Tag Archives: America

VOTE! VOTE! (did I say VOTE!)

Today is November 4th, and what is without question, the most historic day in my entire life.  ‘Why?’ you ask.  Well because today I was able to cast my vote for the first time in American history, for a Black man (or at least a half-Black man).  While I waited patiently outside my polling station for 2 hours with hundreds of other excited voters, all eager to place their individual stamps on history, you could literally feel our collective excitement.

Vate at MTV rocking his colors.

Vate with MTV rocking his colors at Bay Street Station, Montclair.

I saw many of my neighbors, with their spouses and kids, all lined up, chatting it up with other neighbors and friends.  There were lots of cameras, and it seemed that everyone was intent on capturing the moment on film and video.  There were several people, including myself, who whipped out their phones to snap a few pics.  On my way in to the office, I snapped the picture above of Vate, one of MTV’s IP attorneys in full Obama regalia.  It seemed everyone I encountered was filled with enthusiam about the possibilities for tomorrow.

I’m cautiously optimistic about tomorrow, but that’s as far as I’ll let myself go (for now).  8 years ago, I just KNEW that Al Gore was going to be our next President, and that he would shepherd in a new day for America.  He was America’s choice (at least according to the popular vote), but the day after the election, George W. was our president.  Huh.  How’d that happen?

As such, I know that (while it may be a longshot), McCain and the powers that be, could still bamboozle Americans once again.  Vate (old boy from MTV) said that in order to pull that off, they’d have to steal votes in nearly every state.  I told him that they’d only need to steal them in certain states, because its not the popular vote, its the electoral college vote that counts, so you flip the script in a few key strategic states (Ohio, PA, FL, you get the picture), and that map goes from blue to red.

Just so everyone is clear, I believe in the power of positive thought, so tomorrow Obama will be our 44th President.  Don’t get it twisted.  But today is still here, and we’ve got to push on through to the other side.

I was talking to a reporter from the Star Ledger (as I forced her to interview me and get my opinion) and she asked me why I thought this was such a historic event.  I told her, quite simply, that the use of social networks, the internet and mobile in this election was unprecedented, and it signaled a new day in American politics.  Now I doubt she’ll quote me so eloquently (if I even make the cut into tomorrow’s edition at all), but it’s true.  We are in a new era when it comes to the methodology to employ to reach one’s constituency.  Obama’s political machine knew this inherently, and the proof is in the pudding, come tomorrow.

For now, I’m basking in the magnamity of the day, trying to take it all in.  I’ve got my paper, Obama t-shirt, voter registration card, and other pieces of the day for posterity.  Whatever happens, it will be momentus.  If you haven’t already, take part in this historic day and go vote.

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The World According to Barack

I’ve been watching the presidential race unfold, and just had to comment about how different things are today, than they were just four years ago.  The Barack infomercial was a game changer for me (even moreso than the announcement of Joe Biden as his Veep via SMS) because it showed just how far one can take a brand.

The equivalent of Barack’s 30 minute spot on prime time TV, was the full page ad in the New York Times of years ago.  If you wanted to make a statement, you bought the entire page in a prestigious newspaper, and made your case to the public.  It was a ground breaking and effective strategy, turning the pages of a reputable and widely circulated newspaper into a launchpad for your platform.

Barack brought that strategy into the 21st century, by launching his platform directly into the homes of millions of Americans simultaneously.  I don’t have the numbers, but I’m sure Nielsen can tell you that a butt-load of people watched what Barack had to say carefully the day before yesterday, and were inevitably swayed by the quality production, the heartfelt stories, the message and its clarity, and the singular intent of the man of the hour.

Unlike a commercial, which is fleeting, and whose message is invariably countered by a commercial of the opponent, the infomercial can only be countered by another infomercial.  McCain has neither the prediliction, cash or first mover’s advantage to pull that off.  Moreover, if the McCain camp were to try to cobble something together to blunt the effectiveness of that move, it would be too-little too-late.  With only four days before the election, there is little likelihood of mounting any significant counter-attack.

McCain is left to send his storm trooper in lipstick out to do his dirty work.  All the Republican party has left, is that attack instinct, and they’re frothing like rabid dogs, at the prospect of forging a comeback.  They’re just so all over the place, that they look like rank amateurs, especially when juxtaposed against Barack’s unflappable cool demeanor and expert use of the media, at all turns.

Its like Barack has moved from a presidential candidate, to an awe-inspiring figure and every-man, simultaneously.  He appears to be one of the most approachable people in the world, yet he still portrays an air of greatness.  Now I’m no Obama jock-rider, caught up in the groundswell, but from an objective standpoint, it is clear to the most casual observer who our next president SHOULD be.

McCain is no slouch, but I’d never put a man in office who states (without hesitation) not to know ‘too much’ about the about the economy.  I would also not put a man in office who so thoroughly fails to vet his VP selection, to the point that her selection has become the punchline for SNL jokes for weeks.

As a Black man in America, I hold no disillusions about the capacity of my fellow Americans to disappoint.  When GW won in 2000, I wasn’t surprised.  When Kerry gave it away in 2004, I wasn’t surprised.  If the Bradley effect kicks in, and the GOP steals yet another election, I won’t be surprised.  I am surpsied, however, that Barack has gotten this far (and is still alive) considering the magnitude of what could realistically be a defining point in American history.

Win or lose, I take solace in the fact, that this moment in time is actually happening.  It has opened up the minds of millions of children of color, whose realm of possibilities include one day being president of the United States of America.  Its one thing to hear it (as a general aspirational statement of possibility), its another thing entirely to witness it, and create a firm basis for belief in that (for Black people) once abstract thought.

We’ve come a long way.  We’ve got a great distance to cover yet, but we’ve come a long way.  And for that, I’m glad.

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