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America's healing starts with you and me, not Obama

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God bless you.

For me, this was a week of tears. It started with me crying over my perfect storm of

sicknesses that have converged on me in the forms of end-stage congestive heart failure,

brain cancer, prostate cancer, an abdominal hernia, a pinched nerve along my spinal

column and a possible herniated disc in my back.

It continued during the week when the 2008 Democratic Convention in Denver

reminded us all of the sickening condition that our nation is in. Then my voracious hunger

for my personal healing gave way to an even stronger hunger for the healing of America.

And, yes, tears flowed again.

I cried during the masterful speech of Michelle Obama. She set the record straight

by recounting the family histories of her and her husband, Barack, assuring us that they

are perhaps the greatest American story in the making. Two individuals, straight up from

America's common stock of hard-working, God-believing, determined parents--this

couple, longtime dedicated to serving the downtrodden, now stands on the threshold of

holding our nation's highest office of leadership.

I cried seeing our fellow cancer warrior, Ted Kennedy, get out of his sick bed and

come before the convention to serve notice that he not only is battle-tested but

remains battle-ready for the fight to restore America to the great internal prosperity,

tranquility, equality and promise that we were enjoying under President Bill Clinton.

Kennedy radiated a happy smile and a vibrant voice and demeanor void of any hint of the

serious surgery he underwent in June to address his brain cancer.

I cried at the outstanding speech by Hillary Clinton, the New York senator I was

hoping Barack would pick for his running mate for the sake of party unity. They would have

forged a political dream team that, I feel, would stand an even better chance to beating

the Republican alternative overwhelmingly. It had to the be the best speech--certainly the

most important--that she ever gave in her life. I did not appreciate the fiercely adversarial

campaign she and her staff ran against Obama. It's said that all's fair in love and political

campaigns. That's right for love. But I believe there are limits in a political campaign that

also is supposed to be forging party and national unity. Still, I would have loved to see

double precedents heading the Democratic ticket.

I cried when I saw Bill Clinton use his outstanding speech to regain some of his

credibility. His pluses still far outnumber his minuses. I regret he could not have run for a

third term. Sure, the Monica Lewinsky scandal would have been strong ammunition for

the Republicans to use against him. But I believe he still would have beaten Bush.

Clinton has to be one of the most intelligent, most eloquent and most productive

Presidents America has ever had.

Finally, I cried when it became official that Obama is the first black Presidential

candidate for a major political party. Then on Thursday night, the 45th anniversary of

St. (yes, I deem him a martyred saint) Dr. Martin Luther King's epochal "I Have A Dream"

speech, as Obama gave his acceptance speech, I felt no real urge to cry anymore except

for tears of joy knowing that I have witnessed and helped bring to pass something that I

never thought I would see in my lifetime and possibly even the lifetime of my children.

You see, I was there with Dr. King and some 250,000 other Civil Rights

demonstrators, when we marched on Washington, D.C., in 1963. As a member of the

Civil Rights delegation from Kansas City, Kan., I stool in a bunch clustered between

the reflection pool and the Abraham Lincoln monument as Dr. King thundered forth his

profound, poetic dream. I cried then, too, because I felt it was a pipe dream that I would

never see come true. I thought that I already had come a long way from a former, poor

Mississippi cotton picker to become a sophomore attending the University of Kansas

and attaining academic achievement to live in the university's coveted Battenfield

Scholarship Hall. But I also felt I'd never see King's dream fulfilled to this level.

What about you?

Are you pleasantly shocked, too, at Obama's success and what we all have a

chance to do to help him bring healing to our nation?

By the grace of God, the sacrifices of many Civil Rights fighters, the hard work of

many good congressmen of both parties, we have been put in a position now to save and

restore America to her former greatness. I am impressed with Obama, his power, his

conviction, his passion and his positive purpose--all exuded by his words, his voice and

his gestures. His was probably the best speech of all this week.

But as good and as qualified and as promising as Obama is to be our next President,

he can not do it alone. If he is to accomplish the healing he seeks for our America, that

healing must start with you and me. I see my sickness as a microcoism of the

macrocoism of America's miseries. Both are varied. Both need urgent, aggressive

attention. Both will also take time, hard work and great sacrifice.

You and I will be at our best when we are physically, spiritually, mentally, socially,

emotionally, economically and ecologically fit to quest for the best. We don't have to be

perfect. We don't have to be fully fit or almost fully fit. But we first have to be willing to help

our individual healing as a springboard toward America's broader healing.

Yes, let America's healing begin. Let it begin now. Let it begin here. And let it begin

with you and me. Let's bless God with our total attention, unbridled faith, full cooperation

and complete allegiance. For when America thus blesses God, He, in turn, will bless us.

He has already given us a formula that is foolproof and failsafe: "If my people, which are

called by my name, will humble themselves, pray, seek my face and turn from their

wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven; I will forgive their sins and heal their land."

God bless you.

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7 Comments

I first want to say that I pray for a change for the better in regard to your health issues. My wife recieved a lung transplant this past June as she was at the end of her rope, so I am a firm believer in the power of prayer. I enjoyed your blog, I was 4 years old when Martin was killed, but I remember how that moment affected my family and I can still hear the scream that my mother let out when the news repotrs came back that Martin had died.

As we head toward the 2008 Presidential election, I am both proud and concerned. I am proud that in 40 years, we can now truly say to every child regardless of race or social standing that if you work hard and apply yourself, you can become President. I am also concerned because as a person of color, I know that while racism is nowhere near the level it was in 1968, it still exists. I am afraid that because of Mr. Obama's middle name, some individual may try to harm him or his family.

The Speeches that were made at the 2008 convention did indeed help to lessen my concerns, but only to a small extent. Hillary and Bill Clinton, whom I had a great deal of admiration for prior to the primary campaign disapointed me with their behavior in the months of the primary. At the convention, they both made tremendous speeches, yet I wonder about their sincerity especially since Hillary was not considered for the VP position. I have my own theory that when they asked senator Obama to consider dropping out of the primary and running as the VP on Hillary's ticket, there was damage that was not easily repaired in regard to their working relationship. I agree that if Obama had put Hillry on his ticket there would be no stopping the democratic party from trouncing the republicans.


Banks' response: Your mother was one giant, precious jewel of a lady. Her

unforgettable scream, at the news of St. Dr. Martin Luther King's death, speaks

volumes about her deep, abiding love for the human rights movement that St.

Martin embodied. She obviously also raised you with a keen sensitivity for the

brotherhood of men.

I also screamed the night I heard the news over a radio report. I was a Navy

officer driving back to Indianapolis from a special assignment in Washington, D. C.

I was listening to the playing of one of my favorite symphonies, Beethoven's

Symphony No. 3 (the Eroica) in E flat, Opus 55, being played by the Chicago

Symphony Orchestra, Sir. Georg Solti conducting, when the program was

interrupted for an emergency news bulletin. I screamed "Oh no! Please God,

don't let him be dead!" when I heard the news and immediately drove off to the side

if the highway, my heart burning and pumping crazily with fear and anger.

Minutes later, a subsequent bulletin confirmed our worst fears. St. Martin had

been viciously from us by an assassin's bullet. The fact that he was killed while

fighting to help Memphis garbage men get fair wages and benefits was so

Christ-like of him and fittingly so. He had the intelligence to have chosen another

profession that would have guaranteed him a longer, happier and more

prosperous life in term of material gain. There may never ever be another hero like

St. Martin, whom I consider every bit a worthy saint as were Paul, Peter, John and

any other.

I thank God for answering the prayers of the righteous that helped your wife

receive that life-saving lung transplant. We also thank God for how He has blessed

man to perfect the medical skills of organ transplantation. And I can't think of a

better husband to be so favored as God has favored you through blessing your

wife. I agree with all your major points on the Obama-Clinton issue. Small wonder,

then, that John McCain countered by flavoring his campaign with the selection of

a woman, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. He obviously is hoping that naming Palin will

grab most of those feminist votes that Clinton could have inspired. So in any case,

history will be made in the form of the first black U.S. President or first woman

vice-president. The fact that Palin is quite attractive is another plus for McCain 's

decision.

If comments need to be approved, then it is like the unfair journalism we all experience. News should be news as it is. Do not take God lightly nor his principles. He is a Holy God. I cannot understand the blindness of people, yet it is not new in scripture. I wholeheartly disagree with all your major or minor points on the Obama-Clinton issue. You see, I am a very proud American who thanks the Lord that the Bush administration was in Washington on 9/11. While I am a republican and a conservative at that...I am much more...I am a committed Christian who believes in the power of Almighty God. May the Lord have mercy on our nation.May the McCain and Palin ticket lead our nation in the commitment to Christian principals as was our forefathers.

Banks' response: Thank you very much, Jean, for reading this blog and

posting your comment. God has had unlimited grace and mercy upon America from

its very inception. And I believe that as we have clung to Him closer in faith and

love for our fellowman, especially the so-called least of humanity, He has

prospered us. Your disagreement is welcomed just like the agreement of others

because this is the American way. Please join us in praying for the betterment of

an America that is in trouble on just about every significant front you can imagine.

And let each of us commit to doing his part to solve our nation's problems.

Still praying for your healing. Never intended to discuss Obama, but briefly, I believe there is something divine going on.... I thank God I am witnessing this time. I am pleased that many who could not believe that prejudices existed to the extent they had are seeing it for themselves and rallying against it. I pray for the safety of the Obamas and know they are in God's hands. It's a mighty, mighty God we serve.

Banks' response: Yes, Gwen, I, too, believe that the Obama phenomenon is

also a form of divine intervention. Especially in view of the fact that racial prejudice

is still alive and kicking. We dare not kid ourselves about that. But the fact that most

of his support is coming from white voters in states with white majorities is

particularly impressive because they choosing him over white opponents. Yes, I,

too, pray for the safety of the Obamas, just as I had prayed for the safety of John F.

Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, St. Martin Luther King and Medgar Evers, all brave

men championing the cause of mass reform for the benefit of all underdogs. Yes,

we are living in historical times. But a friend of mine says that the real challenge for

Obama is for his fellow black voters to show as much confidence in his ability and

to give him at least as much support as white voters because, regrettably, too many

blacks still refuse to register and vote.

wow.....what a bunch of political biased clap-trap, surrounded with Christian scriptures. Keeping drinking the Kool Aid....journalism in American is dead. It died in 2008!

Banks' response: Thank you for reading this blog. And isn't it great that your

very comment being posted is proof that journalism in American and free speech

are still alive and well? My blog and your dissent would not have been tolerated in

Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Czarist Russia and Tojo's Japan.

Mr. Banks, I hope you are crying tears of joy next January while watching Barack Obama take the oath of office as the President of the United States. I will be crying tears of joy along with you.

Banks' response: I agree, Luella, that while Obama's already history-making

selection as the Democratic party's Presidential candidate is sweet and certainly

most appreciated, his following through with a victory in November will likewise

merit unprecedented celebration. But our main celebration will be for the new hope

he offers for the new, more efficient and productive leadership that our troubled

nation so desperately needs. That means that those of us who also want that

meaningful change will do our jobs at the ballot box. A lot of us are great with our

lips in talking the talk, but bad with our hips in walking the walk. Too many sacrifices

have been made and suffering paid for us to have the vote. So the least we can do

to show our appreciation is to do, regardless of candidate. I personally would love

to see a record turnout at the polls at such a time when our nation needs improved

leadership and a radical revision of the makeup of our government and political

leaders who have sold out America's mainstream interests to special-interest

lobbyists. If we get that much needed leadership from whoever is elected, then that

will not only help the healing of those of us who are already sick, but improve the

health of those of us who are well.

Mr. Banks, I am praying for your health to improve. We never know what is coming our way. It is so important to enjoy every day. On another note, I am baffled by the lack of Obama signs in my neighborhood. When Carey (spelling?) and Edwards ran a few years back, many of the staunch Democrats decorated their lawns and cars with signs and stickers, now there is a blank space... Very interesting.

Banks' response: Right on, my friend. Thanks for reading this blog and for

posting a comment reflecting the same thoughts most of us, who want positive

change, have about these history-making political events. Our nations stands on

the bright, great threshold of correcting so many of the wrongs that have gradually

and systematically plunged our nation into dire depths barking at, among other

things, another great depression at the worst of times when surging nations like

China have replaced the U.S. as the world's premier producers of goods. We still

handily lead the world in consuming goods, but lag in producing goods and in the

betterment of the working class since more and more of our jobs have been

out-sourced to foreign labor. Our main defense of America now lies not in the might

of our military, but the rights of the working class, which is a most endangered

species. Nations are at their best when their people are working and earning

enough to enjoy life and feel good about God and themselves. We obviously not

only need improved leadership in our government, but the same in the business

world. Corruption and greed in our corporate leadership has done more harm to

the American people than Osama Bin Laden and other terrorists ever did. These

men who have stolen billions upon billions of the working man's wages and

mismanaged companies into financial ruin costing legions their jobs, their pay, their

pensions, their life and medical group insurance benefits and, most of all, their hope

and pursuit of happiness, don't wear robes, sandals, turbans and speak foreign

tongues. They are dapper, debonair dudes, who wear the finest of contemporary

fashions, speak English and were born in the good ol' USA.

Dear Rev. Banks,

This is Kate from the last blog entry. I come to check your blog every couple of days now to see how you're doing. It's feeling like a time of healing and new health in lots of different ways, isn't it? You, me, the country....makes me very happy. :)

Stay strong - I'll be thinking about you!

Best,
Kate

Banks' response: Thanks, fellow warrior, by honoring me with your prayers

and encouraging best wishes. We've all got to stick together and help bear one

another's burdens. The load lightens for each of us as more of us network and

seek our improved health collectively. We each have varying degrees of special

powers and talents that can be pooled for the common good. As such, our worst of

times physically, can become out best of times spiritually, which likewise promotes

healing. We're still buzzing over your wonderful comment that you posted last week.

I, too, am strengthened by your prayers and resolve as you are powered by mine.

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Lacy J. Banks

Lacy J. Banks, 67, has been a Sun-Times sportswriter/columnist for 38 years and a Baptist preacher for 58 years. He has preached at more than 100 different churches in the Chicago area. A native of Lyon, Miss., Banks graduated from the University of Kansas with a B.A. in French and he served three years in the Vietnam War as a U.S. Naval officer. Lacy and wife, Joyce, have been married 42 years and have three daughters and five grandchildren. Among beats Banks has covered for the Sun-Times are the Bulls, Fire, defunct Sting, Blackhawks, Wolves, Cubs, defunct Hussle, Rush, Sky, college football and basketball and pro boxing.

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This page contains a single entry by Lacy Banks published on August 28, 2008 11:36 PM.

Lord, please forgive me for breaking down and crying Saturday morning was the previous entry in this blog.

I want to return to work so badly that I could.....scream is the next entry in this blog.

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