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It seems as the tides are turning in both directions tomorrow and the next day to follow, they will turn again. A leadership will present by simply being present a new set of humanitarian morals and moral never before seen in the eyes of those who look to him and those who look at him. A type of checks and balances not for the White House, Congress, corporations, CEOs or CFOs but for the individual, brought on by the outlets for paid professionals’ opinion and research,  will decide that today the tide of tomorrow will not touch or determine the ebbs and flows of how we think, treat, love or wonder about another human being.

A recession has been announced and the scape goats counted for slaughter yet the individual has voted and set their own didactic to play.  31 days after 9/11 I could see a recession begin. 5 days after 9/11 I witnessed with my collegial set vision, what was confusion and questioning for the previous 96 hours started to take shape coast, as they say, to coast, caressed by the humbled hands of catastrophe into what some but not all regions of this country are known for; hospitality. A country filled with pride for brotherhood. A country filled with the thought of others, what a beautiful thing.  It is odd to me that the two proudest times in my life were the months after 9/11 and when I think of where we are going with Barack Obama. Not that where we are going with Mr. Obama is the to the promised land but it is to a place where as an African American young man I interviewed in Grant Park 5 hours before Mr. Obama would win said, “If President Elect Barack Obama wins, we (African Americans) will have no excuse.”

If we as a nation in this time of change could not only change how we think of the big R but also change where it is and where it belongs in our lives than “Change” will occur.  Lives are lived, from others perspectives, as slogans of religion, education, perception or constitution.  God Bless “fill another country’s name here”. I believe we are already blessed with more than enough. Oh, a recession, a humbling point to where not only auto makers but baby makers, baby dadies, mamas, drama mamas and everyone in between are forced to check the empty space in their wallet for the “insert budget guidelines here” tab and await its removal with our hopeful minds set on the $700 Billion removal fee. What is a recession without the hope for a better time when all of us can go out and buy whatever we want whenever we want it? It is 2:22 am and I will finish this tomorrow, wait, I’m sorry, make that later today.

Understand that time wears out the springs (in both the water and metallic sense) of hope that only rest on the consequences of the moment and ignorance. Even then though, the ripples and repercussions of that hope are counted and considered answers to prayer in countries you’ve never been to and in children lives you will never get to meet.  It appears that when the hours that separate tomorrow from today melt together without an eye closed to miss it, things just end up being all the same.*

*Yes I was inpsired after watching the Jack Bower in the  24 kickoff to write this message.

$2000, or 600 Mochas, gave this Vietnamese boy a heart surgery. Saved. His. Life.

$2000, or 600 Mochas, gave this Vietnamese boy a heart surgery. Saved. His. Life.

http://www.eastmeetswest.org

Hoan, 21, born without legs, came to America in October to talk around the country about the affects of Agent Orange.

Some off the moments of 21 year old Hoan’s travels while she went around the country telling people about the affects of dioxin agent orange.  More Photographs, a video, to come and a written article too.

Hoan climbs into the car.

Hoan climbs into the car.

Hoan, 21, crawls over a barrier at the overlook of San Francisco.

Hoan, 21, crawls over a barrier at the overlook of San Francisco.

Hoan visits prosthetics doctor in hope of new legs.

Hoan visits prosthetics doctor in hope of new legs.

From the outside to the in, Hoan has very little fear of both mental and physical obstacles in her life. She smiles more than anyone I know and in the next post about her, you too can see how her life is lived and learn more about the amazing stories of the millions like her being born today in Vietnam because of what America sprayed in Vietnam over 30 years ago.

How do you cope/conquer your fears?

Just an encouraging word for people who are in difficult times. Please understand that God is always there for you and has a plan for you if you come to him.  I would like to remind you that Christianity is not about Christians, it is about Christ.

Stand firm in faith with me, with all believers, encouraging our brothers and sisters in Christ as Christ encourages us and I encourage you. Tomorrow God has appointments in your fears and you CAN conquer them with the full armor of our Lord. It is not time to sleep or stand content, it is not time to put hope in our president (whom I support), but it is time to be a light reflecting in the true hope and true love that is Christ Jesus. Speak in love. Praise God.

Praise God for all of you brothers and sisters. I wish I had time to write all that God has been teaching me over these past weeks of travel documenting everything from Barack Obama to victims of Agent Orange, painters to volunteers, airports to fellow journalists. I want to and will Lord willing do so in the next week.

I leave for NYC for a big shoot I have on Monday and Tuesday next week. Please pray. I will then stay in NYC for 6 more days. Pray for my ministry and confidence in Christ.

Sen. Barack Obama led another fan thrilled charge from his podium that railed against Wall Street and Washington for the current financial crisis. As we all know in Michigan, bad news relating to the economy is no new news at all. The state has the nation’s highest unemployment rate at 8.9%, more than 300,000 manufacturing jobs have gone under and the mortgage foreclosure rate is among the highest in the nation. So what is knew from the Obama campaign?

“We meet here at a time of great uncertainty in Detroit and all across America. The era of greed and irresponsibility on Wall Street and in Washington has led us to a financial crisis as serious as any we have faced since the Great Depression,” Obama said. “I know these are difficult days and nowhere has it been more difficult than Michigan and Detroit. But here’s what I also know: We can steer ourselves out of this crisis. Because that’s who we are. Because that’s what we’ve always done as Americans.”

“It looks like we have a rescue plan that includes these taxpayer protections. And it looks like we will pass that plan very soon,” Obama said. “But our job is far from over. Because now that we’re fixing the mess on Wall Street, we need to move with the same sense of urgency to help families on Main Street.”

As I drove up to the event traffic was already backed up. . To my benefit, know the city well so driving on side streets all the way up to the ceremony on Woodward was not hard, even with only 30 minutes to go. The temp was a cool 70 degrees or so as I parked my car in one of the many back alley ways of Detroit. People were talking here and there whether or not Obama would only speak for a few minutes like he did last time in Heart Plaza. I brought my video camera and still camera to fit both appetites that the media has for distribution. There was a great mixture again of people of all colors and ages walking in the direction of the large American flag draped over the famous street. I went up to a cop to see if he knew which direction Obama would be facing and he answered, ” Do you know what kind of question you are asking, I should arrest you”.  Woah, ok, next cop. I could not see the podium through the trees on the DIA lawn so I asked that cop. I think he over reacted as there were about  70,000 people looking at an empty podium for an hour before Obama was to take stage. Being press you can go about anywhere you want to behind the scenes relatively speaking. I got there with only 30 minutes to go, signed in and was off to the stage with nobody in my way.  When I wanted to get into the crowd though the volunteer kindly stated, “Only normal people are allowed in here”. Time to get creative. The biggest thing about shooting with photographers that have been in the biz for more years than I have been alive is to find the angle that is not taken and make the best of it. Now with over 200 press crawling around, that is a hard thing to do. But I managed with what I had. So I went medium high, close and super high, calling on my friends in the Park Shelton to open a window for me. I was the only “professional” photographer to shoot from that high up. From the podium area you could notice little men with big guns from every room in the surrounding area. No helicopters from what I could see.

visit http://www.detroitreborn.com for more photographs on Detroit. All photographs on this site and this blog are copywrited and are the property of Stephen McGee. Any use of the photographs without permission is illegal.

More to come later..

I have seen Barack Obama speak every time he has been in Detroit campaigning. For the first time,  it was 2006 and I was covering the event for the Detroit Free Press. That is when I first understood what he was about. Well actually, that was the first time I even really began to know who he really was. He captivated his supporters at Cobo Hall. I was along the back of the row filming. During his speech, it seemed as though I was the only journalist really looking at him, really listening to him, really excited he was here. I am a (was) a Republican Moderate until I heard Obama speak.  Mostly because I just really like the guy. For what he stands for, yes, most of it. But I remember coming back from that speech, walking on Fort Street the 5 blocks to the Free Press building entrance excited for the possibility of having Obama be president. That was 2 years ago.

The next time I covered Obama in Detroit was June 2008 and I shot with a 1962 Polaroid camera with ISO 75 film.  I arrived at 5pm and the speech was at 8pm. I had a flight that night for Honduras/El Salvador for another asignment for E+Co (www.eandco.net) which took off at 1am. I hadn’t packed or checked my gear. But I knew I wanted to be at this rally.  I got clearance to be “Press” by standing in the Press line. Very difficult. I would argue that I was photographing for my documentary I am making about Detroit. Anyways. I walked into the floor of Cobo Arena to the sound of thousands of people chanting various Obama cheers. “Yes We Can”. As I entered I did this walking 360, spinning around amazed at the site of reporters and supporters, police and babies, signs and stands.

Looking back at the event today, I realized how much the people of Detroit need something to believe in, something to chear about.  My first suggestion would be God, for he is good. During the speech I would turn around to watch people watching Barack. People would have a relaxed look on their face. Relaxed and confident. They would take deep breaths without the little tug at the end deep in their chest. No one was speaking at all until he gave us something to chear about.

Obama speaks about Change. Change from what to what I wonder. I have traveled much in 26 years and seen what we in the USA call “developing countries”.  We call them developing as if we were developed. In a person’s life, learning is life long. Until they are no more. This nation needs change, we need to understand where we need to go next. The racial card has been played for the past 50 years+ and now, I believe, it is time we get over it. I am all about equality, but equality without acknowledgement of color. My new friend from Puerto Rico says, “There are too many people too close together in Puerto Rico for there to be division. People are just people”. Obama is change to me. Sometimes I don’t even think you need to know where the change will take you, or even where it will come from. Just one person saying, “Things will Change” is what we need here and now. When I drive around Detroit looking for photographs, I see that we are not too far from a developing country too. If we cease to develop as a country though, we cease to mature as a nation.

In my travels I have seen how much the world hates our government, America. It is amazing the bubble that we live in. It is not our fault. Other countries like Ghana and Sweden, Vietnam and Cambodia, have a plethora of Americana in their everyday lives. Most of their movies, shows, music and pop culture comes from the States. Now multiply that by a bizillion and that is what we live in. It is hard for us to get out of it. Nor do we really want to. (WE being the average citizen from my observation). When the Georgian war started I was in Sicily and never felt closer to a foriegn war. I wanted to be there to document.

There was a lot of waiting for over 200000 Michiganders trying to catch a gander of Barack Obama today at the Heart Plaza in downtown Detroit. I live about 1 mile away from Heart Plaza so my goal was to park as close as I could without getting stuck in after event traffic. I took Atwater drive and parked within a 20 minute walk. Now with this being Labor Day, I was hoping that the GM Starbucks was going to be not excercising the holiday.  And much to my happiness there were four baristas ready to take my order. With a caramel macch I was out the door charged to document this event. First photo I took was of a group of pigeons that reminded me of the workers taking a lunch break over the skyline of New York photograph.

Getting closer to the crowd the noise made it clear that there were a lot of people waiting for Obama. You needed to arrive 3 hours earlier than I did to be able to get a golden ticket to get into the actual event. For the 40000 others like me who did not, we were stuck outside watching a huge screen. Obama took the stage and the crowd erupted. Just a few days after taking the nomination, I was expecting a go get’m speech from Obama. Instead in what seemed to be only 3 minutes, Obama hit the Detroit crowd with as few of words as he could have said to make his points clear and still woo us, the audience.

In between photographs I was pumping my fist in support after he opened up his speech with singing the Aretha song, “Chain Chain chain” which received a lot of clapping and started the mass to become a choir. From what I hear, Obama cut short his planned speech and instead asked for prayers for those in the Gulf Coast facing the wrath of Hurricane Gustav. After the moment of silence he stated that in this America, many of us are going through silent storms in our own lives.  Even though the speech was only a few minutes long, I was further charged to vote for Obama. As quickly as it began it had ended and the exodus had begun.It was clear some supporters were disappointed in Obama’s small speech but I have a feeling he will be back here before the election.

McCain’s big week is being trumped in the news by the hurricane in the South. I have a friend, Garrett Hubbard, who is there right now covering the hurricane for USA Today.

For his second event in Michigan, Obama went to Monroe and began speaking a little after 1:15 p.m., telling the audience that he was again going to shorten his speech in light of Hurricane Gustav, just as he did earlier in Detroit.

He championed the labor movement saying “if it had not been for organized labor America wouldn’t have the middle class that we know. ”

Referring to Hurricane Gustav, Obama said “in times like these it’s a reminder that with all our differences, we are one America.

http://freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080901/NEWS15/80901024