Tag Archive: president


White Men Can’t Rap

It’s long been an adage that, aside from a few examples like Larry Bird, white men can’t jump to the heights of superstardom in basketball. In much the same way, aside from Eminem and just a few others, white men can’t rap.

Perhaps for this reason, most of the lead actors of the rap musical Hamilton are African-American. The lead actor, playing Alexander Hamilton in his prime, is the show’s creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, a Hispanic man, and his understudy is Javier Munoz, but the vast majority of the cast is black. Standouts include Daveed Digg’s as Thomas Jefferson, and Christopher Jackson as George Washington. There’s an angry undertone to the rap rants that serve the story exceedingly well, particularly as the lyricist recreates the frustrations of the founding fathers as well as their strivings to create a better life for themselves.

The most interesting aspect of the colorblind casting is that, eventually, I stopped seeing the actor’s race, and truly believed that what he or she embodied was the spirit of the times, turbulent and tumultuous though they were. I felt transported to the Revolutionary War era, and it was eerie how the anger present in 1776 is still part of our national dialogue.

In typical rap style, not a word was wasted, and every utterance moved the story forward, tracing the meteoric rise of Alexander Hamilton to his abrupt fall from the national scene with the disclosure of a sexual indiscretions with a married woman, and his eventual death in a dual with future vice president Aaron Burr at the tender age of 47. History came alive again in a new and vibrant way.

Interestingly, King George is played with deft comedic touch by the white actor Jonathan Groff. He bumbles along from prognostication to wildly errant pronouncement in songs such as the rueful tune, “You’ll Be Back.”

In this way, the white man served as comic relief from the deadly seriousness of the antagonism between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton.

I was moved by this story in a way few stories have moved me before when I saw it just after it opened on Broadway, and I hope my friends get to see this important story in Chicago and with a national touring company. If high school students could only learn history this way, we would be far better off as a society.

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2 Corinthians 4:6

“For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.

“Always carrying about in the body, the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.”

2 Corinthians:16

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.

“While we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Robertson: God gives less miracles to ‘too-educated Americans’ who learn science (via Raw Story )

Televangelist Pat Robertson on Monday explained to his viewers that “sophisticated” Americans received less miracles because they had learned “things that says God isn’t real” like evolution. On Monday’s episode of CBN’s The 700 Club, Robertson responded to a viewer who wanted to know…

At the risk of boring you, dear reader, I want to quote and write about the importance and impact of the life of Mexican Socialist leader Cesar Chavez.

He famously noted, “Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. You cannot oppress the people that are not afraid anymore. We have seen the future, AND THE FUTURE IS OURS.”

Just this past year, President Barack Obama, declared a day dedicated to recognizing the effort of Cesar Chavez, marking March 29th, 2013 as an honorarium for Chavez, celebrating his life.

Chavez was born March 31, 1927, and were he still alive, would be eighty-six yesterday. Echoing the efforts of our current pope, Francis I, Chavez dedicated his life to working with the poor, uneducated, and underprivileged. Cesar Chavez was a devout Catholic, and helped found what has evolved into the United Farmworker of America.

Ironically, Chavez’s birthday fell on Easter Sunday this year. The Contra Costa Times quoted a representative of the Chavez family as stating, “Cesar lived the gospel according to Jesus Christ: he helped the poor and outcast.”

My question for you today, dear readers: what have you done today to make the world a better place?

My dad cajoles me, “Let’s have a good breakfast, and then go out and change the world.”

Legalize Love

Despite the superfluity of recent conversations, conflicts, and contentions, I had not intended to blog on the topic of gay marriage, but with the president stating his revised opinion, I felt I might as well weigh in with my thoughts.

My father, when I first came out as a gay man, worried about being shamed by my sexual orientation, and told me when I was nineteen, “Just don’t ever embarrass us.”  I think he had seen what he deemed radicals stumping for the cause of gay rights.

Homosexuality itself was included in the DSM (Diagnostic Statistical Manual) of abnormalities until 1973.  Being gay used to be considered a mental disorder.  These disorders were traditionally diagnosed when symptoms substantially interfere with daily functioning.  This was eventually shown not to be the case for gay individuals.

After the Stonewall riots in 1969, gay rights activists focused on educating people that being gay is an orientation, not a “alternative lifestyle choice” made by “maladjusted individuals.”  These activists also put civil rights for gay men and women on the fast track to being afforded to all, not just heterosexuals.  I’m reminded of the Virginia Slim’s ad for cigarettes:  “You’ve come a long way, baby.”

My father has come a long way in not only accepting me, but also being proud of who I am.  Still, he supports civil unions, but not gay marriage.   Many heterosexuals balk at allowing the word marriage to refer to a union between a man and a man or a woman and woman.  To me, it is a matter of semantics, and I’m constantly amazed how one little word can inflame the passions of a fair number of heterosexuals.

Several states now allow gay marriage, including,  New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, the District of Columbia, and even Mitt Romney’s home state of Massachusetts.  In May, 2004, Massachusetts became the very first state to issue same-sex marriage licenses.  (Comment on that, Mitt, especially when you are accused of being out-of-touch with the will of the people since you don’t even support the will of your own state’s constituency).

Other states, including Illinois (my home state), now allow civil unions.  (I personally have never really figured out the qualitative difference between civil unions and gay marriage, but that’s only one aspect of the issue).  Romney has commented recently, saying, “My view is that marriage itself is a relationship between a man and a woman, and that’s my own preference.”

New York mayor Michael Bloomberg struck back in saying, “No American president has ever supported a major expansion of civil rights that has not ultimately been adopted by the American people, and I have no doubt that this will be no exception.”

Jesse Jackson also had his say:  “If the states had to vote on slavery, we would have lost the vote.  If we had to vote on the right (for black men and women) to vote, we would have lost that vote.”

Many black people distance themselves from the issue of gay rights and civil legislation to protect the rights of what can sometimes be considered “an invisible minority.”  They don’t seem to want comparisons between the rights of African-Americans and the rights of gay people, which makes it all that much more meaningful that Jesse Jackson stood up to be counted, making sure his voice was heard as a supporter of the inalienable rights of every individual.

Change comes slowly, incrementally.  If you don’t want gay marriage, don’t marry one of us.

In the meantime, let’s legalize love.