Hillary Clinton (D) Donald Trump (R) Jill Stein (G)
On October 20, 2016, a colleague’s column declared the following statement:
BLACKS MUST VOTE AND DO FOR SELF!
By AL CALLOWAY
For me, it is still bothersome that during Obama’s entire 2007-08 candidacy for President, there were few public occasions in which he did not exhort the American people to take control of our vaunted democratic processes. Over and over, Obama said, “organization is from the bottom up not the top down,” and “yes we can.”
The Brother laid a simple revolutionary concept out there that could change America, and the ultra shame of it is that, of all people, African Americans slept on it. People came as a hoard to Obama’s January 2009 inauguration. It was freezing. The millions praised him and celebrated, many cried as the event’s enormity hit home. And after the festivities, most people went home and did nothing.
Obama’s 2007-08 clarity was phenomenal. What kind of power would we now have, had we organized our neighborhoods, forged coalitions and mobilized? “Organization is from the bottom up not the top down,” and “yes we can.” In 2011, young white professionals, intellectuals and college students organized the Occupy Wall Street movement to “protest corporate influence on democracy.” The protests also called for legal action against those that brought about the 2008-09 economic crisis.
It is up to the American people to make democracy work. We must hurry before a great internal armed force is established throughout the nation with an appendage Gestapo-like secret police. The now Donald Trump led American right wing, like a fleet of submarines, has surfaced all over America. What some thought was mainly a deep southern socio-political will now see that it permeates all of America, save for its inner cities.
Somehow African Americans have in mind that if they vote there is nothing else to be done. So they waited for Moses (Obama) to take them to the “Promised Land.” Somehow the prospect that Obama’s election presented an opportunity to pressure government through organization es- caped black people throughout America. Not one leader came to the fore from any sector of black America to galvanize the people.
If there was even a modicum of understanding that Obama needed black organized pressure on Congress, the Supreme Court and his administration to facilitate positive social change, black reluctance to do anything rendered the Democratic Party base useless. The American white nationalist right used the opening to viciously attack Obama, take Congress and the Supreme Court.
We’re almost eight years later with Hillary Clinton dependent on the black vote to be elected President and, again, there is no black organization, no black policy initiatives known, and no known agreed upon deal. There is only a consistent appeal from Hillary for the black vote. By now the Clinton camp and just about everybody else outside of Trump world are certain that Hillary R. Clinton will be the next POTUS.
While it is imperative that all eligible voters of African descent cast their votes on Tuesday, November 8th, it is equally important that the same mistake of failing to organize for group self-interest never be repeated going forward after the election. Black people must pressure the next President within the first 100 days to put all black issues high on the policy agendas with sound assurances of implementation.
Do not, I repeat, do not use the regular channels of communicating with the President, that is through the Negro leadership. These people have been negotiating for African Americans since slavery. How do you like the job they’ve done so far? These people have bravely positioned themselves to negotiate for you and I without our permission because we have allowed them to get away with “pimping” us.
Instead, let’s organize using social media and groups like Black Lives Matter. Make preachers open churches and hold community issues forums and post findings. Utilize the black press and black orientated radio, especially during drive time to share information and send political messages to the White House and to black elected officials. Black people need to start organizing. Black people need to vote and do for self. Hillary won’t give you a thing unless you make her give it.
Then, I watched this video that left me numb:
I emailed the video to some friends with this message:
In reference to newspaper column linked [above], what about these allegations, Al?
One friend responded, thus:
Time doesn’t allow me to see this full documentary (or any of those interesting ones linked to it), but I am familiar with the story (or at least with some of what all has come out in the past), and I think your subject line says it all. We could not agree more.
This is yet another manifestation of that famous “twoness” that Dr. W.E.B. DuBois talked about over 100 years ago. As Africans in America — members of the “Global Elite of Descendants of Survivors of the Middle Passage,” the ones whom “History has forced, obligated, challenged, and blessed to be Truth Knowers, Truth keepers, and Truth tellers,” charged with the responsibility of “keeping it real,” we see through the game and can be downright cynical about it all, but we are also those who, for the same reasons, had to be brought here “because the African presence and the African genius were absolutely required to be her to keep this from being a disaster that would have been beyond human imagination,” as an Afro-Cuban Yoruba priest once stated, and we have to be engaged in the global Village, where every human being is important and even (or especially) “When the fool speaks, the wise person listens.” We do not write off politicians as irrelevant or beneath the rest of us. We judge deeds, not doers.
So, as in the case of our current POTUS, love him as we might, we knew from the outset that he was the darling of Wall Street banking types who rather openly groomed him for the role, which has limited power in any case because governments have been supplanted by private multinational corporations and the global banking cartel as the primary arbiters of human destiny. That said, who will deny that Barack Obama has brought a level of intelligence, consciousness, grace and elegance to the office that has never been there before, and who does not give thanks for all that he WAS able to accomplish in spite of the ignorance, outright hatred, and blind opposition he had to contend with? Can any of us imagine the direction the country would have taken if either of his opponents had won? All of this goes into answering the question that Mumia Abu-Jamal posed in a rare interview from prison: At the end of eight years of having an African-American present, what will we [people in general, but African Americans in particular, as I interpret the question] have to shoe for it?” From day one, we had to “have his back and hold his feet to the fire” at the same time, as I have always seen it, and maybe the REAL question is, “After eight years, how good a job have WE done with that assignment?” (Mr. Obama, we will recall, was quite honest about this: Only weeks after being elected as the candidate of “Change We Can Believe In,” in those heady President-Elect Days before actually wielding authority, he told the American people, “Change has to come TO Washington, not FROM Washington.)
So you and I seem to be in that same place, as “sober supporters” of the better candidates, not distracted by sensationalism or slogans, or tribal and gender politics, who look at these elections for what they are, knowing all the while, as your subject line says, that we have to be about the pro-active business of building the healthy alternative society. The real reason we had to be brought here in the first place. “The past is present. The future is now.”
Thanks for sharing the knowledge,
I cannot take credit for the subject. That’s Al Calloway’s headline in the South Florida Times for his article – Subject:
Blacks must vote and do for self!
My contribution was the link to the video about the Clintons and the body county that has followed them from the Arkansas governor’s office.
So, the issue, when examining the iniquities of the two candidates, is whether to vote for the Republican whose sexual iniquities objectify women and racial slurs offend African Americans, Mexicans, and immigrants (except, of course, his wife)
vote for the Democrat whose iniquities far surpass lying, cheating, and stealing but encompass murder.
I’m just about ready to vote for Trump.
To which G responded:
As usual, we have to choose what we deem to be the lesser of the two evils, while knowing that we better be about the business of making something better (like being Maroons in our own time — uncomfortable and inconvenient in so many ways but free and independent of the “slimy degenerates,” as Dick Gregory used to call them [ and maybe still does]). That choice has to be objective, informed, and scientific, rather than an emotional and hopeful gamble.
The Clintons and their track record have been a source of some fascination to me for some time. As horrific as it looks and sounds (if this is all actually verified), it has always struck me, when I am reminded of the” body count” and other questionable dealings, as something that is more American than unusual. That may sound glib, but I keep getting the impression that these relative rubes from Arkansas have just been less capable of covering up their trail than other families who are more practiced at the craft. The Kennedys, the Bushes, the ones whose names we don’t even know because they stay in the shadows instead of jumping out into politics, all strike me as being not very different from those ruthless clans that competed for thrones in the old monarchy days in Europe.
The other impression I get — bearing in mind that none of this is “scientific, objective, or informed” — is the first impression that struck me on the morning of 9/11/01, which was that these dastardly acts could not have been committed by the named assailants alone; they have to be part of a larger conspiracy in which provided lots and lots of help.
This, we are reminded, IS American culture: A place run by and for genocidal murderers and enslavers for the sole purpose of their profit and power, whatever the cost to others. Hillary and Donald are just the two faces of that culture that have been thrust into prominence these days, as a major distraction while others of their ilk pursue the same odious agenda behind the scenes. We, of all people, know this even better than we might ever have wanted to.
So we have a “choice” between a pure creature of the system, totally tied to business-as-usual, with all of her connections with the usual suspects, and all her experiences in several official positions within the system, who promises basically more of the same, and a pure creature of the system, that has been rigged to his advantage from the time of his birth, that could fashion him into a candidate for the presidency out of mere entertainment industry “realty-TV” (an oxymoron) hype and hoopla, whose track record promises that he will serve himself at whatever cost to the country.
Of the two, the woman, for better or for worse, shows herself to be innately smart, battle-tested, professional, with at least a modicum of knowledge of statecraft, along with all of the heavy baggage that she drags along with her. The guy, on the other hand, has demonstrated no skill other than his ability to provide power and privilege for himself in a world where everything and everybody is just a tool to that end. The Clinton’s “body count” is scary indeed, and all the more so because it is out in the open (unlike so many others), while the ruin to which the Donald has brought so many people may not have produced as many identifiable corpses, but remains well hidden by the ordinary workings of a system rigged to protect the materially wealthy from such exposure. (How many Americans even today know how many presidents were slaveholders or how many lives they held in bondage, and at what cost to how many more lives, and that is only counting the ones who went into politics and got elected?)
Central Park 5 in 1990
For me. Donald Trump showed his true colors when he took a full page newspaper ad (at a cost which he surely found a way to write off at taxpayers’ expense) indicting the Central Park Five basically before a real trial could be held, and then another to denounce any compensation given to them after they were exonerated years later, having some of the best years of their lives taken from them in prison.
Central Park 5 in 2016
It was bad enough then, but when he brought it up again only recently, claiming that those men “should have been executed” (damn the courts), it became clear that this is another kind of psychopath, who is perhaps more to be pitied and helped than scorned and demonized.
To the extent that whoever occupies the White House has any relevance to our lives at all, given the choice to be made at the polls, we have to weigh the evidence before us (knowing that there is a whole lot more that is before us that we do not even know about), and, like any dutiful jury, decide the verdict in this case against the American people for being so negligent that out of a population of nearly 320 million people (officially), these are the best two candidates we can come up with.
The elders have wisely taught us that “Everything happens for a reason.” There are profound lessons to learn from this election (whatever the outcome). The most profound of all may be the one we have always known, which is that we have work to do.
A luta continua,
Then, I visited a local bookstore owned by a friend of mine who suggested that Jill Stein of The Green Party might be the best candidate to vote for.
So, what is the choice?
To vote or not to vote for the Democratic Woman, the Republican Elitist, or the Green Party Unknown?
But keep this in mind: