A Time for Choosing

IMG_5323“If you can convince the lowest white man that he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll even empty his pockets for you.” Senator Lyndon Baine Johnson 1960.

The above quote by LBJ was made during his campaign days in 1960 as reported by Bill Moyers, his public relations staffer. Reportedly LBJ witness a large number of white women with their signs on the street corners as LBJ’s motorcade passed by. LBJ was campaigning as the vice presidential candidate for the soon to be elected President John F. Kennedy in Tennessee when he observed the signs and the women. It was not reported “what” was written on the signs but whatever the message was, greatly disturb LBJ as he uttered this statement in his hotel room with Bill Moyers present and “after” all the other dignitaries had left the room  having finished off their drinks and smokes for the night. One can be assured the signs were derogatory in nature with the N-words proudly displayed as this democratic vice presidential candidate was in a State that was not politically friendly towards JFK or LBJ

Almost five decades later, some Americans are once again being told what they want to “hear” as the remaining Republican candidates attempt to portray themselves as more “conservatives” than their opponents. All the Republican candidates want to wear the mantle as being the most conservation and the most likely heir to that California Cowboy of the past, former President Ronald Reagan. Republican candidate, Donald Trump appears well on his way to becoming the Republican Nominee for President of the United States, as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio battle it out to defeat each other and Donald Trump. It was behind this backdrop that I started to read E.J. Dionne Jr’s, Why The Right Went Wrong. I highly recommend the book for your reading. Anyway while reading I was introduce to Ronald Regan’s speech on October, 27, 1964 where the “Gipper” was speaking on behalf of the presidential candidate Barry Goldwater. Thanks to the age of Google and YouTube I was transported back to my freshman year in high school and was keenly aware of the 1960’s, the long hot summers and the civil rights movement. Reagan’s speech, “A Time For Choosing” was an Oscar performance and I understand “now” more clearly why he has been elevated to the status of the god of Conservatism, in spirit if not in the letter. “You and I have a rendezvous with destiny.” Reagan told his audience. “We’ll preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we’ll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.” After listening to Reagan’s speech, and observing the affect it had on his lily white audience, as a black man I could have been convinced to vote for Barry Goldwater, a staunch segregationist and a racist..

Trump promises to “Make America Great Again” and Cruz and Rubio and the others expound every chance they get had “bad” President Obama has governed the country. It appears like everyone have forgotten the financial nightmare that Obama inherited with General Motors tinkering on bankruptcy and the implosion of the housing marker just to name a few not to mention the unfunded wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But I like the way Dionne chronicles the political landscape from the dawning of the New Deal under FDR to Obama. It appears as everyone, blacks and  white, rich and poor, urban and rural dwellers, all have been in the words of Malcom X “bamboozled” and a lot of folks are angry. I have always maintained that Black America needed a “Goldwater” to give a cold slap to the face to Black America in order to awaken the sleeping I Have A Dreamers  “parked” on the out skirt of the promise land.

I disagree with President Obama as it relates to Donald Trump and the American voters would not elect someone of his temperament as president. As “the Donald” dance around his endorsement by the KKK and his avowal or dis-avowal of David Duke, whenever the dust settles, angry white men (and women) fear the “darkening” of America. The “fix” was in before Obama was inaugurated for his first presidential term and if Hillary Clinton ultimately obtain the Democratic Nomination and wins the presidential race she will be treated just as bad if not worse by her political opposition. On the flip side, one can not imagine how a Donald Trump Administration would end up as he has already made overtures of challenging the Constitution, the media and offended every group except the rich (those aspiring to become rich like Donald) and powerful. Former President Ronald Reagan was right when he delivered his speech, “A Time For Choosing.” But it would be wise and prudent If voters compared “what” the Great Communicator ( entertainer) said while campaigning for office and what he (President Reagan) actually did  once he was in the White House. America is “broken” and Hillary Clinton was right in her victory speech after her South Carolina win. American needs to be made “whole” not made Great. America is already Great, but America has never been “whole.” Humm…