Skip to comments.Larry Elder: Do You Need Obama to Believe? (Must Read!)
Posted on 11/06/2008 12:50:28 AM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
"Does Obama's victory, as a black man, make you feel that you can do anything?" Someone asked me that on election night.
It is a caricature of America that, pre-Obama, major obstacles blocked achievement. It is equally a caricature that Obama's win suddenly creates opportunity that did not exist before.
Hard work wins, my dad always told me. My Republican father, who disdained Democrats who "give people something for nothing," taught my brothers and me to work hard, stay focused, live within our means, and at all times avoid self-pity. My mom and dad always said, "Ninety percent of the people don't care about your problems. And the 10 percent are glad it's you."
Born in Athens, Ga., and eventually raised in Chattanooga, Tenn., my dad never knew his biological father. The only father figure in his life was harsh, distant and cold. His mother, because he made "too much noise" for her then-boyfriend, threw him out of the house at age 13.
So this penniless boy, living in the Jim Crow South as the Great Depression loomed, started knocking on doors. He finally got a job running errands and tending the yard for a white family. One day, the family's cook failed to show up. But my dad, having watched her in the kitchen, whipped up a passable meal. The family let the other helper go, and a cook was born.
Seeking more money, my dad applied for and got a job on the railroads as a Pullman porter -- then the country's largest private employer of blacks. He traveled all over the country, making a mental note of California because, he says, its beauty and warm weather seemed open and inviting, and the people seemed more fair.
World War II broke out. My dad enlisted as a Marine. He served as a cook and became a sergeant. The military ultimately stationed him on Guam as we prepared to invade the islands of Japan, an invasion that never took place because of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
My dad returned to Chattanooga, where he went to an employment office. The lady at the desk told him he walked through the wrong door, directed him back out to the hall, and told him to enter through the "colored only" door.
"That's it," he angrily told my mom, whom he had just married. "I'm going to California, and in a few days, I will send for you."
My father arrived in Los Angeles and went from restaurant to restaurant to find work. "Sorry," he was told, "you have no references." "Sorry, you have no credentials." "Sorry " He, of course, knew why.
He went to an employment office. The woman said, "We have no openings." My dad said, "I'll sit until you do." He sat in that office from opening until closing for a day and a half. Finally, the woman called him to the desk and said: "I have a job. It's for a janitor. Do you want it?"
My dad worked at that job for nearly 10 years, while working a second full-time job for nearly as long and cooking for a white family on the weekends. He somehow managed to go to night school to get his GED and save enough money, while in his 40s, to start a small cafe near downtown Los Angeles.
He ran the cafe, which provided my brothers and me weekend and summer jobs, until he was in his 80s. One day, my dad and I decided to clean out the garage. We found a letter he wrote to my older brother, then 2 years old. My dad said he feared that if something happened to him, my brother would need guidance:
May 4, 1951
Kirk, my Son, you are now starting out in life -- a life that Mother and I cannot live for you.
So as you journey through life, remember it's yours, so make it a good one. Always try to cheer up the other fellow.
Learn to think straight, analyze things, be sure you have all the facts before concluding, and always spend less than you earn.
Make friends, work hard, and play hard. Most important of all remember this -- the best of friends wear out if you use them.
This may sound silly, Son, but no matter where you are on the 29th of September (Kirk's birthday), see that Mother gets a little gift, if possible, along with a big kiss and a broad smile.
When you are out on your own, listen and take advice but do your own thinking and concluding, set up a reasonable goal, then be determined to reach it. You can and will, it's up to you, Son.
Dad is now 93 and, thankfully, still with us.
So, yes, Obama's historic victory makes a statement about the long, hard, bloody journey. Obama makes people believe. Some of us always did.
perhaps many black people will feel that they can do anything now that Obama is president. It could be a big push for them to strive for something greater.
Unfortunately his policies will keep them down.
I never put much thought into his race. It’s his political philosophy that bothered me.
Anything can be acheived with a national media backing you 110%.
Larry has been taking it on the chin this week, before, during, and after the election, from two of his co-talk hosts on KABC L.A. because he did not agree with their voting Obama though they claim to be conservatives.
Larry is an amazing man and a very sincere and principled talk show host. I don't agree with him on everything but he's been a favorite of mine for years and I am proud to have met him twice. He gets it about the country, the Constitution, self reliance, and both kinds of "racism that dare not speak its name" today: black on white racism, and the white on black racism of low expectations (seen in all the white libs for Obama who would never have looked twice at an inexperienced socialist junior Senator from Illinois who happened to be white.
What is this water in my eyes? That was incredible.
Larry Elder is probably a great man. His dad was.
Thanks for sharing that.
Nobody can keep anybody down in a free society. It is what you make it. But his policies will allow them to stay down without shame.
That was a great piece. Glad you posted it.
Basic morals. Elder speaks that.
Thanks for the post. It's a keeper.
And yes, while Obama offers a 'great and profound example' (not that his life really touches American Blacks)of a man with his 'Black family'; suceeding, and entering the 'White House' it has it's bitter ironies as well.
The biggest is the disappointment and disenfranchisement of so many, that Obama will insure. Might add, this is a 'real' and sinister disempowement, of a kind that Obama never had to overcome; but educated himself too, nonetheless.
A fraudulent education; which has 'informed him' and one by turn; guides him in his plan for America's 'Change'.
Part of the "Greatest Generation".
You are a total and complete ass! Just stunning how you are so quick to puke all over this great story and man. MAGGOT!
These 'elites' hated Sarah Palin; and ignoring her accomplishments; her qualities; could only whine. . .'what does Sarah know! Where did she go to school,snif-snif'. . .All missing the more important point, that one who is gounded in 'core values'; has the best 'bedrock' from which they make decision; build their future and guide others to do the same.
Leadership without 'values' is dangerous; we have seen and experienced these dangers and way too much, from values-impaired Democrat Leadership.
And we are about to see; experience and suffer a great deal more. . .
‘grounded’. . .have to get my ‘r’ fixed!
If you don’t think that color held men back in previous generations you’re the reason why so many of us are tarred with the same racist brush. We can all recognize that racism has and still does play a role in American society without accepting it as an all-purpose excuse for every individual shortcoming.
This is a beautiful story about a great man.
Lessons; timeless values; that speak to everyone. . .
Sad if not pathetic, that you missed it.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.