE really means. It's a word that the Obama campaign has adopted in conjunction with its "yes we can" mantra, epitomizing the hunger for change in America and belief in the possibility that a new day could potentially be on the horizon. However, the question remains: is this notion of HOPE merely political propaganda or is it possible that at this juncture in American history, this simple four-letter word signifies something truly meaningful?

Admittedly, optimism as it pertains to politics is an extraordinarily bitter pill for me to swallow. Like many of you, I feel frustrated, skeptical, and apathetic about the government. We've witnessed our tax dollars being shamefully wasted here and abroad, even as many of our hard-working brothers and sisters can't afford to maintain an acceptable standard of living for themselves and their children. We've seen corruption and inefficiency erode our democratic process, causing us to question whether or not the votes we cast will be counted, let alone translate into significant change. We've been cheated, lied to, and taken for fools by those who we've elected and entrusted with our collective well-being. In light of such profound deception, hopefulness may seem woefully analogous to naiveté.

Although I have been a staunch supporter of Barack Obama throughout his run for the presidency, I've never once subscribed to the view that he is some sort of a messiah, healer, prophet, or magician. Our wounds in this country run deep, and the myriad of problems we face on a global level cannot easily be remedied. It's clearly beyond the scope of any one person to solve the crises we face, but there is literally no limit to what human beings can achieve by acting in unison. An effective leader isn't one who has all the solutions, but someone who inspires people to come together and work towards the change they want to see in the world. Segregation, marginalization, and divisiveness be damned...everyday people have always had the power to make a difference. We've just been too disinterested and disenfranchised to acknowledge or assume it. As Obama has said time and again, this election isn't about's about us.

There is a French proverb asserting that "hope is the dream of a soul awake." In the past several months I've witnessed many of my fellow Americans finally opening their eyes and being rejuvenated in the aftermath of a longstanding comatose state. Although the country is predictably divided about which candidate they prefer, the groundswell of support that's surrounded Senator Obama is nothing short of miraculous. The energy at his campaign rallies is something I've never witnessed in my lifetime, the wondrous vitality of a people ignited by a passion for the possible.

Regardless of your political leanings, you have to admit that McCain's audiences don't seem nearly as juiced about their candidate (even if they do think Caribou Barbie is hot). When I reflect on the possibility of four more years, I think not only of the extension of Bush's failed policies, but a return to the sort of lethargy and impassivity that weakened our collective muscle in the first place. Like it or not, Obama has been instrumental in restoring the faith of millions who have grown weary and inadvertantly forgotten how to dream.

To be truthful, my cynical side is afraid of what the outcome of this election may be. I worry that people will allow fear to inform their decision-making process; that the ballot box at my polling station may be stolen or the machines will malfunction; I'm frightened that Obama could one day be assasinated.

When these feelings of negativity arise, I take pause to remind myself of slaves who once prayed for freedom, women who fought tirelessly for the right to vote, and immigrants who've yearned for their inalienable right to breathe free. There have been countless unnamed heroes throughout history who've walked uphill on treacherous terrain, resolving not to sit down just because their feet were tired. Leaders of these movements have often been jailed or murdered, but a stirring in the soul of a people is not easily laid to rest, despite the counteracting efforts of their oppressors.

Hope is an immensely significant aspect of this election, but it's far from being the exclusive domain of Barack Obama. In a broader context, it represents the will of the people and the song of the silenced. Challenge yourself to graduate beyond despair, and be cognizant of the fact that freedom is priceless and hope is free. If we truly want change, our desire must persist beyond the outcome of the upcoming election regardless of who wins. As George Weinberg once said, "hope never abandons you; you abandon it".

Stand up and be counted, children. I'll see you at the polls...

“Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.”

Click here for more videos from Vote For Change


Note: LimeLinx is fairly similar to zShare (you can preview tracks, etc.), except it actually works...


"What The World Needs Now Is Love"---Tom Clay (LimeLinx)
"What The World Needs Now Is Love"---Tom Clay (savefile)

"Imagine"---Nas w/ Pitbull (LimeLinx)
"Imagine"---Nas w/ Pitbull (savefile)

"Hope"---Twista w/ Cee-Lo (LimeLinx)
"Hope"---Twista w/ Cee-Lo (savefile)

"Get Involved"---George Soule (LimeLinx)
"Get Involved"---George Soule (savefile)


"We'll Get Over"---The Staple Singers (LimeLinx)
"We'll Get Over"---The Staple Singers (savefile)

"Bushonomics"---Cornel West & BMWMB ft. Talib Kweli (LimeLinx)
"Bushonomics"---Cornel West & BMWMB ft. Talib Kweli (savefile)

"My Sister's and My Brother's Day Is Comin'"---Dyke & The Blazers (LimeLinx)
"My Sister's and My Brother's Day Is Comin'"---Dyke & The Blazers (savefile)

"Typical American"---The Goats (LimeLinx)
"Typical American"---The Goats (savefile)

"For God's Sake Give More Power To The People"---The Chi-Lites (LimeLinx)
"For God's Sake Give More Power To The People"---The Chi-Lites (savefile)

Word From Your Moms:

"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek."

"Today we are engaged in a deadly global struggle for those who would intimidate, torture, and murder people for exercising the most basic freedoms. If we are to win this struggle and spread those freedoms, we must keep our own moral compass pointed in a true direction."

"We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics who will only grow louder and more dissonant in the weeks to come. We've been asked to pause for a reality check. We've been warned against offering the people of this nation false hope. But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been anything false about hope. For when we have faced down impossible odds; when we've been told that we're not ready, or that we shouldn't try, or that we can't, generations of Americans have responded with a simple creed that sums up the spirit of a people. Yes we can."

Above quotes by Barack Obama


malik said...

This is powerful. Thank you.

renrut said...

All over the world there are people with eyes closed, heads bowed, and fingers crossed...
Sending you our collective souls in solidarity.

Styler said...

Well said brother.
Hope can be a dangerous thing, especially when not coupled with action but I have every belief in the good people of America to exercise their Democratic right and tick that box. Mr Obama may not be the right man for the job, that of master of the universe, however he is the right man at the right time, right now. McCain I'm sure is not a bad man, a good honest war vetern no less, however unforntunately for him his time has been and gone and Palin's time will, hopefully for all, never come (there's that word again)

For what it's worth I think our boy will walk it by a country mile, he has the charisma plus the backing and the momentum of a nation ready to move on to a new chapter. And if your negative thoughts were ever to see the light of day, which we have all thought possible, then there really would be a revolution, pitch forks, torches and the death of your great nation. But that ain't going to happen, so let's just relax and watch this historic chapter unfold. I'll be up all night suppin' on whisky and cheering on Barack, I don't believe in the power of prayer but I'll sacrifice a goat if you like...

Speaking of Goats, I had't listened to those boys for many moons, good shit!

Peace to you brother and all the switched on kids in the area, here's to the new dawn, let's all try and maintain an uphill peace of mind!

"Latin America is very fond of the word "hope." We like to be called the "continent of hope." Candidates for deputy, senator, president, call themselves "candidates of hope." This hope is really something like a promise of heaven, an IOU whose payment is always being put off. It is put off until the next legislative campaign, until next year, until the next century."

Pablo Neruda (Memoirs)

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”

Oscar Wilde (Lady Windermere's Fan)

jopparelli said...

"I've never once subscribed to the view that he is some sort of a messiah, healer, prophet, or magician ... this election isn't about's about us."

Great post man! I totally agree. Let's hope a change is gonna come...for USA first, and then for Italy (we too are in desperate need of a change)


Anonymous said...

Those are uplifting words brother. Lord knows we need all the affirmation we can get.


yecid said...


lower 40 said...

Truest words you ever spoke man.

RIP to Obama's grandmother. May we make her proud.

Anonymous said...

IT IS ELECTION DAY!!! I am excited, pumped, overwhelmed, nervous yet, hopeful. The heading of this post caught my attention and lead me through a tunnel of emotions and thoughts. Though life sometimes grasp you where it hurts, makes you sometimes want to give up, at the end of the day I will continue to ask "why not"? Never a person of defeat, I'd like to believe the impossible does not exist. I am one of those people who have been inspired by this election. Much gratitude to you, Scholar for challenging me at the beginning to get involved, follow this election so I am able to make an informed decision on THIS day. Truly history is in the making, but it won't stop here. The fat lady will sing a song of victory for Obama and I will be part of the choir.

Scholar, this post has moved me beyond expression. You have delivered in a way that not only makes me proud of being a part of this generation on this day, but I am so grateful for the impact you have made on my life. I may not say it often, but I value your presence in my life beyond measure. You have been such an inspiration in more ways than one ;). One day you should think about running for president. You already have one vote ;).

Love ya,

MEGABLOG said...

I remember that Tom Clay cut and it still brings steamy tears to my eyes today, as it did when I would huddle around my kiddie turntable and rock the 45 over and over...

Fantastic post, as usual...

Your blog is necessary and always read worthy...

Carry on!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for doing your bit. Obama '08!

fathima said...

i heard the chi-lites' "power" for the first time only a few days ago. it's good to hear it here again.
i think my favourite song having to do explicitly with this election is Dead Prez's Politrikkks, which perfectly encapsulates my combination of hope and restraint about the election. and as i've heard said elsewhere on the net, it's true that today is important, but tomorrow and the days following it may be even more so.
anyway, if you haven't heard the DP song, it's up at
much love,

john said...

he won. we won. the U.S.A.'s soul won. keep this blog going—it is fuel for the change that is to come.

Charlie Manson said...

I'm pretty sure you're why everyone voted for Obama.... You'll like this site - has links to every newspaper cover re: the election.

red one said...

Top post, Scholar.

And the election result's not bad either :-)

keep up the fight!

Scholar said...

To everyone---yes we did!

Malik---muchas gracias.

renrut---It's been amazing watching the global reaction to Obama's win. I can't remember ever feeling more proud to be a citizen of this nation. One love.

Styler---I am hoping that Sarah Palin gets the fuck out of politics and signs a deal for a talk show or something. At least then I can choose not to watch the trainwreck that will likely ensue.

By the way, I've always loved that Oscar Wilde quote. I almost used it as well---politically we have literally been in the gutter for nearly a decade...but I'm sure you know that.

Hope you had an excellent drunken toast to Obama's victory.

Jopparelli---I may have told you this already, but I have a couple of relatives who live in Sicily. I follow European politics pretty yes, I understand why you hope for major change as well. Peace and blessings.

Amil---I'm glad the post helped you to stay up. I'm still pinching myself, but I've been on a natural high since Tuesday night.

yecid---Thanks for the co-sign.

lower40---Gratitude for the kind words.

It's sad that Obama's grandmother couldn't hang on for a couple more days to see him make such a profound impact on world history, but I'm sure she was already proud beyond belief. I mean...can you imagine?

PK---Thank you so much---you're too sweet to me. You know as well as I do that I have a few too many skeletons, not to mention a lack of desire to run for public office, but your support in all things means the world to me.

megablog---Gratitude for the encouragement. I feel the same way about that 7"---I still have a very scratchy 45 from my childhood.

anon---I couldn't stand to keep my mouth shut, even at the risk of alienating members of my audience who may not agree. Fortunately, McCain didn't seem to have a lot of support from the soul/funk/hip hop community. I guess it's possible to love McCain and Funkadelic, but how weird is that...really?

fathima---Thanks for the love and for leaving a comment here. I'm a HUGE dead prez fan so I truly appreciated that you made mention of their music as well.

What you say is entirely true---the road ahead is treacherous and long. This scenario is infinitely better than the alternative, but to use Obama's own words, we've still only made it as far as the base of mountain.


john---thank you for the highly encouraging remarks. I'm actually feeling more inspired than ever.

Charlie---I know, right? Actually I'd be happy if I was responsible for urging even one person to Barack the Vote.

Appreciate the link, too---you know what an incurable politics junkie I am, so that's a fantastic resource for a freak like me.

red one---Good to know you're still stopping by...your comments are always appreciated.

Hope that all's been well, mon ami.

Styler said...

Scholar, it was a great and proud day to be a member of the human race and to have witnessed and supported such a momentus, historic and moving event, well worth the lack of sleep and nursing of hang over!
This is not only great for America but for the world at large, the negative view of your homeland will now be turning for the better, although there is still time for old knuckle draggin' Dubbya to bomb Iran or something eqaully criminal and dumb(providing he can find it on the map).
Anyway we have only to wait until mid Jan, then it's down to work, with the honeymoon period over as the ridiculous weight of expectation rest on Mr Obama's slim shoulders. However I believe that in that man, you have a truly gifted and talented individual not to mention one of the great oraters of our time, I don't mind telling you I watched that amazing speach in Grant Park with salt water welling in my eyes, he is someone who has a touch of genius about him and the 44th President of your United States will be one of the most important that the world has ever seen.

On this side of the pond at Wednesday's Prime Ministers question time, our two main party leaders shamlessly and pathetically clambered to align themselves with the new President- elect, it was quite hilarious, like two very uncool schoolkids vying for the attention of the new cool kid on the block. Especially embarrising considering neither of them actually supported Obama's campaign, Brown's Labour wanted Hilary and the Old Etonian set of team Tory led by the smarmy David Cameron were firmly in the McCain camp, of course.

Another fine performance by little miss caribou, this time I heard her being pranked by a Montreal radio show, she was taken in by a really over the top and obvious fake French president Sarkozy, talkin about how hot his wife was in bed for one thing. It's hard to credit that she could have been very close to the big red button that could have nuked the planet, she makes Dubbya look like Aristotle!

Could you send me an email, I tried some correspondense but to no avail, I think my internets machine is goosed again.
Cheers brother, peace as always.

chrome said...

yes breddah scholar! truest words. good to see the ol' blog is heat as ever


Anonymous said...

Just dropping by to say Ive picked up a few tracks from here that are wicked and appreciate the time you've taken to share.

Obama must be on everyones minds out there, so from london, wishing you all the best in change towards whatever is needed.