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Archive for September, 2010

A Letter to My Democratic Sisters About President Obama

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

We have all been in a romantic relationship that didn’t quite turn out like it started. In the beginning of a relationship, we are full of hope, promise and quite frankly, ecstatic about it.  Velma Hart’s words to President Obama at Monday’s  9/20 CNBC Town Hall meeting could have been said to a mate after eighteen months of marriage. Hart’s words heard on TV, in the blogosphere, in print, radio and everywhere else, reflect the frustrations, emotions and concerns of  women, particularly my African-American sisters. Hart feels the middle class American dream is slipping away from her family.  She wonders if this economic down time is “our new reality”. She is exhausted of defending President Obama and his administration. “Exhausted” voter puts President Obama on hot seat –

Velma Hart spoke the concerns of many women who have become disenchanted with President Obama after eighteen months. We passed through infatuation, falling in love, becoming engaged and now marriage. It is the marriage that finds us struggling and full of unanticipated problems. Where is the excitement and change? During our initial infatuation, we felt the intense excitement.  I still vividly recall standing for blocks on a cold, sunny, winter day in January, 2008 to hear the late Senator Ted Kennedy (D.MA) endorse then Senator Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination. I was in total infatuation.  I usually never stand in lines and am quite frankly, turned off at the mere sight of one. Nothing could deter me that day from seeing then Senator Barack Obama.

Most of us fell  in love with Obama during the campaign. We became engaged when the Democratic National Committee (“DNC”) nominated Barack Obama and then the nation elected him as our 44thPresident of the United States.  I felt all the joys of a wedding as I watched President Obama take the oath of office. Yes, I felt as a country we could do anything with President Obama. I still feel the same way. When I heard Aretha Franklin sing  My Country tis of Thee, Sweet Land of Liberty, I never heard those words sung clearer than on inauguration day. I stood in pride as President Obama made the first toast, his inauguration speech. The marriage began. That was more than eighteen months ago. Much has happened since that moment.

Now that we’re married, the infatuation period is definitely gone.  The thrill is gone as B.B. King sang. As in many relationships, we put so much emphasis on the wedding. Yet, the real work begins with the marriage. That’s the hard part. I have many frustrations over the economy, foreclosure and lack of jobs. These problems existed before President Obama took the oath of office. Unfortunately, they manifested in a huge way months before Obama’s inauguration and continue now. Yet, now is not the time to file for a separation from President Obama. We have the right mate at the right time for this marriage. A marriage takes time, effort and people to grow and strengthen it. Velma Hart says she is still 100% committed to President Obama. President Obama cannot make this work by himself. If we are to move this economic mountain, it will take the work of many people. This groom needs the help of the bride and many others. We are the brides. Let our voices be heard.

My words to Velma Hart and my Democratic sisters are do not defend President Obama. Here’s what I mean. Being defensive means we are not on the offensive team.  Please take an offensive position. Write to President Obama. Write to your member of congress to express your views. Urge more town hall meetings to get the point across, if you feel necessary. We need to become more actively involved in the process. Most importantly, vote in  November. If we don’t vote in November, our “new reality”, as Ms. Hart calls it, will become worse. It will not be temporary, as we hope,  but may become permanent. Vote on November 2.  Our future economic reality depends on it.

 Washington, DC based Debbie Hines, Esq. blogs on race, law, women and politics.  She holds a Juris Doctorate from George Washington University Law School and a BA from the University of PA. She is a native of Baltimore, MD. 

President Obama Fires Up His Black Base

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

President Obama was the main course at the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) 40th annual dinner on Saturday, September 18, 2010.  He spoke about  what is at stake for the mid term year elections. He reminded us that that the 2008 presidential election was about changing the guard. He stated the midterm election is about guarding the change that has begun. Much is left to be done. He spoke candidly about our economic situation. While some measure of improvement has been made, many are still suffering from the ills of the last 8-10 years.  He reminded us that the Republicans dug us in a ditch for the last 10 years.  Democrats are trying to dig us out for the last 18 months while the Republicans sit on the side lines sipping Slurpees. He was full of metaphors that voters will remember.

We have a President who has the intellect to come up with a plan to get the country out of the hole the Republicans have created for us.  Obama urged us to focus on the plan that he and Democrats have in play. We just need to stick with the plan because “it’s not about the man. It’s about the plan”.

If President Obama was the main course, then Harry Belafonte was the dessert.  Harry Belafonte appeared to receive an award from the CBC.  He didn’t miss the opportunity to address the crowd on a political level.  He said that while President Obama has a plan, he is missing one component.   Belafonte said the one thing missing is the voice of militant strong Americans.  In every crisis, strong Americans have come forward to help bring about the change.  He stressed that we need to now take our piece of responsibility and make the difference for the president. He cautioned the Tea Party is similar in characteristic to a tea bag.  If you steep a tea bag long enough, it loses its strength.  Belafonte was met with a rousing thunder of applause.

President Obama remarked that we must keep the keys to this country away from the Republicans. They have only used them to drive us in reverse.  Democrats are driving us forward.   He ended by stating we are working to make the union more perfect and just, one step at a time. There is much more work to do. He stressed the time for action is now.

President Obama was back in the fighting form that brought him to the White House. He energized and mesmerized the crowd. In trial lawyer language, he kept the theme and the story simple. Although, he spoke about his accomplishments, he didn’t get bogged down in language that was too technical. He kept it real.  And in the words of Ashford and Simpson, who sang at the conclusion of the program, “Ain’t nothing like the real thing baby”.

Washington DC based Debbie Hines, Esq. blogs on race, law and women from an African American female lawyer’s point of view. She holds a Juris Doctorate from George Washington University  Law School and a BA from the University of PA. She is a native of Baltimore, MD.


Friday, September 17th, 2010

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) began a new day on Thursday, September 16, 2010. DNC Chairman Tim Kaine and other senior DNC staff persons met with several influential and progressive African American bloggers including   Kristal L. High, Editor in Chief  of, Garlin Gilchrist II, Center for Community Change, Leutisha Stills of Jack and Jill, Debbie Hines of LegalSpeaks, representatives from Blogging While Brown and several other online media outlets. In an effort to boost the percentages of African American voters in the mid term elections, the DNC is reaching out to the black blogosphere to help with the efforts.

The Democratic party is the party of inclusion and the meeting is just one example of it.  DNC Chair Tim Kaine, as a former civil rights lawyer, knows that everyone must come to the table to be fully represented and inclusive in the process. Involving African American bloggers is one link in the chain that has not been fully utilized in the past. Reaching out to all segments of the population is the goal of the DNC. There are already community and grass roots organizing efforts on the ground that stretch all across America.  DNC Chair Tim Kaine stressed the importance of keeping first time voters from 2008 involved in the vote process.  Of the 15 million first time voters in 2008, approximately 5 million were African American.  The majority of those 5 million were women.

Despite high unemployment in the African American community, President Obama has already accomplished more in his first 18 months than most other presidents.  The success of the mid term elections is getting the story out to African American voters and others.  Progressive African American bloggers promise to implement new ways to get the message across and to get out the vote in November.  The crucial message is the President cannot move forward with his agenda without help and inclusiveness from Congress.  Telling the story and accomplishments of the President is crucial to getting out the vote for Democrats. But this is not just about the mid term elections, the DNC is looking to further engage African American bloggers in 2012 and beyond.

It’s definitely a new day at the DNC.

Debbie Hines, Esq. writes on race, women and law from an African American female lawyer’s viewpoint. She holds a Juris Doctorate from George Washington University Law School and a BA from the University of Pennsylvania.

Terry Jones: Divisive, Dangerous and Delusional

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Just as there are radical extremist Muslims, there are also radical extremist Christians. Terry Jones is one of those radical, extremist Christians. He is the self called pastor of the 50 member church in Florida who is promising to burn the Koran on September 11. Everyone from Pres. Obama, Sec. Hillary Clinton, General David Petraeus, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Evangelist Pat Robertson, the FBI and the Vatican are calling on him to re-consider and re-think his insane idea. It’s the one thing that liberals, conservatives and all those in between agree on. Presently, Jones is scheduled to commence the burning of the Koran on September 11 between 6-9 p.m.   There are three good reasons why Jones should not proceed with his plans.

  • September 11 should be a day of peace for America. It should be a day to remember those who lost their lives. It should be a day of prayer. It should be a day for healing wounds. It should not be a day to provoke hate, fear or anger. These are the emotions that will be provoked by Jones’ actions.  That’s the divisive part.
  • Jones professes to be a Christian. Yet, Christianity is about love and acceptance. Unfortunately, there are radical persons professing to be Christians just as there are radical Muslims professing to be Muslims. Radical Christians kill abortion doctors, bomb buildings and kill others in the name of Christianity. Jones is no different than those Islamic extremist terrorists who bombed us on September 11, 2001. He is the one re-fueling and re-loading the Holy War against us. That’s the dangerous part.
  • The Koran is a holy book for Islam like the Bible with one exception. Muslims  protect and defend the Koran in ways that Christians are not called on to protect the Bible.  His actions will call on some militant Muslims to provoke violence.   Radical and extreme Muslims do not need an excuse to invoke violence on the US.  So why is Terry Jones adding fuel to an already lit flame?  His actions will undoubtedly have a predictable response. Blood will be on his hands. Sec. Hillary Clinton calls Jones’ proposed act outrageous and disgraceful. President Obama calls his actions a recruitment bonanza for al-Qaeda. Terry Jones claims something is wrong with Islam. Yet, he fails to explain how the burning of the Koran will confront terrorism. Is this the action of a sane Christian pastor? That’s the delusional part.

So, why is Terry Jones burning the Koran? He’s dangerous, divisive and delusional. Those persons who follow him are like the followers of Jim Jones. Jim Jones was the American religious leader in 1978 whose 900 followers drank cyanide laced Kool Aid in supporting him. They too followed a dangerous, divisive and delusional professed religious Christian leader. Jim Jones’ followers met their deaths by following him to Guyana. The act was the largest single loss of American life in a non- natural disaster before 9-11.  Terry Jones’ actions may also lead to deaths. Unfortunately, it may affect his followers and many more persons who disavow him.