Michael Dobson newspaper
by Michael Dobson


Our eyes locked. A much older man and I.

We were pumping gas on opposite sides of the Isle… me on pump 6 facing north and he on pump 5 facing south. Locking eyes neither of us nodded, but our locked eyes acknowledged our shared fear, angst, uncertainty and frustration, as we both now know and accept our mutual lot. A puzzle, the coronavirus is. It’s the taker of lives , the breaker of dreams, and the revealer of beauty all together. Because of it, we are sharing a resting place, a resting time.. a recognition of the things that we have in common in a crooked and often hard world that rather create and exploit divisions… turning to loving and understanding in its place, spurred by mutual angst and uncertainty . Like the waving of the flag after 9/11, there was a sense of unity… a togetherness that I see now. More death is eminent (with its pain) and our kindness is showing. The latter washed over me when locking eyes with a kindred soul. On the same day in that same sequence of activity, while entering the store to pay for my gas, a young black man opened the door for me as we both entered together…with him in front. The same man, while standing in front of me, dropped a nickel while receiving his change… to have me bend down to pick it up and give it to him. He was a kind man. Upon leaving, he wished the cashier and I a blessed day. Then, a very tall young tattooed white gentleman open the door for me as I was going out.

Later, there was the lady in Publix with whom I struck up small talk with about my amazement that lysol is nowhere to be found in town and the same for toilet tissue, when she volunteers that the store allows for the purchase of two packs of hand tissues and told me ( a stranger) that she’s using them as toilet paper. There is a beauty in the air from a sense of us being in the same boat .. being in it all together… easier to strike up conversations, to lock eyes away from our phones, to smile at the stranger or even shake your heads together at the strangeness of the moment.

This is not 9/11 when we had a sense of who our enemy was, at least we had a target to point to … to blame.. to punish; but here, there is no such enemy. Here, the enemy is benign.. as its nature itself and the science of the universe to also remind us that we share a common place… the world, as neighbors… as a part of the same humanity. Natures beauty and the beauty of our mutual humanity has brought us face to face with nature personified, as the broken and errant part of it, the ugly, the death…… a virus. There is a beauty here though even among the sadness we share with lost lives and lost dreams, for which we have grave condolences for the former, and a question of God’s will for the latter. The lessons of our shared sameness and broken down equality is a rich one here. It is when the wealthy have sought government money well before the poor… beating the poor to it.

Today, the rich and the poor together are seeking help from the government’s teat. One group, while considered titans of industry, have been brought down low.. to their knees. Today, the rich themselves go to the grocery stores to realize that no matter their wealth, they could not make toilet paper appear on their grocery store shelves… the same as the poor. Gas is cheaper than ever, but neither the rich nor the poor have anywhere they can go as movements are restricted together. We get to see the sameness in us when men of power have spent so many waking hours and hundreds of years to suggest there are innate advantages of intellect, skill, and morals itself. For the second group, it’s quality of life and the limits of their dreams are often determined by societies reaction to their race, ethnicity and gender, to now look into each other’s scared eyes to now know the truth… that our human equality has always been with us except for the lies we tell ourselves that are spurred by our all so human greed and fears.

For the wealthy. the usual trappings of said wealth for the purchasing of power, the purchases of escapism or perhaps the ability to surround oneself with aesthetics that we are told are the best representation of beauty…because of store closures , economies and travel restrictions perhaps are not attractive pursuits. We are forced to talk or be quiet with our spouse, our friends, our family… as we will learn quickly that escapism through television , movies and etc has its own shelf life. Maybe you will talk to your neighbor, watch a bird or a butterfly as you reacquaint yourself to your own surroundings outside as we embark upon spring. Maybe we will slow down, look up, and realize what love is again.. to know what being connected not to technology, but to people is like again. Yes, beautiful coronavirus… you may teach us.

I often go back to the young woman I saw picking up trash off of the side of the road a year ago, whom I stopped to snap pictures of, as she did it with her two kids…one in a stroller. For when I asked why she was doing it .. she said because it’s the least she can do. Today, I’m looking at my backyard, my street, the people around me as if they are new creatures. We’re accustomed to the hustle and bustle, the burying our faces in phones, in meetings, shopping online for unnecessary things .. seemingly all to avoid looking at ourselves squarely in the mirror to see our plainness and our sameness. Coronavirus has revealed our beauty, our sameness and forced us to look up, to look at each other and to know our togetherness… know that person who we’ve been told is the “other.”

There will be the other side of this moment in the world… the place where its over… the virus contained. We will not be the same… there is a shifting of who we are for the good. God and the universe are likely at play as hatred had become weighty in our everyday lives. We all could feel it. It began to weigh on our souls to even poison the generations behind us that are to sustain this planet when my bones are dry and buried. Nothing can replace the loved ones that will be lost from this scourge of a virus, no matter the uplifting words one can write.

We seek condolences for their families. In the end, we may find that rather than destroying civilization, coronavirus has saved it and all humanity itself as we can now see ugliness more clearly and show love for each other more often. Beautiful Deadly Coronavirus you got us, you’ve changed us.

Michael Dobson is a Tallahassee based third generation Floridian, columnist, President of Dobson, Craig and Associates, Founder of Talking Florida Politics. and President /CEO pf The Dream Foundation
Filed under: Uncategorized No Comments

President Trump, Tell Gov Desantis To: Let My People Go (Vote)

Michael Dobson newspaper

By Michael Dobson

Thank you, President Donald Trump. When Kim Kardashian and her spouse appealed to you for the release of a federal prisoner and urged you to pursue criminal justice reform, you listened and acted. It signaled relief for generations disproportionately affected by what has become a predatory system. Then, there was the signing of the historic First Step Act, along with the high profile commuting of the sentence for one black woman… Alice Marie Johnson. Today, you are on track to sign a piece of legislation that is finally going to make lynching a federal hate crime.

But this show of a substantive reforming of criminal justice only goes so far… before the legitimacy of this new found love of my black brothers and sisters goes into question. This show of love has been gone with overstated rhetoric and propaganda by operatives and supporters that suggest the current administration has done more for blacks than any other President, especially Barack Obama. Then there is the famous statement from the 2016 campaign trail when the appeal to blacks was “ what the hell do you have to loose” in an effort to move blacks away from its nearly complete support of the Democratic party,to vote Republican. But also standard is the administrations contradictions, like the diatribe against Chicago leadership at the conference for international chiefs of police … intimating that cities status as a sanctuary city contributes to its crime rate, and the horrible remarks made about Baltimore and its leaders.

It is true that in this presidential election year our President will get to talk about the mostly symbolic things done to appeal to blacks, despite the often offensive rhetoric. But, the most glaring evidence of hypocrisy is that the administration has done nothing to make sure that African Americans can vote. Sir, why haven’t you Mr President called Gov Desantis and asked him to let ex-felons vote according to the Florida voter’s intent.On February 6th 2020, at a gathering,a minute or more is spent with you stating that Desantis victory in Florida is owed to your support….making it clear that the two of you are close and that Governor Desantis sits in our governor’s mansion largely because you got behind his campaign. If you love me… love my people, why won’t you let us vote? If you love me, why does your party keep challenging Amendment 4 in the courts, which is itself a form of voter suppression. Is it because in 2016 the President lost the popular vote by 3 million votes and only won Florida ( beating Hillary Clinton) by just 112,911 votes out of a total of 9,122,861 cast (not counting the 378,786 cast for the others on that presidential ballot), knowing that if the 1.4 million voters Amendment 4 intended to give the franchise to could actually vote, statewide elections would go differently. For instance, let’s just say that 10 percent of those now eligible under Amendment 4 could vote, that would be 140,000 additional votes to the Florida electorate. With that number of additional votes, Donald Trump would not have won Florida’s 29 electoral votes in 2016.And given that blacks are disproportionately incarcerated and therefore will be represented disproportionately in that number now eligible, had policymakers not stepped in to create the current barriers for voting under amendment 4, coupled with the generally held view that most blacks would vote Democratic, allowing us to vote unencumbered could determine who will be the leader of the free word (or at least win Florida’s 29 electoral votes) .

So, my humble question to our President is this: Are you suggesting to blacks that we should vote for you because of a handful of things you’ve done (mainly in criminal justice) that some see as a help to blacks, while at the same time… working to make sure many of us remain disenfranchised from voting? If so, we just might not buy into all of the administrations proclaimed love and support, and some who you have fooled might not vote for you at the percentages you would need? Is the GOP our friend or enemy? Which is it? Does the GOP want to expand its base beyond mostly whites, or keep it like it is? Because I’ll tell you my brothers in the GOP … what you will get with hate, has its cap. So, respectfully Mr. President, can you call on Governor Desantis to stop challenging Amendment 4 and "Let my people Go" ..Vote.

Michael Dobson is a third generation Floridian, longtime Tallahassee lobbyist, columnist, President CEO of The Dream Foundation( statewide organization that focuses solely on Dr Kings legacy), and Founder President of Dobson, Craig and Associates. Reach him at Michael@dobsonandcraig,com


Filed under: Uncategorized No Comments