Friday, September 05, 2008

Does God Answer Prayers?

On Thursday, the day of Obama’s acceptance speech, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Regardless, of the fact that James Dobson group was praying for rain. His follower, Stuart Shepard, made a request that Christians pray for “abundant rain, torrential rain … flood-advisory rain.” He adds, “I’m talking about umbrella-ain’t-gonna-help-you rain … swamp-the-intersections rain” at Invesco Field during the exact time of his speech.

Shepard’s prayers were answered. He received the type of rain that he described in his prayer. Hurricane Gustav's arrival in the Gulf was the cause of delay with the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Sometimes, you must be careful with your prayer requests.

God always answers prayers. As the Negro spiritual says, “he may not come when you want him, but he’s always right on time.”

What Is The Point Of Voting?

On Wednesday, during the Democratic National Convention, I was live on location covering the event on my radio show. During the last three minutes of the show, I received a call from a man who identified himself as “Max.” He asked “what is the point of voting?” Out of curiosity, I immediately looked down at the switchboard on my screen and noticed that the call was from Florida. Initially, I paused because I wanted to see if he had an additional comment to include as to why he posed the question. Then, I realized that he is serious.

At that moment, I didn’t know what to say. He was asking this question to someone who could not wait for the opportunity to register to vote. I actually registered two months prior to my 18th birthday, so that I would be ready to vote on my birthday. Voting was a right of passage, like getting my driver's license.

My maternal grandparents left an indelible mark on my psyche regarding the voting process. For as long as I can remember, my grandfather was a poll worker. I never asked him why, but knowing his character, it was probably one way he could make sure that the process was fair. Also, local candidates were always stopping by our house to chat with my grandfather. What the adults didn't realize was the kid was paying close attention and absorbing every single word. It didn't take me long to grasp that those types of discussions influenced the power structure of my small town. I also learned quite a bit which shaped my own involvement in the political process.

When I was in the second grade, I made my first trip to the polls with my grandmother. I stood in the voting booth and had many questions. Because I didn’t know that voting was a private matter, I proceeded to ask loudly, "who are you voting for; why are you voting; what’s a Democrat……" until she finally shhhhhh me and said she would explain it to me later. Although the height of the civil rights movement had ended a few years earlier, my grandmother never ever mentioned anything about the issues of race vs. voting. She never told me that people lost their lives in order to be granted the right to vote. Although I grew up in rural North Carolina, the reason that she didn't mention it could be because my community was isolated from the cruelties of most the South had endured. My community was predominately Native American – over 90%. Therefore, we were minorities among a larger group of minorities. The Native Americans had officially ran the KKK away from my county, so the Jim Crow effects were not as prevalent. After she explained the differences in the candidates, the importance of exercising the right to vote and that each vote counts, I knew I wanted to vote. I wanted my voice heard too.

So, when Max asked the question "what is the point of voting," it was incomprehensible to me that anyone would pose such a question. I was speechless. I only had three minutes left in the show and there was no way I could run down all the many reasons he should register and vote. My featured guest, Scott Lindsey, responded that “in my view, the point of voting is, you’re in a Democratic society where you can freely express without punishment who you are for – who you think will improve your life and you have a voice. The point of voting is to express that voice.”

Then, another caller who identified himself as "Black Achievement" answered by asking “what’s the point of stopping at a red light?” Scott responded, “one is so that you don’t get run over by oncoming traffic.” His response was a great metaphor for why you should vote, so that you don’t get run over.


Who Is The 2nd African American To Be Elected Governor?

While attending the Congressional Black Caucus in September 2005, I stopped at an unknown candidate’s table in the exhibition hall. I listened intensely and even watched the quick video displayed about the candidate. The candidate and his staff were abreast of the issues of their state of Massachusetts and vigorously fundraising right there on the spot. I took his contact information and made a mental note to watch his campaign.

As the year went by, I watched the polling for him. By December 2005, the current popular Republican office holder decided not to run for re-election. This guy now began to gain traction. I admired his tenacity, but I never thought he could win – at least not in the state of Massachusetts.

Well, a year later he wins the election and becomes Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts -- the second African American in history to be elected to this office. The first was Governor Douglas Wilder of Virginia, although P.B.S Pinchback of Louisiana served for 35 days during Reconstruction. Anyway, I was elated. I knew then that the tides were turning in politics.

On Wednesday of the Democratic National Convention, I’d just arrived at the ‘Big Tent’ which was designed for new media covering the event. As I was logging onto my laptop to check my email, I looked up at the table in front of me, to my surprise, Governor Patrick was there blogging.

What a difference three years can make. He is now a rising political star in the Democratic Party.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Is Denver A Nice City?

The “Mile High City” is very beautiful. The hospitality and customer service was outstanding. It was noticeable from the time my feet hit the ground in Colorado. I’m a frequent traveler and a member of the Emerald Club at National Car Rental. Sometime the car rental shuttle drive will offer a map, sometime they don’t. In Denver, the driver not only offered the map, he also proceeded to give directions on how to leave their hub. He did this for every single person (individually) on the shuttle. As a member of the Emerald Club, I am able to bypass the counter and choose a car that is in a specific row for members. The shuttle drivers normally just let me out and roam the lot. Because it was already dark, he actually waited until I found the car of my choice and then drove the rest of the customers to the hub. When exiting, the rental attendant also asked if I needed a map and gave explicit directions which saved me at least 10 minutes of time. I thought to myself, that particular facility is really customer service oriented. Until I got to my hotel!

My hotel was approximately 12 miles south of the city and about 27 miles from the airport. Wednesday morning about 9:45 am, I asked the hotel attendant where is the light rail. She said, what time do you want to go. The owner can take you at 10am. She was not aware that I had a rental. I just said sure and proceeded back to my room. I logged onto my laptop and started to check my email. At 10am my hotel phone started ringing. I was a bit surprised, because none of my friends actually knew where I was staying and they would normally just call me via my mobile phone. It was the hotel attendant who happened to remember what room I was in and reminding me of the ride to the light rail. I was astonished. Even in the South, southern hospitality is not this good (By the way, I’m from the South).

I finally arrived downtown to get my credentials. I slipped into a an Italian restaurant, Old Chicago. I ordered the lasagna , salad and had two tall glasses of lemonade. When she dropped off the check at my table, I was like this has to be a mistake. It had noddle $7.88.with tax included. In comparison, this meal would have cost me a minimum of $12.00 in the Washington, DC. So, I stopped the waitress who said, “that’s right sweetie.”

Although the customer service was great, there was one downside to the city. Denver did not seem prepared for the over 80,000 people that in fluxed the city. Most vistors of the city, we were at a lost when exiting the light rail. There were no signs to point us in any direction. Also, after Obama's acceptance speech at Invesco Field, it was a little chaotic because no one knew which way to go, and again, there were no signs.

Denver is one of the few metropolitan cities in the US not built around a railroad or body of water. It is beautifully landscaped. As you know, first impressions are lasting ones – and the city did, indeed, leave an impression. I’m not planning any drastic moves, but overall, I could probably live in Denver.