Posted in C-Haze, Children, Memories, Nostalgia, Religion

Tribute to My Dad

I originally wrote this in honor of my dad, back in 2008. Today, I’m reposting. Enjoy!

It’s Father’s Day, so of course I have to talk about my daddy.

How the heck can I describe him and where in the world should I start?

My father is one of my only true heroes. He is amazing, and I’m not just saying that cuz he’s my dad.

He’s a great man for putting up with all my crap over the years… and he’s a great man for never giving up on me, for always believing in my greatness- even when that was the last thing I could see in myself.

My dad is the guy when I’m at my worst, suffering the consequences of all the riduculous decisions I’ve made, who can still look me in the eye and tell me he’s proud of me.

He means it too.

Growing up, my father pushed me to excel no matter what… he was tough. If I got a B on a test in school, a typical reaction from him would be, “That’s not bad… but why wasn’t it an A?” He taught me that regardless of the situation, no matter the circumstances, if I did not give it my all, it simply wasn’t good enough.

If I wanted to watch TV, it was my father that would restrict various shows, saying, “There is no socially redeeming value in that…”

I would get so mad… but it’s a phrase I use to this day, when restricting my own kids’ access to the television.

He led by example, and I watched my father work hard at everything he’s ever done- be it as the VP of Finance for a healthcare company, or as a student in Seminary, or as the passionate leader of a congregation of hundreds, and most importantly, as my father.

He’s the one who took me horseback riding every Saturday morning growing up. He’s the one, when I was terrified to try my first jump on that stupid horse Rascal, who hopped on an even crazier horse, and took an even bigger jump- just to show me it was ok.

My father is the one who taught me to love thunderstorms… when a big one would come at night, he’d open the blinds in my room, and say, “Look! It’s a light-light-light show!”… another trick I have used with my own daughters.

He’s the one who read me bedtime stories every night, and still to this day buys me a book every year for Christmas. He taught me to love reading and learning, and all these years later, I still do.

When I couldn’t sleep at night, my dad was the one who would come in my room and make up silly songs to sing to me. I had a stuffed pink poodle that when wound up would play Brahms Lullabye… I think I was almost 20 years old before I realized that the lyrics to that song are NOT, “Lullabye, eat a pie, so your dreams will come true…”

When I was in piano competitions, and the judges would say something to the effect of, “What a beautiful job she did playing that Mozart… but her left pinky looked a little weak”, my dad was the one who nearly strangled them for saying such a thing about his baby girl.

When I got older, and it was time to start looking at colleges, my dad was the one who went through the entire process with me. He spent countless weekends on the road with me, visiting schools all over the place, taking tours of campuses both large and small, pouring over countless pamphlets and welcome packets.

When I had narrowed down the list, and decided which music schools I was going to audition for admittance to, he was the one who went with me. He was the one who- often literally- wiped the sweat from my brow when it was time to face the music board at Oberlin, and Heidelberg… he was the one who celebrated with me when I was accepted at various schools… and he was the one who wanted to have the entire music departments fired at the ones I didn’t get into.

He was the one holding my hand when the verdict- “guilty”- came in during my rape trial.

He took me to see “Hello Dolly” with the original Carol Channing as Dolly… and he took me to see “Phantom of the Opera”… I am, to this day, a musical nut.

I inherited my love of steak from my dad… and I inherited my strong sense of justice, and fighting for those less fortunate from him. My dad is the strongest man I know, but he is a man of quiet strength. He gets his points across lovingly and compassionately… often with a touch of humor, but I have never known him to strongarm or bully a single human being.

My Dad has the voice of God… a deep, booming voice… he commands attention, and makes people want to hear what he has to say.

To me, Daddy, you are the greatest and I love you dearly.

 

Posted in Barack Obama, C-Haze, Economy, Elections, George Bush, Joe Biden, Memories, News, Policy, Politics, Presidential Campaign, Race, Religion, War on Terror

Presenting President Barack Obama

Today is one of the most important, profound days of my life.

Welcome, President Obama.

I did not have the pleasure of attending the inauguration, but was instead glued to the TV in my company’s breakroom, and got to witness President Barack Obama’s swearing in, as well as his amazing speech.

There is nothing I can say to add to this moment, so I have posted the text of the speech in its entirety below.

Enjoy, and please…

Take these words to heart.

Full transcript as prepared for delivery of President Barack Obama’s inaugural remarks on Jan. 20, 2009, at the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land – a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many.

They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America – they will be met. On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted – for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things – some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn. Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions – that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act – not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions – who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them – that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works – whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account – to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day – because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control – and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart – not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort – even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect.

To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West – know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages.

We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment – a moment that will define a generation – it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends – hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism – these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility – a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence – the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed – why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

“Let it be told to the future world…that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive…that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it].”

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

Posted in C-Haze, Children, Memories, Music, Nostalgia, Single Mom

Childhood Memories, Nostalgia and The Last Unicorn

I love a good reminder of my childhood.

Last night, while in Wal-Mart with my black-women-In-training, I happened across the $9 movie rack.

Now you know as well as I do that this rack typically consists of nothing that anyone really wants to watch… thus the reason the movies only cost $9.

Last night was different.

I saw 2 movies that I simply had to buy.

Not for their amazing cinematography, but because they were favorites of mine as a kid.

The first being “Labyrinth” and the second, my favorite of all favorites… “The Last Unicorn”.

We watched “Labyrinth” as soon as we got home… and let me just say… it’s horrible.

Seriously- is that David Bowie??

I never made that connection for some reason…

My kids loved it… but for me, even accounting for all the warm-fuzzy feelings of nostalgia it produced, I could barely sit through it.

Horrible.

I waited until today to watch “The Last Unicorn”… mostly because I was scared it would be as awful as “Labyrinth” was, and for the sake of my childhood memories, I just wasn’t sure I could take it if that happened.

It’s animated, but Mia Farrow, Jeff Bridges and Angela Lansbury are the voices of the characters.

It’s about a lone unicorn who learns that she is the last one left… or is she?

She goes about trying to find all the other unicorns… and has a lot of adventures along the way.

This movie captivated me as a child.

I’d watch it over and over again… the backdrops, the music, the voices of the characters… I truly could not get enough of it.

I happily learned, after finally seeing it again, it has lost none of its magic.

Not a single drop.

Anything I enjoy watching at 30 as much as I enjoyed watching at 6 has to be a classic!.

I found a short clip of it on youtube.

I hope it takes you on a walk down memory lane as well.

Posted in C-Haze, Children, Dating, Economy, Marriage, Memories, Nostalgia, Relationships, Single Mom

The Diva, The School Paper and Her Hero

My oldest daughter, The Diva, has been chosen “Student of the Week” at school.

She got her picture taken, and was interviewed for the school paper.

The picture, of course, was flawless- no diva would be caught dead with their pic in the school paper unless it was absolute perfection.

The interview was great-

Favorite Movie? “Short Circuit” (Ha, ha, ha- Go Diva!)

Favorite Book? “Where the Red Fern Grows” (We’re reading it together at night, one chapter at a time)

I know- pretty typical stuff.

It gets better though:

Her Hero of all heroes? “My mom. She’s had a hard time, but you can’t tell because she’s always laughing. She taught me to stand up for what I believe in, no matter what“.

I cried.

She really does understand.

My Diva gets it.

Finally- Disney Dad isn’t her hero anymore. The guy who shows up when it’s time to do fun stuff, but is nowhere to be found when shoes are needed, doctors need to be visited, daycare needs to be paid.

He used to be her hero.

Last year, she did a school project, and she had to tell the class all about who her hero was, and why.

She chose her father.

She knew when he showed up to get her for his visitation, they’d do something fun. They’d eat pizza somewhere, maybe go camping at the lake for the weekend… or to Six Flags… it was always something.

The Diva was disappointed in me.

I couldn’t take her camping or out to eat.

Amusement Parks were out of the question.

We would go to the park, or a museum- or some other place that was free.

She didn’t understand that her father owed me tons of money from before, or that he wasn’t fulfilling his financial responsibilities to her or her sister.

She didn’t know why we had gotten divorced to begin with- or that he had hurt me physically… she didn’t know about the criminal charges he faced, as a result of his violence against me.

I couldn’t tell her… I hated that he was her hero, but I wasn’t going to take it away from her…

… Though it almost killed me not to.

To her, Daddy was all about having fun.

She didn’t realize that things like paying for school lunches, field trips, and renting her viola for the school orchestra were beneath him.

I kept my mouth shut… I practiced a curious version of honesty with her… when she asked me a question about her father, I would answer her… putting none of my personal opinions into the answer, simply answering the question she asked… never elaborating.

“Mom, isn’t Dad supposed to be helping take care of us?”

“Yes”

She’d wait for me to elaborate… learning over time that I never would.

She’s older now.

She doesn’t need to ask me as many questions… she sees it all with her own two eyes.

It has dawned on her, slowly over the last year or so, that our roles in her life- her father’s and mine- are very lopsided.

One parent is sure to have fun with her… but is just as sure to tell her to talk to her mother when it’s time to stop having fun and get serious… somehow he knows when to vanish.

He knows how to make promises to her, only to break them when his girlfriend, or one of her sons needs something instead.

He knows how to take her places, pay money for her to have fun… but he’s just as adept at making commitments, swearing to take care of this or that… only to disappoint and never follow through.

Her father also knows how to utilize her as a babysitter, as her little sister’s mother… using her “maturity” at the ripe old age of 10 as an excuse to leave her home alone at night while he pursues his social life, attending concerts, going to bars.

When my daughter is scared, alone in the night, and tries to call him, he doesn’t answer.

The other parent, her mother, doesn’t have the means to go to the movies and out to eat and to the store to get new stuff very often.

But when the viola for orchestra needs to be rented, or shoes need to be bought, or a field trip needs to be paid for… if a trip to the doctor is necessary…

The Diva knows who will take care of it.

She knows I don’t have a lot of materialistic things to offer her… but she knows my word is good… I won’t break my promises to her… and I will never allow anyone else- certainly not a romantic interest- to so much as create the allusion that they are more important to me than my babies are.

She knows that I am the Mommy- I will take care of her, and I will take care of her sister- The Diva understands that when she is with me, I am the one who will be responsible for what does and does not occur.

Life with The Diva isn’t all roses… she certainly has her moments when I’m not her favorite person… like when she wants to spend the night at a friend’s house on a school night… or when I make her practice her spelling words… writing the words she doesn’t know three times each, until she learns them. She hates that I won’t let her have a myspace page…

She used to argue, when I would tell her no, that if she was with her dad, he wouldn’t care if she did it.

Over time, the realization has begun to sink in… it’s not that her dad doesn’t care if she does the things she wants to… It’s that he simply doesn’t care…

Period.

She gives me a run for my money too, sometimes.

Like when she saunters nonchalantly into my room, acting as if she wants to talk about the weather, but instead asks me about sex, STDs and birth control.

We all have our moments… and this one, like all the others, may not be lasting…

… But today, for right now, I am her hero.

Posted in Barack Obama, C-Haze, Children, Elections, Funny, Humor, Marriage, Memories, News, Nostalgia, Politics, Presidential Campaign, Race

Our President’s No Pit Bull… But a Mutt Like Me

I love Barack Obama.

No secret there… no one’s falling over in shock as they read this thinking, “Really? I would have pegged her a McCain chick…”

I love his stance on social issues, I respect the choices he has made in his life, I am inspired by his family- his beautiful and very gracious wife Michelle, as well as their two daughters.

I appreciate his character and strength.

Perhaps most of all, I love his sense of humor.

This was such an emotional campaign… and for all the times he gave us goosebumps or made us cry because of the weight of his words… he has made us laugh.

While certainly no “average” American, he does remember what it was like to be one… he doesn’t pretend to know what he’s doing every second of every day… nor does he try to trick us into thinking he has all the right answers all the time.

When he speaks of his family, I get the sense that he is not the almighty Commander in Chief in his household, but rather, just Dad and hubby.

I was watching some clips from Obama’s press conference yesterday, and once again our President Elect made me proud.

He also made me laugh.

Seems the Obama household faces a dilemma in getting that puppy that was promised to Sasha and Malia.

Due to allergies, it will be necessary to get a hypo-allergenic pooch…

… But if the decision were President Obama’s, he’d prefer “A mutt, just like me”.

Regular readers of mine know that I, too, am a mutt…

… And as such, couldn’t be happier, or more ready to serve my new President.

Here’s the clip:

Posted in Barack Obama, C-Haze, Elections, Memories, News, Nostalgia, Politics, Race

The Rev. Jesse Jackson Says It All

By now we have all seen the touching image of Jesse Jackson, in tears, as Obama gave his victory speech late Tuesday night.

The image, in my mind, has come to signify what millions and millions of us were experiencing as we learned that Barack Obama would be our 44th president.

I cannot look at the picture without experiencing chills, goosebumps… and more often than not, I wind up shedding a tear or two myself.

Many people, especially my generation, are not huge fans of Jesse Jackson… and while it is true he has become an extremely polarizing figure in the last 20 years, it is also true that his devotion to civil rights is unmatched.

Jackson has not simply witnessed the transformation this country has undergone, he has been actively involved in it, every step of the way.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson has explained- beautifully- what was in his heart and on his mind the night of Tuesday, November 4th.

He again speaks for many.

Well, on the one hand, I saw President Barack Obama standing there looking so majestic. And I knew that people in the villages of Kenya and Haiti, and mansions and palaces in Europe and China, were all watching this young African-American male assume the leadership to take our nation out of a pit to a higher place.

And then, I thought of who was not there… As mentioned, Medgar Evers, the husband of Sister Myrlie… the martyrs and murdered whose blood made last night possible. I could not help think that this was their night.

And if I had one wish: if Medgar, or if Dr. King could have just been there for a second in time, would have made my heart rejoice. And so it was kind of duo-fold – his ascension into leadership and the price that was paid to get him there.

There is nothing more to add.

Jackson has said it all.

Posted in Barack Obama, C-Haze, Elections, Memories, News, Politics, Presidential Campaign, Race, Religion

Burn, Baby, Burn

Firefighters worked to prevent the blaze in Springfield from spreading to houses.While many of us are still flying high, allowing the fact that we just elected our first black president to sink in…

Others seem hell-bent on reminding us that such an historic moment comes with its share of challenges.

Simply put, there are still plenty of jackasses out there.

From Massechussetts we hear the story of a predominantly black church, still under construction, being burnt to the ground mere hours after Barack Obama became our president elect.

If this story conjures up images from 45 years ago, it should.

We have made enormous progress in this country, but we cannot allow Tuesday night’s victory to inflict amnesia upon us, causing us to forget the very real racial challenges we still face in this great- albeit divided- nation.

Posted in C-Haze, Memories, News, Nostalgia

Remembering Paul Newman

As most of us have undoubtedly heard by now, the Great Paul Newman has died. Paul Newman's handsome face and solid acting made him a popular and respected film star.

He was 83.

He will be sorely missed- for his brilliance, his talent, and perhaps even more for his humanity.

From the more than $200 million he has donated to charity from the profits of his Newman’s Own salad dressing company to the 11 Hole in the Wall Camps throughout the world that are benefitting children who suffer from terminal illnesses…

This is a man who gave back.

Prayers and condolences to his beautiful wife, their family, and everyone else who loved Paul Newman.

Posted in Barack Obama, C-Haze, Children, Elections, Joe Biden, John McCain, Memories, News, Nostalgia, Politics, Presidential Campaign, Religion, Sarah Palin, War on Terror

Remembering 9/11 on Behalf of Change

Today I am remembering 9/11.

On September 11, 2001 I was 23 years old.

I had only one daughter… The Diva… and she had just turned 3.

We were in the car that morning- after dropping The Diva off at daycare, I would be on my way to work.

I worked in the corporate office of a large, well-known airport security company.

I heard it on the radio, just as The Diva and I had started our daily commute. The reports were sketchy, but the announcer said a plane had hit one of the towers at the World Trade Center in New York City. Probably just a Cessna, some inexperienced pilot that had accidentally strayed into the no-fly zone, and had lost his bearings.

After dropping The Diva off, returning to my car, I heard that the second tower had been hit, and suddenly, it dawned on me…

This was no accident.

Much of that first morning was a blur…

A plane hit the Pentagon… another, likely headed towards the White House, crashed in Pennsylvania.

Our company set TVs up, everywhere… not just to see the horror unfold… but because as an airport security company, there were concerns that perhaps these terrorists had passed through our checkpoints.

Did we let them in?

The FAA was in constant contact with our organization… and our CEO became more and more concerned that our company’s name be kept out of the media.

He told several people within the office to stop their regular duties immediately. We were given new job responsibilities.

We were instructed to read every single online article, every single print magazine, newspaper… everything that so much as mentioned 9/11… and if we saw our company’s name in print anywhere, we were instructed to notify him right away.

We combed through thousands of articles… day after day, hour after hour…  it was horrifying.

Escaping this nightmare, even for a moment, wasn’t an option. We were inundated at work- all day- with stories of death, tragedy… widows, heroes, and…

Unspeakable evil.

When it was time to go home at night, we still didn’t get any reprieve… the radio spoke of nothing but this nightmare… and at home, it was the only thing on TV.

Days turned into weeks… shock turned into fear… and before long, fear turned to hate.

I hated those hijackers… I hated whoever was responsible for this sucker punch– right in the face of my great nation.

My hate grew and grew, the lines defining my hatred became more and more blurry until…

I could no longer make a distinction between those hateful people who caused this tragedy and the Middle-Easterners who had nothing to do with it whatsoever.

I hated Muslims… and most of all, I hated every single person from the Middle East.

I wanted a crater made out of that entire region. They did this to us. They have to pay.

I wanted blood, and I wanted it to be shed a thousand times worse than anything “they” ever could have imagined doing to us.

As is most often the case, my anger, after boiling over, finally began to subside… clearer thoughts began to prevail… and I realized I don’t hate Middle-Easterners… I hate what a few people did to my country…

I started to understand that my anger, my hatred, was misplaced.

I don’t hate Muslims… I hate the perversion a small few of them created. I don’t hate entire nations… let alone entire regions.

I began to understand, these people had as much to do with this tragedy as I did… which was nothing.

But it was too late.

My government had already preyed on my fears, preyed on my hatred, as well as on the fear and hatred of my fellow citizens, and exploited all of it to its fullest.

We were at war.

We had invaded a country that had absolutely nothing to do with bringing the perpetrators of the single most horrific event in recent history to justice.

We were over there ostensibly trying to keep them from attacking us over here.

Seven years later, we are still waging two seperate wars in the Middle East… our soldiers are dying, as are other innocent people the entire world over…

Worst of all, there is no end in sight.

I have since had another child. I have moved a few times, I have changed jobs twice, and I have divorced.

Things have changed, and yet nothing is different.

Am I any safer? Are you? Are our children?

No.

We are not.

We are not fighting a war we can win, nor are we finding and seeking justice against those who threw that first sucker punch all those years ago…

We have created death that long ago surpassed what we witnessed on that fateful September 11, 2001… many of which involved our own soldiers…

Our own heroes.

We have made more enemies and have fewer friends.

I am outraged on behalf of the people that lost their lives on 9/11… on behalf of those who, as heroes, gave their lives to save others’, on behalf of those who were made widows that day, those who lost mothers or fathers, sisters and brothers…

On behalf of all the others who have given their lives since.

We owe them more than this.

We need change. Not more of the same.

Posted in C-Haze, Memories, News, Politics

Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones Will Be Missed

Rest In Peace Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones.

You will be missed.

For those who aren’t aware, Rep. Tubbs Jones was the first African American woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Ohio

Representing Cleveland.

She passed away on her own turf, in Cleveland Heights, OH, suffering a sudden and tragic aneurysm.

This wonderful woman’s presence was palpable… and she made a great difference.

I met her once, at a rally. She was beautiful, she was down to earth, and she wasn’t naive. She knew what was up in Cleveland and was willing- she wanted- to fight for her city.

She succeeded with the utmost dignity, gaining untold amounts of respect.

Most people don’t realize that Congresswoman Tubbs Jones was making history well before she ever went to Washington… she was the first black person, as well as the first black woman to serve as prosecutor for Cuyahoga County- Cleveland- Ohio. She was also the first African American woman to sit on the Common Pleas bench in Ohio.

She earned countless awards in both Ohio and Washington, DC.

The woman was a saint.

My prayers and well-wishes go to her family, her friends, her district, and her constituents.

God Bless.