The Glover Report: MD-Poli10: “We Were Soldiers”

Doni Glover at White House, 7.13.10

Exactly 8 Weeks Until MD Primary

By Doni Glover, www.bmorenews.com

(BALTIMORE – July 20, 2010) – The Maryland primary election occurs in exactly 8 weeks. On that day, many politicians will either secure or re-secure their seats as Maryland is a 2-to-1 Democratic state. In Baltimore City, Democrats rule 9-to-1. Hence, the primary is the finish line in many races. Harford County, on the other hand, tends to go the other way. So, several Republicans can rest comfortably after Tuesday, September 14th, knowing that they have 4 years to serve.

Yep, the battle for many politicians is in full swing. November, however, is when the big show goes down as the two titans, Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley and former Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich will square-off in what could be the biggest political re-match in Maryland history.

Before I go on, let me congratulate the Obama administration for its continued efforts to stem the rise of HIV/AIDS infections. After making my third visit to the White House last Tuesday regarding the issue, I am greatly pleased with this administration’s initiative. Despite the unexpected BP fiasco and its effects on the land and the people of the Gulf Coast, despite the opposition Pres. Barack Obama has faced in attempting to provide all Americans with health care (no matter how arduous the task), despite unprecedented corporate theft on Wall Street, and despite two wars he inherited from the previous administration, I think this president has exceeded expectations. One last thing on our president: I am always amazed at the Sunday morning news shows that feature people who have never been president and how ridiculous they sound playing Monday morning quarterback.

This morning, I found myself watching “We Were Soldiers.” It is a 2002 war drama featuring the ever-popular Mel Gibson, Madeliene Stowe, Sam Elliott, and Greg Kinnear. Gibson plays a lieutenant colonel whom is charged with leading 400 US troops against incredible odds: 2,000 North Vietnamese. The stage was in 1965. Interestingly for me, that is the year in which I was born.

As each Tuesday approaches, I am always in search of something inspirational to share with our listeners on our weekly news talk radio show on Radio One’s WOLB 1010 AM at 10 am.

After watching a spectacular performance by Gibson, I couldn’t help but relate the movie to what I see most often: the struggle in the African American community. While I will not attempt to recap the movie, I will share a couple of things that I got out of it.

Number one: Followers (soldiers) appreciate a leader who is on the ground with them. Number two: True leadership has character, sincerity, courage, and most of all – vision in the midst of fire.

As the election season ubiquitously surrounds all Marylanders, politicians who make generic spiels and empty promises should be put on point by the people. Don’t vote for them. Vote for those whom have a record – a true record of service. Voters should be already prepared when they get to the polls. They should know truth from fiction, real from phony, and the deliverables vs. the impossible.

My community, the 44th legislative district, easily could be considered the most challenged in the state. I see the effects of blight and neglect everyday. I see new prisons coming and closed schools turn into training facilities for law enforcement, i.e. the former William Pinderhughes Elementary. I see dope lines daily, yet a hunger for drug treatment beds. I see boarded up houses and essentially little to no development over the past decade, including a barrage of barely-making it small businesses.

So, there is not too much a politician can say that I haven’t heard. There isn’t a promise they can make that I will really believe. There isn’t an iota of encouragement I really expect to hear; nothing but more of the same. I guess I’ve become cynical.

On the other hand, my favorite part of “We Were Soliders” was when the call was made for “Broken Arrow.” That term means that all lines of defense have been broken by the enemy. It also means that all attack planes are to respond to that area. The “Broken Arrow” call needs to be made for the 44th and other impoverished communities in Baltimore City and Prince George’s County – the two areas dominated by African Americans in an otherwise 30% black state.

This means that pastors, politicians, Civil Rights leaders, business people, professionals, educators, parents, volunteers, healthcare workers – and everybody else must come together so as to fight the seemingly insurmountable odds that surround us. Everybody has a role to play. For instance, if the politician’s primary goal is to grow his or her own business, then they do not fully grasp the concept of public service. If the politician’s main focus, in another scenario, is to move up a notch to the next level – having not mastered the previous level, then voters might want to re-think their vote.

There was a time when there were soldiers in the black community. There was a time when leadership was ever-present. It seems, however, that the black community – and America as a whole, for that matter – has become consumed with selfishness. Tisk! Tisk!  

Pray, research the candidates, and be a part of the solution in your community. Be pro-active and help make a difference. Most of all, embrace the concept of service in your own life.

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