Day 5: Oprah – The End of One Era, The Beginning of a New Era

 Image courtesy of Parade
In 2011, after 25 seasons, The Oprah Winfrey Show will be saying its last hurrah. This shocking announcement seems to have stunned viewers and the entertainment industry. But Oprah said she knew in her spirit that it was time to say goodbye. It’s been a remarkable, historical, uplifting journey for Oprah, the show, her staff, and her viewers. She went on to become the most, if not one of the most powerful women in the entertainment industry. According to Forbes, her net worth is $2.7 billion. I know that amount is astonishing. But what’s even more so is that she did it her way. Oprah set out to do what she wanted and she achieved that (and much more). She used her power and influence to bring about good in the world. She overcame obstacles and became an inspiration to millions of fans across world. Though the show is ending, the industry/world is looking to see what she produces on OWN – the Oprah Winfrey Network. Though it’s unclear who is the heir apparent, it’s clear that Oprah has not finished her work yet. There’s still more to do. And the world will be looking forward to her next move. Oprah – an inspiration, a trailblazer, a humanitarian, and a living legend.

On Marriage…

So many marriages are crumbling. Whether it’s people in the spotlight or people in our personal lives. Marriages currently seem to be more like short-lived excursions instead of life-long, fruitful journeys. At this rate, the only couple who looks like they’re going to make it is Whitney & Bobby. Recently, I told two of my friends (who’ll be tying the knot June 2006) if they end of like Babyface and Tracey Edmonds I’m going to cut them both. But seriously, where are the marriages/relationships like Ruby Dee & the late Ossie Davis? You know, marriages like our great-grandparents, grandparents and quite possibly our parents….When the love just seems to get stronger and stronger and the relationship seems to get better and better. When problems arise and they’re able to keep it civil, work it out and stay together….

Today, it seems like people are getting married for all the wrong reasons. Lust. Money. Security. Because a baby is on the way. Not because you want to but because it’s expected. First and foremost it’s supposed to be about love. At the same time, marriage is a business. Once you sign that contract, you’re making an arrangement between you, your spouse and the state (or government). Maybe this part is irrelevant. Then again maybe not. My point is this—why get married if your heart isn’t in it? Why make these arrangements or this commitment if this isn’t the person you truly love and desire? If you’re marrying only for security, what happens if it turns out to be a false sense of security? Marrying for children or because there is a child on the way doesn’t seem to be any better, especially if one (or both) of you has resignations about going thru with it. As we all should know, the children will be affected either way. Even more so if they have to endure unstable, hostile relations between parents who really don’t want or need to be together.

It should be a requirement that before you walk down that aisle, make sure he or she is the one. You also need to make sure you really know each other. There’s nothing worse than getting some unexpected surprises down the line. If there’s something you want or feel you need to know, you better ask! You need to discuss money, children, jobs, relocating, etc., before you jump over that broomstick. Because it’s so easy for any relationship to end, but it’s work if you want the relationship to last. If one person is trying and the other person fails to even make an attempt, you’re going to have some issues.

Another hot component to this discussion is the sanctity of marriage. But this typically comes up with yet another hot button issue—gay marriage. In all honesty, gay marriage is not going to burn down the house of holy matrimony. Newsflash everyone—the sanctity of marriage was already in jeopardy long before the gay marriage debate began. Take a look at TV today. When you have reality shows (really faux reality shows) like The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, Who Wants to Marry My Dad?, Wife Swap, Trading Spouses, and the like, it signifies a big problem in our society with marriage. There are larger issues to consider when statistics say that marriages nowadays are more likely to end in divorce. How about considering many of the following questions: Why people don’t stay together? Why people commit adultery? Why people lie? Why fewer people are deciding to get married? And just how does gay marriage threaten anyone’s idea of marriage? You’re not directly influenced by it – especially if you’re involved in an altogether different relationship. So still, how does it affect you at all? And furthermore, what right does anyone have in invalidating another’s relationship by saying their relationship is insignificant (because of their sexuality)? But I digress.

Maybe the other part of this discussion needs to be reconsidering whether a traditional relationship is right for you. You may not be a fan of traditional. You may want a relationship that’s a bit more radical. Possibly an open relationship. A committed relationship without the basis of monogamy. Or maybe you want the fruits of traditional marriage without all the hoopla. As far as I know, no correlations have been made specifically stating that relationships more often than not fail to endure if there’s been no exchange of rings or a formal ceremony. Marriage, the idea or the actual experience, is not for everyone. You may have to walk down the aisle a couple of times before you figure it out (sadly). But hey, that’s just how it goes.

With all the many wonderful things that we encounter and achieve in this life, isn’t it just nice to share them with someone you love? Someone that’s got your back. Someone that’s always going to be there. Someone you can have great conversations with, cuddle with, laugh with and cry with. Someone that you can rush home to each and every night.

Isn’t this the overall goal? Is it possible? Or is this just wishful thinking? I think that it is possible. But I can only go on what I’ve experienced, what I’ve been exposed to and what I believe. I sincerely hope that the forecast calls for brighter, lighter conditions on the marriage/relationship front for everyone.

What do you think?

The "Morally Reprehensible" William Bennett and Other Musings

By now, the name William Bennett should ring a bell. Bennett, the former Secretary of Education under the Reagan administration, made rather racist comments about reducing crime on his radio show not too long ago. If you haven’t heard the comments you must have been living in some kind of padded, soundproof cell. But just in case, Bennett said, “…you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down.”

So tell us how you really feel….Anything else you want to throw out there to enlighten us? Go ahead, we’re all ears. We’re waiting. And people say racism no longer exists. What a crock! Bennett later went on to say that it “would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do … but the crime rate would go down.” What a contradiction. Maybe he would’ve fared better if he kept his mouth shut.

My question is this, why abort all the black babies? How is it that the crime rate will go down if all black babies are aborted and no other group of babies? It doesn’t make it right and I don’t support the argument either way, but if you insist to continue with the argument why not abort all babies (regardless of race) if you want to lower the crime rate. This is completely ludicrous! Comments like these prove just how disposable we are. Comments like these prove just how little respect and decency a significant portion of this society has towards black people. And to top it all off, very few if any members of the GOP (please correct me if I’m wrong) condemned Bennett for his comments. So that must mean that several other members of his party share similar beliefs. Or they don’t see anything wrong with the comments. This incident reminds me of the climate after some comments Vincente Fox, President of Mexico, made months back. [for more info, check here and here]

These incidents and the recent Hurricane Katrina tragedy (the rather tardy response of government officials and the presentation of the incident by the news media) go on to show that we still have serious racial and social class issues in this country. People try to push racism further under the rug or act like it no longer exists. However, it’s still ever present. Social class issues have never really been dealt with in this country at all. Meanwhile, the disparities between the races and within the races seem to grow wider and wider as the years progress.

Typically, the GOP is late (if ever present) to the table when issues of race are the top of the menu (not unless it addresses something that will impact them directly). Because we all know it’s about the haves and the have-nots. And if you fall in with the latter, the GOP wants little to nothing to do with you. Oh yeah, let me not forget to mention that the White House Press Secretary did issue a statement from Bush saying that Bennett’s comments were “inappropriate.” Wow, what a response! On the other hand, the Democrats responded promptly, demanding that Bennett apologize. Some even went as far to call for Bennett’s resignation from his radio show.

Historically, it’s members of the GOP who’ve made comments along the lines of Bennett. And when the shit hits the fan, they typically stick by their remarks, will not apologize, and will cry that they’ve been misquoted, misrepresented and misunderstood. When in actuality, they weren’t mis- anything. They were quoted, represented and understood quite well.

While everyone else drowns, several members of the GOP continue to swim to the top of the sea of bigotry, racism, social class disparities, inequalities and homophobia. Well it’s time for us to rise to the top and rid the sea of its pollution. Cause we’ve got a long way to go. It’d be wise to get the boxing gloves ready. It’s going to be long fight. And it won’t be ending early.

I’m interested in knowing your thoughts. What are your ideas, opinions, recommendations, etc., about what we as a community (and we as a society) need to do to get beyond this current demise?