by Thembisa S. Mshaka
Congratulations to our new First Family, the Obamas, and to all of America. YES WE DID!!!
Talk about hope?!
America was not ready to elect John McCain, a member of the Savings and Loan scandal’s Keating Five, a volatile 72 year-old cancer survivor, whose campaign staff was riddled with the lobbyists who represent the interests of and took money from some of the very organizations seeking or receiving historic government bailouts using our tax dollars; who voted against health care for children and with Dubya over 90% of the time; and has repeatedly, proudly stated that he will ask America’s young people to fight more wars (“Bomb-bomb-bomb, bomb-bomb-Iran”) all because the opponent has an African name and the skin tone to match. Hope has been restored. As McCain intoned in his concession speech, “the people have spoken, and they have spoken clearly.” That’s the sound of land sliding.
Along with Dr. King’s dream, hope was fulfilled last night—hope that the illogic of racism would not send America totally over the cliff into Third World status after an eight-year Dukes Of Hazard-on-steriods joyride driven by Bush-Cheney was restored.
The 24-hour news cycle beat the superficial to death with its coverage; among other inane newsbytes: Palin’s eyewear maker got flooded with orders after the RNC. Meanwhile, when Alaska held its biggest rally of any kind in history, because it was a Women Against Palin rally, it gets ZERO mainstream coverage. Obama got his share of slanted coverage too; remember the much publicized ‘love affair’ The Media had with him after he spoke so courageously on race and denounced his former pastor? While it is my opinion that he received far fewer passes than McCain, who finagled much mileage with his tattered POW card. The media’s Obama-rama was real, if for no other reason because it was absolutely astounding that he had actually beaten Hillary Clinton in a brutal primary and won the respect of the world while Black.
But the news said that in battleground states, the candidates are in a dead heat. The polls said that for worse or worst, Palin gave a lukewarm GOP a B-12 shot in the arm, especially among ‘Wal-Mart moms’, a very real demographic during the summer of $5.00/gallon gas and a time of behind-the-counter pharmacists acting as over-the-counter doctors, in lieu of comprehensive health care. The Clintons, still smarting from Hillary’s primary loss, were slow to come around and ride for the team by stumping for Obama. We get it, Billary. And yes, times were better with Bill in office. But this? Y’all never saw it coming. That white-knuckle, buzzer-beating superdelegate beatdown hurt. Hurt bad.
But another 4 years of the GOP in the Oval office would have hurt a LOT more, and the Clintons knew this. So after licking their wounds, they started making the rounds and making their loyalty known.
Still and all, there were so many darts aimed at busting the nation’s bubble of hope. I donated repeatedly and wrote post cards to suburban Pennsylvania women. I heard our next preisdent’s nomination acceptance speech in person at Invesco Field.
Can you feel it now?
And I almost drank the Kool-Aid of doubt. Admittedly, with full knowledge of the Change We Need, I found myself faltering, thinking negative thoughts, and entertaining the hype about him being too Black for Middle America to vote for, even though Barack is white too. They love Slash and Lenny Kravitz. They’ve already made the leap of embracing a Black man who broke barriers. I know, they didn’t run for President—but you feel me.
As President-elect, it’s time for Barack to flip the ‘divide and conquer’ script like he has flipped all the other scripts written by the Old Boys’ Network designed to not only exclude him, but work against him. Joe Biden is a big gun, and he will complement Barack in ways that Sarah Palin had neither had the intention nor ability to do for Senator McCain.
Barack Obama has come this far because he had every intention of going all the way. And his campaign leveraged all the poise, grace, grit and grasp of the issues to catapult the momentum he has created across the finish line to the 2009 Inaguration. And there’s more…
In addition to that email list of three million strong, Barack has another secret weapon that The Media isn’t talking about. It’s not their fault; they only talk about what they can see on paper or on tape. Until this election, this Secret Weapon was off the grid, and unable to be counted. We’ll be hearing all about them in the days to come. This weapon is so powerful, so strong in number we won’t even begin to know how deep they roll until Barack takes offcie. They are what I call The NeXt Factor.
In 1993, I coined the phrase Generation NeXt, complete with the capital X. It appeared as the cover headline for a Gavin special issue of the same name that I edited about rap music.
My calling card, 1993-98
Catchy as hell, the phrase was snapped up by Rap Pages, then Rolling Stone. Then the moniker for a new generation went pop-literally. Pepsi got wind of it and the Spice Girls sang a song about it for their commercial. I was flattered; I couldn’t trademark it anyway because I coined it for the magazine, then a Miller Freeman company.
Well, guess what? Generation NeXt is now old enough—and bold enough–to vote. Barack won their votes by 32% vs. the 9% that voted for Bush. They love hip-hop. They hate racism. Need a visual?
Gen NeXt Emeritus
Okay. They are Rihanna and Eminem, Shia LeBoeuf and Nick Cannon, John Legend and Scarlett Johanson. They come in every imaginable multi-racial and multicultural swatch of our nation’s patchwork quilt. And they have no problem with accomplished Black men. In fact, they grew up on ‘em: Tupac to Biggie, Jay-Z to John Singleton, Shaquille O’Neal to Jesse Jackson Jr., Everybody Hates Chris to Chapelle’s Show, FUBU to Sean John. Big or tall, be their skin light or dark, thugged out or clean-cut, brothers don’t faze Generation NeXt. On the contrary, they look to brothers for leadership, for examples of greatness against the odds, for swagger to emulate. Obama for America found them online and on the ground, offered them an official DNC CD with donations of $30, and registered over a million of them for that 6 million-plus popular vote victory.
Generation NeXt is still pissed that Al Gore lost when the numbers showed that he was elected in 2000, even though most of them were not 18 yet. The GOP election-stealing jig is up. The NeXt factor is real. The Civil Rights generation has been vindicated. And the bigoted racist sector of America’s electorate is officially outnumbered.
Bridging History w/Chuck
To the tune of 349-163.
This is what community organizing looks like. This is how things can turn when you register, verify, and handle your [policial] business.
In addition to being the inventor of the phrase ‘Generation NeXt’, Thembisa S. Mshaka is the author of Put Your Dreams First: Handle Your [entertainment] Business, out April 2009 (Grand Central Publishing).