Voices Worth Hearing …

ObamaThere are many ways in which President Obama has earned my respect, one of which is the fact that though it must certainly be tempting, he almost never comments publicly about our current politics, the current state of this nation.  However, yesterday he endorsed and tweeted a letter written by 149 African Americans who served in his administration that called out President Trump for recent comments degrading four congresswomen of color, saying …

“I’ve always been proud of what this team accomplished during my administration. But more than what we did, I’m proud of how they’re continuing to fight for an America that’s better.”

The letter was initially published in The Washington Post yesterday.  And Michelle Obama, who, like her husband remains largely silent on the current state of affairs, rang in as well …

“What truly makes our country great is its diversity. I’ve seen that beauty in so many ways over the years. Whether we are born here or seek refuge here, there’s a place for us all. We must remember it’s not my America or your America. It’s our America.”

It is worth noting that both of the Obama’s comments were positive ones, not negative, not promoting hate, but rather encouraging humanity, compassion, inclusion rather than exclusion.  This is the difference, folks … think about it.

This letter is one that deserves to be read by every person in this nation, and I agree with it 100%.  In the interest of space, I did not publish the names and titles of the signatories, but you can find them by clicking on the above link to The Washington Post OpEd.

We are African Americans, we are patriots, and we refuse to sit idly by

We’ve heard this before. Go back where you came from. Go back to Africa. And now, “send her back.” Black and brown people in America don’t hear these chants in a vacuum; for many of us, we’ve felt their full force being shouted in our faces, whispered behind our backs, scrawled across lockers, or hurled at us online. They are part of a pattern in our country designed to denigrate us as well as keep us separate and afraid.

As 149 African Americans who served in the last administration, we witnessed firsthand the relentless attacks on the legitimacy of President Barack Obama and his family from our front-row seats to America’s first black presidency. Witnessing racism surge in our country, both during and after Obama’s service and ours, has been a shattering reality, to say the least. But it has also provided jet-fuel for our activism, especially in moments such as these.

We stand with congresswomen Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib, as well as all those currently under attack by President Trump, along with his supporters and his enablers, who feel deputized to decide who belongs here — and who does not. There is truly nothing more un-American than calling on fellow citizens to leave our country — by citing their immigrant roots, or ancestry, or their unwillingness to sit in quiet obedience while democracy is being undermined.

We are proud descendants of immigrants, refugees and the enslaved Africans who built this country while enduring the horrors of its original sin. We stand on the soil they tilled, and march in the streets they helped to pave. We are red-blooded Americans, we are patriots, and we have plenty to say about the direction this country is headed. We decry voter suppression. We demand equitable access to health care, housing, quality schools and employment. We welcome new Americans with dignity and open arms. And we will never stop fighting for the overhaul of a criminal-justice system with racist foundations.

We come from Minnesota and Michigan. The Bronx and Baton Rouge. Florida and Philadelphia. Cleveland and the Carolinas. Atlanta and Nevada. Oak-town and the Chi. We understand our role in this democracy, and respect the promise of a nation built by, for and of immigrants. We are part of that tradition, and have the strength to both respect our ancestors from faraway lands and the country we all call home.

Our love of country lives in these demands, and our commitment to use our voices and our energy to build a more perfect union. We refuse to sit idly by as racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia are wielded by the president and any elected official complicit in the poisoning of our democracy. We call on local, state and congressional officials, as well as presidential candidates to articulate their policies and strategies for moving us forward as a strong democracy, through a racial-equity lens that prioritizes people over profit. We will continue to support candidates for local, state and federal office who add more diverse representation to the dialogue and those who understand the importance of such diversity when policymaking here in our country and around the world. We ask all Americans to be a good neighbor by demonstrating anti-racist, environmentally friendly, and inclusive behavior toward everyone in your everyday interactions.

The statesman Frederick Douglass warned, “The life of a nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful and virtuous.” This nation has neither grappled with nor healed from the horrors of its origins. It is time to advance that healing process now through our justice, economic, health and political systems.

Expect to hear more from us. We plan to leave this country better than we found it. This is our home.


32 thoughts on “Voices Worth Hearing …

  1. Hi Jill. My first time here and I had to reply to this post. I’m not American but I rejoiced with America when Obama became your president. Likewise, here we mourned when the next one took office, the feeling of anguish and sorrow was beyond what I had ever felt about any other country before this.

    Feeling the way I do, I just cannot imagine how many Americans are feeling under this presidency. I also fear a 2nd term. Since Trump took office, I’ve begun noticing other Trump-ites the world over. They’re everywhere – in governments, in schools, on the streets. Everyone living for themselves but using the world as a cover for their narcissism. Their sheer numbers is very demoralizing. It feels as if they are taking over the world.

    So, my way is to look away from the numbers and focus on the fight . Much like the 149 voices speaking for many more, I too believe in leaving this world a better place than when I came into it. Since Trump took office, in my small ways – at work, educating my kids – I am trying to build antidotes to Trump’s poison.

    I can’t take him out of office but I can do my part to enlighten people to the signs and dangers of narcissism which in my opinion, is the biggest danger to our times.


    • Thank you so much for your compassionate comment! I am amazed by how many of my friends in other countries care about what is going on here and offer words of encouragement. You are quite right … sitting around moaning about it, looking at the numbers and wondering why, isn’t going to fix the problem. We must do what we can to fight against the greed and arrogance that are taking over our government. Thanks again … and welcome!


  2. Speaking ‘their’ language (looking at you Flabmeister, Bannon and the rest of your creeps)….
    Who was the president who ordered the hit on Bin Laden and insisted it be carried out when some of his military advisors were a bit worried…..Uh…uh…uh????
    Who got voted in twice with a MAJORITY?
    Sorry, can’t hear you.
    You’ll have to stand up, sitting on your ‘mouthpieces’ is muffling your replies….
    Ahhh, it’s good to be back! 😼

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We must not reinforce the divisive forces in the world. Hate springs from historical prejudices and mistrust. We must remove the prejudices and mistrust and move on in harmony. I think this letter reinforces that premise.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You know I agree with you 100%, but more and more these days I think prejudice and hatred will never be gone. It seems to be ingrained in the human species. But, we are about to destroy ourselves from within by ignoring the warnings of climate scientists anyway. Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Jill, hear, hear. This is well said and needed to be said. I stand with our diverse citizens. Our diversity makes our country great. Exclusion weakens us. United we stand, divided we fall. The current president and the sycophants who support his divisiveness need to know their hatred and bigotry are harmful to America. Period. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Keith! I almost see this nation so divided now between those who fear any who are not just like them, and those of us who cherish diversity, that I don’t see us being able to mend fences in this generation. Perhaps in 20 years, but it isn’t likely to happen in my lifetime.


      • Jill, I sent you an email. We must call our Senators and Congressperson to push on an election security bill and to condemn the president’s racist and xenophobic comments. They are well beneath the dignity of the office or even the common decency of a citizen. I told several GOP staffers that please tell the Senator I am holding the Republican party accountable to tell the president to stop this racist banter. It is wrong. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

        • Got the email, and have contacted my Senators, and am thinking about sending an email to all 100! I so fully agree with you … his rants of this weekend are … they are so far beneath the dignity of the office that they remind me of an elementary school playground! I’ve known members of street gangs that could speak with more dignity! And it is truly a wake up call that his approval ratings have only dropped ever so slightly. What kind of people are in this country? It is wrong, Keith … it is very wrong.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Jill, it is the tribal nature of politics. It is also being abetted by pseudo or even opinion news sources, one of which is the president. If people are relying on Trump, Hannity, Limbaugh, Carlson, Bannon et al for news, then they are very much shortchanged.

            I have been a broken record on this as I am conservative fiscally and socially progressive, so I do not care if people are more or less conservative or progressive than me, but let’s use real news and real data and not contrived data to support your tribe.


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  5. So true Jill. The Obama’s represent class and dignity to the first degree. How far we have fallen in that regard since November 8, 2016. Even when they criticize, they do it in such a way as to not call Trump out by name. They don’t have to. The smart people know better. The 40% crowd? Not so much…..

    Liked by 1 person

    • We didn’t know how good we had it. I still go to bed at night hoping that when I wake in the morning, this will all have been a bad nightmare and Obama will still be in office so that I can breathe normally once again. Sigh. As for that 40% crowd? Unfortunately, in this alternate universe where up is down, left is right, red is green … the 40% seem to be a majority. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Like many people I so wish that President Obama was back in office. He and Michelle were such wonderful role models for everyone. I respect their remaining silent about the horrors of the US leadership today. I came across this quote the other day and wasn’t sure where or if I would use it, but it seems this might be the right moment.

    “A society which emphasizes uniformity is one which creates intolerance and hate. A society which eulogizes the average citizen is one which breeds mediocrity. What the world should be seeking, and what in Canada we must continue to cherish, are not concepts of uniformity but human values: compassion, love, and understanding.” Pierre Elliott Trudeau 1971

    This is how a true statesman handles the issue of diversity. A true statesman would never, ever suggest that someone return from where they came. All of North America was built by immigrants and people brought here by slavery and they are the foundation of both our nations.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I fully agree … I keep hoping that one morning I will waken from this nightmare and find that Obama is still president and all is well with the world. He wasn’t perfect, made mistakes as every single president has done, but he worked for the best interest of the nation and its people … ALL of the people, not just those who liked him. Not a hint of scandal in his presidency, no past indiscretions, no vulgarity, rage, temper tantrums. The Obamas had class, grace, dignity, intelligence and compassion … all things that are lacking in the current administration. Sigh. Trudeau’s quote is spot on … thanks for sharing it!

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    • Please do not forget those of us whose ancestors predated the arrival of Europeans, Africans, and Asians on North American or South American shores.
      Historical theory tells us human life started in the cradle of Africa, and from there spread to every corner of the world. Now we are all meeting in the Americas, where we have the chance to become Earthlings–people of the Planet Earth. From these Americas we can spread back around to every corner of the Earth, ensuring all people partake in the beauty of our rainbow of colours. How can anyone be against that?
      I stand up to be counted as not only a person of Earth, but a being filled with life.

      Liked by 1 person

        • I’m sure it does, not just in your opinion. I wss just expanding on what you said about “North America being built by immigrants and people brought here by slavery and they are the foundations of both our nations.” Those terms do not include the people who were here before the “immigrants and people brought here by slavery.” I am just making sure everyone is being included. And I was also making sure South America and Central America were included with “both our nations.”

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          • To clarify my original comment: I was specifically addressing the points in the article. As I am Canadian, as used a Canadian quote, “both our nations” refers only to Canada and the United States. I excluded others not because they are not worthy but because I did not see them as pertinent to the topic. Sorry if I was unclear.

            Liked by 1 person

            • I am Canadian too, Alberta-based Manitoban. In my mind it is all pertinent. It wasn’t that you were unclear, I just wanted to expand on it, giving it a whole-world twist. To really succeed, we have to have a global view, in my mind. A piecemeal viewpoint makes some people feel ignored and overlooked.

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