The Inspiration Nation

July 4, 2008

Revisiting Marvin Gaye’s Star Spangled Banner on this 4th of July 2008

Filed under: Events, Miscellaneous Ramblings, Politics — tshombe @ 6:43 pm

This time last year, I read Frederick Douglass’ famous speech, "The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro."  It’s a recurrent theme in American politics, this idea of freedom for her citizens.

When we talk about notions of freedom and citizenry, inevitably other profound issues also come up, like nationhood, politics, privilege, and now more than ever, what it means to be patriotic in its many forms.

Whatever your views on these, and however they play out in your life and your conversations today (and any day), I wanted to share with you (perhaps you’ve already heard it) Marvin Gaye’s live rendition of The Star Spangled Banner, the national anthem of the United States of America.

It’s the most beautiful rendition I’ve ever heard.


May 13, 2008

Derrick Ashlong combines rational argument with emotional inspiration in support of Obama

Filed under: Motivation, Politics — tshombe @ 6:55 pm

I get a lot of forwards in my email inbox from friends and family.  I’m sure you do, too.  To tell the truth, I generally skim over them pretty quickly and then hit the delete key.

This morning, something moved me to give more than cursory treatment to a YouTube video — sent to me by my sister, Tahirah — that I also want to share with you here.

Far more articulate than me, recently-naturalized US citizen, Derrick Ashlong, offers an answer to would-be critics of Obama who assert that he is heavy on emotional appeal, but lacking in substance.  Derrick illustrates with incredible reasoning that nothing can be further from the truth, and shows with equal power the depth of engagement young people have in this politcal process at this historic time.

This spontaneous, impromptu interview (where it is clear the interviewer intended to catch Derrick unprepared and uninformed) is just shy of 6 minutes long.


Awesome, don’t you think?

Those who know me know that I have been won over by Senator Obama.   I am inspired by the message and politics and consistency of Senator Obama, particularly his broad appeal and commitment to collaboration and unity — as opposed to a hardline, go-it-alone attitude — as the vehicle through which positive change can occur.

This has been my impression of the man already.  Derrick’s interview only served to further seal the deal. 

In fact, the response was so great, Derrick was moved to record a follow-up response to this interview to explain his deeply personal and emotional reasons for supporting Obama.

I hope you’ll take a moment (about 7 1/2 minutes) to also view the following video by Derrick Ashlong.  I think you’ll find it inspiring and moving, regardless of whether you agree with his choice of candidate to be the next President of the United States or not.

I would love to hear from you about your thoughts and your impressions.

For now, I leave you with Derrick Ashlong:



April 4, 2008

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King 40 years later

Filed under: Events, Love, Motivation, Peace, Politics — tshombe @ 3:13 pm

The world mourns a great man today.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

It’s a somber and sobering day, as I remember Dr. King and the legacy he created in life and in death.  Forty years after the death of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., there is still much work to do.

That’s why it is also a day of rejoicing that you and I have the honor and privilege of embracing the spirit of Dr. King and taking up his torch of freedom, racial equality, and economic justice for everyone.

Will you take up the challenge? 

I am also reminded today of my dear friend and mentor, Dr. Dov Baron (who was just a 10-year-old boy when Dr. King died), whose mission is to raise consciousness and impact the world with the same magnitude that Dr. King impacted his.

I don’t know about the rest of the world, but Dr. Baron has surely impacted me in immeasurably powerful ways.

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