Friday, November 14, 2008

The Bird of Prey in The Bronx

Sometimes living in a large Urban area, I forget how close we still are to nature. I was walking to get some groceries when I came across a man looking into a tree in front of my kids school. He tells me in spanish that the bird was beautiful. As I look closer, I notice that it was a bird of prey of some type. I'm not sure whether it was a hawk or falcon but it was beautiful, majestic and apparently hungry.

In my neighborhood, especially near my kids school, there are many squirrels. Now anyone that knows me knows that I love squirrels. So I somewhat felt bad when I saw the bird was trying to catch one of the squirrels. I would never interfere with nature. As bad as I would feel if the bird nabbed a squirrel, its what would happen in the wild. Luckily for the little guys, each time the bird jumped to a branch to nab himself a little morsel, the slick squirrels dodged and weaved their way from harm's way.

I also noted that the many seagulls and pigeons that we have were circling the air above where the bird was. I guess they realized that danger was around. Here's where the story gets interesting. I see this big crow fly to the top of an adjacent tree and starts to squawk and caw. As he does so, he dives head first towards the bird of prey, chasing it away over the school. I always told me wife that crows had were cool and have character. I got to see nature and didn't even have to leave my neighborhood. How about that.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

History was made November 4, 2008 11:00pm EST

I know that in my last post I mentioned the reason as to why I had my doubts on whether Obama could win the election. There's no need to re-hash what I said but I'll be the first to admit I was wrong (thankfully so). My statements were never based on his abilities or his potential or even because of his opponent. I voted for the man as I said that I would vote for him when he announced his candidacy 21 long months ago. In reality who can TRULY say they are qualified to be President. The job is more or a crapshoot than anything else. Maybe I under-estimated the power of a diverse voting bloc who (before I made my statements about Obama's campaign) got nailed by a faltering economy. I'll leave the economics to those in the know to explain the intricate details, but I believe had the economy not tanked, the results of the election may have taken a different route.

I still have my worries concerning Obama and his incoming transitional team. I have my worries about the time to come that has nothing to do with Obama and his transitional team. As a pessimist (As Harper would categorize me) or as I prefer to list myself as: A Realist, hate to be a buzz-killer but the time for the "kumbaya" and "rah rah" of the people is done. We all need to roll up our sleeves and get to work at fixing the mess that's being left in all our feet. As JFK once said "Don't Ask What Your Country Can Do For You, Ask What You Can Do For Your Country". Obama is our leader but he can't do it all on his own. He needs our help in order to get this country on the right path. Change without hard work and progress is nothing. All it is, is just Change for the sake of Change. As with the power that we have with our vote, we as a people of the great country have the power to get the machine rolling again.

In the end I'm a Historian and not a Political Scientist and we have witnessed history. That fact is not lost on me. I just hope Obama (for our sakes and his) is more of a FDR, helping to lead the country out of a crisis instead of being a Jimmy Carter who (fairly or not) took the country from bad to worse. Only time, hard work, sweat and tears will tell.

But then again, I'm just a bouncer at The Bleecker Street Bar so what do I really know.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My Election Day Experience Nov 4, 2008

Normally my voting experience is very non-descript and uneventful but since this election has such historical ramifications things were a little different. I realized that the bus left me a block from where the polling station is and as I walked by I noticed a line of about 35 people. It was 5:50am. After asking someone what time the polls opened (6:00am) I decided to wait. Now friends of mine have taken their kids with them to the polls to witness the historic moments. After two and half years of this whole campaign, the BS, the taunts, the accusations and so forth I just wanted to end this mercifully and without my kids. Bah Humbug you might say, Tough say I.

So as I waited on line outside of the building a woman is complaining as to why she needs her ID to vote. Duh??? To avoid fraud, perhaps. Are people that stupid to think that the voting poll workers are going to take her word for who she is without her ID? And she's probably the first to cry foul and fraud if her candidate was to lose. Other people were complaining about having to wait outside though the weather was quite pleasant. At 6:01am the line starts to move in.

Once inside, the small cramped cafeteria that is used for the voting area was even more cramped than usual. Bottlenecks on lines were causing people to be on the wrong lines and getting into arguments about those people who were trying to get through. Now I knew the supposed line for my voting booth (District 87 in The Bronx) was past the main throngs of people that were bitching and moaning. So as any person with some type of common sense, I go past the lines to the table where I was supposed to be. At that point the anger gets directed towards me.

Once I verified that the table I was standing in front of was indeed the table where I belonged, 3 women who were on the wrong line rushed the table and accused me of cutting the line. The woman who was already checking my ID and address was telling them that they weren't on her line since they were all on the wrong lines. All 3 women started to gang up on me when I told them "If it wasn't that I asked a simple question, you would all still be waiting on the wrong lines." To which the woman behind the table agreed. But they still wouldn't let it go and after working a slow night at the bar and feeling sleepier by the second, I was not going to budge.

I tell the ladies that "They shouldn't be mad at me since they've already had their beauty sleep and should be nice and refreshed, while I was tired of having worked the night before and just wanted to vote to get my sleep." Whether or not the statement worked, I don't know or care. By the time the main antagonist was in the middle of her ghetto ass rant, I was in the booth, voted and on my way out telling the lovely ladies to have a themselves a nice and glorious day. So much for the feelings of positive hope and elation. I sure did not get any of their sunshine.

I'll be honest with everyone: I voted for Obama/Biden. I normally don't discuss my political views with too many people. I refuse to use myself as (a car full of bumper stickers would be) a tool for advertising. I don't do so for fashion and I won't do it for politics. I consider my political beliefs to be very personal and choose not to share them with any Tom, Dick or Jane. To me politics, like religion, is one of those subjects that people get very passionate (and even rabid) about and where intelligent discourse can really get nasty in a short amount of time. So I usually keep a stone face when in the middle of a discussion about politics unless I truly know the people in the discussion. With random strangers I have no qualms about telling them I don't discuss my political views with just anyone. Saves me and others time and aggravation. But back to Obama/Biden.

At first I honestly didn't think that he had too much of a chance to win, though I felt (and still do) that he was a breath of fresh air who is eloquent (unlike our current President), candid, honest (from what I could tell), and really gave people a hope (including myself) for a different future not only for themselves but for our country. As my friend Michael said over 2 years ago (while snapping his fingers) "If Obama is elected, the view of this country around the world will start to change overnight". And I still believe it now. I do think that if (yes I'm, still skeptical even 8 hours away from learning the results) this country can only improve both at home and abroad with Obama's election. And I do think his chances have improved significantly in the months after I made the statement of Obama's not having a chance. You must forgive me. After standing in the bar watching the results of the 2004 Election on CNN and staring in disbelief at the screen that "GW" would be re-elected I've been skeptical about elections ever since. I take nothing for granted. But why did I think he did not have a chance when I believed in him?

I don't pull the race card. Those that know me know that I don't put up with it when it is pulled on me. I don't believe that my heritage and race is a deterrent to my future (I know, I'm digressing). But there are many people in this country that have no problem doing so to further their cause and hinder another person's cause. People have their biases that manifest themselves at the moment of truth. A person that says out right I won't vote for him because he's of a certain color, or creed, or political affiliation or because he's an urbanite (being from a city over a rural area and not because he likes rap music since Urban has become synonymous with inner city culture) or since he has big ears, or because they don't like his wife, yada yada yada is at least honest enough to say it out loud and to stand by their view. Though I do not agree with them in any way, shape or form, I at least can say that those people have the guts to be truthful to others and more importantly to themselves. It's the cowards who in public are all "rah rah" about Obama and inside the safety of their walls say I won't vote for that so and so because he is this color or has this middle name or is of this race and so forth. Those are the people that I worry about because their deception skews the polls and makes a mockery of the political process.

You don't like him just say so. This is a free country where you can voice your opinion whether its the popular view or not. We see it everyday on TV and hear it on the radio. You have the right to change your mind for or against any candidate but just be honest with yourself. But don't be a jackass and talk out of both sides of your mouth. And I'll get off of my soapbox now. Feel honored, I don't talk to too many people about my political views and put it in print on the internet for all to see even less. So feel honored or don't.

We're Americans and many of our fellow Americans gave their lives for the freedoms that we enjoy (and often take for granted) on a daily basis. The least we can do to honor their sacrifice is to go and vote for our President with the same fervor as all the people who vote for the winner of American Idol do. And before I go on another rant, I'll log off. May God Bless America. Lord knows we need it.