We live in a world of fabricated-fake outrage that is only appeased with more fabricated news or conciliatory prizes. The current president can tweet just about anything. Pocahontas is kneeling while burning a flag. Roy Moore isn’t as bad as R. Kelly. Tiffany Trump is my favorite child. All tall tales that suck us into Trump’s vortex of lies and deceit. And if we’re not distracted by a tweet, we’re distracted by the ongoing Russian investigation wishing, hoping, praying and conducting a séance, summoning the ancestors for any sign of impeachment. Yet, as always Black people find ourselves playing defense instead of offence with a strong strategy. And what are we left with? Temporary progress.
Growing up, certain spoiled members of my family would get “hush your mouth” prizes. My baby cousin would cry every time he couldn’t get his way. Put his parents would give him just enough to satisfy him. He would cry for candy. His parent would give him a piece of mint. “Here. Now, hush your mouth.” He wanted a particular toy. His parents would give him the knock-off. “Here. Now, hush your mouth.” He wanted to have a sleep-over. His parents would put Spongebob on the tablet. “Here, hush your mouth.” This is what happens to the Black community politically. We get “hush-up” politics. Colin Kaepernick is in talks to settle with the NFL – he deserves it. Meek Mills’ judge is being investigated by the FBI – karma. All conciliatory prizes. Sure, these are steps forward. But what good is Kaep playing for a team if the initial reason he kneeled isn’t addressed? What good is it if Meek Mill is the only one that gets a fare shack if others are still trapped in the same broken system? There’s nothing wrong with taking a step forward, but that’s all it is – a step. Now, more than ever, we need to change our focus and be strategic in gaining political power and influence. Protesting and boycotting means little if circumstances don’t substantially change. Here are some things that should take top priority in this new era:
The Judicial Court
I don’t think people are really paying attention to this or know how important it is to begin with. Judicial appointments are lifetime appointments. Yes. LIFETIME. L-I-F-E-TIME. That means all three of Beyonce’s kids will turn 18, and these mofos will still most likely be in office. The BeyHive should be enraged. And you should be even more enraged, particularly that a 36-year-old right-wing blogger made it through committee to be appointed to a life-time position. Scratch that. BLOGGERS. Plural. Their names are John Bush, Damien Schiff and Brett Talley. As The Daily Beast reported, “Talley is only the second judicial nominee since 1989 to be unanimously rated ‘not qualified’ by the American Bar Association.” Criminal justice reform, voting rights and all other civil rights cases are determined at the court level. Unfortunately, this president has the opportunity to place more judges in court due to the petty (and racist) obstructionism Obama experienced from Republicans during his tenure. And even though a few of these judges have withdrew their nominations, judges are still being crammed into the courts with little to no vetting.
So, how do we completely stop or at least obstruct the process? Call your senator and ask them what’s their position concerning appointing a 36-year-old blogger to the court and how did he pass committee. Tell your friends to ask them what’s their position concerning appointing a 36-year-old blogger to the court and how did he pass committee. During their next town hall, bring your whole family, your friends and your friend’s friends and look them in their faces and ask what’s their position concerning appointing a 36-year-old blogger to the court and how did he pass committee. Therefore, in the words of Congressman John Lewis, make good trouble.
Can you guess the state with the largest percentage of Black folk? Georgia? No. New York? No. North Carolina? No. The state with the largest percentage of Black folk is actually…believe it or not, M-I crooked letter, crooked letter, crooked letter, crooked letter, humpback, humpback I. Yes. Mississippi. That means that there’s untapped statewide political power in that state. If we look at things from a national scale, the US is projected to be a minority majority country by 2050. What does this mean for the U.S. politically? Well, it could mean a lot IF (and a BIG IF) that political potential is fully utilized and exercised.
Well, what’s holding us back? Voting rights. We’ve been sleep at the wheel. We haven’t challenged our politicians to reinforce the Civil Rights Act, which was gutted for the first time in 2014, leading to racist ID laws, voter purges and the rigging of district lines (aka gerrymandering). It’s crucial that we have a “Blue wave” election come 2018 and 2020 from the state to the federal level. School districts, city council districts all the way up to congressional districts will be determined in 2020. We must have a fair and balanced government by then. No republican super majorities. Voting rights is on the line, and these next elections will determine rather or not the U.S. will become an apartheid state, where the minority (old rich White men) rules the majority. No matter who wins in your district and state, push your state legislatures, local civil rights lawyers and Secretary of State of State (if your state has one) to force an independent commission to address gerrymandering and voter rights.
The Constitutional Convention
So, what will happen if Republicans not only maintain but expand their majority? A. Constitutional. Convention. What is a constitutional convention? Well, with the audacity of Trump, it probably means a dictatorship. And no. I don’t think I’m exaggerating. At the constitutional convention, Republicans want to rewrite the constitution in their image. This means everything that has been set under the guise of “state rights” will actually come true. If you can recall, the last time state rights were fought over was during the Confederacy. This notion alone should pump you to get out there and start registering people to vote.
I’ve given you things that you should fight against to stop. Here’s something that we should fight for. Equity.
We’ve fought for equality for so long. And we still haven’t gotten there completely. When we do reach some level of equality, we’re still behind trying to restore what we lost in the fight for equality. The Black unemployment rate is still double the national rate. Black women though more ambitious than any other demographic are still underrepresented when it comes to leadership and high pay. The wealth gap is at it’s starkest. And there are more health disparities within our community. Rather than picking one issue and going head-on for it, we must recognize the intersection of these issues and how we should promote equitable gains. This means taking a systematic approach to policies. Rather that’s requesting more community health centers in Black neighborhoods or implementing fiscal policies that require investigations into redlining and discriminatory lending practices. It’s important to recognize these issues and present them to state legislatures. If you learn anything from the tea party movement (whatever happened to those guys?), you know that they took a bottom up approach. They set out a long-term strategy to eventually win power, no matter how incompetent they are at governing.
Resisting can be exhausting, especially if you’re resisting something that seems inevitable. Changing our focus to not only resisting consequential damages (attacks on voting rights and unscrupulous judicial appointments) but to also demand equity. To sum up – Don’t. Get. Distracted. By. The. Fabricated. Outrage. Machine. We have work to do. #GetActive