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Joe Biden campaign in Cincinnati, OH

Joe Biden campaign in Cincinnati, OH

As I write this, Joe Biden is talking in Cincinnati, OH on National policy issues. This, one day after Gov. Palin’s near avoidance of having editorial presence while she met with various world leaders.

The Obama campaign is making the contrast between the two blindingly stark with this move. I think its very smart and it shows the kind of lop-sided VP debate we might have.

I say might, because honestly… I look forward to a smart and scrappy Palin, come debate night. I look forward to lively banter and wise answers from both sides. But with the background that Biden has… she has a significant hill to climb as she prepares.

America must lead by the power of our example and not by the example of our power.

Joe Biden,
Sept. 24th, 2008


If there is one thing companies need to realize is that cool logos, slick websites and clever ads do not a great experience make. It is this mindset that approaches the designer/creative director/marketing company and says. Make it look pretty/sexy/clean.

Marketing and advertising should be the icing on the cake, not the lipstick on the pig.

Seth’s Blog: What advertising can’t fix

Microsoft has fallen into a trap that befalls many large companies in search of cred, buzz or respect. They’ve decided to buy some via advertising. I just saw another great Don Cheadle performance. The movie was everything I expected. The tension, the suspense, the explosions and all that. The interesting part though is examining a person playing both sides, we have seen this multiple times. But in this case, the both sides that Cheadle’s character straddles is that of violence vs peace. Hate vs submission. The inner turmoil of his character is quite vivid and very open. When the topic of inner struggle comes up the resulting conversation is quite revealing (do go see).

As a fan of geo-political thrillers, Traitor was very good. Tension at all the right moments and just the right amount. Could have had a slightly tighter script but the plot was great. I believe this movie was made at the PG13 level to encourage as many Americans to see it. Rightly so, it should be required viewing for every American teenager, scratch that….

every American.

In 2008, everybody and their momma is a pundit, so why not lil ol’ crazy Jamaican me 🙂

Why does Obama’s fund raising this last month means so much. Simple. Because people are voting with their pocketbook. Yes he had a bump from the nomination. That I am sure explained why half a million new people gave him money for the first time. Sure the argument maybe, yeah they’ll send him money but behind those curtains in November, what will America really do. Well look at it this way, this is the greatest transfer of wealth to a black man in the history of this country. This is not from a corporation like Sony to Will Smith. We are talking about money going from people struggling to buy gas and feed thier families to

Regardless of how anyone feels about Barack Hussein Obama, he has struck a chord, he has tapped a vein, deep in America’s collective conscience and his campaign is mining it for all it’s worth.

Felisa does not cry easily. When those planes struck those buildings in New York seven years ago it was only the second time in the two years we were together that I saw her cry. That was when the enormity of the attack hit me like a ton of bricks. I said to my self…this is going to change the course of history in a massive way.

The enormity of this act I think is even more incredible because of the physical scar it has left on New York City. As I watched Obama and McCain descend into this void of pain and nothingness I could not help but think of shrieks, and screams, bodies hitting the ground falling from over a quarter mile above ground. It was the most surreal day of my life. Everybody says it….

It was like watching a movie….

Now that the day is almost passed and I have soaked up quite a bit of the coverage I have a better perspective on things. The fear has dissipated somewhat and a new war rages thousands of miles away. Whether or not this war should have been waged, whether or not Saddam Hussein should have been removed from power, there are many, many families that miss a Mother, a Father, a Brother, a Sister.

Tonight that absence is felt like cold concrete against bare flesh. The absence of warmth in this world takes many a life and it makes many a life difficult to bear.

In the memory of those that died, may we be the presence of warmth in someone’s life every day. I know this may sound sappy to many people. —BUT— May we honor the those that were snuffed out on September 11th 2001 by being the smile on a cold Monday morning, opening a door for a stranger, helping in little unseen ways. Submitting self to the greater good. Let us honor the absence of over 3,000 people by being the presence of love.

– yjtw,,6201642,00.jpg

The Essence of Talawah
Why Nation Building is dead.
– Yorkali Walters

In 9.69 seconds Usain Bolt transformed a nation. We watched with baited breath as the black, green and golden streak laid low the world’s best, thumping his chest into Olympic history. What moved me most though was not just Usain’s scintillating performance but the tsunami of change that would cover our island.

I have repeatedly said to my American friends, often with moist eyes that my little island home needed this badly. The crime riddled nation has not been the same since an unfortunate election over 28 years ago. In 1980 Jamaica experienced a tipping point in it’s history. That touchstone released decades long of repressed animosity, anxiety and fear. Feelings that extend all the way back to our past as a nation of slaves. These violent symptoms we have not yet been able to live down as country. Acclaimed professor Dr. Cornel West in a recent CNN program on the Black Experience in America claimed, (look this up!) “One of the greatest problems we face today in our society is the pursuit of pleasure, power and property.”

The pursuit of these three, when unleashed on relatively small societies, can have devastating effects. Jamaica has suffered long for this.

Rampant violence, domestic upheaval and urban terrorism has been the result.

I do not use the phrase urban terrorism lightly. Ask the 12 year old student in Denham Town, or Rema that cannot go to school because bullets fly like mosquitoes across his street. Or the mother that suffers through round after round of beatings because she wants a better life for her children. These are not easy situations or choices. These are situations that cloud the collective consciousness of 2.8 million plus people.

Then a bolt from the blue.

For 9.69 seconds we held our breath. For 100 metres reality was suspended. At the end of the race on that Saturday night in Beijing visions of an alternate future flashed before our eyes and we truly realized the true meaning of the phrase “likkle but we talawah” Usain’s achievement is THE essence of talawah (pride/achievement) and this I believe will be more than increasing the profit margin of Puma, Digicel or any other corporate giant that endorses the Bolt. This is, as a popular US politician likes to term it, is a defining moment in our nation’s history. We now have the choice to attach OUR definition to this moment. Not necessarily marketing or merely as we like to term it, “nation building”.

We should define this as the beginning of “a nation becoming“. For this author nation building entails getting all the pieces in place, setting the foundation. Getting the education system right, reducing crime, fixing our roads, etc, etc, and the list goes on from Morant Bay to Negril Point. We have been nation building since 1962. And we are still marking time with no real progress. We talk endlessly on radio talk shows, complain our hearts out, Mutty and the rest I am sure are tired sometimes to sit behind the mike. While this happens, our youngest amongst us either languish in poverty, fear and hopelessness or we ship out to farrin’ and the brain drain rapes us of our best minds. But now is the moment to shift from nation building to a nation becoming.

Mind you, our new highways are way overdue along with all that any decent government is SUPPPOSED to do. The error of our ways is waiting for everything to be just right so we can say, Yup, here we are, we have finally “built” a world-class, “first-world”, country finally ready to be taken seriously.

Nation building is dead.

Let us BECOME the best of what we always were before the crime, before the nightmare of 1980, before our future became divided by garrisons and class. Our situation has deteriorated to the point where our only direction is up. When things are this bad. The element of risk is not as big an issue. We can afford to be truely innovative in any field we chose. Radical changes in strategy are much easier when you do not have much to lose.

The physics of sprinting has long said that long-legged men are not cut out for short distances. Usain has put that theory to rest. Now, let us look at ourselves differently . How can we auger the resource of our Jamaicans abroad beyond just sending remittances, to how their various locations across the globe can help to build up our national brand in new ways. May the political will align itself behind the best ideas that our colleges and universities produce and not let partisan politics kill the innovation that we so desperately need. May we think different about our future as we move from a nation that builds, to a nation that becomes…the best of what it always was. Likkle but Talawah!

Yorkali, a designer, writes from State College, Pennsylvania.

On this first day of the Democratic National Convention, I want to share an essay I wrote back in July of this year. I am thinking of submitting this to NPR’s “This I Believe” series, So I would love to get your feedback below.

Mufasa, Simba & Barack
Thoughts on Identity, Fear and getting past your past.
Yorkali Walters ©2008

“What was that for? It doesn’t matter, it was in the past.
Simba and Rafika

I was watching the Lion King with my daughters and I saw something new in the last great pre-Pixar Disney movie. If we remember Simba‘s plight of identity and denial. How being consumed by the mistakes of his past kept him from returning home to remove Scar from his treacherous reign over the Pride Lands. I see a similar theme with the Senator from Illinois. Now stay with me…Barack as most know, also has had to come to terms with his dual identity of being African and American and the symptomatic issues that followed. This in my mind reflects a wider situation.

These United States are yet to come to terms with it’s multi-identity of being African, American, Irish, Catholic, Italian, Polish and all the other strands of DNA that permeate the Stars and Stripes. I believe that confronting it’s past as a nation is part of solving it’s future. As it stands, the politics of fear is the new tool. Fear of terrorists, fear of China, fear of immigrants, fear of the future…fear of it’s very own self. The contrast that Barack strikes between fear and hope is distinct not because of it’s lofty rhetorical appeal but simply because it’s true. When a people’s fear is greater than their faith in themselves disaster is not far off. Despots rise to power and those in power become a darker shadow of their former selves. History is littered with a multitude of examples.

America is facing a firestorm in the search of it’s identity and true purpose as a country / world-power. It will not end after the Obama era passes or after two or twenty non-caucasion presidents. If we learn anything from history, we should know that national identity is constantly evolving. And for those who say “This country is not ready for a black/female/hispanic/asian/_________president.” they have no idea how fast the United States is changing and the incredible effect globalization is having on immigration patterns across world. The splintering and “remixing” of American identity and DNA will redefine our concept of American. A city on a hill cannot be hid. All the peoples of the world will never stop coming here. No legislation will EVER change that….ever. Diversity is no more than a catch-phrase, it is what these United States are.

The most diverse super-power since the Roman empire.

To govern a nation this splintered and diverse, one must know who they truly are at their core. If not self-doubt, self defeat and ultimately destruction are not far off. The barbarians will be at the gate faster than you can say Nero. Americans are coming to grips with who they truly are. So, like Simba when your true self becomes clear and known, and you accept it, there is very little that can derail you from your goal. When Mufasa reminds Simba that he is the son of a King, not some feather of a cub going where the wind takes him, he realizes that there is so much more than fear. There is so much more than self-doubt. He gathers strength from his true identity and takes hold of his future. Nothing stops him, not even a Scar on his past.


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