Friends of Webster

Raised in the house, but field certified.

Hamilton Hall: June 28, 2006–an indescribable day for my family.

Two years later:

I still remember each person’s facial expression and my mother breaking down.  I remember my father twiddling with his Academy ring, contemplating its removal. My body temperature rose a half a degree, it seemed.  I felt LT Kirkby’s disappointment. I felt CDR Merle Smith’s pain but I felt a rush of joy that through it, the first black Coast Guard cadet was on my side. I remember the opposition, but I couldn’t grasp if they truly felt justice was served.  I saw the jury members, some satisfied and some upset…one of them was furious at the outcome.  LT Kirkby whispered “Truely honorable officers fall on their sword with dignity.” So I tried to carry myself as such. I told Lindsey “I’m going to marry you someday soon” and later, “make sure you give her a hug.” And then I looked at the last person that I remember during those moments; 20 seconds of eye contact left me with no answers. I listened to this song for the first time, this week.  It spoke volumes about the memories of my last moments as a cadet.

“Battle” By. Colbie Caillat

“I hope it’s worth the fight…cuz this is a battle.”

Nearly every day of the year brings joy to me and my beautiful little family. But my wife may be the only person that knows how inescapable it all seems, on this day. I wasted last June 28th but not this one.  Tonight, we have a missions trip to work with H.E.L.P. ministries caring for the homeless.  I will talk about Jeremiah 29:11-14 and how God’s word helps me, I will fellowship with them, and help feed them with my awesome group of friends in our Sunday School class.  Each of those poor men and women has a “June 28th” that they never recovered from. Win or lose, it makes me realize just how blessed and fortunate I am. 

 

Regards,

Webster M. Smith

June 28th, 2008 Posted by | Reflection | no comments

Certainly, an Ode to the efforts by the Coast Guard Report and CGblog.org

Today’s front page article in the Navy Times recognizes the influence of these two investigative reporting sites, even if the Coast Guard does not.

Congratulations to CGblog and the Coast Guard Report. Perhaps there should be a question #7 on the FOIA form:

7. Does the mass media refer to your site for: better information, leads, opinion, and fact where it is squelched, elsewhere, by the powerful majority?

Courtesy of Navytimes.com

June 27th, 2008 Posted by | Props | no comments

Hmmm….Editorial From South Carolina’s “The State”

Posted on Thu, Jun. 26, 2008
Obama’s profound impact on the future

By WARREN BOLTON – Associate Editor

MANY HAVE OPINED about what Sen. Barack Obama’s phenomenal win in the Democratic presidential primary and his possible ascension to the presidency mean to this nation.

Just the elementary historical facts are powerful enough: There has never been a black president. An African-American had never come close to winning a major-party nomination. None had been part of a majority-party ticket.

What does Sen. Obama’s nomination say about race and race relations in America? What does it say about opportunity for people of color? Those are the kinds of questions many a pundit has tried to put into perspective.

Of course, most importantly, Sen. Obama’s ascension says a lot about, well, Sen. Obama. It says his powerful gift of oratory and his message of change connected. His ability to build and manage an extraordinary campaign network and to raise funds is superior. His idealism that America can unite beyond race and politics and age worked.

As I’ve considered Sen. Obama’s accomplishment, I’ve determined the most profound impact he’s had — not considering the possibility of him becoming president and proving to be one of our better ones — is on our future more than our present or our history.

I didn’t grasp that until I took my 2-year-old to the doctor last week and he took a vision exam. It was through young Alexander’s eyes that I saw how important this moment in time could be.

The nurse administering the exam pointed to different shapes and images on a chart, asking Alexander to identify each. One of the recurring images was that of a flag. It wasn’t an American flag, but a flag just the same.

To a 2-year-old, a flag is a flag, right? Alexander is most familiar with the U.S. flag. When the nurse pointed to the flag, he answered confidently.

“Barack Obama,” he said, pronouncing it as best as a 2-year-old could.

“What did you say?” she asked.

“Barack Obama.”

Continue…

June 26th, 2008 Posted by | News | no comments

The Obama Initiative, By. Webster M. Smith

A couple of weeks ago, Lebron James was asked by an ESPN analyst, “What would you be doing if you weren’t playing in the NBA?”  I was fixated on the screen, mouthing “please, please, please,” begging him to give an intellectual answer.  “Well, I would be playing in the NFL,” he responded.  Just like that, five million viewers–a good portion of them young men and women, observed one of the most clean cut of black stars professing the emphasis of sports as a profession, over all else. Capable of any profession, Mr. James shunned the ‘Cosby’ careers–the doctor, lawyer, professor, judge, and politician….president. 

barack-obama-is-on-fire.jpg


Until a couple of months ago, I didn’t believe that I would experience a black president in my lifetime and I certainly wasn’t alone. When the black mothers and fathers of men and women my age looked into the eyes of their children and said, “You can be president some day,” it was likely that skeptical body language or the lack of conviction in their eyes spoke volumes, negating the six powerful words.  Down the road from them, a white parent says the same thing.  Just like that, it initiates a function that is foreign to some black families because until 2008, there was one unattainable mountain–the presidency. But for the parents that mean it:       
*they place their toddler in the best early development program 
*before the toddler is potty-trained, they are on a waiting list for the city’s best K-12 private school 
*the child eats only healthy, whole-foods to promote brain function 
*when the children are indoctrinated into team sports, the young children are not expected to develop a skill as a means to an end or a way out…they are just there to have fun 
*the parent gives them a book not a ball 
*college is a taste on the palette at age ten or eleven. They participate in the Duke Talent Search, testing their academic prowess against high school juniors and seniors 
*sports are fun in the early teens–a break from AP courses, NHS meetings, and debate team preparation 
*in their late teens, college isn’t a goal…merely a step towards it–IT is a means to grasp every academic and social advantage 
*college is fun, but standards are high…even with D1, D2, or D3 sports on the plate-for sports only get you so far and serve no purpose after college, other than for fitness and vitality 
*graduate school is an expectation.  The undergraduate degree isn’t enough to distinguish a person striving to possibly lead a nation 


Now, these bullet points are just an example. Not every parent says, “I want my child to be president one day.” All I am saying is that–there are some that prepare their children to ascend to the troposphere and the privileged few, who prepare their children to ascend past the stratosphere. Many upper-middle class black and white children experience this progression. 


Imagine if every socio-economic group aimed so high. Imagine if under-privileged blacks and whites, if nothing else, planted the seed of belief within their children.  Obama had little of this parental push towards the stars, just the seed of belief. With the exception of college and law school, elitism was not Senator Obama’s path to the presidency. He did not have the best of everything. Even more ironic, he had a family life that most would categorize as dysfunctional.  In 2008, whether elitist, middle-American, or just scraping by…anything is possible.


I am sure that there are several professionals in the NBA only because they fed on the inspiration of the Michael Jordan “I got cut but I came back” high school story, when they wanted to give up. 


Let us assume that Senator Barack Obama serves two terms as the Commander-in-Chief. What would our country be like, eight presidential terms from now…2032?  


Social advancement is no longer propelled by a series of federally mandated programs and race-specific non-profits.  Affirmative action has been abolished; equal housing initiatives are obsolete, non-profit organizations like the National Black Child Development Institute are no longer necessary.  


The following statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice will seem as preposterous as video of dogs attacking 1960’s black activists are to my generation: 21.4% of black males land in prison by age 30, compared to 1.4% of whites. 28.5% of blacks serve time in prison compared to 4.4% of whites.  The disparity between the percentage of black drug users and the amount of black people arrested….12% of the black population uses drugs, 50% of all possession arrests are supplied by the 12% of blacks that use drugs.  


The following statistics from urban.org would seem impossible to imagine.  50.2% of blacks graduate from high school compared to 74.9% of whites and the 76.8% of Asians. The single parent home category would no longer be dominated by black mothers.  The diminishing of these statistics will continue as the race gap closes. Frivolous prosecution of black males would come to a halt with a black president in office.  Less black men in prison, more in the home.  Better fatherhood, less crime by the next generation. The circle of life. I believe that over time the black work force will dramatically change for the better– boosting tax revenue and increasing our nation’s GDP. 


Some would say that these sentiments are reminiscent of Bill Cosby’s ‘black conservative’ rhetoric. The rhetorical question that people expect him to pose is, “Barack Obama did it, why can’t you?” I am not standing in line with apologists like Cosby or Booker T. Washington but that doesn’t mean that I don’t agree with some of their rhetoric. 


The Audacity of Bill Cosby’s Black Conservatism
 


The presidency of Barack Obama goes well beyond the example that he sets for us. He is an exceptional man and yet he is an exception–much like Harvard educated Governor Deval Patrick, Penn educated former congressman Harold Ford, and Howard educated Mayor Adrian Fenty.  We won’t feel obligated to follow Obama, we will want to.
With an Obama Presidency, the Lebron, Kobe, Jay-Z, and Jordan posters on the wall will have some new friends. His poster and other relevant leaders, black and white–of past and present. Politics is the ultimate sport and metaphorically, Obama has dunked from the three point line. 


He will have the effect on youth that Colin Powell, Condi Rice, and other pioneers could not.  Sadly, pop culture plays a factor–Note last night’s BET Awards. The Late Notorious B.I.G’s mantra of, “either you slangin’ crack rocks or you have a wicked jump shot” will lose some of its validity for the young black men and women in under-privileged neighborhoods. They will see another way out. 
In the next 24 years, there will be a paradigm shift in the way black families approach education and career aspirations.  There are enough smart, talented, black youth in this county to fill every spot in every Ivy League school. Jump shots, handles, and breakin’ ankles will be replaced by A+’s, LSATs, Community Service, and MCATs.  These are all tools for winning the game. 


(Last Night) As [Alicia Keys] picked up her award for best female R&B artist, Alicia Keys told the crowd that it’s time for black people to erase the word “can’t” from their vocabulary. “Together we can do anything,” she said, playing on the Democrat’s “Yes We Can” mantra before shouting: “Obama y’all!”  -AP 

Is America ready for the socio-economic impact of his presidency?         

  
Webster Smith: I am a socially and fiscally conservative young man.  I agree with some of McCain’s rhetoric and his reasoning (when they are not populist).  That seems to make me a conservative and that means that I should enjoy watching rappers, athletes, and black leaders get blasted on Fox News. Not so much. While I do not agree with everything that Senator Obama believes in–he will be a proponent of social change, from the bottom up. My six month old daughter will grow up in a world where a black man is President of the United States. Just four short years ago, black and white people were laughing along with Chris Rock when he satirized the idea of a black President in ‘Head of State.’ Three years ago, we were laughing along with Dave Chappelle in his rendition of “Black Bush.”  I rather live in my daughter’s world.    

June 25th, 2008 Posted by | Political Commentary | no comments

Pennsylvania Ave?