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Voting: the Best Protest

Some Americans actually feel that they are more American than others.  When those other Americans get wind of that notion, they often blow off being productive, engaged members of society and live as part of a sub or counter culture.  In these subcultures, the people are at war with the government and particular the police.  Really?  You hate local, state and federal government as the enemy.  Some of that distrust fuels what we are seeing in Ferguson, Missouri.

First, we must still teach young Black men to “come home to night and wake up in the morning.”  Yes, you have the right to not be attacked unlawful by the police or a Stand Your Ground zealot.  But, you should consider defusing the situation while mentally recording the injustice so big lawsuits can be filed in the future.

I am going to ask a risky question: how does someone who is benefiting from “temporary” government assistance not voting?  They should be the first people to vote. Secondly, voting out the elected officials who make bad laws and oversee the police is one of the best forms of protest—mess with their power and paychecks.

Conservatives have some good points about the limited role of government but they turnoff everyday people by allowing the nuttiest in their ranks to run the show.  The worst method of the far Right involves discouraging elected officials’ dialog with the other side.

While we are in this election season, we should watch the Democrats botch the opportunity to get our community voting and engaged.  If they listened to (and funded) my political friends and me, the face of the electorate would change for the better and more Americans would be at the discussion table.

Flaming_Peach___Colour_by_Ziocho

Georgia Senate hopeful David Perdue just announced that his focus will be the policies of the Obama Administration.  Perdue simply could have ran out the clock in our Red state and likely gone home with a win.  But, this decision to make the Senate race more about President Obama than Michelle Nunn could put the peach state on fire in a way not seen since General Sherman’s march to the sea.  To use another military parallel, it’s like Germany in World War II opening an eastern front with giant Russia.  Why wake a sleeping giant?

The sleeping giant in the peach state would be the infrequent voters who almost gave Obama Georgia in 2008.  How do you get them back out in 2014 because their numbers coupled with the fact that Georgia has only sent two women to congress in 50 years could give Michelle Nunn and Jason Carter wins.  Carter and Nunn are running their own races without being on Obama’s coattails but that doesn’t stop Obama supporters from rallying to the defense of our guy.

Lawd, the Republicans want to impeach the president.  For what?!   I need Lil John to remix his club tune “Turn Down For What” to “Impeach For What.”  We should look at recent presidents who weren’t impeach after questionable actions but Clinton and Obama get impeach for what?  Nonsense.

The peach state will be a fire behind im”peach”ment and a dozen other issues that the GOP think we didn’t hear during the primary season.  It’s not about political parties for me because I am a Democrat moderate who just voted in the GOP primary.  I support reasonable member of that party but finding them has become as difficult as finding peaches out of season.

The far right wants to humiliate President Obama for two years or until they impeach him from office.   If people who supported his election stand idly during this mess, they should be shame.  And don’t get me started on Stand Your Ground and free lunch kids cleaning schools.  Oh yea, David Perdue is going to need to respond to Jack Kingston’s comments.  The Democrats have energy but I am afraid the need folks like me to stoke the fire correctly.

Columnist E. J. Dionne recently wrote a nice one about where the Republicans of old have gone.  Yes, conservatives once were decent people with serious opinions about government and American life.  When they entered the political arena, they debated matters fairly and respected the decisions that were made; decisions that often included many of their positions.

In recent years, far right talk radio and a T.V. network that rhymes with lox have juiced regular people up with wild theory after wild theory.  To put the cherry on top, they have convinced their folks to never listen to the other side and have dared elected officials to compromise as statesmen.  Wait, wait,wait…then they decide that their faith (which is also my faith) is the official faith of this nation—a decision that seems to be in direct contradiction to the intent of the framers of the United States Constitution.  Oh yea, and what are all these Native Americans doing here…and why don’t Black folks go back to Africa….how did they get here in the first place.

People are correct when they say that President Reagan couldn’t be a modern conservative. On the other hand, the Democrats have some adjusting to do also.  They spend too much government money on people who mess up over and over again—generation after generation.  You would think that those Americans would take the time to vote.  You know what: if every adult who had free school lunch at any point would vote, Democrats would control every state house in Dixie.

The question is which party will improve first and secure the support of the growing disillusioned political center.  Clearly, the Democrats will because they welcome to the table those with different points of view.

The elections in November will be an effort by Democrats to regain the missing White blue-collar voters.  Conservative Democrats shouldn’t be an oxymoronic term because those White voters bring to the table the sensibility of rural folks before the far Right told them not to speak with anyone else.

 

 

bear1

Don’t you hate it when people think they know everything and don’t ask  for anyone’s opinion?  After years of blogging, I am again asking for help in crafting an effective approach to changing how we make  public policy.  I can decide if “Can’t Bear It” or “Properly Channeled Anger” would be better or maybe both.

I am just ticked off and can’t bear being angry about what seems obvious.  Rather than acting like I know everything, I have decided to blog post this rough outline—run it up the flag pole and see who salutes.  The best outcome would be well design initiative that spurs some really improvements.  In the past, we would come up with ideas and dream about sharing them at public gatherings.  Today, the better idea is to create a platform to share thoughts and vent frustrations first.  And to think, it started with a hooded bear.

 

Can’t Bear It/Properly Channeled Anger

Background: We all get angry and upset with injustice and wrongdoing.   Much of that energy is spent purely venting.  What if that energy was directed toward improvement, change and growth?  From voting to self-analysis, growing and improving is the sweetest response to wrong.

Objective: To use unconventional methods to encourage voting by everyone, to encourage constructive analysis of ourselves and our situations and to get heading in a better direction.

Hooded Bear: I am cute bear in a hoodie—a cub at that.  I’m stuffed and therefore not even a real bear.  Does the hoodie change my cuteness?  Fundamentally, I am the same bear with secondary regard for my choice of gear…Burberry if you notice.

So I am a bear on a computer…literally—which is similar to the proverbial fish with a bicycle.  I can’t use this laptop to facilitate change—particularly changing laws and changing lawmakers that would declare open season on those who simply “look” dangerous.  Did I mention that my hoodie is plaid and expensive?

If I were a real cub, I be might related to that cub that President “Teddy” Roosevelt didn’t shoot back in the day.  So being a cute bear in a hoodie (real or stuffed) is safer than being a young person in a hoodie in certain places.  If that makes you angry, join this cub in the club.  But what shall we do with that anger?

Hey,this club could be called Properly Channeled Anger because reasonable people should figure out a way to fix what is broken in our communities, our government and ourselves.  I know the pun is cheesy but “Can’t Bear It” would have worked as well because reasonable people shouldn’t be able to bear seeing inexplicable actions or inactions.   Finally, this bear won’t bare himself; he won’t remove his hoodie to conform to the requires of small-minded people.  He would however rock a tasteful pinned-striped suit during his corporate 9 to 5.

Can’t Bear:

  1. Not Voting: Can you believe the fact that the people most affected by public policy are often the same people who don’t vote. From Candy Crush to Farmville to Madden to reality television, we spend countless hours on questionable activities but can’t take a little time to vote.

 

  1. Invisible People: Make no mistake about it: to many elected officials and policymakers, people who aren’t voting get little consideration—they are essentially invisible or irrelevant.

 

  1. Stand Your Ground: Clearly the nation had a contentious debate about these gun usage laws. It seems that state legislators passed these laws after hearing from one side of the argument and with little thought to how the laws would function.  “If you felt you were in danger…”  Is that declaring open season on people who aren’t like me?

 

  1. Referendum on President Obama: While he isn’t on the ballot in 2012, U.S. Senate races across the country are about the President’s party controlling one of the two houses of Congress and stopping the other major party from attempting to humiliate him for his last two years. So, all of these people put Obama in office twice but ignore the follow-up work.. i.e. giving him a congress and state governments that are about the people’s business.  Remember, the House and Senate impeach and hold impeachment trials.

 

  1. Referendum on Hillary Clinton: Don’t sleep, the elections of 2014 are test for which areas Clinton can target in 2016…what are the new battlegrounds. 2014 candidates are testing messages to see what resonates with voters.

 

  1. Can’t bear the mirror: Surprisingly, Americans need to self-analyze to determine how much of what is right or wrong with our lives is the result of our actions….our choice, decisions and consequences. Hey, elected officials can only do so much; they need to tell the truth about the role of government and convince the people to act accordingly.  To be honest, much of government spending goes to help people out of ditches that they dug.

 

  1. Education: Wow, so many parents think that sending their children to school in nice gear is their part of the learning process. These parents often fail to speak proper grammar at home, allow countless hours of video games rather than reading/homework and don’t establish the discipline/focus foundation that kid’s need to be good students.

 

  1. Communication: It is vitally important that every American listens to the thoughts and concerns of others. Yes, the points of view of the loyal opposition should be respectfully heard if only to be picked apart.

 

  1. Policy War: If public policy is a war, we could prepare ourselves for warfare but also hope that the other side realize how wrong they are and come to the negotiations table. In other words, we should wish for constructive dialog and understanding.

Rep. Jack Kingston could have won the primary runoff easily in the Black community but the wrong cats must have been in his ear.  We are talking about the same Jack who has frequently visited and represented Savannah State University for years.

Military bases and the agriculture industry are the economic backbones of non-Atlanta parts of Georgia but no one had the idea to get 6,000 or so votes from Democrats who Jack has helped time and time again.  Look, I live in little Worth County and Kingston got 605 votes here but in huge Albany with a Marine base, Jack only received 655 votes.  Say what?

It’s the proverbial two-edged sword.  The consultants around the Kingston campaign knew that he needed  Tea Party support to win the primary and the Tea Party will not vote for anyone who gets any votes from moderates.

Was anyone in the Kingston camp watching the Thad Cochran Senate primary in Mississippi?  Cochran turned to the Black community for enough support to get over the top; he sought his old friends.  Jack Kingston has more old friends on the Democrat side than any House Republican from Georgia.

I just talked with Georgia Secretary of State’s office and they confirmed that people who didn’t vote in the primary election could have voted for either side in the runoff.  The right Black community leaders in Savannah alone could have gotten out 6,000 Black votes on the strength of Jack’s closeness to our community and long history of hiring Black staffers in key position. But, they decided to leave that on the table.

To be honest, Democrats wanted to see Kingston vs. Michelle Nunn because Jack has a long history of statement about President Obama.  Nunn will not say it nor think it but Black folks coming out to vote in November will be as much about helping the Obama administration have a Democrat-controlled Senate as much as it is about her….and that is okay.

When David Perdue’s cousin took the governor’s office from Roy Barnes, some people vote for Sonny Perdue but many people voted against Barnes over the confederate flag and a teachers issue.  You win how you can.  David Perdue shouldn’t say the word “Obama” until Christmas but he will…the far Right will require that he does.  The attacks on Obama will drive Obama supporters to the polls and if Nunn can secure a few percentage points from suburban GOP women, she wins and helps the Dems hold the U.S. Senate.

Mrs. Nunn must know that Get Out the Vote and street operations will be as important as T.V. ads.  Remember, if Jack had half the street operations that Thad Cochran had, he would have won.

Immigration reform or what have you should start with a frank and honest discussion about Blacks in America.  While President Obama is still one of my favorite presidents, his push for a path to citizenship for those who came here illegal is perplexing.  We would have a huge influx of new citizens from just south of the border rather than a balance blend of people from all around the world.  Before we bring anyone into the American family we should consider those who toiled to make this great nation; those who were stolen from the land and those whose land was stolen.

I understand that many Mexicans feel free to ignore the southern border because they think that Texas, Arizona, parts of California and of course New Mexico was stolen from them.  Native Americans can say that two continents were inexplicably taken from them.  Historians will tell you that America jumped passed older nations from the Old World economically in part because of the cheap and free labor provided by African slaves.  And folks have the nerve to say “go back to Africa” like we wanted to come here in the first place.  Heaven knows that resources-rich Africa would have done well if respected and if her nations were considered normal members of the global community.

I love the fact that President U.S. Grant wanted to buy the island of Hispaniola (current Haiti and the Dominican Republic) to create a nation in this region for former slaves.  The web is buzzing with a rare video of Dr. Martin Luther King going off about the land that was given to Europeans who arrived after the Civil War but no land for those former slaves who worked by force for over 150 years before 1776.

To be honest, the use of Mexican labor over the last few decades was based on replacing the recently freed African Americans—yes, we were freed around 1970.  Dr. Hollis at my Black college had the vision to tell her pol sci majors that America’s relationship with African Americans wasn’t based on our being minorities because in time we wouldn’t be the top minority group.  It was based on our labor and oppression in the making of this great nation.

The Japanese Americans were placed  in internment camps during World II and that was wrong (where were the Italian and Germany internment camps.)  In the 1990s, the U.S. Congress compensated them for this wrong but if they were owed an inch, Black America would be owed a freaking mile.  It will never happen but keep that in the back of your mind, Mr. Go Back To Africa.  And we shouldn’t act as if current people and companies are still benefiting from the cheap labor that continue with Jim Crow and sharecropping until the 1970s.

Moderates shouldn’t be lumped together with liberals on immigration reform because we often feel that the country should slow it’s roll on this matter.  The decisions about what to do with African and Native Americans usually didn’t include those two groups.  So, we should address some lingering issues before opening the doors any wider.

The Democrat Party can’t be mostly Black nor should the GOP be all White.  This blog has been saying that for years.  First, I really don’t care too much for political parties because they are about power and control over good governing.  If we must have parties, the best ones look like America—they are comprised of a cross-section of peoples and groups or the leaders communicate with everyone.

The “All In With Chris Hayes” show on MSNBC is starting a new segment on race.  The promo for the segment features Georgian Julian Bond telling Hayes that Black elected officials need to give up some Black areas to neighboring districts to get White Democrats elected.  I love it because you don’t necessarily need Black politicians to serve Black folks (and a few Black Republicans might not be bad for understanding and informative purposes.)

If you take race off the table, congressional districts should be draw in a way where candidates from either major party can win—that keeps them on their toes.  The scary fact is that the GOP turned in the early 1990s into a party that often demands that its elected officials not listen to those with other points of view.  Look here, officials are paid by all taxpayers—not just the people that voted for them.  If you listen to a constant diet of vitriol from left or right zealots, you too would swear that the other side is the devil.

Let’s look that two congressional districts that makeup southwest Georgia.  For most of his time in the Georgia state house and the U.S. Congress, Sanford Bishop didn’t have a majority Black district.  He won by serving a cross section of people well.  Former Rep. Jim Marshall was one of the last southern White Democrats and his seat was important until he started slamming Obama and Speaker Pelosi to keep rural voters.  He had to go and he was replaced with a reasonable GOP candidate, Austin Scott.  Who knew that Scott would be one of the most conservative members of the House?

In theory during redistricting, members of congress don’t own districts but the General Assembly had no problem lumping more and more Blacks into Bishop’s district because that action made the three contiguous districts more and more GOP.  Bishop is a fighter and a true representative; he could represent anyone.  But, the Tea Party, Fox News and the far right talk radio has rural Georgia White twisted and negatively brainwashed so can you blame him for accepting more safety.  In southeast Georgia, Rep. Jack Kingston took all of Black Savannah to increase the GOP chances of taking Rep. John Barrow’s seat—Barrow is the last White Democrat in the U.S. House from the deep South.

Hey, Democrats would be fine if the people they helped legislatively would simply vote.  A surprisingly large number of GOP members of the state legislature have 25% or more Blacks in their districts but folks don’t vote.  The deciding factor for the elections in November might be the effectiveness of the Get Out the Voter efforts and that requires money—more cash should be put on the streets than on the airwaves.

http://www.msnbc.com/all-in/watch/all-in-america-behind-the-color-line-285576771633

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