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We won and we lost. Obama winning helped to put one piece of injustice to sleep. But injustice is still with us. Discrimination is still lurking in the laws. Liberty is still for the select few. Freedom is still not for all of us. Equality still hunts us down like we were on cotton plantations.

Because “they” are still not allowed to get married. “They” are still held as second class citizens. Tell me? Who the hell are “they”?

Bullshit. Bullshit I tell you.

It’s like playing that whack-the-mole game. You hit one piece of bigotry on the head and another one pops up. Whack! Whack! Whack! It never stops. But unlike the game, we can’t pull the plug on bigotry. Their batteries get charged by their own hatred.

Look. I am REALLY getting sick and tired of this. There is no “they”.

There. Is. No. They.

There is only us. “They” are you who are bigots. The only people who are “they” are those who preach hatred. Hatred for gays, hatred for Africans, hatred for African-Americans, hatred for rednecks, hatred for Jews, hatred for Muslims, hatred for Christians, hatred for… and more hatred and more hatred and more hatred.

You! Yes you! Bigot! That one who hates gays. Or who doesn’t want “them” to have the same rights as everyone else. All that separates you from burning “them” on a cross is some wood and matches. All that separates you from strapping a bomb to your chest and blowing them up is a book in your hand and a different language. Bigotry is bigotry. Hatred is hatred. It’s only the degrees that differ.

You think you are so different from those who kill innocent people elsewhere in the name of a jihad? You think you are so different from those policemen who killed Biko? You think you are so different from the Christians who murdered during the Crusade? You think you are so different from those who flew those planes? You think you are so different from those who kept slaves on the plantations? Who burned people at stakes? You think you are better than a Hutu or a Tutsi? You think you are better than the priests leading Jesus to the cross?

You are not. You are no better. You are separated only by the degrees of action. You speak the same language. You spew the same hatred. You can cloak it in nice words. But so did Hitler. So did Pontius Pilot. So did PW Botha. So did Mao. So did Stalin. So did everyone who believed they were better than “the others”.

You are no better than those who killed and murdered. You are them. Separated by a small degree of heat. A small step. One action separates you. Just one. They are your brothers. Your keepers. In thought and prayer.

Don’t ever call me straight. I am not straight. I am me. Who I sleep with and who I love has nothing to do with you. It has nothing to do with my bad fashion sense. It has nothing to do with my anger. It has nothing to do with defining who I am inside.

I have no choice about who I am. I am because we are. I have no choice about being straight. I have no choice about being gay. I am just me. Like the color of my skin is not my choice. And my gender is not my choice. Or where I was born was not my choice. It is who I am. We should not be defined by these parts of who we are. We should be defined by our love and compassion for others and for ourselves.

Hell, if I had a choice I would not have chosen to be a pale heterosexual male. Except for the fact that it helped me find the love of my life it is nothing to be proud of. It is nothing special. In fact, I don’t like many of those who look like me. Hitler, Bush, Stalin, Verwoerd – all white males proclaiming to be straight. Too many bigots wear the same “clothes”.

I don’t ever want to be defined as heterosexual. I don’t. Because I am not. I am just a person who met another person and who loves. It could have been anyone. It just happened to be someone from the opposite gender. I didn’t make the choice to love her. It just happened.

That’s all I want the world to have. Just to feel the same love I feel. I don’t care who you are. Jew, Christian, gay, Muslim, straight, male, female, black, white, Chinese, Russian. I don’t care.

I. Don’t. Care.

All I want is “us” to all feel love. And see a better future together. As us. Not as “them” and “us”. There is only us in this world. All of us.

There is no such thing as a “gay issue”. Any injustice is my issue. Our injustice. Any limitation on freedom is a limitation of my freedom. Our freedom. Any inequality takes away my equality. Our equality. Any time the liberty of others are restricted then my liberty is restricted. Our liberty. Any place love is threatened my love is threatened. Our love. There can be no “others”. There can be no “gay issue”. There is only my issues. And our issues. We all have freedom, liberty, equality, justice, life, love and opportunity. Or I have none. I am not gay. But I am gay. 

I am the “gay issue”. We are the “gay issue”.

Because… I am because we are.

All of us. I am us. I am the “we”.

We will not fail each other. Because there is no gay issue. There is only an us issue.

 

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A few other posts of mine looking at the “gay issue”:

The “gay problem” or The Idiot’s Guide to Bigotry

The Gay Agenda

And one more thing

How to solve the “gay marriage problem”

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A friend of mine just passed me this link to something Keith Olbermann had to say on gay marriages. I missed it completely as I don’t watch enough telly. But it seems as if Keith and myself have more in common than what I thought. Go watch what he had to say. It is long. But it is worth it. His questions are very similar to mine. Just more eloquently put…

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The news isn’t getting any better is it? Time to have a closer look. I must apologize first though. I do get a bit worked up today. So please excuse the anger. But some of this stuff just isn’t funny anymore. Don’t worry though, some of it is still pretty funny. Hey remember, no news is good news. So some news is slightly crap news. I’ll start with the crap news first.

Same old, same old...

Same old, same old...

1. Mr McCain, act your age – or maybe not

It’s becoming a bit tedious. Every week I tell myself that I will leave McCane alone. His an old man after all. And I am not being nice. My mom won’t be impressed. You know, she always said I should show respect to old people. And I really want to. But then he does it again. Or maybe I should say, “Oops he did it again”. Yes, McCane has scrapped right through the bottom of the barrel and is now digging up old cat crap from the garden soil below. He is reaching a new low. Even for a Republican. Okay, maybe I am wrong. You can’t really reach a new low as a Republican. Or at least not this type of Republican. They boldly go where no one has gone before. Anyway, let’s get back to the Mac. McCane decided to take Obama on by focusing on the issues. Not. No, he decided to tell us nothing of his own policies or why he might be a good President and instead compared Obama to Britney and then said Obama is playing the race card. Sigh. (I wish my wife would allow me to swear in my blog. McCain deserves one.) Come now Mista McCane, what the hell do you stand for apart from anything anti-Obama? The USA actually needs someone to stand for something and not just against everything. Look what happened the last time you picked a President that stood for nothing but anti-everything. You are living in that world right now. Who are you McCane? Who are you when you look in the mirror apart from an angry old man with no life or policies? If Obama is Britney, are you the wino old hag who hangs around Britney trying to catch a bit of her “shine”? Get a life of your own please. And saying Obama is playing the race card… Have you actually been on the “internets” as your buddy calls it? Have you seen and heard the things people are saying of Obama? Have you not heard how that stupid blond woman called Ann Coulter play “funny” with Obama’s names? Have you seen the original racist comments that Rooster99 left on this blog? Obama playing the race card… Bah! Wake up and smell the roses. Grow up and act your age. No wait. Please don’t. We don’t need another President asleep behind the wheel. I guess the next thing you should start bitching about is that Obama is playing the intelligence card and walking the leadership path. That is so unfair hey? Ek is gatvol van MyPyn se wyn.

2. UK decides not to prosecute corruption

Imagine if this happened in South Africa. Or anywhere in Africa… The anti-fraud agency starts to investigate allegation that the largest national arms manufacturer and dealer offered bribes to a potential buyer. A bribe to get the buyer to buy some weapons. Maybe even a few weapons of mass destruction? And the buyer? A Middle Eastern buyer. With a really bad human rights record. And then the agency drops the investigation. Why? Because the buyer blackmailed the investigators by saying that they won’t give any anti-terrorism support or intelligence info in the fight against terrorism. What would you expect the agency and your government to do? Don’t answer – let’s first look at what the UK did. The UK government actually supported the investigators decision not to probe a bit deeper into the bribery case. Even though they already had good evidence. And they are so happy the agency dropped the case. The reason? National security. Bull. Let any African government do this and guess what – everyone will be all over them and throw their toys. They will talk about the corruption by African governments. And say it is just “the way these Africans are”. Well, stuff you. Go put it where the sun don’t shine. You Mr Brown and gang, the bribes are on your hands and for the whole world to see. The blood of those who die because of these weapons? One your hands. National security? Guess what. Did you know that Osama bin Laden comes from that country involved in this corrupt arms deal, terrorism threat and blackmail case? To the UK – you just lost your right to bitch about corruption anywhere else in the world. Especially in Africa. Go clean your own house first.

Oh, in a new development… This same UK arms manufacturer (BAE) was just caught in another case. One that involves their links to a Zimbabwean arms trader. A Zimbabwean arms dealer with strong ties to Robert Mugabe. Sweeping that one under the carpet as well now shall we? What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Right? No reason to investigate this one if you didn’t want to look at the Saudi one. “Nothing to see here folks. Please move on.” Spineless bigots. Murdering bastards. What a pair they make. The UK and Zimbabwe caught necking behind the barn. Brown and Mugabe seen doing some heavy petting in the hay. Blood on your hands you stupid gutless Pom.

3. UK crime levels fall

I know I joked about it in my Next Week’s News Today II, but it is actually true. Crime rates are falling in the UK. It has done so by 10% over the last year. I stand by my original assessment that the economic crunch is behind it all. There is just nothing to steal anymore. I just wonder if the nanny state UK government will provide the criminals with some economic “stimulant” package as well. I mean really. It’s bad if the mob can’t even squeeze anything out of the dry UK well anymore. See? Crime doesn’t pay. Not now. At least they will have the dole to fall back on.

4. Scientific proof that Conservatives are sick

A new study from the University of New Mexico (Albuquerque!) has just linked religion with diseases. Basically, the study “proves” that there is a link between the number of religions and the “control” of diseases. Apparently, society organizes itself in religious groups to limit the spread infectious diseases and other health risks. That’s a bit of a bummer. It makes the US a pretty sick society. I mean really, the Christian churches over here are worse than Trotskyists – they split into two separate groups every time two Christian conservatives/evangelicals get together in a room. Aah, now I get the whole anti-science thing amongst some of the more fundamentalist Christian groups in the US. You see, some science actually focus on healing people. Get rid of diseases. So the basic fibre of religion will fall apart. The healthier we are the more secular we will become. I hope Hagee and Bush don’t read this. Or maybe they knew about this all along. You know – denying evolution and denying global warming. Very Christian of them.

5. China and US sync laptops

China. What can I say. Loved it over there. Just don’t take your laptop with when you go and visit. They don’t like free information that much. Like to control it a bit. Can’t get access to all the sites on the internet. Including this one. (Wonder if they lifted the “ban” on this one when they relaxed their control a bit this week?) Anyway. They like control. And they have a bit of a habit of taking laptops at airports. You know – to check for “information”. And good luck if you can get it back. They go a bit further though. They check what you do and download your information, contacts and everything they can get their hands on. It helps that they control the networks you have to use. They are checking for anything that can “threaten” China. I call it no freedom and control freaks. So no surprise that American politicians are a bit unhappy about that. America is build on the foundations of freedom. Free expression and information are the cornerstones of this great country. I was even happier to see that it was a Republican being pissed at the Chinese for doing this. Senator Sam Brownback from Kansas was really pissed at the Chinese and their attempts to get every single piece of information they could get their hands on. Good on you Senator Brownback. Freedom of expression and information should always be protected. It’s the American way. But… Hang on a minute… What do we have here? It can’t be. The US doing the same? Yes! You see, first it was invasion of privacy with the “Patriot” Act. Like the Chinese, they will track your info like a true Chinese autocrat. And now it seems they are taking another leaf from the little red Chinese book of control. They are ready to take your laptop at the airport. And do pretty much what ever the hell they want to do with it. And they go a step further. They’ll take your iPod as well. Not to control your music as if it is some 50’s rock ‘n roll clampdown. No, just to check what info you have on there. (I would be so embarrassed by my playlist.) So there you go. Information control. China and the US dancing to the same tune. And I bet it ain’t to the Beatles or the Rolling Stones. Closer to the Grateful Dead I guess. George W Bush and Hu Jintao, both President and Commander in Chief of the two most powerful nations in the world, dancing the slow dance of control. It’ll make Mao so proud. He didn’t even have to invade the US for the Red Revolution to take over. First they took over the economy and now exported they own special brand of information control and freedom suppression. Tangle or tango anyone. Any wise words of wisdom now Senator Brownback?

________________________

That’s it folks. More pissed than usual. But can’t help it – they keep on feeding me crap.

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What ya lookin' at?
What ya lookin’ at?

You’ve heard me say it before – hear me roar. I’m a Lion! No. Not really. I’m a Zebra. White with some black stripes. Or is it black with some white stripes? It doesn’t matter. I am South African. I’m a bit of both. That’s the great thing about being from South Africa. You stand a damn good chance of having a bit of everybody in your family tree. I am damn proud of it. A bit of everybody. 100% pure South African. A little bit of everything. A buffet of blood running through my veins.

Now, like I said, it shouldn’t be a bad thing. And it isn’t. It works most of the time. For most of us. But sometimes it doesn’t work out so well. It doesn’t always work out all that well for me. My problem is that I got the short stick on both sides. The bits that’s bad is really bad. And the good bits are missing. Well, mostly. 

The problem is that sometimes I am way too white. So white it’s scary. In way too many ways. And not in any good way. Look at the music I listen to. Bruce-Bloody-Springsteen. Cold-Flippin-Play. Pearl-Damn-Jam. David-Hum-Grey. I mean really. Couldn’t I get some blood with a bit of beat in it? I even listen to Toto’s Africa when I miss home too much. Really. It’s so sad. Just plain sad.

Wait. The Toto song reminds me of that Castle Lager ad of the South Africans watching sport on the roof of a New York apartment. Drinking Castle Lager. That’s why I listen to Toto. Castle Lager. Hmm… Charles! Somewhat dry, somewhat bitter, never sweet.

Anyway… I am getting off topic.

I am so bloody white I was born with two left feet. I can’t dance to save my life. Really can’t. It’s not a pretty sight. I have seen grown men cry when watching me dance. And not for any good reasons. The pain it causes will leave an everlasting mark etched into your brain. You will wake up screaming in the middle of the night sweating and shouting, “Just don’t dance please! Just not that please!” I make Freddy Krueger look like the ideal prom date for any close dancing. Let’s just leave it at me not being a great dancer shall we? The white blood is strong when it comes to dancing. Too damn strong.

And to complete my whiteness? Singing. You don’t want to hear me sing. Really. It’s been banned under the Geneva Convention. I can peel lead paint off walls with one rendition of Roxanne. Or, as my lovely wife always says, when I go busking people pay me to shut the hell up! I think I might not be gifted with a strong voice.

But I can live with this part of my whiteness. I can bob my head up and down instead of dancing. Or in my case, look like someone who is really disagreeing with the person standing next to him. You know – with all that head shaking. Because I can’t even keep a head beat. And with an iPod on my side? I can listen to my music and no one will know that it’s some skinny white dude singing. Well. With the singing? No problem. I just follow my loving wife’s advice and shut the hell up. Or sing softly to myself while taking a shower. With the extractor fan on – full blast. Yes. I can hide the whiteness most of the time. At least the scary bits.

But now I am being hit with my bad black blood.

I got away with it in South Africa. I played soccer like a maniac and ate my putu with pride. I got away with it most of the time. Except for my dislike of the beach. Hated the sand sticking to my body. And the awful salty water. The sun baking while you are lying on a towel doing nothing. Nothing! And if God wanted me to swim he would have given me gills and webbed feet. The Big Four S’s of bad taste. Swimming, sand, sun and salt water. Don’t like it. It’s bad. And it makes me look even worse when standing on the beach squinting and spitting out sand.

But I got away for it for most of the time. Until I got to the US. It caught up with me. My bad black blood. Another “S”…

Snow…

It looks nice. When it is mixed with a strawberry or two to make a daiquiri. Oh, wait. That’s way too white.

Snow. Nice to look at. Even nice to shovel. Almost. But when it comes to those sports. Man. Man, man, man. It’s not made for these legs and this blood. Talk about a frog in a blender. Just arms and legs everywhere. And a trail of blood following. That’s us Africans. Can’t do snow. Won’t do snow. It just ain’t on man. It’s meant to be a mix and not a sport.

And let us run out in the veldt. No problem. We can run for days. Or at least a minute or two. But snow. How the hell do you even walk in snow? With all those layers of clothes on? I look like the Abominable Snowman on steroids stuck in quicksand. The more I move my legs, the less I move forward. And I slowly sink away into the snow. Never to be seen again. Until summer when they find the lone body of an African with a permanent frown on his face. Bloody snow.

Yes. I am a Zebra. A little white and a little black. A little scary and a little bad. Just a shame I got the pieces all mixed up. But hey, that’s South Africa for you. That’s South Africans for you. We always get the pieces mixed up.

So why am I telling all of this now? In the middle of summer? Because I know that it is waiting for me. It’s coming – the snow. I can sit here and drink my daiquiri. But the crushed ice is a reminder that my days are numbered. The snow waits for no man. And no Zebra. It’s coming and I am scared. And there is no place to hide. My true colors will show in the snow. And it’s gonna be bad baby.

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I feel a bit like Obama at the moment. It seems as if the race card is being played. Or rather that people are all of a sudden interested in my race. Black or white? For the record? People keep on asking. It really shouldn’t be this difficult. Just a little bit of research will clarify it all up nicely. Really. Let me give some help here. But before we go there.

I am interested in why people want to know if I am black or white. Does it matter? Does it tell you all you need to know about me? Will the reaction be “Ah, I thought so”. Thought so what? How would my race make it any easier to understand what I say? The accent and language will still be a bit of a problem. Will it make it easier to dig through what I write and find the white or black warning lights? Will it help in making me fit into the box? The boxes we build.

Most know that I don’t think the world is black or white – no pun intended – but shades of grey. Nothing is definite. Nothing is final. Nothing is the final answer. Nothing is as it seems. There is always another angle. A third angle. But still. It should be easy to tick the box next to my name. But everyone seems to struggle a bit with that one.

It should be easy. Just a little bit of research is required. And you don’t even have to leave this site. Start at the start. My first blog – I wasn’t born to be an activist. It tells you all about where I come from. At the least the first bit. That I wasn’t born to be like this. No. I wasn’t socialized to be like this. I wasn’t brought up to be like this. I was brought up to think about race. As a racist. It’s easy to follow the trail from there onwards. Just read from the back – everything under “An Accidental Activist” will give you an idea of the journey so far.

I don’t mind the name calling. Really, I don’t. Another one you can read is about the name calling. Read Umlungu – becoming a white bastard. That was my first bit of name calling. But I actually liked that one. I’ve been called worse. Much worse. But the name calling isn’t really much of an issue. It’s the race card that is an issue.

It’s happened a few times. Being called out because of the color of my skin. At the UN while being asked by my African colleagues to co-chair a meeting. And some black non-Africans complained that I wasn’t the right color. Or rather – not the right shade. It is odd. Very odd. The only places where my color of my skin was never questioned was at NACTU and at the African Caucus.Guess what. There wasn’t a white face around. Not a single one. Except my shade. Makes me think a bit that one.  Their response was always the same, “So what. Look at his heart. Look at his deeds. Look at his blood. Look at his soul.”

I think it might have to do with the fact that racism doesn’t have anything to do with race, and has everything to do with race. People just want to put other people in little boxes. If you’re gay you are this way. If you are male you are that way. If you are black you are this way. And if you are Chinese you are that way.

Maybe the only way is people. Just sit down. Close your eyes. Listen to your soul. And listen to the voices around you – not the one in your head. Hear the wonder. Hear the beauty. Hear the people of this world living. And we can be part of that. Or we can be living in our own little box.

So what am I?

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Here we go again…

1. The world growing bigger?

The only problem is that not everything else is expanding with it. I know it is disturbing. But don’t worry. We are. Humans. And other planets. And animals. At least until we slaughter them and turn them into burgers and steaks. Even our measurements are expanding. And no, I don’t mean our waistlines. Okay. Not only our waistlines. Also our waste-lines. No idea what that means, but it sounded good when I wrote it. Anyway… I thought the world must be growing while our food and drinks stay the same size. Why? Because everything is getting smaller. Bought a salad the other day and realized that it is smaller than what I remembered from the last time I bought a salad. But then I had a closer look. Damnit. Can you believe it. Even salads are being reduced in size. No – not because of obesity. Rather because of profits. With “raw” materials and overheads going up they had to cut cost somewhere. Why not start with the portions they sell? No problem. Right? Well, I don’t have a problem with it. But it would have been nice of them to tell me. I felt a bit cheated. Dirty. And looking at the smaller packet made me feel all grown up and bigger than what I feel really comfortable with. I felt a bit like Alice for a minute. But, as you might know, I am not a big salad eater. So it didn’t faze me. But I lost it when I realized that they are doing it to beer! Bloody hell people! That’s a line you should never, ever cross. Do what you want with us, but leave our beer alone. You thought President Bush got all pissed at Iraq trying to kill his daddy. Don’t mess with an African and his beer. But they did. Selling us 14 ounce beers but passing it off as a 16 ounce beer! Sacrilege! But the trend continues. Cars are getting smaller. Which is a good thing. My ego can fit into a Mini. But those guys with the big trucks and girls with the big SUV’s. Not sure if their ego can fit into a Ford Focus. I mean really, they only just manage to squeeze into a Hummer. Yeah. The world is shrinking. No, you aren’t getting fat. It’s the clothes shrinking… We’ll all look like Lance Armstrong soon. Tights everywhere. Okay, maybe with two… hum… you know. Oh, I was lying about the salad. It is shrinking, but I am African. We don’t do salad. A good salad is anything not meaty – like chicken.

2. Getting ready to be arrested

I am off to China this weekend. But I’ll tell you about that later. Once I am back. Still waiting for my visa, but hopefully that will be sorted today. There is a reason why I use the name Angry African you know… Anyway. I have been talking to my IT guy about staying connected while I am over there. Apparently it won’t be a good idea to blog from there. Not only do they sometimes “relieve” you of the burden carrying your laptop around, but don’t like bloggers speaking out that much. Not much at all. You see, China, Burma, Iran and Egypt heads the list of countries arresting people because they blog about their political views. I am safe then I guess. I don’t do political views… What I write is nothing but an impartial view of the world and what is happening around us. So I should be safe. But many bloggers are not. 334 got arrested in Burma alone. But thanks to their “somewhat” restrictive government, these could not be verified. When you drop of the face of the earth… 

3. No workers, no problem

Biofuels are held up as either the answer to all our problems or the next disaster to hit us. I don’t have much of a view on this one. I think biofuels could be part of the solution (not the solution), but the current approach sucks. Using corn and sugar just don’t make sense. it pushes food prices right up and we cut down forests meant to protect us from emissions. Sounds like stupid economics to me. And Brazil has a huge problem. They are cutting down the Amazon rainforest faster than you can say “Hummer”. I mean really. 1,123 square kilometers were cut down in April alone… So Unica, the Brazilian ethanol lobby decided to go on the charm offensive. They invited a few journalist around to show them all the good stuff they are doing. Apart from the cutting down of trees that they forgot to mention, most of their ideas are just fine. Like going all mechanical in the cutting of the cane. Less pollution because they don’t have to burn them anymore. But there was something else that caught my eye. The reporter only mentions it as a “by the way”. But it struck me that Unico might still need some more PR training. Unico said that companies are going all mechanical on us because it addresses two challenges. One, the pollution. Check. Secondly, it will get rid of the cane-cutters and therefore also get rid of any labor problems and labor critics. Hum. Maybe you shouldn’t have mentioned that one. Keep spinning the “we chop down trees to be green” line. It’s not only more believable, it also makes the “little people” go away.

4. The two stooges

Tweedledum and Tweedledee are meeting as we speak. I mean Mbeki and Mugabe are meeting. In Zimbabwe. Not sure why. Maybe to discuss the weather. Or the latest fashion. Or what curtains to pick for their new houses. Or fining new and more spouses. Bloody idiots. Look. I have supported Mbeki through thick and thin. Defended him wherever I could. I even defended his initial position on HIV/Aids in South Africa. And justified his initial approach to the Zimbabwean crisis. But it has gone too far. People are dying in South Africa because of his idiotic HIV/Aids policies and lack of action. And people are dying in Zimbabwe because of a tyrant that has gone bonkers. Mbeki and his “quiet diplomacy” just sounds like “staying quiet”. Sorry you two idiots. Time’s up. You are not welcome anymore. Just take your stuff and go sit in the corner. And be quiet. We have a name for people like you. It starts with an “m”. “Moer-something” in Afrikaans and “Mother-something” in English. Just go. Don’t hang your curtains. Hang your heads in shame. Or just hang your heads.

5. McCain inspiring old white men in Europe

I don’t think so. Okay, maybe he does if you include the arms dealers. But other than that, McCain inspires people outside the US about as much as Osama Bin Laden inspires tolerance. yes, there might be one or two out there who would fall for them. But they are loonies and at the fringe. But Obama. Now that is another story. He isn’t even President (yet) and he is already inspiring people across the world. telling them to break out of their racial stereotype and that anything is possible. That you can do it – no matter where you come from. France is going through some tough times right now. Race is at the forefront of so many debates. And they have violence on the streets of Paris. Because people feel hopeless. That in the land of Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité. Well educated blacks have to compete with 15-year old white kids for a job at McDonald’s. Nothing wrong with working at McDonald’s. But when the color of your skin stoops you from aiming higher, then you have a problem. But all of a sudden Obama is making people talk about race in France. And what it means. And how it can be overcome. And how it can inspire people to continue to fight the good fight for equality. Real equality. Not just a French word. That is inspiring. That is Obama. McSame? Well, apparently the old people in France likes his comb-over. It is so provincial.

See ya later.

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Apparently the Republicans are getting all worked up about a black woman. Again. Getting their knickers in a knot, as we would say. And no, I am not talking about Oprah tackling their favourite pastime either – eating a Quarter Pounder from Mickey D’s. (By the way – who the hell was the bright spark at McDonald’s that thought Mickey D’s would be a sexy tagline?) Nope, and neither are they still pissed at Rosa Parks for taking “their” seat. Well, not that pissed anymore anyway. Just a little. No, they are getting ready to tackle a new black woman – Michelle Obama.

They are still pissed at her for saying that, “For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country”. All worked up that she wasn’t “really” proud earlier in her life. You know, she was just the run of the mill kind of proud of her country. Not “really” proud. Hum. Let’s visit this statement a bit, shall we?

So here she is. Black the last time I checked. And her husband is running to become the next President. Not because he is black, but because he is the best candidate according to some. Well, at last America is getting off the race issue. Or at least somewhat. According to polls, many Americans still believe that race will play a role in their decision on who they will vote for to become the American President. She must be “really” proud of the fact that her husband (or any black guy for that matter) can run for President on a non-race ticket and actually stand a chance of winning. That must “really” piss the Republicans off. But I would also be “really” proud for the first time as it is a first…

Or maybe she said, “for the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback.” (Different sources give me different quotes. That should not make them proud of their work…) Slightly different isn’t it though. Not a “really” in sight. One could have a problem with this now can’t we? Hum, maybe. Let’s have a closer look.

Michelle was born on 17 January 1964 – in Chicago. Lived there most of her life. 1964… The year after Kennedy got killed. She was born during the rule of LBJ. Not a time that reminds us of great hope does it? Okay – I’ll give you the moon landing. But she was only 5 and it was Kennedy’s idea anyway. And then came Nixon. Need I say more? And Ford and Carter followed. Again, not the good times now was it? Some would argue that Reagan brought hope. But sorry, he didn’t. Not universal in any case. He was a great leader for the Republicans. But he brought little hope to the world. Too many wars. Too many wrong decisions. Even if he was a good guy – he didn’t bring hope. And then Bush Sr. And another war. And no hope. Clinton brought some hope early on, but divided the country and got involved in too many “outside” activities. And then Bush Jr. More war and even less hope. Consistent during all these times were the lack of hope. Good Presidents and bad Presidents. But what they didn’t bring was hope. The one thing they didn’t have was this thing called hope. A future that the American people could see and believe in.

Oh, they all had their good times and their bad times. But not one single one of them painted a picture of an American tomorrow. They told Americans of a better tomorrow. But not of an American tomorrow. Just a better tomorrow. And then they all went and sold out to some vested interest somewhere.

I mean think about it for a minute. The 40’s – a just war against a true global threat. And America played a key role in changing the shape of history on that one. The 50’s – big infrastructure expansion, “good” businesses shaping the US, the building of America and the hope of a future so clearly depicted in art, movies, literature etc. The 60’s – people and their right, civil rights and the people speaking out against the way they were ruled and taken to war. And cool music. Then the 70’s – one bad politician after the other and disco music. Really. The 80’s – corporate influence over government takes shape like never before and continues to grow each year. But it started in the 80’s. And, of course, 80’s music and big hair. The 90’s – empty promises and big smiles. But little substance and even worse music (as if that was possible). And the new millennium… need I say more.

And then here he is. Her husband. Talking about tomorrow. And the future of America. And the hope of change. A better world. A better America. An America that we know and love. That stands for something good. Where America is run by Americans. The people. Not the vested interests. And she sees this and feels proud of her country for the first time because there is hope. She didn’t say that she didn’t believe in her country before. Or that she didn’t love her country before. Just that this is the first time she is proud of her country. Maybe even “really” proud of her country. Because the leaders who represent and embody what America stands for haven’t been that hopeful since that shot ended the dream in 1963. For the first time the shadow is pulling back and America is facing itself again. Facing what it is to be American. And all the good that comes with it.

It’s not a passport. It isn’t an accent. It is “state of being”. To fight the good fight. Do the right thing. To celebrate freedom. To let people run the country. Let the people govern. Where hard working Americans can make the American Dream come true. Where the poor doesn’t get poorer and the rich doesn’t get richer just because they are rich or because they are poor. Or because of where they were born or the color of their skin or their sexual preferences or their gender or their…. Well, you get the picture. Where there isn’t a sense of entitlement because you were born into it. Where Americans can show the world once again that being good, believing in freedom, working hard, standing together and staying true are the key ingredients that make America great. And what makes American Presidents great. Something to be proud of.

I am sure she had moment when she was proud. Olympic success, moon landing, civil right etc. But those are moments. Not Presidents. America has fallen to far behind. Not behind other countries. But behind itself. China is catching up on the economic side. Human rights are seen as an European thing now. Protection mentality and exclusion are seen as the American way. America hasn’t forgotten what it is all about. Hasn’t forgotten what their leadership means. It just hasn’t always measured up to its own high standards. American Presidents haven’t really measured up against what is expected from a truly great American President.

Yes, America remains better than almost every single country out there in our little globe. But just being better than others have never been the American way. Being better isn’t the American way. The American way is being American. And everything it stands for. Measuring itself against the American ideals. Looking back and making judgements against what the Founding Father fought for. Looking in the mirror and saying, “Not good enough. Let’s go for it again tomorrow. And let’s make it work this time”. America defines America. Not others. And that has been the failure. The loss of hope. America somehow started measuring itself against others. Instead of defining itself. And that is maybe why Michelle is “proud” today. Because she sees the hope of America being America – and everything that goes with that.

Oh, CNN also told me that people will look at the spouses of the candidates when they make their decisions. Not what they stand for, but what it says about the candidates and their choices. Here is how I see it. (Just in case you asked for my opinion.)

What does Cindy tell me about the decision making of McCain? It tells me that he will flip-flop. Had a wife and then saw something else he liked. And dropped the first one. A President that will make decisions and change it just as quickly if it fits better. McFlop will flip any policy if it means more to gain I guess. In this case it was a net gain of about $100 million.

And what does it tell me about Obama? That he will stay with is choice. Even if they don’t see eye to eye on everything. And even if she says things he might not agree with. He loves them for who they are – warts and all. A President that will stick with you even if you make stupid mistakes and do stupid things. Like go into a stupid war or something.

Of course it also tells me that one picked a partner who are encouraged to think for themselves and speak out. No matter what the consequences. Speak out. Speak up. Don’t mince your words. It is the American way. Celebrating differences. Freedom of expression. And being open, direct and honest. Put your cards on the table. At least we know who she is. A bit like Eleanor Roosevelt. Speaking up on civil rights. Not just nice empty words and a pretty face. That did not make her popular with everyone now did it? But we’ll remember her and what she actually did instead of just talk about.

The other one? Not sure what she stands for. Hardly hear her speak. At least on anything substantive. Except to tell us how much she admires and agrees with Johnny M. But we know she shops at Oscar de la Renta. And that she looks “hot”. It tells me that we won’t have much to talk about if we ever meet. (Unlikely! Especially after this piece.) Because she will agree with me. And things would be all good. And she will tell me how she fights the bad stuff in a good way. Poverty and all the things the “little people” suffer from. Sorry. Seen that before.

No thanks. Give me the girl and guy who tell me things aren’t as fine as what everyone is trying to tell me. That we might just have to put a bit of effort into this. That everyone is accountable. That is America’s future is in the hands of each and every American. That it will take some effort, that it will mean some difficult choices, and everyone will have to pull their weight. But that America is worth a shot. That it is worth fighting for the American Dream and an American future defined by the American people. All of them.

Give me Michelle Obama anytime. Because at least she knows why she is proud. That it isn’t an empty word or a little flag you hang on your jacket. That it is hard work. And straight talking. It might be Kool-Aid. But it tastes just damn fine.

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Do you find this helpful? The deep analysis? Haha! Here we go.

1. British Airways going all British

Okay. That is enough. No more PC please. I draw the line right here. I was okay with the “we don’t want to our children to compete” stupidity in the schools when I was there. Yes, my child couldn’t compete in sport because they did not want there to be winners and losers. Failure was out – now called deferred success. Puh-lease! I think it was because she was going to kick some Pom butt. And on and on they went with their stupid ideas of the state controlling everything. But they have stepped over the line now. Now they won’t serve meat on British Airways flights anymore because some people have religious issues with beef (of course pork is out the window as well). Hang on a bloody moment here. You serve me tofu and soya and I’ll show you a place where the sun don’t shine. I have serious religious and cultural problems with eating anything but meat. It’s in my blood and in my bones. I am African. We eat meat. I find it offensive that you will pander to others but ignore my religious requirements. You have the option of ordering specific food before you board your flight AND you offer two types of meals. Let them phone you and make arrangement. Don’t you remember? We don’t have phones in Africa… And there is a serious consequence for all others as well – the non-meat eating… hum… humans. Can you imagine what they are going to serve us now? Crap fish and chips or rubber eggs. I am changing to Air Namibia next time I fly to South Africa – they serve biltong bites. Really. I have standards. Squash me into a box in the middle seat. Make me wait in line for an hour or two. Provide me with bad service at ticketing. Strip search me in public. But take my meat away? Tell me, do you still serve salad – or what do you call it again? Hum, oh yes – chicken? BA – Beef Away.

2. Honey, I am right behind you 

So the Prius will bring out a new version in 2010. And the Volt will also hopefully make its debut. And now VW says they will bring their super fuel efficient 1L concept to the roads as well. 1L is metric for 1 liter per 100 km, or 1 gallon going a full 230 miles. Cool isn’t it? Huh… No… Not even close. Volkswagen is German for Nation Wagon. Say what? You can’t even fit the bloody dog in there – never mind a nation. Seating for two only. Could be romantic hey? Huh… No… The passenger sits behind the driver. I can now truly be a backseat driver. Thanks VW, but if this is your answer to fuel efficiency then at least give it a few skates for wheels to use in winter. This way we can us it as a toboggan when the snow and ice comes.

3. Doctor Watson I presume?

Those bloody Nigerians. So here we are. With Idang Alibi going on about how Dr Watson was right when he said Africans are more stupid than the whities. Or rather, that black people are, in his humble opinion, not as intelligent as white people. Nothing humble about that mate. He goes on and on about how they are more stupid because of the failed Africans states. And that all other states are just fine. Guess what? I got angry. So here is more longer than usual response.

He talks as if every African state is a failed state. And that all others are just fine. Just fine. Well sorry – the world isn’t black and white (no pun intended). So, North Korea is just fine I take it? And Bangladesh? And most of the old Soviet states? And Latin America that have loads of European blood running through their veins? It’s easy and intellectually lazy to do that. For every Lagos there is a Laos. Also, he forgets to mention those African states who are not failing and are stable and growing. Senegal anyone? Or Mozambique now that the Cold War affect is over. And Botswana that has a huge HIV/Aids problem but still manages to outgrow the majority of countries in the world. Too easy and lazy of him to write a piece of crap that shows his own intellect. Sorry brother, I am not you and neither are most of us thank you. Go back to university and go and study how to be a journalist. Africa do have a series of failed states. But it isn’t a black thing. There are too many other failed states to tell us it isn’t a “black thing”. And don’t forget Zambia. One of the least corrupt and violent countries in the world – and acknowledged as such. Had mostly good governments. Except before “Ma” and after Kenneth Kaunda – Chiluba didn’t play nice. But he wasn’t really Zambian. And never been in a war – inside or outside its borders. More Swiss than the Swiss. And still one of the poorest countries in the world. Why? Because this isn’t some “American Dream” where those who work hard will come out on top. Whether you are an individual or a country, the one thing we have learned over the last 100 years is that those who are poor will remain poor and with limited opportunities no matter where they live. Yes, you have exceptions, but the American Dream doesn’t work for most people. No matter how hard they work. The bridge between poor and rich is increasing each and every day. Whether you live in America or you are a country in Africa. Even with the high growth rates – how long do you think Mozambique and Botswana must grow before it will reach the “upper status”? Do the math – it doesn’t work. No matter how hard you try. And there is no lottery for states either. And neither can you win a bucket of common sense either.

4.  Heartland no brainchild

Like all good scientists Heartland took the brave step of publishing the names of all those scientists who support their claim that Climate Change is no biggie. I think they should have just kept their list and tell us they have 500 names and leave it at that. It is turning out to be as accurate as the WMD statements. And like President Bush supporters, the scientists on the list decided to take the rat route off the ship. It seems as if the 500 aren’t 500 at all. You see, many of the scientist on the list actually believe in Climate Change. Oops. Look guys, how can we trust you with real science if you can’t even count properly? Climate Change isn’t social science you know – it is real science. Get the social science bit right and then we can talk. It seems as if you count with your heart instead of your head. Good for Bush, but no good for science.

5. Hillary and Bob – BGFF

Nooo link needed here – It’s about Hillary C and Bob Mugabe. If you don’t know anything about them then… I don’t know – do a google search. And no BGFF does not stand for Best Guy/Girl Friends Forever. It means Bye Go Finally F-off. It’s time they both go. Hillary keeps on losing supporters faster than Bob is losing his marbles. And that says a lot. But Hillary is a bit like Bob here. Refusing to accept it is all over. The other guy won – just accept it and live with it. So I have a little plan. Why don’t you two go to on a nice little island retreat for two. Just you two lovebirds. Maybe Bikini Atoll or Christmas Island. Bikini because we should pay A Toll to see either of you in one. And Christmas Island because Hillary needs a few presents to make up for the money she blew at 3 am. Bob won’t have a problem with the radioactivity – he might just grow a brain. We all live in hope.

That’s all folks. Bye-bye all. Have a great weekend and see you on the other side. I promise to be lighter and brighter next time. It will be a fun week – I promise.

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