Good Times in a Cynical World- Thoughts of a Frustrated Nigger…

first appeared in Thyblackman

Any time you meet a payment. – Good Times.
Any time you need a friend. – Good Times.
Any time you’re out from under.
Not getting hassled, not getting hustled.
Keepin’ your head above water,
Making a wave when you can.
Temporary lay offs. – Good Times.
Easy credit rip offs. – Good Times.
Scratchin’ and surviving. – Good Times.
Hangin in a chow line – Good Times.
Ain’t we lucky we got ‘em – Good Times. -(Theme song of Good Times)

I am convinced that the government, the folks with the most and those in charge have lost touch with the real world. As I peruse through the catalog of Good Times, I am reminded of the immense level of poverty that the nation faces in its totality. To be called the greatest nation in the world with a mass proportion of the children without adequate healthcare is a “mockery at best.” High schools are more in line with gateways to prison instead of bedrocks of knowledge. The people are losing hope with the leadership due to uncompromising positions with the mythical elite.

I raise this struggle from the perspective that the show Good Times sends a rally cry from the beginning of its syndication. This show proved to America that a black family could manage and maintain, though positioned in the ghetto. It displayed the power of a father who himself was uneducated (from an academic setting) but yet yielding the best guidance for his three children. A mother with a firm, maternal love and positioned with a pragmatic faith, that was always visible to others. The motif set from the story is a principle of survival with a supreme outlook of love.

The problem comes when the cynical world invites Darwinistic perceptions to overshadow the plight of the marginalized. (The people with medical benefits, start to tell the people without benefits that there is no money for medical benefits for them.) The schools at best are minimally equipped to serve the children which then leads to systemic poverty. So it is no wonder that the ghetto or the “projects” continue to have patrons. Understand the projects were never intended for those who lived in them to actually leave. In the words of Cee –Lo Green, “were the gates meant to keep us out or keep our  ass in.”

I’m in a zone….. Continue reading “Good Times in a Cynical World- Thoughts of a Frustrated Nigger…”

Reflection after reading “Democracy and Industrialism” by GK Chesterton

The democratic movement is a myth and impossible in an uncivil society. It is based upon the ability of  civilized people having the care and concern to lead and implement. Bad leadership handicaps the very essence of progression. So in a democracy, high priority is placed upon leadership for the success of community or society. If we allow the “misfortune of unrest” to pummel intimacy of community, then democracy will never stand a chance-if it is desired at all…

Tenuous Duality of Election Day-A Conversation with Self and my Alter Ego

So today is voting Tuesday around the country and people are all hyped about voting. I read tweet after tweet of people getting up early to vote and standing in line with pride. I see Facebook post of condemning people for not getting out to vote and a mass of other stuff concerning Election Day.


I am not sure how I want to digest this moment right now. I am proud that people are exercising their right to vote today. I am glad that people intentionally made efforts to get out early to vote. But I sit in the midst of the economic downturn as a man that is not fully employed without any benefits. I am the man that was unemployed for 6 months and had to get an unemployment check.

So am I enthused about the Obama camp?-by no means. But on the flip side, I see where Romney does not have my best interest in mind as well. He wants to provide legislature that will benefit him as a rich man more than those caught in the midst of this struggle. I am not what you would consider poor but I am part of a working class that is on the brink of losing many of their personal assets because of job loss.

So I have no confidence in the government as it relates to voting one or the other into office. I do not buy the concept of the “lesser of two evils” nor do I surrender to the voting clichés. Yes, many ancestors died for our right to vote but it was just that our right. So if one has the right to vote; they also have the right not to vote. I have seen the rhetoric of some who in so many words have called others stupid because they choose not to vote which goes against the very ethos of the voting privilege. Yes, I think people should vote but if a person chooses not to vote then that is their right as well not to do so.

Those who are for Obama turn a blind eye to the fact that he has not fulfilled many of the promises he said he would complete in 2008. If the tables were turned they would be all over the other candidate for not fulfilling their promises. Those in the Romney camp know good and well that Romney will run America like a business. He will balance budgets but at a great expense to those who need the programs that will be cut. So in the big picture both have holes in the campaign for me. Simple and plain folks just need to be real that they vote for cultural reasons more than political ideology. If I said I was voting for Romney and gave facts why- then many would call me crazy. So this is just not a question of voting but a question of voting for your candidate of choice.

At the end of the day -poor people are ostracized, children are poorly educated, women are still viewed obtusely, gays are left in limbo, Hispanics (or what we call Hispanics) are still considered illegal, soldiers are still in warzones outside of America- and blacks are housed in every one of those categories at alarming rates.

But you just want me to vote for the sake of voting…come on.

The Reflective Response

So today is voting Tuesday around the country and people are all hyped about voting. I have been repeatedly admonished to vote and some have even smirked in condescension as they layer my indifference with their subtle passing of judgment.


I refuse to be among the herds that use civic duty as a cliché and propose that a black man in the White House has to be the best of all possible outcomes for black people. What happened to the best of outcomes for all people? What about Obama makes him a black man? I’ll digress on that subject only to focus on the systemic regulation of mankind that seems to assert itself when the impetus for activism falls under the umbrella of “everybody’s doing it.”

Today reminds me of Christmas. Surely my daughters will not ask if I voted but who I voted for, assuming that Obama is the logical gift under the irreverent American tree. I’ll gladly get them what they ask for only in an attempt to protect them from 37 years of removing myself from the abase nature of society in an effort to reconcile myself to that for which being abased is truly rewarded.

I am both Romney and Obama, seeing myself fit for any office to which I am assigned as long as the assignees have no real sense of the balance between my impotency and that of the position. I am the smiling, eloquent businessman with the suit to match any persona I choose for that day. The cool customer slinging barbs to put you at ease along with the dispassionate pat on your back. I, better than the voter, know the difference between what you need and what you need to hear and if you’re patient I’ll make your mind cause the two to align.

I would love to insert a paragraph about government here but it may lead too many to believe that elections are about that. It’s not about candidates, issues, states, or even race. It’s about the illusion of empowerment. The same effect that the notion of “choice” has on so many believers, it gives one a belief in rights that are free (fictionally) from the selflessness that is required to “believe” in the first place. The power vested in the verisimilitudes of an incomplete reality that only makes “ Sandy ” real when it’s seen on TV. Having two options will force you to choose out of necessity, thus emboldening the voter by default. The long lines and racial tension are added fuel that leaves one on an indefatigable high, only to be proffered with sterile promises and hope capped by another four years of momentum; you choose the direction

End Result…I Voted

Theo-Political Tension

I am the first to admit that I am far from being well informed in politics. But as I get older and wiser, I start to understand that there is this theo-political tension that engulfs the life of the believers. There is this resounding intent that God’s sovereignty aligns itself with “the least of these”-in certain cultural containers this collectively embodies different people groups.

The theo-political tension is the reflective of a theological perspective that can consistently agree with a political stance. A theo-political tension is a contemplative, prophetic wrestle to understand how God intersects in the establishing of public policy. This is highly problematic if not impossible in the life of a believer. One is forced to examine either their theology or the politic in order to gather a consensus for the vote. This is a left of center approach that takes seriously the plight of “the least of these.”

God is the consistent factor but the disturbed variable being the person who has to participate in the constant wrestling.The tension is a result of misappropriated expectations of faith. We disguise the tension in our mistrust of the political figure when in actuality we have a mistrust of God’s sovereignty. (Now this does not excuse one from practically engaging in the political process but it gives a defining example of who is really in charge.) “Where is God in the political scene” is not an exact science but a revolutionary act of trust.  It is the theo (God) that gives credence to the political that allows us to deem it with any value. The tension invents itself when the political operates with a false premise that it can influence the direction of the theo.

The end result of the theo-political tension is one that ultimately leads you to divorce from the issue that public policy is the answer. Yes, we should be involved in the political process but due to the nature of our faith, we are not consumed by the outcome, if it runs opposite of our cultural narrative. Engagement in the process actually displays our level of faith as Pastor Wendell Jones shared, “We still have a duty to be divinely positioned to influence the world/policy for God.”

We do not find solace in the narrative but in the narrator. The narrator has the power to re-shape the narrative in accordance to his plan. The theo-political tension should lead us to a more vibrant pursuit and trust in God, as the process unpacks the intentions of the political machine.