Monday, December 28, 2009

Looking Back: 2009

In keeping with the spirit of reflection, here are some thoughts about events and people who made headlines in 2009.

Trashing of Barack Obama

The President of the United States is a public servant. Therefore, he's subject to scrutiny from supporters and opponents alike. But, during his first months in office, criticism of his policies and performance seemed to come fast and furious. Comments, from some quarters, seemed tinged with ridicule and racism. He could do no right. He was described as aloof, devious, wishy-washy, less charismatic (than on the campaign trail), un-American, and untrustworthy.

Political commentators, mostly conservative, assailed him for going on a date with Michelle, promoting "socialism," not stemming the loss of jobs, creating the bailout for corporations, waffling about sending troops to Afghanistan, pushing through a health care bill on the down-low, and not being presidential, and for getting (accepting?) the Nobel Peace Prize. It will be interesting to see how historians assess his presidency. My suggestion to the Prez: Keep doing what you and your advisers think best for the country.

Michael Jackson

We're a nation of addicts--for food, prescription drugs, alcohol, porn, "reality" TV, and violence in its many forms--from movies and video games.

Yet, revelations of Michael Jackson's use of drugs--for whatever reasons--seemed to bring out finger-pointers and head-shakers even before autopsy results were in.

Entertainment "news" shows featured pop commentators ( most of whom had no dealings with Michael) who reveled in expressing unfounded opinions.

Then, the City of Los Angeles, demanded that the Jackson family repay costs for the public memorial. Shouldn't this issue have been decided prior to assigning police and other personnel for that day?

Whatever his faults, Jackson has a worldwide fan base. His music continues to cross cultures and generations. Rest in peace, Michael.

A Star is Born

What a joy to see watch Gabourey "Gabe" Sidibe enjoy fame. She's got a bubbly personality and a dazzling smile. Most important, she defies all the stereotypes about fat, black women. Beauty comes in all sizes. And in a culture where thin-to-skinny women are idolized, it's a pleasure to see her hold her own.

Lady Michelle

Our First Lady continues to be popular with the American public. She's a fashion trend-setter, a hands-on mom, and active in a variety of causes, especially support for military families. She garners much positive publicity for the White House. Hail to the Lady-in-Chief!

Afghanistan War

Since my nephew is about to be deployed to Afghanistan, I've paid closer attention to the news accounts of what we face in that complex country. Our battles in this century involve fighting non-traditional enemies on foreign, often brutal, turf. Our effectiveness depends on a knowledge of countries and the cultures in addition to military might. Whatever it takes, let's hope our troops come home as scheduled. Not a sure thing according to some experts.

Health Care Debate

I've listened to both sides of the health care debate and am not impressed with how either opponents or proponents presented their cases. The plan (s) were discussed in terms that meant nothing to most of those I talked to. Both sides talked mostly about costs but offered no examples of how providing health insurance to the uninsured would raise (or maintain) premiums costs, harm (or preserve) doctor-patient relations, take away from (or leave intact) Medicare, increase (or decrease) costs for businesses.

There's been a lot of bombast and name-calling but no easy-to-understand explanation of each side's views. I hope Congress does pass a health care bill to provide a safety net for most Americans. Perhaps, the emphasis should be on preventive care as a way to contain medical costs.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

About Gabe...and Me

Go, Gabe!
Life couldn't be better for Gabourey "Gabe" Sidibe, one of the stars of the much-touted movie, "Precious" based on "Push" by Sapphire (more on this sister in a later blog).

In an electrifying novel, a black street girl, sixteen years old and pregnant, again, with her father's child, speaks. In a voice that shakes us by its language, its story, and its unflinching honesty, Precious Jones records her journey up from Harlem's lowest depths... For Precious, miraculously, hope appears and the world begins to open up when a courageous black woman - a teacher hellbent to teach - bullies, cajoles, and inspires her to learn to read, to define her own feelings and set them down in a diary: to discover the truth of her life.
Black women have many stories to tell.

We live in separate universes from black men and the rest of society. We are so busy holding our families together that taking care of ourselves is a luxury we don't think we can afford.

"Precious" reminds us that we have value--no matter how damaged, how overworked, how ignored, how out of shape, or how underpaid.

Congrats, Gabe on your Golden Globe nomination.

My Gratitude List

Despite not knowing who will ever read these words, I want to shout to the world all the things I'm grateful for:

My faith (weak at times, but enduring).

My children (Darryl, Dee Dee, "Pchez," and Damon (who give my life meaning).

My grandchildren and great grandchildren (who keep me involved in your lives).

My family (living and dead, whose love and support make my life possible).

My mom, "Grandma Kitty", who supports and encourages me in my endeavors

My sister, Terri, and niece Kimberly.

My gifts and talents (too numerous to mention--just joking!).

My ability to survive tough life situations.

Our President Barack Obama(who's breaking rules, dodging harsh critics, but staying the course).

Our First Lady Michelle (who's smashed the stereotypes about what black women can do).

My mental and physical health.

New (refurbished) goals for 2010.

Rose, a lifelong BFF.

My cats--Rani and Pom-Pom.

Having worked with and met talented and inspiring writers--Bob Collazo, Tom Robbins, Kai Wright, Julia Lobbia, Peter Noel, Dennis Moore, Jennifer Gonnerman, Kemba Johnson, Adamma Ince, Chisun Lee, Joanna Haugen, and countless others.

A sense of humor that helps me laugh at the realities of getting older.

I know that you have a gratitude list. Leave me a comment about what you're grateful for.