BARACK OBAMA THE CANDIDATE OF CHANGE: THE PARTY WITH THE SAME OLD GAME
BLACKS LOVE THE DEMOCRATS BECAUSE THEY GIVE THEM NOTHING
By Fahim A. Knight
This writer is sick and tired of African Americans reminding me of how noble and precious the right to vote is and yet they do not have the political savvy or the political ingenuity to take this so-called precious and alienable right and use it tactfully and strategically, which to broker the best political deal for black America—today and tomorrow. The majority of these advocates were involved in the 1950’s and 1960’s Civil Rights movement and they fought against disenfranchisement, segregation, racism, discrimination, injustice, etc. It was their struggles for social, political, and economic inclusion which without doubt the present day black Americans are the beneficiaries of these past struggles.
African Americans in 2008 have to be a little more political astute and not be charmed by Senator Barack Obama’s charisma and his pigmentation or by Senator Hillary Clinton so-called history of liberalism. Senator Obama and Senator Clinton have not done anything worthy of receiving the black vote. There is an urban talk show host named Michael Baisden, an African American host of a syndicated talk radio program that is aired in fifty-seven (57) cities across America and what stuck me was Basiden has proven himself to have some political influence over his predominate black listening audience. It was Baisden radio activism that helped galvanize over 50,000 African American during the Jena Six protest in Jena, Louisiana. But what has been interesting about Baisden is that he has remained politically non-committed and urged his listening audience to be patient and let’s hear the platforms of all the candidates prior to and just not endorse Obama because he is African American and a Democrat. This writer must commend Baisden on exercising intelligence.
This writer agrees that African Americans should be grateful and they do owe a debt of gratitude to the political pioneers and trailblazers that went before them giving their lives and made untold sacrifices in order to remind America of the language written in the 15th Amendment to the United States Constitution and without a doubt the African American Senator Obama, in particular and all of black America in general, are truly standing on the shoulders of history incurred by their past ancestors. Many paid the ultimate price with their lives to ensure that America lived-up to its so-called creed of Democracy. The 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Acts that were passed into law granted black Americans with the legal legislation which to ensure fairness and equity, as well as equal protection under the law. The literacy test and poll taxes, as well as other discriminatory barriers were struck down, which in theory gave blacks the equal accessibility to use the electorate free of intimidation and prejudice.
This writer could never forget the works of Fannie Lou Hamer, a Democrat of the Mississippi Democratic Freedom Party; I have this poster of Fannie Lou Hamer that hung in my home for over twenty (20) years, it stated, “As a Mississippi sharecropper thrown off her land because she tried to register to vote, Fannie Lou met this challenge by becoming a leader trying to get others to register. She worked the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the new militant Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, and helped set up a farm cooperative where poor people could own the land they worked on. This hard working courageous Sister, despite having been torturously beaten by the police and facing many other challenges, was one of the most powerful speakers, organizers, and fighters in the Civil Rights Movement. Her strong dedication to freedom continues to inspire us all.”
Organizations such as National Association for the Advancement Colored People, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Student Non Violent Coordinating Committee, Congress of Racial Equality, etc., did yeoman’s work in the area of voter’s education and registration in the deep segregated South. This writer comes from a family of Democrats and whether or not this partisan choice was out of mere tradition, more so than being adopted out political ignorance has always left this writer baffled and inquisitive at the same time. African Americans have this misperception that the Democratic party has always served their political interest and maybe this syndrome developed from four term Democrat President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945) and his New Deal programs that moved the United States beginning with his administration in 1932 from one of the worst economic recession known as the Great Depression into the beginning of economic prosperity.
Many blacks were giving jobs in the 1930s building bridges and highways, which provided a means to earning a living in spite of the nation’s economic hardships. Eleanor Roosevelt also was considered a friend of the African American race, which she extended her philanthropy and goodwill ambassadorship to the black community. Wikipedia stated, “During the Great Depression of the 1930s, Roosevelt created the New Deal to provide relief for the unemployed, recovery of the economy, and reform of the economic and banking systems. Although recovery of the economy was incomplete until almost 1940, many programs initiated in the Roosevelt administration continue to have instrumental roles in the nation's commerce, such as the FDIC, TVA, and the SEC. One of his most important legacies is the Social Security system.”
“Roosevelt won four presidential elections in a row, causing a realignment that political scientists call the Fifth Party System. His aggressive use of an active federal government re-energized the Democratic Party, creating a New Deal Coalition which dominated American politics until the late 1960s. He and his wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, remain touchstones for modern American liberalism. Conservatives vehemently fought back, but Roosevelt usually prevailed until he tried to pack the Supreme Court in 1937. Thereafter, the new Conservative coalition successfully ended.”
Blacks perhaps associated liberalism with the Democratic Party because of the New Deal that was led by a Democratic president and to their long term detriment developed this unconditional affection and love for the Democratic Party that was based on un-reciprocated loyalty, which is steeped in a political psychology, that is unexplainable and only blacks as a culture and a race have found sanctity in this party’s history of betrayal and broken promises. They can not say no and let go of the Democratic Party because of the fear of not being the primary recipients of their so-called liberal government style of leadership. May be the dream of the “Great Society” and the war on poverty advocated by President Lyndon Baines Johnson left a people politically optimistic and forty (40) years later are still holding onto unfulfilled promises made by the Democratic Party.
They have been foolishly looking for another John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy to pacify them and since the 1930s casting their votes directionless (with a hit and miss intent) and often their vote has always been manipulated for the political interest of everyone else, but themselves. Black leadership on behalf of the Democratic Party has been responsible of herding the innocent sheep to the political slaughter in lieu of self-interest and the rewarding of bourgeoisie life styles.
Minister Malcolm X in his ‘The Ballot or the Bullet’ speech delivered April 1964 in Detroit, Michigan stated, “A Democrat. A Dixiecrat is nothing but a Democrat in disguise. The titular head of the Democrats is also the head of the Dixiecrats, because the Dixiecrats are a part of the Democratic Party. The Democrats have never kicked the Dixiecrats out of the party. The Dixiecrats bolted themselves once, but the Democrats didn't put them out. Imagine, these lowdown Southern segregationists put the Northern Democrats down. But the Northern Democrats have never put the Dixiecrats down. No, look at that thing the way it is. They have got a con game going on, a political con game, and you and I are in the middle. It's time for you and me to wake up and start looking at it like it is, and trying to understand it like it is; and then we can deal with it like it is.”
It was President John Kennedy that authorized the surveillance and illegal wiretaps on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., eavesdropping on King’s private conversations and initiated the Cointepro Counter intelligence program spearheaded by J. Edgar Hoover and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which eventually led to the assassination of Dr. King, as well as on Minister Malcolm X.
But this writer can vividly remember that in his mother’s home and grandmother’s home in the 1960s they each had pictures of President John Kennedy, Attorney General Robert Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., together on one portrait. The symbolism had far reaching political and psychological implications; this picture was above reproach and possessed sacred statue and was not open for criticism—the interpretation was that African Americans social, political and economic aspirations were tied too these threeAmerican Democrat icons who were so-called blessed to reach martyrdom status and in the back of their minds John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy and Dr. King was the next thing to the reincarnation of Jesus Christ.
If this writer could attempt to describe the relationship, it is slavish and unbeneficial to the masses of black Americans, but they do not know how to break the chains and the Democratic Party is smart enough to know that blacks do not have the moral courage to let Pharaoh go. Thus, the Democratic Party does not have to make any political concession because African Americans have not demonstrated political sanity.
Minister Malcolm X stated in a book written by Archie Epps titled, “Malcolm X and the American Negro Revolution: The Speeches of Malcolm X stated, “There were two kinds of slaves, the house Negro and the field Negro. The house Negroes—they lived in the house with the master, they dresses pretty good, they ate good. . .They loved the master more than the master loved himself. . . If the master’s house got caught on fire, the house Negro would harder to put the blaze out than the master would. If the master got sick, the house Negro would say, ‘What’s matter, boss, we sick? And if you came to the house Negro and said, “Let’s run away, let’s escape, let’s separate,’ the house Negro would look at you and say, ‘Man, you crazy. What you mean, separate? Where is there a better house than this?’
Minister Malcolm X further stated, “On that same plantation, there was the field Negro. The Field Negroes—those were the masses. The Negro in the field caught hell. He at leftovers. In the house they ate high on the hog. The field Negro was beaten from morning to night; he lived in a shack, in a hut. . .He hated his master. He was intelligent. When the house caught on fire, he didn’t try to put it out; that field Negro prayed for a wind, for a breeze. When the master got sick, the field Negro prayed that he’d die. If someone came to the field Negro and said, ‘Let’s separate, let’s run’ he didn’t say, ‘where are we going?’ He’d say, ‘Any place is better than here!’ You’ve got field Negroes in America today. I’m a field Negro. The masses are the field Negroes.”
However, the Republican Party do not know how to play political shrinks and administer mental health treatment and for over eighty (80) years have for the most part ignored the black electorate and hadn’t made any real appeals to tap into this traditional Democratic base, which in 2008 feel abandoned and ostracized by the Democratic party. This writer is by know means advocating the Republican conservative agenda nor is he suggesting that African Americans leave the Democratic Party, but what he is suggesting, is destroying the boogieman syndrome that has been associated with the Republican Party relative to African Americans, which allows the Democratic Party to continue to be in the best position election after election for receiving the African American vote. Yet at the same time the Democratic Party do not have to make any political concessions to 13% of the American population because of foolish and irresponsible leadership that possess an insane love for the Democratic Party.
Many blacks do not know why they are democrats, they often inherited the donkey as family political tradition or they heard some ignorant preachers, mis-educated teachers, and self-fulfilling politicians advised them that it was sinister to cast a ballot for a Republican candidate without ever hearing whether or not they agreed or disagreed with the message. This writer knows that the ghost of the Kennedy brothers and Dr. King haunts the political psyche of the African American. To continue give their vote to a party that has told you to kiss their-------is insane and ludicrous.
Barack Obama should not receive the black vote just because he is a Democrat and he happens to be black. Hillary Clinton should not receive the black vote, just because she is a Democrat and wife of former President Bill Clinton, which for some peculiar reasoning blacks have a love affair with the Clintons that is incomprehensible. Thus have black people presented Senator Obama with a black political agenda? and, if so what is his response or does he know that blacks have politically cornered themselves by being largely a one party (Democrat) affiliated ethic bloc with no counter-alternative and for that reason has weaken its own negotiating leverage when it comes to making demands on Democratic politicians.
The Democrats may even listen, but do not feel any external pressure to be responsive because in the long run this loyal black Democratic bloc will not deviate from the political norm and therefore the Democratic party do not have take any risk. The Republican Party has been perceived by blacks as being the party of the rich and the white economic elite; thus blacks historically haven’t been able to find an identifiable philosophical ideology with the Republican Party.
Claud Anderson in his book titled, “PowerNomics: The National Plan to Empower Black America” stated, “Though a divorce proceeding has yet to be announced, the marriage between the Democratic Party and Black America, which was consumed in the 1940s, is on the rocks. The Democratic Party has been unfaithful to Black America. Instead of taking care of its home base of loyal Black voters, the Democratic Party downgraded Black rights and took up with every ethnic, class, gender and language issue group, regardless of their party affiliations. The Democratic Party and the Black civil rights leaders brought down an array of minority and women upon the backs of Blacks before they had a chance to catch up from centuries of slavery and Jim Crow segregation. What can the Democrats or Republican parties do for Black people in the 21st century? Contrary to the advise of traditional civil rights liberals who encouraged Black voters to stay in a failed marriage and conservatives who advocate that Blacks divide themselves between the two national parties, thus diluting their voting power. Black voters should reject both options, Black voters must ethno-aggregate and become totally independent, forcing both parties to court them.”
This writer did not necessarily agree with Reverend T.D. Jakes and Reverend Creflo Dollar political dispositions, but for reasons other than their willingness to vote for a republican candidate. The likes of these black high profiles Christian Evangelist in 2000 and 2004 backing President George Bush and the so-called conservative agenda led this writer to be suspicious because Bush had confused them on what were Christian values, and imparted his interpretation of Christian ethics and morality versus the conversation focus being rooted in political expediency. The black Christian clergy as well, perhaps had their own ulterior motives viewed in the realm of prosperity ministry teachings and their sight were on Bush’s Faith-Based Initiatives—money and many black Christians were encouraged and somewhat deceived by these greed driven clergymen to cast votes for the republican presidential candidate George W. Bush.
The academician and scholar Stephen L. Carter in his book titled “The Culture of Disbelief” stated, “Since the emergence of Jerry Farwell’s Moral Majority as a short-lived political force in the 1980s, and with the burgeoning influence of Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition in the 1990s, the relationship between the Republican party and the religious right has been the subject of much vitriol, and much alarm. After the 1992 Convention, the alarms reached fever pitch. One political columnist warned. ‘Unless moderate Republicans understand the Houston convention as a wake-up call . . . they’ll find the GOP entirely in the hands not merely zealots.’(Moderate Republicans may be awake at last, for they have formed the Republican Majority Coalition with the avowed intention of saving their party from its right wing—just as the Democrats who formed the Democratic Leadership Council in the early 1980s sought to save their party from its left wing, and wound up electing a president.)
The motive of this strange relationship between the conservative black Christians and the predominately white Republican Party was intriguing to say the least, but this recent history has shown us that it was not grounded in any long term meaningful basis that would represent a new political dynamic of sustainability for African Americans in a two party system. However, although both groups had separate political agendas, Jakes, Dollar and Bishop Eddie Long did have enough courage to curtail ties with Democrats in the two said elections and from that perspective this was not only commendable but ground-breaking.
The majority of traditional black leadership has had many legitimate political reasons to sway black voters away from the Democratic Party based on neglect and their inadequate ability from time too time in addressing issues relevant to blacks in particular and the nation in general. The black religious right from that perspective has demonstrated more outwardly courage by their willingness to cut ties with the Democratic Party. Politics is not based on loyalty, yet loyalty has its place in politics, but expediency is ordinarily the glue that holds political coalitions together and by refusing to acknowledge this reality has entrapped blacks politically, which has render them politically inconsequential and politically ineffective. Although, blacks represent one of the largest “organized” voting blocs in America and still have very little power to alter change. Something is wrong with this political dynamic.
Blacks are a loyal people and the Democratic Party has made them the doormat for this very reason. Perhaps T. D. Jakes should have been applauded for his stance in 2000 and 2004, as opposed to being criticized by the old guard—black traditional liberal leadership and could have been lauded as a religious-political visionary. He at least advocated change from the political norm. But as stated above this writer know that in one sense, Jakes and the Bush republican conservatives made strange bed fellows. For example, how can you advocate pro life and kill over million innocent Iraqi citizens? And how could the black Christian right in good conscience justify supporting a regime that has demonstrated anti-Christian values since September 11, 2001? This type politics served as an antagonistic contradiction.
Jeffrey Toobin in his monumental book titled, “The Nine: Inside The Secret World of the Supreme Court” stated, “In 2000, Bush had campaigned as a ‘compassionate conservative’ and a ‘uniter not a divider,’ pledging to surmount the partisanship that had consumed Washington during the Clinton years. But in 2004 race, Bush shifted to more ideological priorities, hoping to motivate a conservative base, mostly evangelical Christians, that had felt slighted during the earlier contest. The issues that mattered most to them were all on the Supreme Court’s agenda, and so the Court played a more central role in Bush’s second campaign.”
Black Americans just do not understand the power in bloc voting and political leveraging, as well as, the importance of voting issues and not a candidate’s party affiliation. This writer has been trying to break this ineffective traditional cycle amongst blacks for over two decades. But parting ways with tradition is not always easy; it is a mindset that is inculcated in a set of perceived values that are not viewed from the lens of right and wrong, but social, political, economic components found compatible to a worldview.
This writer has had the pleasure to meet a young man online via MySpace named Kenny out of Tennessee who has post a sizable amount of my material on his Myspace page titled http://kennysideshow.blogspot.com/. Kenny is a Caucasian who is committed to presenting alternative views on his Blog that is very seldom addressed by the mainstream medium. Moreover, Kenny posed a very interesting question to me relative to the possibility of African Americans considering supporting the visionary Texas Republican Dr. Ron Paul’s candidacy for president; although this writer knew that Kenny’s question was bit idealistic because many blacks do not know who Congressman Ron Paul is, and more so than that, he had the proverbial title of republican attached to his name. This does not say much about political literacy in a deep pool of presidential candidates jockeying to become the next U.S. president.
You would think assessing and evaluating all the candidates would be top priority in order to get an understanding where each candidate stands on the issues. This writer in many ways agrees with Kenny, why not Congressman Ron Paul? But blacks politically have been doomed by political tunnel vision; and their minds from the beginning have been set just on two candidates—Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator Barack Obama, two liberal ghost from the John F. Kennedy political school of thought. They do not realize that since the 9-11 hoax and the establishment of United States Patriot Act that the United States Constitution has been under assault by both Democrats and Republicans.
Congressman Paul styles himself as a strict constitutionalist and as one who does understand that America and the world’s problems stems from the power granted to the Federal Reserve and the twelve privately owned central banks that serve as sovereign dictators over humanity. Blacks probably have more political commonality with Congressman Paul than they do with Senator Obama and Senator Clinton, but how can they know unless they have a teacher, and how can they have a teacher unless one be sent. Sadly to say Ron Paul will not get a fair look from blacks due the overwhelm suspicion they have of Republican candidates.
Lastly, this writer listened to an irate Bill Clinton right after the Iowa Caucuses refer to Senator Obama and his campaign as a “fairy tale”. The former president has been a bit divisive and this writer would be the first to admit that Obama should not be above critique, but President Clinton has demonstrated very little diplomacy in his comments relative to this election. He was even more irate when he appeared on the popular syndicated Tom Joyner Talk Show and in fact took over the show and did not allow a two-way conversation.
This writer was more disappointed at Tom Joyner for allowing this Council On Foreign Relations agent to dictate the political conversation to his loyal black listening based. Also, this writer sympathize and empathize with PBS reporter Tavis Smiley who offered some fair remarks of critiques toward Senator Obama on the Tom Joyner Morning Show and in turn received some harsh criticism from Joyner’s listening based. Moreover, may be they perceive Democrats as being above critical analysis, this writer surely does not.
Fahim A. Knight Chief Researcher for KEEPING IT REAL THINK TANK located in Durham, NC; our mission is to inform African Americans and all people of good will of the pending dangers that lie ahead; as well as decode the symbolisms and reinterpret the hidden meanings behind those who operate as invisible forces, but covertly rules the world. We are of the belief that an enlighten world will be better prepared to throw off the shackles of ignorance and not be willing participants for the slaughter. Our MOTTO is speaking truth to power. Fahim A. Knight can be reached at email@example.com.
Stay Awake Until We Meet Again,Fahim A. Knight