Louisa Strayhorn

Voting in Virginia Beach

November 8th, 2011 at 9:32 am by under Politics, Uncategorized

I am happy to live in a country that allows us to have the opportunity to express our opinions freely and to vote. However,it remains depressing that in Virginia Beach and elsewhere, we cannot evaluate without denigrating or refrain from doing our best to ruin a candidate’s character without a shred of proof. I am sickened again to hear about the racial cartoons that were disseminated by one of the Virginia Beach Republican city council candidates’ campaign managers and the vitriolic comments of some in Virginia Beach expressing their belief there is no need to put a black man on the council. And why was it necessary for some Republican party members to berate members of their party for supporting a black candidate running for a nonpartisan office? Did they forget the definition of non partisan or just dismiss it? Finally, please explain to me the hypocritical comments of certain members of the Black community who professed they wanted diversity on city council then complained because it wasn’t “their candidate” who was appointed even though Prescott Sherrod was imminently qualified? All this negativity makes me want to take a shower to wash off the dirt that is weighing my spirit down! It gets us nowhere! Can we please go to the polls and vote for the candidate based on facts about their character and positions? I am voting for Prescott Sherrod because I know the good things he has done. Over the 15 years I have known him I have seen him overcome adversity in business with dignity and devote his time and energy to helping other businesses through his church and community organizations. In a time when all we see in the media about most politicians is negative behavior, I will cast my vote for Prescott Sherrod who ran a positive campaign and, has demonstrated over fifteen years devotion to his wife, his business and his community. I believe those are good reasons to give him a chance to continue to lead our city.


This Halloween Season Politics is No Treat.

October 29th, 2010 at 6:47 pm by under Politics

During this Halloween season we don’t have to look far to find horror – it is alive and well right here in Virginia Beach. This year’s political campaigns have most of us who try to do our civic duty running screaming into our houses, shutting off our TV’s and radios and hiding under the covers in an attempt to stop the negative bombardment politicos like to call “communication with the public”.  Just look at what the campaign wars have uncovered again- disinformation: false information deliberately and often covertly spread misinformation: wrong information which is given to someone deliberately, and downright lies. If you don’t believe me, just ask any TV station or newspaper who has a “truth-o-meter” to characterize the political ads by the above designations. You will find plenty of evidence.

However, in my opinion, there is nothing more evil or destructive for our city and our society than the use of race or religion as weapons of mass destruction for they incite hatred and fear, they harm the person who is the target, our city’s reputation, and, most of all they harm our children who learn how to treat people from us- the adults who love them. Indeed the outcome of these insidious attacks more often than not is an ongoing societal war waged between the good old boys and those who are different or new, or even worse, a kind of weary acceptance, that indicates nothing can be done to prevent our divided society.

For instance, in the city council campaign for the Princess Anne district friends of the incumbent, Barbara Henley, have decided to attack the challenger, Ms Tanya Bullock, a young attorney who happens to be African American, using disinformation, misinformation and race baiting. Henley’s supporters (we don’t know if Henley is involved) Misinformed the voters in their negative political piece regarding Tanya Bullocks’ background; they used Disinformation when informing voters of Tanya’s views on Agricultural Reserve, the Greenline and other environmentally directed programs (Truth-Ms Bullock has praised Ms Henley for her advocacy) and, they downright lied about Oceana not having good relations with the city because “a young Black Attorney” would be on city council. I think most people in this city give the military leaders at Oceana more credit.

 Finally, the use of race baiting negative stereotypes by inferring that the district shouldn’t be turned over to this “black attorney” who was clever enough to “hook up” with a white “car dealer”. First, Ms. Henley and her supporters surely know when people write an angry letter, they don’t mention race unless its derogatory; second, being clever enough to “hook up” makes you wonder if we have some  insidious racial profiling going on.  President Bush was neither the first nor the last to decide that the path to victory lay in picking at the scab of race, in order to make white voters feel afraid, or angry, or resentful as was done with the Willie Horton scandal. And here we are again, with a group of entrepreneurs of racial division — doing all they can to convince whites that their way of life is threatened by dangerous blacks. This is indeed a horror I had hoped Virginia Beach would not invite in to our homes again. I remember well the racial slurs and the death threats I and my campaign workers had to endure when I ran for reelection to city council in 1998. Many people, who were confused by hate mongers, believed the disinformation they fed to voters. I am hoping there are enough voters in Virginia Beach who believe in giving qualified candidates a chance regardless of race, religion or the color of their skin and will have the moral strength to take up the banner in this fight for a Virginia Beach where all citizens are respected. Truthfully, it would be a horror and frightening if in 2010 I am still the only African American woman to have served on Virginia Beach city council.


John McCain…an old dog with a new trick?

September 6th, 2008 at 12:50 pm by under Politics

There are times when your emotions run so high that if you want to be fair, you need to check with others to find out if you have lost your ability to listen without rancor. I found myself in this position as I reviewed my analysis of both Senator Obama’s and Senator McCain’s acceptance speeches.  Allegra McCullough, a former member of the Bush administration and a former SBA deputy administrator, agreed to give her thoughts on the speech when I confessed I had heard nothing but rhetoric from Senator McCain during the most important night of his political career.  Here is her unvarnished opinion.

 

Listening to McCain’s nomination acceptance speech left me with a furrowed brow and a great deal of confusion. As an African-American female Republican who has served on the state and federal levels, I was as excited about hearing Senator McCain’s as speech as I am about having my blood drawn…I usually feel….nothing.

 

As I struggled through his speech of stark generalities, I realized that Senator McCain had changed from the “Candidate with Experience” to the “Candidate of Change”. When did this happen? Did I miss a few news programs? Did I miss a reading few articles? Does this mean that if he could, he would change his 90% voting rate with President Bush – especially on renewable energy or any comprehensive energy-saving plan that he never supported in 26 years?

 

While the stories regarding his POW years are always heartening, I was surprised to learn that Mr. McCain did not begin to love his country until he was imprisoned. I tried to compare that with the uproar over Michelle Obama’s admission of feeling pride for the first time in America as it voted for her husband during the Primaries. Let me be clear. Both Senator. McCain and Mrs. Obama obviously needed a major event in their lives to each focus on the greatness of this country. This may be true of many of us. The events may differ, but the impact of America’s greatness is relative to our experiences in it.

No one can deny that Mr. McCain is an American hero. But many of America’s Vietnam War heroes did not have a family name to catapult them into the political arena. He made out okay. A great number of our veterans were not so lucky.

 

During the GOP Convention, Senator McCain’s “country first” mantra turned to “politics first” when he picked Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. There is little about this woman that qualifies her as a possible next President of the United States. Somehow, someone governing a state that averages about 1.1 persons per square mile for 1 ½ years does not impress me. The women of this country crave substance in their lives and in their leaders. Just putting any female on his ticket doesn’t pass the “country first” test.

Maybe the Senator needed a woman who appeared to be an average wife and mother to add a natural touch to his ticket so that no one could accuse him of being an elitist.

 

For years I was proud of John McCain’s “maverick” spirit. I felt he kept the GOP and the DEMS in check. This time around, I am not sure John McCain knows who John McCain is because he knows that this is his last hurrah and it must be all about politics now. The McCain/ Palin ticket……Neither is a Reagan communicator nor a Gilmore security expert. I am still yawning and still skeptical.


It’s the Hypocrisy Not the Pregnancy, Stupid

September 3rd, 2008 at 2:28 pm by under Politics

As always, I am amazed at how quickly we forget and dismiss the double standard that lurks behind our reaction to political events. Take this latest controversy over Sarah Palin and her pregnant daughter. As usual, the Democrats led by their leader Barak Obama, clearly state that a candidates’ children and what they do should not be the subject of campaign fodder. I agree. However, I don’t believe the hypocrisy of “you are not allowed to criticize us but we can say whatever we want about you” tactics should be glossed over and dismissed. First of all, I don’t believe the subject of the daughter would be so “interesting” if Sarah Palin was not one of the holier than thou Republican hardliners who state publicly that abstinence from sex is the only Christian way while virulently opposing sex education for children and abortion even in the case of rape or family incest. Did you know Alaska has one of the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases in the country?

It’s interesting that the Republican hardliners also believe the “Baby’s Mama” slur launched against Michelle Obama was just fine even though it wasn’t true. This was a clear attempt to get the public to believe her children were illegitimate i.e., she had them before she and Barack were married. But don’t you dare mention the expletive comments made by Sarah Palin’s daughter’s boyfriend Levi Johnston, who proudly admits he is an “expletive” redneck, who will “expletive” beat up people and doesn’t want children. He is not to be discussed even though his comments were available on ‘My Space’ for everyone.

Republicans certainly thought it was okay to keep up the constant insinuations, including many by a minister who is a good friend of McCain’s, that Barack Obama is a Muslim when it has been clearly stated and proven over and over that he is a Christian. Did anyone ask how the young children in the Obama family (nieces and nephews included) might feel about their family being labeled probable terrorists and their faith questioned?

Worst of all, I wish I didn’t believe that if Sarah Palin had been a Black woman and a Democrat that they would not have treated her so kindly. Many of us have been told by our parents to remember the world is not fair, however, we all secretly believe it should be. Why else would it be so depressing that we see once again, politicians using the very children they supposedly are protecting as shields against the criticism of their policies and political actions, while taking every opportunity to beat down their opponent with lies and innuendos on the same points. Yep, hypocrisy does not go down well with my morning coffee. Where’s the aspirin?


It’s the Hypocrisy Not the Pregnancy, Stupid

September 3rd, 2008 at 2:28 pm by under Politics

As always, I am amazed at how quickly we forget and dismiss the double standard that lurks behind our reaction to political events. Take this latest controversy over Sarah Palin and her pregnant daughter. As usual, the Democrats led by their leader Barak Obama, clearly state that a candidates’ children and what they do should not be the subject of campaign fodder. I agree. However, I don’t believe the hypocrisy of “you are not allowed to criticize us but we can say whatever we want about you” tactics should be glossed over and dismissed. First of all, I don’t believe the subject of the daughter would be so “interesting” if Sarah Palin was not one of the holier than thou Republican hardliners who state publicly that abstinence from sex is the only Christian way while virulently opposing sex education for children and abortion even in the case of rape or family incest. Did you know Alaska has one of the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases in the country?

It’s interesting that the Republican hardliners also believe the “Baby’s Mama” slur launched against Michelle Obama was just fine even though it wasn’t true. This was a clear attempt to get the public to believe her children were illegitimate i.e., she had them before she and Barack were married. But don’t you dare mention the expletive comments made by Sarah Palin’s daughter’s boyfriend Levi Johnston, who proudly admits he is an “expletive” redneck, who will “expletive” beat up people and doesn’t want children. He is not to be discussed even though his comments were available on ‘My Space’ for everyone.

Republicans certainly thought it was okay to keep up the constant insinuations, including many by a minister who is a good friend of McCain’s, that Barack Obama is a Muslim when it has been clearly stated and proven over and over that he is a Christian. Did anyone ask how the young children in the Obama family (nieces and nephews included) might feel about their family being labeled probable terrorists and their faith questioned?

Worst of all, I wish I didn’t believe that if Sarah Palin had been a Black woman and a Democrat that they would not have treated her so kindly. Many of us have been told by our parents to remember the world is not fair, however, we all secretly believe it should be. Why else would it be so depressing that we see once again, politicians using the very children they supposedly are protecting as shields against the criticism of their policies and political actions, while taking every opportunity to beat down their opponent with lies and innuendos on the same points. Yep, hypocrisy does not go down well with my morning coffee. Where’s the aspirin?


Choice for Leadership: Rock Star or Beauty Queen

September 1st, 2008 at 12:10 pm by under Politics

 Over the past few months, we have heard over and over again the Republican criticism of Obama’s lack of experience and the denigration of his charisma and ability to bring people hope as just the props of a “Rock Star”.  Now we have the Republican’s surprising Vice Presidential pick of a relatively unknown Governor who is a former “Beauty Queen”.  To add insult to injury, New York’s former mayor Rudy Giuliani was on Face the Nation this morning stating that 44 year old Sarah Palin has more experience than Barack Obama and will be prepared to lead our country should something happen to McCain age 72.

Well now – Let’s check the facts and see how they really compare.

Sarah Palin holds a Bachelor of Arts communications degree. Obama holds a Bachelor of Arts political science degree and a Juris Doctor (JD) law degree from Harvard. Sarah Palin is a former sports reporter and a self stylized hockey mom of five children.  Obama served his community as a grassroots community advocate, a constitutional law professor, a civil rights attorney and is the loving father of two children.  Sarah Palin has served as Governor of Alaska’s 670,000 people for two years and has served as the mayor of Wasilla’s 5,470 people for six years. Obama has served as a state senator of Illinois’ 12,831,970 people for eight years and as a US Senator currently responsible for making laws for America’s 299,398,484 people for four years. (All population figures from US Census). Sarah Palin is a former beauty queen and avid National Rifle Association (NRA) supporter. Obama is not an avid NRA supporter and has never won a beauty contest.  He has won the prestigious position of first black president of the Harvard law review. 

In addition, it is rumored that the Republicans picked Sarah Palin as a last minute hope to get Hillary supporters who are women to vote Republican.  Let’s trust, for their sake, that’s not true. There’s something insulting about anyone believing that women have one dimensional decision making abilities.

It makes me and most women ask how long do women have to outshine their male counterparts in so many fields before they shed the good old boys perception of females as the stereotypical dumb blonde? What will it take for all groups led by men (or Stepford wife-type women) to stop thinking of us as sheep that can’t think for ourselves and who can easily be persuaded to do what others wish because we are led by our emotions?   Just because there were many passionate Hillary supporters who were disappointed, even bitter, that she lost the race for President does not mean that they will immediately vote for a pistol packing, beauty contest winning, animal killing, anti women’s right to choose advocate who admits she isn’t convinced that global warming is man-made, for the reason that she’s female?  The majority of women spend an enormous time studying issues and the facts before they decide to be passionate about a position.  I know women will look at Sarah Palin’s record on the issues and make a decision based on her beliefs about what affects them rather than vote for her because she shares the experience of the pain of childbirth. I know they will carefully weigh her lack of interest or belief in the seriousness of the consequences of climate change and compare it with her reputation of being the “hotty” governor. I know they will analyze carefully the facts as reported by one news source that she was endorsed in an ad by Senator Ted Stevens, who is now under indictment in a Republican corruption scandal. It is said that she’s already embroiled in a mini-scandal that’s under investigation by the state senate. Palin’s former public safety director has claimed he was fired because he refused to fire a state trooper who was involved in a custody dispute with her sister.

 I believe women are smart enough to make the right decision for our country.  They know which candidate would make a better President. In fact, I’m betting on it. My vote, by the way is for the Rock Star, Senator Barack Obama.


The Acceptance

August 29th, 2008 at 2:09 am by under Politics

What can I say about tonight’s experience that you have not already heard? I don’t know if I can adequately describe what it feels like to be part of the crowd of tens of thousands exuding positive energy. And that was before he gave the speech. The build-up was clever and effective with stories from ordinary people who have what you always hope is extraordinary challenges. However, it was clear they were Main Street not backstreet problems, like Barney Smith, who got laid off after 30 years. All he was given a 90 day severance package. By the way, Barney, like many of the other people who testified, was a Republican who will vote for Obama. Barney stated he was voting for Obama because he, for once, wanted someone to care about Barney Smith instead of Smith Barney.

 

Barack Obama followed with a speech that answered every criticism the Republicans and reporters have been throwing at him for the last several months. He accepted the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in front of a roaring, exuberant crowd of 74,000 strong, with a speech promising a middle-class economic renewal and, as the Wall Street Journal reports, tying Republican rival John McCain tightly to the record of the current president. The excitement generated by the perfectly timed fireworks probably is a good description of the bursts of exhilaration and joy that came from that larger than super bowl crowd during and after the speech. Never before have I felt that much directed energy from a group of people. They laughed, they cried, they danced, they communed and came together with a silent vow to help in any way they can to get Obama elected. I too will proudly do everything I can to turn Virginia Blue by November 4, 2008. If you wish to join me, call me (757-366-5343) or e-mail me at Info@lsaconsulting.com, I would love to have you along when we have the greatest political win for change we have ever witnessed in our lifetime.