Back in June, I started writing a post about being happy to be in the US in these exciting election times. Alas, I never got round to finishing the post. But now watching the commentaries on CNN following the first day of the Democratic National Convention, I can't keep quiet anymore. It was a disappointing flop rather than the hight of the excitement - personally. It felt as if the people who spoke thus far and the commentators invited by CNN - particularly on Larry King Live - are from different planets.
I can't get over the fact that we still need confirmation that Obama "is like us." Most of the comments were unfortunately revolving around that comment - "he is like us." Even Michelle Obama had to repeatedly try to paint "an American picture" that he is like everybody else and is the quintessential American dream "despite his funny name..." We had several opportunities of finding out what Obama is like. His books and what he's been saying throughout the Presidential Campaign gave us enough material to figure out what he is. So what's the fuss now?
I was wondering why Michelle should spend anytime on all that insignificant stuff, but it was clear from the commentaries that even the "top political analysts" are still stuck in the fact that he has an uncommon name, he's educated, he is eloquent and his pigment categorizes him in the minority group. I wonder if Bill & Hilary Clinton were ever accused of being elitists.
When Michelle talks about a "new tide of hope" and mentioned Obama's commitment to the poor, working families, equal pay for women, improved health care for servicemen and women (INCLUDING MENTAL HEALTH CARE-she's already my heroin)..., Ben Stein whines about Michelle not mentioning the soldiers who are defending the country. Mr. Stein, stop obsessing about how to blast somebody and listen. Listen! And there is time for blasting, there is time for being funny and there is surely time to shut up. His and the other commentators' repeated message was that Michelle didn't say anything significant and that she just reiterated that she's a good wife, mother, sister and daughter.... Still the one uniform comment I heard was that people want to know if Obama "is like us". So, Michelle gave it to him - he may have a strange name but he's compassionate, dedicated, a loving father and husband.
When the Obamas talk serious, they are accused of being elitists. When they show how "normal" they are, then they get blasted as not saying anything ordinary. I know this is politics and the game has to be played in a nasty way. Still, I don't think it is the time to divert from the most important topics and waste my time with "is he like us?" "What is he like if you invite him for a BBQ?" To be honest, I don't care because I surely want a leader who is unlike me (because I know what a lousy world leader I'll make) and when am I ever going to have BBQ with Obama? Really?
And there is another issue that's really annoying me. Why do people want to know if Obama is likeable? Who cares? I don't want to like or dislike a leader. I want somebody who's going to make my, my kids, my community's, and the world's (may be this is pushing it) lives better. At least try. My feelings are so besides the issue.
One last blasting - Michelle talked about the feminist movement, the 88th anniversary of women's right to vote and glass-ceiling-busters like Hilary Clinton. All Leslie Sanchez, "political analyst", can think of is "why was Michelle wearing a cocktail dress?" Come on already! Let's move on already and focus at what's at stake:-
what the world should be and not be compliant to what it is now.
the rising poverty in the US and globally
the housing crisis
the crisis of public schools...
Why should the Obamas "dumb" themselves down or be forced to make themselves look ordinary despite their combined extra-ordinary achievements? This is an extraordinary opportunity to make a difference and an extraordinary leader is so much needed.
EthiDolls is not a new company, but I just found out about it. I wish I did last year when the school of my daughters asked me if I could bring a non-Barbie black doll or a children's book on African heroins and princesses. I couldn't find a single book in my local book stores - a huge gap for black kids in the US. Now there is a company dedicated to fill this gap.
EthiDolls is a New York-based small company owned by two Ethiopian women - Salome Yilma (CEO) and Yeworkwuha Ephrem (VP). The company has come out with two dolls representing women leaders from Ethiopia and Ghana.
What the company stands for is quite impressive. Here are the things that the creators of Makeda - Queen of Sheba are promising:
The First Educational, Fun & Collectible Black Dolls & Accessories
Culturally Authentic Royal African Doll
Storybook illustrated by an Ethiopian artist and Audio CD Narrative with Traditional Ethiopian Music
Fair Trade: Fabric for Makeda’s Dress Hand Woven in Ethiopia.
Classic Neck Tattoo and Gold Jewelry are an Adornment of Ethiopian Women Still Today.
Experience Queen Makeda & King Solomon’s Extraordinary 3000 Year-Old Story