Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Every Round Goes Higher and Higher

When Fannie Lou Hamer spoke to the credentials committee at the 1964 Democratic Convention in Atlantic City she talked about the eviction, arrest and beatings she endured because she registered to vote. Her remarks are legendary and reflected the feeling of so many at the time.

“All my life I've been sick and tired,” she said. “Now I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

From those emotional and moving words in 1964 to the impactful words of Michelle Obama, Black women have carried a torchlight for America. The light was dim and dismal when Mrs. Hamer spoke but as the church hymn, We Are Climbing Jacobs Ladder, explains, “Every round goes higher and higher.”

“Who then will speak for the common good?,” asked Con. Barbara Jordan in 1976 at the Democratic convention.

She said, “We are a people in a quandary about the present. We are a people in search of our future. We are a people in search of a national community. We are a people trying not only to solve the problems of the present, unemployment, inflation, but we are attempting on a larger scale to fulfill the promise of America. We are attempting to fulfill our national purpose, to create and sustain a society in which all of us are equal.”

“This is the question which must be answered in 1976: Are we to be one people bound together by common spirit, sharing in a common endeavor; or will we become a divided nation? For all of its uncertainty, we cannot flee the future. We must not become the "New Puritans" and reject our society. We must address and master the future together. It can be done if we restore the belief that we share a sense of national community, that we share a common national endeavor. It can be done.”

Every round goes higher and higher.

Michelle Obama wowed the world with her words.

“All of us driven by the simple belief that the world as it is just won’t do. That we have an obligation to fight for the world as it should be. That is the thread that connects our hearts,” she said.

“That is the thread that runs through my journey and Barack’s journey and so many other improbable journeys that have brought us here tonight, where the current of history meets this new tide of hope.”

“And one day, they (her children), and your sons and daughters-will tell their own children about what we did together in this election. They’ll tell them how this time we listened to our hopes and not our fears. How this time, we decided to stop doubting and to start dreaming.”

“How this time, in this great country, where a girl from the south side of Chicago can go to college and law school and the son of a single mother from Hawaii can go all the way to the White House. We committed ourselves to building the world as it should be.”

Fannie Lou Hamer photo from Associated Press, Barbara Jordan photo from American Rhetoric, Michelle Obama photo from Kenneth Muhammad

Inayat Lalani, MD Speaks on the American Muslim Democratic Caucus

American Muslim Democratic Caucus Debuts

DENVER—Nearly 50 Muslim American Democratic Delegates from around the country gathered at the Democratic National Convention August 25, to debut their new caucus.

Inspired by the election of the first two Muslim Congressmen, Keith Ellison from Minnesota and Andre Carson from Indiana, the caucus plans to make the voices of Muslims heard.

“This is an historic day,” said Con. Ellison. “This is the first time Muslims have gathered together as a group at the Democratic National Convention. For the Muslim community in America who has so much to offer America, this moment is filled with promise and challenge.”

“The Muslim community is offering its many strengths to make America better. Today is a wonderful day.”

The American Muslim Democratic Caucus was launched with the theme, “Restoring America’s Promise”.

Part of that promise is being involved in politics.

“Polls indicate that this will be a tight race and will likely come down to the usual battleground states. Most of those battleground states have large and affluent Muslim communities which can make a difference in Congressional, Senate and the Presidential race(s),” explained Con. Ellison.

Anthony Muhammad is a Muslim delegate from Washington, DC.

“The value of this is that we are making history with Islam. I want to have influence over the things that are happening in my community. Islam gives me the focus, principles and standards that are universal,” he told The Final Call.

“The principals that are imbedded in Islam require you to move out in the larger community, make changes and better your community. That’s the work I’m involved in.”

That work is rarely publicized in the news and the story of this debut will be hard to find in mainstream media too.

This dismays Dr. Inayat Lalani, one of the major caucus organizers.

“You talk about the Latino vote and the of women’s vote. You analyze the under-30 vote and senior vote. You discuss to death the blue-collar vote and white-collar vote and Green color vote and purple color vote but you never mention the impact of the Muslim American vote. That is politics of exclusion and exclusion is Un-American.”

“Don’t forget, these delegates are here because they won the confidence of the rank and file Democrats and Americans to represent them,” he said.