YOU MIGHT AS WELL GET USED TO ME

                     There is something stirring deep inside of my soul as I watch what is happening in God’s world today. My cup has been running over for a very long time and as such, it is causing me great pain. I sit in my study late at night trying to get myself centered and focused lest I fall into the abyss of darkness. As a veteran of the Civil Rights Movement I find myself wondering whether the matter of race will ever be settled?  Denial is a dangerous condition regardless of skin color or ethnicity.  That so many are in denial about race and racism is disturbing to my spirit and I am wondering what it will take to turn things around?  But, as I was listening to gospel music (something I do almost every evening) to regain my balance after the events of the day, I heard a song that brought tears to my eyes and lift to my tattered spirits.  It was for me a sacramental moment in which I remembered that I was a child of God and that I mattered to a lot of people and I also mattered to me.  The song reminded me that no matter what is happening in the world I am still a part of the world and it is up to me to create a sacred place where I can be me without making it difficult for you to be you. By creating a sacred space within, I heard these words which affirmed me as a person of value, a person of worth and a person of faith. Here are the words:might as well get used to me, I am living without apology, I’m not wrong here, I belong here so you might as well get used to me.”
   When certain members of Congress stand before the American people in righteous indignation towards President Obama declaring publicly “they will do everything in their power to thwart and block anything this president tries to do” why are we not surprised this Congress has the worst record of any Congress in history?  Equally important, the media through its correspondents repeatedly fail to ask members of Congress simple questions like “is there anything good this president has done?” “do you remember Mr. McConnell how you and a few others of your political party have repeatedly said your only goal is to make sure this president fails?”  And now that Republicans have political control of both houses of Congress they are calling upon the president to “work with them”. Mr. McConnell, Speaker Boehner “you might as well get used to me, I belong here, I am living without apology.”
    All of my life I have been working to make sure no one will be marginalized or written off because we do not fit the flawed images held by white people of what they think we are supposed to look like or be. However, if you live in denial that race makes a difference in how a person is treated you begin to believe that.  Such expressions as “why don’t black people get a job, or why don’t they get an education or why are they always complaining about race race.”?
Unfortunately, the McConnells and Boheners and Limbaugh’s and others like them have never believed that a Black man should ever, ever be the President of the United States.  They still seethe each time they see President Obama bounding up the stairs of Air Force One (which they believed to be exclusively for them).  The presidency to their mind has been reserved for white men and they remain in shock, they are angry and they are determined to do everything in their power to make sure this never happens again.  What newscasters, pundits, scholars and others won’t talk about is what I have just said and that is puzzling to me.  Well, here’s to all of you: I am living like its meant to be, I am living without apology, I belong here, so you might as well get used to me.”
       Tonight the President is scheduled to make use of his constitutional authority to address the Immigration matter and already the three major media networks, ABC, NBC, CBS, have decided not to carry the President’s message. However, two Hispanic networks and CNN are poised to carry President Obama’s important message.  Why is that?  I am not sure if this has ever happened before with the networks especially on such a controversial topic as Immigration.  Whatever the reasons, Republican threats and posturing towards President Obama are being reported over and over again on the networks.  They seemed to be crazed about this president using his constitutional powers which is revealing their true character and racist attitudes.  Unfortunately, many people agree with the networks and the Republicans threats by making such dumb statements like ‘lets sue him, lets impeach him.”  And not only Republicans but some Democrats agree President Obama should wait until the new members of the Congress are seated promising they will give the Immigration discussion a fair chance.  Why would the President trust that?   Might as well get used to me, I am living without apology, I belong here.
    In the meantime, the correspondents like Blitzer and Tapper and others have not asked any of the Republicans railing against President Obama the crucial questions. Unemployment was 7.8% when President Obama took office in 2009 and it is now 5.8%, Dow was 7,949 in 2009 it is now 17.573. GDP was -5.4 but is now +3.5; deficit was 9.8 in 2009 and it is now 2.8. Why aren’t these critics being asked about these facts?  Why don’t the correspondents remind the President’s critics why they refuse to give the president credit for anything he does or about the accomplishments that have been made since he took office?  Now that John McClain will be chair of the Armed Forces Committee in the Senate, I am wondering if he will try to impose his failed policies upon the Obama administration and how will the press treat him?  I still believe the election of Barack Obama twice to the office of the presidency is the major factor driving white men to unprecedented racial and homophobic rants about the President?  In case it is, I believe it to be a good thing because they are only affirming what we already knew they were thinking about black folks anyway.  After all in their minds the election of a black man to the presidency of the United States was never supposed to happen in the first place. Looking at “requirements” to become president Mr. Obama passes the test with flying colors except of course, he is black.  Instead they say he is “smug, an elitist and egotist” all being words of denial about their true feelings of being racists.  So few are ready to talk about these matters and instead couch their words in phrases and terms which do not get at the heart of the matter.  I say again, these are my thoughts and opinions and I have no need to be “right” about what I have said rather I need to be heard.  In hearing what I have written one can agree or disagree and that is my right as much as it is yours.  By doing so we can enter into honest and open dialogue about what we think and believe.  As long as we are open and transparent about our beliefs the better it will be.  I firmly disagree with some of what President Obama is doing and saying and I let him know that through the contacts I have of people close to him.  However, he deserves to be heard and to be respected as the Leader of the Free world.  Nothing more and nothing less because the President’s office is sacred and therefore must be respected by all.  Whether the president is a woman, or Hispanic or Black should be of no consequence.  Again I say “you might as well get used to me.”
   As a nation waits to hear the verdict of the Michael Brown killing in Ferguson, Missouri it seems clear to me major mistakes have already been made by the authorities. The first mistake is declaring a State of Emergency by the Governor.  Secondly, inserting 5000 police officers to keep the peace. Thirdly, deploying the National Guard for standby in the case of violent protests. This kind of build up places more emphasis upon a armed response which creates an atmosphere of fear.  When any one of us responds out of fear there are serious and often violent consequences.  Very little has been said about groups in Ferguson who have been working since the flare up in August, to keep the peace, to provide space for dialogue and to engage in nonviolent protests.  Such a group is One Ferguson who too few people know about.  The media has not covered their efforts nor have the authorities worked closely with One Ferguson to hear their ideas and for them to hear what the authorities are thinking.  Given the police build up and instituting a state of emergency portends some in authority may already know the decision which may favor no indictment.  I don’t know this to be the case but my antenna  went up the moment I heard about the decisions of the Governor and police.  Again I say, you might as well get used to me, I am living without apology, I belong here.”
And so it is!
Dr. Paul

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