Pictured Barack Obama at his victory party Nov. 2. Photo by Suzanne Kraus
'When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.' — Audre Lorde
We have by now arrived at the conclusion—the 2004 Election is over. There was no long drawn-out debate about ballots. We all knew the selected Bush would be selected once again. I mailed my absentee ballot three weeks prior from Virginia. I said a prayer and stuck the pin in the ballot, made my choices, and mailed it off.
Myself and others were not fond of either Bush or Kerry. They are both privileged white men, not from the same world as others and myself. As a Black woman, and out lesbian, my concerns were not of either candidate. We had to witness Bill Clinton once again fight for the Black vote. I never saw Kerry or Bush knocking down folks of colors' doors or lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender.
I am pleased we have elected another Black individual to the U.S. Senate from Illinois, Barack Obama! In Richmond, Va., we elected Douglas Wilder as Mayor. Some of you may recall he was the first Black Governor. It is cold in Virginia just as our world and countries seem cold these days. Virginia reminds me of everything my parents spoke about why they left the South. I feel as if I am living in somewhat of a delayed time zone. It is as if the slave master is standing over you beating you with his whip!
In every city the characters and things are pretty much the same. But, the outsider sees so much more, and with this I have brought my spirit into this place as well. I see these big, tall, trees with pretty colorful leaves as I drive. I wonder how many men and women were lynched, raped, and violated behind those trees? It bothers me that a city has not done anything in 35 years to bring re-vitalization. The segregation permeates strong and the disenfranchised are left out.
The people elected a Black Mayor after not being able to elect one in 35 years.
Here I am in seminary studying theology. I am out and living authentic ( realness ) . Of course this does not make all happy, but I don't care! I came to study, and reach back, and extend. I will not just be tolerated as a Black, female or out lesbian in society! My ears can hear my brother, mentor and out Black gay pastor friend say, 'It is immoral not to be out, do you hear me sister, it is immoral!' Rev. Reed screams.
'Mr. Bush won because this is a fat, rich, deeply, divided and bigoted country that is scared shi------. And the Black people who voted for him on moral grounds i.e. same-sex marriage, don't think gay means us! I think America is going to pay deeply for this election. ....perhaps it must,' says Richard.
I hear the voice of my mother, and ancestors— 'Girl don't you let anybody disrespect you, always have dignity!' I am out of my comfort level back home.
Everything about the Bible and life is being deconstructed and shaken. I will not see these things the same when I am done with the mission I have been given. I miss the Liberation Theology and teaching I received back home at church. Why don't we hear more about HOMOPHOBIA from the pulpit! The world is to fixate on sexual orientation, and sexual acts. I want the world to get the hell out of our bedrooms and into the courtrooms and take care of the injustices! I want those damn white and Black fundamentalist, homophobic, bigoted, un-educated ministers to shut up!
My Black ancestors would be ashamed the way these men and women have joined the Falwells, Robinsons, Buchanans, and Bushes who spit on us after we take their token funds. The Black church can call out a racist, but it can't see homophobia? We are living in a sick, sad, divided world. Why aren't there more prophetic politicians, activists, and ministers? Is everyone into materialism and selling their soul? We all know the young did come out and vote in numbers! This is open season on LBGT, women rights, the poor, and those impacted with HIV/AIDS. All the children will continue to be left behind!
Put down your I-Pod, cellphone, laptop, and fight back. It is immoral to be in the type of war we are in. Get out your pens, sign the petitions, bang down the doors of injustice! We will not be labeled immoral, disgrace, evil, unprincipled, indecent individuals. Bush has used religion and the Bible in ways that folks are too ignorant to see or to hateful to care about. 'I can't understand why you are studying theology and didn't vote for Bush, he is a very religious man,' says my white co-worker, a Republican.
Wake up folks of color! Wake up those that can come a little out of the closet and save someone else. Wake up all you homophobic, screaming church folks! It will take us, the LBGTs, to transform this society, and church. Wake up and transform, 'cause the clock is ticking.