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Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Posted by ASPOV

I haven't really contributed much to this blog, but I wanted to say something here, that I couldn't really think of a better place to express. And I'm a bit emotional right now, so forgive if my thoughts are not complete or even coherent. My "guys" on this blog are from different backgrounds, religion, ethnicities, and age. I've never met any of you, other than the conversations that I've had here and in other blog spaces. This technology has allowed us to find each other based on our love of basketball and we've found in this passion a commonality that has allowed us to get to know each other, in a way. I am grateful for this opportunity.

I bring this up in this way because of the historic event that has just transpired: the election of Barack Obama as the new President of the United States. The first American of African descent to hold the office of President. He was able to harness the power of this medium that we are using to express our passion, to get us to be passionate again about the promise of the kind of democracy that we have dreamed could be represented in the experiment called the United States of America. I am not naive. I will not be an Obama apologist if he makes decisions that I do not agree with. I will be just as critical of him as I have been of any other politician if I feel that he is catering to the powerful at the expense of the people.

However, this is a moment that I will enjoy and allow myself the tears and emotion that I never thought that I would ever experience. What is amazing to me and heartening is that we have entered a period of unknown promise. And this blog is just a microcosm of that. That a 47 year old African American woman, a child of the 60s and 70s who remembers the riots, segregated schools, and experienced the low expectations of a world that didn't believe people who look like me were as worthy of life, liberty and the ability to experience my full potential, could find friendships with an Italian attorney from New Jersey, a white kid from Virginia Beach, an Irishman, and a devout Muslim from Saudi Arabia.

We don't yet know what line has been crossed. What opportunities for community have just been presented. But I can say that I am one lucky Sistah to be alive right now. And I'm really glad that I have you four to represent that possibility of that new community. Did that make sense?


Tariq al Hayder said...

Thanks for the nice sentiments, Cheryl, and CONGRATULATIONS!

The election was during the wee hours over here, so I didn't follow it. I actually dreamt that McCain won. I woke up feeling violated! But then I saw a text message from my brother:


However, I can't help feeling that all the changes that Obama may bring will have NOTHING to do with foreign policy. :(

Eboy said...

Beautiful sentiment my dear....and yes today IS a day of vindication for our country. I will offer some counter views later today...some things that concern me to no end about this historic day.

Moose said...

Thanks, Cheryl, good stuff. I am incredibly happy that Obama won, having the worst president ever since I could walk and talk. Now I'm looking to experience one that can clean up all the crap that Bush made. Barack Obama.

Tariq al Hayder said...

I wish I could share in all the optimism. Unfortunately, like my fiancee said: "It's nice, but it doesn't concern us." :(

Tariq al Hayder said...

I've overused this facial expression: :(

ASPOV said...

Tariq, what would folks in your part of the world (and I realize you can't speak for everyone) like to see happen with the U.S. policies in your region?

BETCATZ said...

Tariq, what would be a foregin policy you want to see? How do you want America to treat Israel? Do you realize that Truman is not president curently ?

Anonymous said...

That z is because its time for a change

BETKITTY said...

that anonymus was me

Eboy said...

Referencing the last sentence in Cheryl's piece...."I have you three" should read "I have you four" yes?

Tariq al Hayder said...

The most important issue to EVERYONE from the African side of the Atlantic to the Arabian (Persian) Gulf is Palestine. I don't think people understand the importance of Jerusalem to Muslims. There can NEVER be peace until Jerusalem is AT LEAST split into twp halves. Or governed by a neutral party. And the MOST important site in Jerusalem is the Temple Mount. The mosque we call "Al Masjid Al Aqsa". Until Muslims can pray there, there will never be peace. I mean it breaks my heart that I can't visit that place.

So that's pretty much what the average Muslim is thinking.

As for America and its relationship with Israel, I know that Israel DOES NOT WANT PEACE. It wants to expand. I'm %100 sure that if the Israeli government said: Listen, we're tired of war, but we want a Jewish homeland, so here's the deal: We get the part of Jerusalem that has the Wailing Wall, you get the part with the Temple Mount. We go back to the pre-1967 borders, and that's that, that EVERYONE in the Islamic world would rejoice. But that will NEVER happen, because Israel is a malevolent, expansionist entity.

So basically what I would like from America, in terms of Foreign Policy, is to stop being Israel's bitch. I mean, I can give you countless examples when almost every member of the United Nations condemned Israel for some atrocity or other, but the US jumps in with their veto. Why? I guess Israel have one of the strongest lobbies in Washington. I would like America to FORCE Israel to abandon any expansionist aspirations they have and settle for the land they have now. That would be swell.

It also wouldn't hurt to withdraw from Iraq and pull out from the military bases it has everywhere in the region.

But of course none of that will happen. I GUARANTEE you that Obama will change NOTHING concerning Israel. In fact, when he and Hillary and McCain spoke in front of AIPAC, no one dared utter a critical word. You think Obama would be here without AIPAC's blessing?

Eboy said...

Is it wrong for me to be concerned that Obama's biggest (and most vocal) voting support group are lower class African-Americans, who really will not benefit a bit from the "change" that has been promised?

Of course I know that McCain was going to do nothing for them either and yes my vote went to Barack from the jump, but those people in our country that are expecting Barack to come riding into the delapadated neighborhoods across the country cutting checks and handing them jobs are in for a bit of a shock. It's not going to happen. And it's sad.....sad that they put that much faith in the dude that he will do that and sad...that once they don't start seeing the change here at home...they'll begin to turn against him for not "following through".

Correct me if I'm wrong but his approach to the upper class is to raise their taxes, his approach to the middle class is to get them back on their feet and his approach to the lower class?......anybody.......? Somebody.....?

I've read numerous times that people are saying "Barack is going to pay my mortgage and pay for my gas". Are these people out of their fucking minds? How is this guy supposed to "save" so many when there are so few that can actually be helped. The country is so fucked from such a long line of poor leadership, it's going to take 3 terms of stringent, no bullshit leadership to BEGIN to right this country's economy and that's fucking scary.

There is no answer....and that's just shitty. The people who's hopes most lie with his promise of change will be the ones who receive the least amount from it.

I hope he can right some of the wrongs, but please, be realistic as to what he may be able to accomplish, beacause there's a lot to correct and it's going to take more that a "miracle" at the polls to do it.

ASPOV said...

Fixed. Thanks for catching that, E.

ASPOV said...

Okay, let me try to address some of both Eboy's and Tariq's comments. I don't think many thinking supporters of Obama thinks he's the "black" knight that's going to ride in and change the world into a utopia for all people. I do think he has been consistent in saying that people have to participate, take responsibility for their lives, stop complaining while sitting on their asses watching You Tube and American Idol, and work with policy makers at the local level to foster change in their own lives. I think what he's said is that he will attempt (and that's a huge caveat) to change how Washington works, that the Federal government should be responsive to the needs of people and not the moneyed interests that Wahsington lobbyists represent. So, what does that mean domestically? Figure out how to fix a public educational system that is failing the poor, urban population whose drop out rate is currently approaching 50%. But, as Washington contributes increased funding for education, it is our responsibility to produce the passionate committed teachers willing to participate in educational reform. Maybe change involves committing more to rebuild New Orleans and vowing to never, ever, leave a city underwater for 5 days with no assistance.

And as for Israel/Palestine, Tariq, that was THE one issue that bothered the fuck out of my about Obama. In his organizing days, he was a central supporter of the Anti-Apartheid movement here in the states, that moved many institutions to divest economically in the South African government and private industry. If he can't see that what is happening in Palestine is apartheid, then he is blind. It bothers me that he appears uncritical of Israeli policies there. I am hoping that he will show movement there. But, again, it is up to us here to put pressure on his administration to look at the issues there with fresh, critical eyes. He doesn't strike me as dogmatic, so again, I'm cautiously optimistic there.

What I'd like to know, is the Israeli people fed up with their government's policies? Are they tired of the violence? Is there a movement happening among young people there to change the way their government has dealt with this issue? Again, the power of this medium--blogs, netroots, the internet generally--is a powerful tool. How will we activists use it to push just, rational, thoughtful policies that move the global community toward a better world. We can use this to chatter about how fucked up the world is, or we can use it to push for justice. What will we do?

TADOne said...

Ok, i'm late to this; forgive me as i've had a rollercoaster week. On Monday, the day before the election, I found out i'll probably be getting laid off December 1st. The reason? The eceonomy of course. Now, do I think Barack is going to wave a wand and fix this? No, i'm not an idiot. Fortunately, I can help myself and get another job is I happened to get laid off, but doing what and getting paid how much? I know Obama is reaching across partisan lines to try and make changes to help out all Americans and this gives me hope.

Now, I will admit I know very, very little about foreign policy. I DO know that Obama said he is willing to sit down with foreign leaders in countries that we have strained relationships in, and i'm hoping his common sense as well as Biden's sensibility and extensive foreign policy experience will bring about some change, or at least some working dialogue.

Anyway, thanks for this Cheryl. Also, since you are my senior, i'll let the "kid" comment slide.

Big Man said...


I think that if Obama improves health care and education he will help the lower classes.

If he creates all those new jobs based on an energy economy, he will help the middle class.

Obama didn't talk about poor black people because that would have been the easiest way for him to get ignored by most white people. But, his policies help poor black people. Poor people don't need more tax cuts, they need ways to afford acceptable health care and education. They need better jobs.
I think Obama is going to try to address those three things.

Big Man said...

My bad, this is Allenp.

TADOne said...

I think you are right Allen. I sincerely hope Obama can bring about universal healthcare and fix the education system, although I know he won't be able to do it in 4 years. This is just the beginning of a long road. I just want him to lay the seeds and get re-elected for a 2nd term if he is doing these things well.

BETCATS said...

"I It wants to expand. I'm %100 sure that if the Israeli government said: Listen, we're tired of war, but we want a Jewish homeland, so here's the deal: We get the part of Jerusalem that has the Wailing Wall, you get the part with the Temple Mount. We go back to the pre-1967 borders, and that's that, that EVERYONE in the Islamic world would rejoice. But that will NEVER happen, because Israel is a malevolent, expansionist entity."

That is a pretty bold statement Tariq. i am just doing my research and i find that statement disputeable. How do you know Israel does not want peace? Did anyone in Israel tell you "We wanna conquer you not live with you"? Because i dont remember anyon saying that. You are from Saudi Arabia so you think we Americans are 'brainwashed' to support Israel, yet we think you guys are 'brainwashed' to support the destruction of it. I think you are generalizing too much about the Israelis and as somebody who could care less what happens their, i think you need to broaden your presepective before you make such statements like "I know that Israel DOES NOT WANT PEACE." Tariq, you and my 9th grade social studies teacher, and Barack Obama are the reasons that got me somewhat intrested in politics, and you still my dude, but i disagree with you on this one.

BETCATS said...

Damm part of my quote went away

"As for America and its relationship with Israel, I know that Israel DOES NOT WANT PEACE. It wants to expand."

Hursty said...

I reckon that IF Israel was to get into a war with the USA (not that it would ever happen) that the Israeli's would be a damn tough out.
The Swiss would be strong too, as well as the Gurkas and Australians (seriously, we have the best special forces in the world behind Switzerland).

Hursty said...

Great comments everyone.
TAD- My sympathies. Come to Australia! (cos we have nice beaches lol).

Tariq al Hayder said...


I don't think anyone is brainwashed. I just think that what you said applies to a lot of Americans: that you "could care less" what happens there.

I'm not shocked that Cheryl, for example, appears to have a firm grasp on the Israel/Palestine issue. But too often my American friends have no idea what I'm talking about when I talk about this problem. Supporting Israel unconditionally is not in America's best interests. It is politically advantageous for a politician to support Israel is all.

And betcats, to answer your question: No, no one in Israel "told me" that "We want to conquer you". That's not how it works. But if you analyze the behavior of the Israeli government over the years in an unbiased fashion, this is the only conclusion you can come to. The evidence is there: Isn't building settlements in Gaza and the West Bank, for example, expansionist behavior?

I'm not saying that the average Israeli citizen doesn't want peace. There are in Israel, just as in every other country, hawks and doves. But the Israeli government itself is a malevolent entity. I believe that any state is by definition malevolent, but this holds true even more in Israel's case.

Listen, don't take my word for it, because I may be wrong. If you really want to know what's going on, go and read something. Try "The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy" by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt. Or you can try anything by Noam Chomsky. I also liked reading the memoirs of a former Mossad agent called "By Way of Deception". And there's a bunch of sh*t I haven't got the chance to read on the topic.

BETCATS said...

cool tariq, but isnt sucide bombers, armed gunmen, mortar attacks, rocket attacks, and car bombs by arabs against Israel also contray to making peace

AR said...

The Israeli-Palestine issue,that's a BIG one.
I can't,in good conscience,'support' either side.Neither side come out well,both did and do dispicable things.And people wonder why I hate religion.
I'm speaking generally here as I'm not an expert on the conflict itself-or anything near it but,although a resolution seems very unlikely,it's not impossible.It has happened in the past.Take my country for example.

Tariq al Hayder said...


It's not that simple.

Tariq al Hayder said...

And Alan, your hate for religion is all well and good, but it doesn't have much to do with the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Orthodox Jews actually oppose Israel, which is really a Zionist, not a Jewish, state.

BETCATS said...

Tariq, you realize they dont support it because they belive 'god should give it to them' via a holly war or something along those lines

BETCATS said...

and Tariq, so the Israeli side is simple, but your side cannot be easily explained? That is just proff you need a broader prespective

Tariq al Hayder said...

No, orthodox Jews don't support Israel because the Torah states that they should live among other peoples, not forcefully take land and transform it into a Jewish state.

And perhaps I do need to broaden my perspective, but your position is pretty flimsy. You're basically saying that since both sides commit violence, both sides are equally to blame.

First off, you need to recognize that the relationship between Israel and the Palestinians is one of the powerful (Israel) to the weak (Palestinians). Secondly, the violence carried out by Palestinians is carried out by groups which the US categorizes as terrorist, such as Hamas, Fatah and Islamic Jihad. Conversely, the violence on the Israeli side is carried out by the Israeli government, with the backing of the US government. Why is Hamas a terrorist organization, while the Israeli government is a beacon of democracy?

And you have to really go back and look at history. pre-1948, the population of Palestine was roughly 90% Palestinians and 10% Jewish. Since the 1948 invasion, Palestinians have been routinely run out of their land, while Jewish settlements are built in their place. Do you know what this means? It's not that there are two people living in the same land and having trouble with each other, it's more like Palestinians are kicked out, and Jews are BROUGHT IN FROM OTHER COUNTRIES TO TAKE THEIR PLACE. Do you understand what I'm saying?

Also, Palestinians are governed by the Israeli government, and they are treated as second-class citizens in their own country. They barely have any rights, which is why a lot of them are forced to migrate to neighboring Arab countries.

I really doubt that you've considered the situation with any detail or subtlety, betcats. It seems to me that your line of thinking is this:

"People somewhere far away are fighting. They're all equally crazy."

Let me ask you this: If I'm so biased, why does Cheryl call the way Israel treats Palestinians "apartheid"? Think about that? It's simple: It's because she knows what's going on. Do you? Or are you just adopting the generic position that everyone is at fault equally?

If I were to apply your line of thinking to South Africa, I would arrive at the conclusion that Blacks and Whites in South Africa were equally to blame and that Nelson Mandela was a terrorist. That's a very foolish position to adopt, isn't it?

TADOne said...

That was deep, Tariq.

Tariq al Hayder said...

Thanks, TAD, but it really isn't deep at all. I'm actually glossing over a bunch of points. Plus, I don't know as much about the situation as I should. It just depresses me to read about it. And it kinda bothers me a little when people who really know NOTHING about the situation start giving reductive arguments.

AR said...

Tariq:Point taken,it may not be solely based on religion(though I refuse to believe it doesn't have a big part to play),but it massively involves another thing I despise-nationalism.Both Zionism and Arab nationalism are pretty dangerous,especially when you consider the latter's views on the former and the ridiculousness of how the former became successful.

As I've said,neither side come out better than the other,both have legitimate issues and concerns.Hopefully a two state solution will be brokered,which in fairness,even the majority of Israelis agree with.But compremise will be needed.Which doesn't make me at all confident.

Also Hamas is just as much of a terrorist group as the IRA and ETA are and were.It's hard to differentiate.

Tariq al Hayder said...

Alan: I'm not too crazy about nationalism either.

BETCATS said...

those are 2 different issues tariq. Calling Nelson Mandela a terroist is like calling Osama Bin Laden a hero.
As for the Jews agianst Israel, what you said is part of the reason, but what i said is the other part. I went to their website and they state clearly they want god to give Israel to them. And if you would like to know where to find them, the answer is Israel!
My problem with your whole view is that you seem to be anti-israel and claim that they are trying to conquer the whole middle east and destroy your arab world. Also, saying that Jerasalem should be divided or let out of the control of Israel could go one of two ways:
A. Jerusalem becomes a seperate country with a goverment representive of the people living in it
B. Crazy jews get mad at the fact that they are loosing control of their nation's capital (because Israel was founded as the jewish nation) and blowing everything up.

A would work, and i would be all for it, but B would be what ended up happening, so so much for that.

As for me "Not knowing anything" yes, i do know something, i do my research by typing in keywords on google then waste a lot of time reading up of these topics and more to try and find a point i agree with. And your whole "Israel does not want peace" argument is absurd in the sence that
A.) Yitzhak Rabin, a past leader of Israel apperantly pushed for peace and worked with people who openly called for the death of Israel until he was assinated by a jew-nationalist
B.) any time israel is in a state of peace, and not attacking anyone they get attacked (see The Six Day War)
And your whole Palestinians are 2nd class citizens argument is true, but we had segregation here (something that would have directly effected me) and now we got a black president. Progress can be made Tariq.
I can agree that i might not know as much as you though tariq, you are a grown ass man living over their, i am a young kid in what eboy's people call 'da hood' over here. I dont care what you guys do in the middle east, it wont affect me. But i do plan on taking my point and fine tunning it until i can debate with you and understand you on a higher level. Holla at me in 10 years.

Eboy said...

"eboy's people" what does that and handsome?

Hursty said...

Nah E. Think he might've meant something else. Handsome? Get outta here man..! ;)
Jokes, its all good.

Tariq al Hayder said...

I'll be waiting betcats! I'm sure in 10 years you'll be a congressman or something. Queen Mab!

BETCATS agent/promoter said...

whats good shawn kemps offspring? I am here not for serious discussion this time but for promotinal reasons. JOIN MY FORUMS

Its free and fun. You dont even got to join nothing, you just type in comments. Its so easy, a BETCATS could do it. JOIN IT NOW.

Opps wrong link said...

ASPOV said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ASPOV said...

This is awesome we're having this kind of debate here. This is exactly what I'm talking about in the tremendous opportunity this medium gives us to debate issues of global significance, among people from different parts of the world. And BET, you actually should be concerned about what happens in the Middle East, because IT DOES impact you. Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere and all that good stuff. Plus, 9/11 happened because we weren't paying attention. If that event didn't make you concerned about what is happening "over there", I don't know what will.

And the Israel/Palestine issue is in a whole host of ways analogous to BOTH apartheid South Africa and the conflicts between Native Americans and the settlers here. Keep reading, it's THE most powerful thing you can do for yourself.

TADOne said...

Very nicely put Cheryl. I'm ashamed that I don't know enough about the subject to add anything of substance. As a citizen of the world, I would like to see conflict end across the globe and for third world countries to be able to do things we take for granted here in the states.

Guess it's time to read, like BET said.