Point of View Columns

Message to Tim Scott – Its Only Make Believe Until You Believe

Yesterday two members of the Republican Party demonstrated that the members of this cult (it is no longer a true political party) are comfortable swimming in the deepest cesspools of white supremacy and systemic racism any time and all the time.

Exhibit A is a nonentity from Louisiana, State Representative Ray Garofalo, who began to whine about how badly white America is being portrayed in more truthful and historically accurate educational books being used or considered by school systems in his state. When whining was not enough he started to argue about the need for “balance” and then he said:

“If you are having a discussion on whatever the case may be, on slavery, then you can talk about everything dealing with slavery: the good, the bad, the ugly,”

Being able to recount anything “good about slavery” Representative Garofalo attempted to moonwalk away from the sheer, arrogant stupidity of his statement. But words do matter and his words revealed a not surprising ignorance and insensitivity to the criminal aspects of the history of the treatment of Black Americans by white Americans and how – even in the third decade of the 21st century – there are just too many white Americans who just don’t care.

Like the soon to be forgotten State Representative Ray Garofolo of Louisiana.

Not to be outdone, Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, was chosen to provide the Republican response to President Biden’s message to the Joint Session of Congress. It was to be expected that Senator Scott was not going to become a cheerleader for President Biden and the Democrats, but for him to say that Democrats are trying “to tear us apart” and that little white boys and girls are being taught that they are “the oppressors” was more than ridiculous, it was, given America’s history of systemic racism and its foundational history of white supremacy, obscene.

But it turned out that Brother Scott was just getting warmed up. For a Black man from South Carolina to stand before a national audience and proclaim that “America is not a racist country” ranks right up there with the old saying about “don’t believe your lying eyes”. Tim Scott knows, must know, that this isn’t true. After all, he lives in the state where a young white man named Dylan Roof shot and killed nine Black Americans while they were praying with him, and when he was apprehended by the police there was no gunfire and the police bought him a hamburger.

Meanwhile, last week white police officers in Elizabeth City, North Carolina – just up the road from Senator Scott’s home state – shot and killed an unarmed Black man by the name of Andrew Brown, Jr.  – while in the process of serving a summons (not an arrest warrant) for a nonviolent crime.

In America the racial disparities to be found in healthcare, education, employment, law enforcement and housing are seriously documented and undeniable – no matter what Senator Scott says. And when the President of the United States publicly announces an agenda to end systemic racism in America it is only a good start if people like Senator Scott and his fellow Republicans continue to believe that there is no systemic racism that needs to end.

To correctly state that systemic racism is part of the American sociopolitical fabric and that therefore America is a racist country, is not to say that every white American is a racist.

Because every white American has a choice and Senator Tim Scott and the Republicans are not helping white Americans make the right choice by continuing to reside in the Great State of Denial.

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Point of View Columns

In Search of a Happy New Year

It is that time of the year when the champagne glasses are chilled and the confetti is bagged and ready for release. Resolutions are being listed and the anticipation of 2016 far outweighs the most unpleasant memories of 2015. But for some, actually for too many, 2016 will not and cannot be a Happy New Year. For some, for too many, the deaths of loved ones due to inexplicable and inexcusable gunfire cloud the dawn of the New Year, and that of every New Year that may follow.

Freddie Gray may not have led the most distinguished life, but he was someone’s child and did not deserve to die in the custody of the Baltimore Police Department. His family and those who loved him still await some measure of justice. Tamir Rice was a child who had yet to live his life and he was summarily executed by a member of the Cleveland Police Department who, we have learned, will not be indicted for any criminal charges. The parents of Tamir Rice will never know him as a man and, as of now, will never know even a small measure of justice after unspeakable tragedy.

Dylan Roof was not a member of any law enforcement agency, but he enforced the Law of the Gun, slaughtering nine black worshippers in South Carolina even as they prayed. Tyshawn Lee was gunned down by demented gangbangers on the meanest streets of Chicago and his small corpse was added to the endless awful body count.

The toll of death by gun in the national black community can only be displayed on a crazed kaleidoscopic scoreboard when the numbers only go up while dreams and hopes go to hell. And all the while a dollar-driven interpretation of the Second Amendment to the Constitution keeps the industrial spigot spewing rifles and pistols and shotguns and automatic pistols and machine guns into the streets – and so the blood continues to flow in the streets.

The Black Lives Matter Movement began, not to identify the lives of black Americans as exceptional, but rather to make sure that black lives are not an exception in the national conversation about lives mattering. Certainly, a review of the history of the United States does not lead to an automatic conclusion that black lives matter.

Indeed, there are far too many actions by government and the private sector that have led to mass incarceration, limited life expectancy and limited life aspirations to automatically conclude that black lives do matter. And, there is also the dismaying and depressing reality that too often black Americans act as if black lives do not matter – a state of mind that is reflected in murder, mayhem and disrespect that is directed at other black people.

And so, as the New Year approaches, it remains to be seen whether it will be an unhappy one for even more people. For those already cloaked in sadness and despair we can hope that there are tomorrows which will reveal that the sun of expectation will again shine for them. Of course it will take more than hope….it will take a national change of mind. It will take a national change of heart. Indeed the heart and soul of this country will have to change for there to be any real chance of a Happy New Year.

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Point of View Columns

Nada Word Was Said

Donald Trump announced his candidacy for president and immediately insulted and degraded Mexican Americans, Mexican immigrants, Latinos and all Americans of good will and decency. But this is not about Donald Trump. It is about Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Chris Christie, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina and all of the other Teapublican candidates who uttered not one word of protest, revulsion of criticism. Not one word. Nada.

To be clear, The Trump Man was not guilty of simple public indecency or petty political incorrectness. He did not infer, he categorically stated that Mexican immigrants are “bringing in drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” These were words that would make a lot of racists and xenophobes cringe. But not the Teapublican presidential candidates – from them we heard the sounds of silence.

Keep in mind that every single one of them is a child of immigrants – it’s only a question of when. But Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are the sons of immigrants. Jeb Bush is married to a Mexican which means that his children are……….wait for it………….Mexican Americans. Chris Christie is the grandchild of immigrants. And, in any event, all the Teapublican candidates are the descendants of immigrants to this country.

Nevertheless, not one of them was sufficiently aroused or offended by Trump’s remarks to utter one word of criticism. Clearly none of them think about the fact that 250,000 Latinos turn 18 in this country every year and will continue to do so for decades. They obviously don’t realize that the United States has the second largest Spanish speaking population in the world so it is probably not a good idea to call Mexicans “rapists” who “bring in crime” when a presidential election is less than 18 months away.

But it seems that these candidates are afraid of offending the angry white fringe of this country that passes for the “base” of the party. But that base is shrinking, getting older and dying faster than falling leaves in their generational autumn. The future success of either of the major political parties depends to a very real extent on how they fare with Latino voters. While the Democrats have not covered themselves with glory with their immigration policies, at least they don’t call Latinos criminals and rapists. The Teapublicans seem to be comfortable letting the Democrats simply be the lesser of two evils.

We can say that the Teapublicans are not biased when it comes to being biased. After the Charleston Massacre the Teapublican presidential contenders dithered for days as to whether this tragedy was a “hate crime” or “terrorism”. Some had the gall to suggest that Dylan Roof was attacking religion when the historical evidence does not begin to suggest that conclusion. It screams “terrorism” because white on black terrorism is a sad but very real aspect of the black experience in America.

It is only when the bigotry and callous nature of their falsehoods became too heavy to carry that we started to hear tepid acknowledgement of the horror that took place in Mother Emanuel AME Church. And the hesitation and delay will be remembered by black voters just like their sounds of silence will be remembered by Latino voters.

There are critically important policy issues that need to be discussed and debated. But it is difficult to understand how people are supposed to be interested in the Teapublican policy positions after they have dismissed the humanity of black voters and silently acquiesced Latino voters being insulted by a  maniac posing an orange haired maniac posing as a presidential candidate.

Black voters matter. Latino voters matter. Indeed this country matters. Perhaps Teapublicans will figure this out by late November 2016.

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