Point of View Columns

Black Lives Don’t Matter

The recent revelation by Richard Nixon’s domestic policy advisor that primary motivation behind the so-called War on Drugs was to destabilize the national black community should have ignited a firestorm of outrage. The truth is that the outrage has been muted in the black community and the white community has been mute. Given how successful the War on Drugs has been in accomplishing its mission in destabilizing black lives, the deathly silence at its revelation raises the legitimate question, do black lives really matter in these United States of America?

Since the inception of the “Black Lives Matter” movement a constant question has hovered regarding its necessity. After all, don’t “all lives matter”? And that ought to be true that “all lives matter”, but clearly that is not the case.

Imagine if the revelation of the racist origins of the War on Drugs indicated a focus on the Irish community, or the Italian community or the Jewish community. Imagine that the results of this racist policy were the destabilization, degradation and incarceration of millions of members of the targeted ethnic group. It is fair to imagine that there would be one hell of a firestorm of justifiable outrage accompanied by clarion calls to eliminate all vestiges of this “war” as a reasonable first step – followed by enormous remediation strategies including reparations for the victims.
Putting aside imagination, the revelations of the Nixon policies targeted black Americans has elicited barely a yawn. It has been a 24 hour story at best.

There have been no calls for Congressional investigation and virtual silence from the Congressional Black Caucus.
CNN, MSNBC and BET have dedicated a few moments of air time to this horror of historic proportions and then gone back to the mind numbing coverage of the Republican Clown Show that is disguised as a presidential campaign. Indeed, none of the remaining five presidential candidates, Democratic and Republican have taken note of this governmental atrocity.

It seems as if all Americans have become anesthetized when it comes to tragedies in the black community. Whether it is police violence, infant mortality, mass incarceration, gang violence or truncated life expectancy there is no shock value left regarding these tragedies and so many more.

And perhaps the final and sad explanation is that black lives really do not matter in this country. And that final and sad explanation is supported by the fact that the story of the Nixon race strategy, a strategy that comes uncomfortably close to community genocide, is not surprising given past American history and current American reality. And clearly the institutional disaster visited upon the national black community is not enough to elicit protest, demonstration and demands for true justice.

Where are the black ministers thundering from the pulpits, calling out this injustice and demanding justice? When is the next NAACP march, when is the next Black Lives Matter demonstration, when is the issue even going to be raised during the seemingly infinite number of presidential debates?

The answers are nowhere, never and never. The reality of black lives really not mattering in this country is a suffocating and sad reality in the United States of America.

Standard
Point of View Columns

Weekend Edition – December 6, 2013

It appears that there is a new crime in Rochester, New York – Living While Black. Meanwhile there is a hope among comedy fans that Donald Trump will actually run for the office of governor of the State of New York. And finally, in a dramatic intersection of stupidity and power, a Teapublican congressman has seriously advocated the nuclear bombing of Iran.

Living While Black

In Rochester, New York you can find the grave of Frederick Douglass. It is also the birthplace of the Eastman Kodak Company. Now it turns out is also the place where racism and law enforcement have engaged in a noxious embrace.

Just before Thanksgiving three African American teenagers were waiting for a bus in Rochester, a bus that would take them to basketball practice. As far as anyone knows, there is nothing else remarkable about three high school youngsters going to practice. They weren’t stealing, assaulting, menacing, threatening or harassing anyone.

Nevertheless an enterprising representative of the Rochester Police Department seems to have set aside his white hood long enough to arrest these three young men on the charges of disturbing the peace. And this would have been just another classic illustration of the jailification of young black men if singer/actress Audra McDonald and MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell didn’t bring this miscarriage of justice to the attention of this nation.

Finally the charges were dropped although the young men and their parents are still waiting for an apology. Meanwhile, we can be sure that they are not the only, or last, young black men to be stopped and arrested on the charge of Living While Black.

Send in the Real Clowns

The leaders of the New York State Republican Party are reported to have journeyed to the lofty perch of Donald Trump to persuade him to run for governor of the State of New York in 2014. Presumably, these scions of the Republican Party actually believe that Donald Trump gives them the best chance of unseating the current incumbent, Andrew Cuomo.

We can also assume that they are not aware that the New York State Attorney General is bringing a multimillion dollar lawsuit against Donald Trump for running a fake school that was called “Trump University” – a university that was not accredited anywhere on this planet and conferred no degrees.

We can also assume that these leaders of the Republican Party missed Donald Trump making a total fool of himself as the temporary leader of America’s Birthers during the 2012 presidential campaign. And they probably missed the fact that his multiple corporate bankruptcies have left bondholders and contractors holding the bag – a bag worth millions of dollars.

Meanwhile, in some dark secluded place Governor Andrew Cuomo is praying that Donald Trump will be his opponent.

Power + Stupidity = Danger

Earlier this week, Congressman Duncan Hunter (R.CA), a senior Teapublican member of the House Armed Services Committee actually advocated a presumptive nuclear attack on Iran. Aside from the sheer, blunt headed stupidity of such a proposal, Congressman Hunter’s statement is also dangerous.

Imagine what would be going on in the United States if a senior mullah in Iran started speaking publicly about attacking this country. There would be more than a few chicken hawks who would feel they had all the justification for a preemptive strike – right now!

But somehow the Iranian government is supposed to be persuaded than an elected senior member of a key congressional committee “didn’t really mean it” and was just speculating out loud.

When power meets ignorance the result is always very dangerous.

Have a great weekend – stay strong and be great!

Standard
Point of View Columns

Hide The Klowns!

The delicious symbolism of a Hurricane Isaac bearing down on Tampa just as the Teapublican convention begins is clearly the product of a divine script. But rain and gale force winds cannot possibly hide all the Krazy Klowns that have descended upon this Florida city. The powers that want to be of the Republican National Committee have tried to hack into the GPS devices of the Krazy Klowns, but they are coming to town anyway. And there aren’t enough attics, basements and closets available to hide them all.

Congressman Ted Akins kind of jumped the gun with his “legitimate” rape rant, but it is not as if Akins is the source of shame and dismay in the Teapublican Party. His odious and Neanderthal perspective on women is shared by many members of the legions of the right wing of the right wing including the presumptive vice presidential candidate, Paul Ryan.

After all, it is Paul Ryan who has joined Congressman Akins in co-sponsoring bill after bill calling for the ban of all abortions, even in the instance of rape and incest. After all, the Teapublican Party platform calls for the ban of all abortions, even in the instance of rape and incest. And Mitt Romney is on the record as seeking to limit reproductive choice for women only in the instance of rape and incest – a position Paul Ryan calls “a step in the right direction”.

As you settle back to watch the Teapublican Klown Kavalcade with a glass of wine (or strychnine) there is an interesting bit of information that the leadership of the RNC would desperately prefer that you ignore. The following individuals have all led Mitt Romney in polling for president – Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Donald Trump, Rick Santorum, Rand Paul, Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry.

That would be Michele Bachmann who believes that God wanted her to run for president – although obviously God did not want her to win. Herman Cain, the pizza mini-magnate who couldn’t seem to tell the difference between a friendship and an affair and has ideas “twirling around” in his head was considered by many Teapublicans to be preferable to Mitt Romney.

Rodeo Rick “Oops” Perry was the darling of the right wing of the right wing until it became perfectly clear that Governor Perry was all hat and no cattle. And still, at this very moment, there are Teapublican delegates in Tampa who would vote for Rick Perry if they are allowed to do so. And we can’t forget Saint Santorum who wholeheartedly agrees with Paul Ryan that a rapist’s child is a gift from God to the rape victim.

Donald Trump, he of the manufactured hair and the contrived lies (or is it the contrived hair and the manufactured lies), played a latter day Dumb Quixote tilting at the birther windmill, that is until he was absolutely skewered and barbequed by President Obama at the National Press Club Annual Dinner. And The Donald, like a bad smell or a bad dream, still won’t go away.

And finally, it wasn’t too long ago that Newt Gingrich was the Teapublican flavor of the month (basically defined as Anybody But Romney). His ignoble failure at leadership as Speaker of the House and his pitiful personal narrative were bad enough. The fact that it was revealed on the national stage that he really had no reason to be so impressed with Newt Gingrich pretty much sealed the coffin of the Gingrich candidacy….and I haven’t mentioned Ron Paul who has been so moved by that fashionable neo-fascist Ayn Rand that he named his son, U.S. Senator Rand Paul after her (can you imagine a Democrat naming his son/daughter Marx?).

Nevertheless, there will be thousands of Teapublicans on full display who truly believe that a rapist’s child is a gift from God and that Barack Obama is a Kenyan, Muslim anti-Christ. There are presumably sane men and women who will contend that fraudulent claims of voter fraud are a legitimate tactic to deny the right to vote to black Americans.

The airwaves will be full of frothing Teapublicans who want to bomb Iran, shoot illegal immigrants and shred the social safety net. Shrinking the federal government to a size so that it could be drowned in a bathtub may be Grover Norquist’s ghoulish catch phrase, but most of the people that you see on television this week believe that this catch phrase articulates a strategy that will make this country better.

And underlying this entire maelstrom inside of a hurricane will be the gusting winds of racism. Toure and Chris Matthews at MSNBC have come under criticism for telling the truth. Ascribing foreign and un-American characteristics to President Obama are slick and slimy methods of playing the race card and stoking the mindless and soulless racist resentment that fuels the white heat of opposition to the very existence of Barack Obama on this planet.

And meanwhile, Mitt Romney blithely lobs not very subtle racist dog whistles and slime balls by touting his citizenship even though, ironically, his father George Romney actually was not born in the United States. But as Romney grips and grins his way through this outrageously gruesome Klown Karnival, the RNC leadership hopes that no one is watching…..or really listening.

Standard