Make America Stank Again

IMG_5323“Funk, getting ready to roll,” or “Trump getting ready to roll”. Not too much difference. No one should be surprised, other than President -elect Trump, that he (Trump) won the election. I acknowledged during a post written back on  August 31, 2016, A Tiger Named Trump, that there existed a chance that Donald J. Trump could win the presidential election and move from Trump Plaza (Tower) to the White House. President-elect Trump has been open and honest with the American people. He never tried to hide his vision and agenda as he campaign over 16 months telling “Make America White Again” what they wanted to hear. President Barack Obama bet on America and stated that the American electorate would vote in favor of “hope” and not cave in to the politics of “fear.” President-elect Trump heard the heart beat of America and smelled a strange oder coming from the very swamps that he promised to drain and like King Midas, he demonstrated he has the “midas” touch. One think all the “gold” furniture and other items seen in the back drop of interviews held at Trump Tower is breath taking, please hang on. You ain’t seen nothing yet.

To paraphrase then Senator Obama, there is no “Red States or Blue States, only the United States of America”. Sound good but it is not true. There also exist “Red” counties and “Blue” counties in each State and a review of the electoral map clearly identified each county in every state. Thirty seven counties in southern Illinois overwhelmly voted for Donald Trump except for two counties that were 40% or more minority (black and brown voters.) Trump could have won Illinois, if the Chicago votes had been a little weaker. President Obama has stated in the past, that elections have consequences, and ready or not the consequences are knocking on our front door.

Black America, Brown America, Muslim America, LGBT America and yes even white America that earns less than $250,000 a year, will not disappear over night. Try as you might President-elect Trump, you can not “un-ring the bell” of progress made during the past six decades or longer. Try as you might, the days of “Leave it to Beaver,” or the “Ozzie and Harriet Show,” are over. Pact the Supreme Court as you so desire. Go “hardliner” on your cabinet, build the wall, make billions of dollars while you are in office, and get all you can and can all you get for you and your family. But when the dust settles, black people, brown people , Muslims, LGBT and others will still be here. We may have to wear “gas masks” as the smell emanating from the White House or Trump Tower may be toxic as the winds of progress give way to the smoking clouds crossing America. Your trusted aid and confident, Steve Bannon, talks of the power of the darkness in his recent interview with columnist, Michael Wolff of The Hollywood Review..  “Darkness is good,” Bannon was quoted saying. He cites “Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. “That’s power…”  But darkness will never over come the LIGHT of the world. And by the way, there exist no reason to share your taxes with America.  You were so right, not paying taxes for 20 years make you “smart.”

An Open Letter to My Grandson

20160223_170927850_ios-2“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” are the famous words of the southern author by the name of William Faulkner. If there was one crown jewel of wisdom I would like to past on to my grandson, Samad, and others, it is the need to “know your past, and how knowing your past prepares you to deal effectively with your present and finally how you engaged the present, will determine the successes you may have in the future”. Yesterday, today and tomorrow are intertwined throughout the fabric of life and the biblical scripture of “My people perish due to a lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6) is one infallible truth.This letter is to my grandson, Samad, but in actuality it is a letter to all my grandchilden and to you.

It was a hot, and humid day during the first week of July, two months ago as my grandson, his mother and his sister awaited our arrival from Sunday church services. Samad will be 20 in December, and the family was here in St. Louis for a family reunion. Mom and daughter drove up from their home State of Oklahoma, but Samad accompanied his grandfather (maternal) from Oklahoma to Washington D.C before arriving in St. Louis as his grandfather was continuing his struggle to obtained a redress of his grievance as it relates to the loss of more than 200 acres land. As a sidebar, reportedly 1910 was the peak year of landownership by blacks with over 218,000 black farmers owning in full or in part  more than 15 millions acres. As of 1992, those numbers dwindled down to 18,000 black farmers left, owning 2.3 million acres. Samad was blessed that his grandfather included him on the trip to the nation’s capitol in his efforts to address his grievance to the government. His grandfather is included in the class action lawsuit (Pigford V. Glickman) involving the black farmers of America who filed discrimination claims against the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and that legal matter remained unresolved to date.

I was impressed that my grandson was learning how to work on a farm, the planting, and harvesting of crops, the sale of live stock, and how to operate the various heavy equipment his grandfather has. Hearing him made me reminisce how I drove my grandfather’s John Deere tractor at a young age and later was involved in the sale of nine acres of land for my grandmother. My paternal grandfather died in 1978.  I was surprised to learn about the Illinois Centennial and Sesquicentennial Farm Programs, the former representing more than 9,000 farmers throughout Illinois that have kept their family farms for “100 years” or longer and the latter group (600 farmers) maintaining their farm land in the family for 150 years or longer. I wondered how many black farmers were included in these numbers?

The conversation later moved to politics and I learn that Samad was ” feeling the burn” as he wanted Bernie Sanders to become the next president. It should be noted that my eleven year old granddaughter also voted for Bernie Sanders as her 5th grade class held a mock election. Samad informed me that he “would not be voting” as he had done the research on Hillary Clinton and could not support her. Naturally I was livid and “seeing stars” I thought of the lives loss in order for black Americans to obtain the right to vote. I circled in for more answers and asked him about his “research.” He made reference to “social medial” and I informed him that you can not always believe everything you read or hear on social media.

Later as this issues continued to simmer in my mind I ran across an article regarding Tuskegee Airman, Dabney Montgomery, who died earlier this month at the age of 93. Montgomery was a member of the fame Tuskegee Airman , the bomber escorts of the 332nd Fighter Group who became known as the “Red Tails.” Montgomery, after fighting in World War II returned home to face Jim Crow American and was refused the right to vote in Alabama. I never met Montgomery, but I did meet Harold Earl Tubbs also from Alabama. Tubbs was the brother to my spiritual mentor, the Reverend Carl Tubbs who have since transition from time to eternity. Harold Earl Tubbs fought in the Korean War and was a member of the U.S. Army. Tubbs was a POW for more than a year in North Korea. His mother refused to accept that her son was dead and always set the table with a place for the son whom the army reported was killed in action. Refusing to accept the $10,000 insurance benefit from the Army, one day she received information from the Red Cross informing her that her son was indeed alive. Harold went one to become a gifted “left hand guitar player” for the late James Brown, the Godfather of Soul. Time will not allow more on what the Mongomerys and the Tubbs of the South (and North) experienced before the dawn of the Civil Rights Movement.

Samad has a high school diploma and has a bright future ahead. Like I out lived my grandfathers, there exist the possibility that he will do likewise. I never met William Faulkner, Samad, but I have met a philosopher named The Reverend Dr. Solomon. There is “nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10) says Solomon. Samad is a gifted athletic and execlled in wrestling, baseball and football. He also has a good work record and is not afraid of doing a “good days work. But, if I had it to do all over and had quality time with his mind, I would make sure he could bench press his way from the “land flowing with milk and honey to forty acres and a mule.” I would like to witness him hitting a grand slam as he clears first base learning about Dred Scott, approach second base and smile at Plessy V. Ferguson, stroll on toward third base and meet Brown V. Board of Education and proudly head home where a cloud of witnesses from Emmett Till, Jackie Robinson, Marcus Garvey, Martin, Medgar and others cry out for a curtain call. Finally my son, with only ten second left in the game and your team is down by “three” the football is in your hand. Run for the goal post, score the winning touchdown and grab the victory out of the jaws of defeat as you make the world a better place because you were here.

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…