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.
You’re an imbecile.
He never said that the war was won solely because of the nuclear attacks. Only that it prevented a full-scale invasion of the Japanese mainland costing many more American and Japanese lives. My father was part of the D-Day invasion and the Battle of the Bulge. In the spring and summer of 1945 he was preparing to be shipped to the Pacific to take part in the invasion. Hiroshima and Nagasaki made that trip unnecessary, thankfully.
I’ve been a fan of Larry Elder for years. His father’s advice is what everyone needs. I especially liked, “90% of people don’t care about your problems, and the other 10% are glad it’s you.”
Bump for The Sage. Pearls of wisdom, indeed.
Oh yah, and NathanZachary, you should read your history before letting your fingers do the walking all over your keyboard.
It is a caricature of America that, pre-Obama, major obstacles blocked achievement.
This struck me. The founders wrote rules. Those rules were not easily changed. Those rules were not to be violated.
A bunch of white guys made rules that enabled a black man to be president.
Good or bad, nobody anymore anywhere on the planet can say it was unfair.
I’m just curious here, but have you ever been to Guam? I mean, it’s about two-thousand miles from anywhere and not a very convenient place to attack from, in the sense that an aircraft carrier is a very convenient attack platform. Guam is and has always been a staging area and a base of projecting strength, just like the man said. A base to prepare to invade from.
In my military career I was stationed and transited from Guam throughout the western Pacific. So I’ve looked at the maps and studied the history and I believe that your statement is a result of too much substance abuse possibly ongoing.
And you are a racist asshat too. CYA
Wow, that was motivational! Very moving :)
Believe it or not, I have been on here much longer than people think ;) And I almost always agree with your posts (99.999999%) ;)
I hope your father lives to be 200+yo so he can tell stories and teach the great-great-great grand kids about morals, that are very rare anymore.
I stand behind you, and I will never give up on hope for the future.
Thank you :)
Kind of hard to get an education in that time, on your own and being black.
Now in 2008, things aren’t that way, but in the 1940’s, you are completely ignorant to the way of the world for blacks.
He didn’t make that point YOU IDIOT!
Oh really. Not denying it was difficult but you really should check your history. Just from Washington DC, Dunbar High School est. 1870 was a magnet school for Blacks before there were magnet schools. Do a search to find just a smattering of it's distinguished grads. Spingarn is another onein DC
George Washington Carver was born a slave yet educated himself.
Your benign racism is showing...are you now or have you ever been a Democrat?
That was awesome.
iI particularly ] liked this one: Always spend less than you make.
Very good advice
Learn history before posting.
Fatherhood was decimated by slavery. When Lincoln wouldn’t let the democrats keep slavery, the came up with Jim Crow. When the republicans wouldn’t let them keep that. The democrats gave us no-fault divorce and welfare. After the republicans gave us welfare reform, now the liberals try to give us gay marriage. Now finally, finally, Blacks in California have said ENOUGH to the enemies of fatherhood.
I thank the Lord every day for my father, Larry’s father and every other father who takes his responsibility seriously. It is what will allow the country to survive.
Thank you for another great post!!
There are many superb, conservative, pro-America black intellectuals who could have been elected as the first black POTUS.........however, they have one character flaw...
This is the quality that separates conservatives from socialists and is one reason we have never found...black or white...the *perfect* candidate since Ronald Reagan. He was also a humble human being, but had just enough *showmanship* experience to put himself *out there*.
For all his irascibility, even John McCain retained a certain humility and misplaced respect for his diabolical opponent.
If only Michael Steele had a thicker resume - he is our antidote to this sad state of affairs.
Benign racism. Because I acknowledge that a black man kicked out of his house at the age of 13 would struggle in the 1940’s.
I felt like I could do anything because my parents came here with nothing and became something.
I thought of this also. It's the only positive thing I could see coming out of this election. Okay...maybe it will wake up the GOP too.
It is a caricature of America that, pre-Obama, major obstacles blocked achievement.Hmmm... Years ago the Mrs. subscribed to a glossy monthly magazine (now defunct) that did stories about and around New England.
Randolph Elder is a great American, Role Model, and Man. I wish I had the honor of meeting him.