Thursday, October 20, 2016

America, Your Vote is You

As much as I admire our First Lady, Michelle Obama, I winced when she told a crowd of millennials that a vote for third party candidate, Gary Johnson, is a “wasted vote.”  Where she should have been uplifting those young people, she chose to bully them instead.

The beauty of democracy lies in the ability of every single voter to dream, to imagine that his or her vote holds magic; that maybe… just, maybe…

Imagine 34% of the electorate ignoring Bill, Barack, Biden, and Bernie, and the other “shrill, shills for Hill,” end deciding on Election Day, “I will vote for whom I chose.” Is it not possible to catch “lightning in a bottle;” might not millions of Americans look at those two dinosaurs – Trump and Clinton – and say to themselves, “Too old, too dishonest.” Imagine they then decide to vote for Jill (Stein) or Gary (Johnson).

Might not this be the time to make America a true democracy, and throw off the shackles of a two-party system that increasingly leaves Americans holding their noses while they vote? Instead of voting for whom the polls command them to vote, might not it be time for Americans to take that vote in hand and declare: “This vote is mine!”

When “Hill’s shills” tell American voters that there are only two options – Hillary, or utter dissipation – they harpoon the very magic that makes democracy the dynamic force it is meant to be. 

Listen, America; especially you young people:  Your vote is you.  It is an irresponsible vote only when you deny your conscience, and put someone else in charge of it. You must believe. Otherwise, democracy is a farce, a failed experiment. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

To the Black Community: Conduct Yourself Like "Black Lives Matter"

The African-American community is in crisis. Nothing so illustrates its plight as the carnage that has become the streets of Chicago. That city – where, on average, 12 people are shot daily – is a furious and unfortunate snapshot of black communities across the country. That group, Black Lives Matter, is marching. Individuals like LeBron James and Colin Kaepernick are lending the light of their celebrity to illumine African-America’s dire straits. They mean well, but they deal in platitudes when they rail against guns, drugs, police brutality – the usual suspects – and give a pass to the supreme culprit – ourselves. 

Earlier this year, at Henderson State University in Arkansas, the administration banned excessive profanity, loudness, and sagging pants.  The black community immediately branded their action “racist” for daring to call out transgressions the black community apparently owns, and feels obliged to defend. That tells us that the insanity driving the destruction of the black community includes presumably sane leaders who shelter the cancer that threatens to devour that community from the inside, out. 

It is convenient for minority communities to villianize the police, whom many feel exist for the protection of the majority community from when they come. Certainly, there are bullies and racists among the police, and those rogues must be challenged, asked: “Why are the police so much more likely to ‘shoot to kill’ a black suspect than a white one?” Even so, the police exist on the periphery of our lives, just as does this specter of “black oppression.” And so, what if “black oppression” exists in America? What chance does such watered-down bigotry have against a people who have ascended through centuries of “fierce oppression,” and did it with dignity and resolve? Stop whining, African-America, and start doing a better job of policing yourself. 

The devastation being wreaked upon the black community today comes not from drugs, guns, or the police. It is spawned by the most destructive force in civilized society – undisciplined boys who grow to become undisciplined men. They are pandemonium personalized – walking around with their pants down, spewing obscenities, while making babies right and left, and teaching them nothing. These people disrespect their elders, endanger the children, and despoil the very air with their racket. They live by chaos. Chaos make them feel needed; gives them the impression that they are in control. In a way, they are. Decent society fears chaos. Each time these brigands pique our fears, they tweak their control over our lives. 

Today, Americans are armed to the teeth – 300 million guns in the hands of the public; 40% of all the public-held guns on Earth. We are armed out of fear – not fear of ISIS or Al Quaeda, but fear of young, black men.

I was born in ’52, and cut my teeth on the detritus of “Jim Crow.” We knew segregation, sit-in, race riots. We marched into the breach created by black men and black women who marched before us. We fought and bled and died. We won. History books call it the “Civil Rights Era.” I call it “African-American’s finest moment”, or simply, “The Struggle.”

Perhaps today’s young people long for such a struggle - one that will define their moment in American history. I respect that they care. I trust that, they, too, have courage. But their message loses its resonance when many of the people they march for, they should be marching against. 

We fought for black women forced to give up their seats so that white men could sit down. We fought for black men lynched for speaking to white women. We fought for four black kills killed in the bombing of a Birmingham, Alabama church. Today’s activities fight for the likes of Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, and Dequann Jackson – hoodlums, bullies, habitual offenders, tramplers of the rights of the defenseless in their own neighborhoods. We won the civil rights struggle of the 50’s and the 60’s, not because we were brave, but because we were right. When today’s activities line up to champion the lives of people who defile their own communities, they are not right, and no one will win. 

Time for the black community to pivot, and march on itself. Instead of trying to convince white people that “black lives matter,” let’s tell that to our black children. Better yet, let’s not say anything – “Love” is an action word. Show them that their lives matter by spending more time helping to shape their lives, and less time seeking to satiate our own. At a time when black children are dying in record numbers, there is far too much fun, adult fun, being had in the black community.