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If Weed Users Voted Often

Schumer-introduces-Marijuana-Freedom-and-Opportunity-Act

Marijuana laws would be reformed by the Democrat candidates for governor in Georgia and Florida.  Senate Minority Leader Democrat Charles Schumer introduced a bill to decriminalize marijuana on the federal level.  No, I am not smoking while writing this—I don’t use illegal substances but the times “they are a changing.”

Talk about tipping the scales of elections.  Smokers should be registering to vote in large numbers—come out of the shadows.  Senior citizens who are afraid of opioids for pain relief could grow their own organic medicine for the price of seeds.  In Colorado and California, cannabis researchers have developed varieties and strains that provide pain relief, according to CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Guta, without the hallucinogenic effects.

I personally hate the illegal commerce involving the trafficking of weed; it turns communities into war zones. If you are a fan of P.B.S. documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, you watched his week-long series on Prohibition.  So, there was little national organized crime (the Mob) before the do-gooders passed the laws prohibiting the sale of alcohol. The road to hell is paved with good attentions.  Al Capone in Chicago and the Mob in New York grew behind illegal bootlegging and the first action of newly elected President Franklin D. Roosevelt was the repeal of Prohibition.

But, lobbyists with fat pockets will fight even the medical weed law reform.  Of course, the liquor and beer industries are watching but surprisingly, Big Pharma is the key opponent.  The drug companies make billions selling products that weed would compete against.  You know about the Fortune 500 top companies in America but the top 5 in order are: Walmart, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, Apple, Exxon Mobil and McKesson.

McKesson?  What’s that?  Where did they make their $192 billion in revenue?  I kept seeing that name on trucks during my mother’s doctors’ visits.  McKesson is the leading healthcare company for wholesale medical supplies & equipment and pharmaceutical distribution.  They move opioids in massive amounts.  But, don’t worry.  If weed becomes legal, they will corner the market on that too—cute, they will corner the “weed corner” market.

What’s Georgia’s biggest industry?  It’s agriculture and the researchers at the UGA and Fort Valley Ag Schools could give us weed as another cash cow. On the other hand, the criminal justice system has made billions fining and locking up people for a little bit of weed.  Come on, we all know that weed is less harmful that liquor but a law is a law.  Romans 13:1 says respect the laws that the government made because God made the government….and he made weed.  (I better leave that alone.)

We should have a comprehensive review of marijuana based on new science.  Of course, America can’t walk around constantly stoned…our enemies would love that.  It’s about personal responsibility… beer, gin, weed, McDonalds, pasta, nachos, Mountain Dew in moderation.  In some neighborhoods, 19 year Olds use weed rather than liquor because it is available.  Huh?  You don’t know who grew that nor what’s in it.  Talk about dumb laws: a U.S. Marine can’t go into combat but he or she can go into Walmart and purchase a six pack of Miller Lite.

Bottomline: A million voters who smoke in Georgia and Florida should recognize weed reform as a key election issue.

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samuel-and-eli

Progressives and Moderate Democrats, while waiting for Ms. Aretha Franklin’s funeral to come on the Word Channel, I heard Bishop T.D. Jakes tell a story about us.  Actually, the same story could apply to the few remaining reasonable Republicans vs. the Far Right.

In 1 Samuel 3, we find Eli and Samuel.  Ok, to be honest, I don’t spend much time in more than a handful of Old Testament books (the poetry ones) because it’s too much history.  However, Bishop Jakes said Samuel in his youth could hear but it took Eli to understand what was heard and to design action based on experience.

Jakes said, “Young people, you will not get there without us.  You can hear what we can not hear, but we know what to do about what you heard.” Jakes also talked about Black boys rebelling with understanding because we should rebel against such an unfair system and society.

So, success and progress requires a concerted effort where all sections bring something to the table. The Progressives are the energy and blood of the Democrat Party; they want to change things that never should have been wrong in the first place.  However, the over 40 Crew in rural areas often think with experience; we can see what time has put in our eyes.  Yes, a 15 dollars an hour minimum wage would be nice to correct the wage stagnation of the last 50 years based on corporate greed.  But, it would also be nice if you planned economically and lived within your means.  Legal weed is one thing but a nation of zombies is another said California Governor and former smoker Jerry Brown.

It takes a village to run a village; input from everyone.  That’s the opposite of the “winner take all” mentality of Trump. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said we must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.  My southwest Georgia political friends discuss matters but I always end up seeking the counsel of Nadine Chatman, Bob Fuse and young Keith MacCants.  Wait a second, I just realized conservative Dem. MacCants talks with me because I am the oldhead to him… look a hear, look a hear.

Bottomline: Progressives and the Blue Dogs both need to interact productively if we can get this nation back from risky Trumpism.  You know what, my counsel calls also included Republicans Nick Buford, Mrs. Vivian Childs, old friend Karen Bogans and the sage Michael Murphy.  While the details of those last discussions are private, let’s just both sides say “really” a lot.

Progressives can’t get there without Moderates and vice versa.

The Call of Samuel
(3:1-14)

1 Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the LORD before Eli. And word from the LORD was rare in those days, visions were infrequent. 2 And it happened at that time as Eli was lying down in his place (now his eyesight had begun to grow dim and he could not see well), 3 and the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD where the ark of God was, 4 that the LORD called Samuel; and he said, “Here I am.” 5 Then he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, lie down again.” So he went and lay down. 6 And the LORD called yet again, “Samuel!” So Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he answered, “I did not call, my son, lie down again.” 7 Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, nor had the word of the LORD yet been revealed to him. 8 So the LORD called Samuel again for the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli discerned that the LORD was calling the boy. 9 And Eli said to Samuel, “Go lie down, and it shall be if He calls you, that you shall say, ‘Speak, LORD, for Thy servant is listening.’“ So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 10 Then the LORD came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for Thy servant is listening.” 11 And the LORD said to Samuel, “Behold, I am about to do a thing in Israel at which both ears of everyone who hears it will tingle. 12 “In that day I will carry out against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from beginning to end. 13 “For I have told him that I am about to judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knew, because his sons brought a curse on themselves and he did not rebuke them. 14 “And therefore I have sworn to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.”

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Georgia and America are too big and diverse for only two major political parties.  You are going to have people who seriously disagree with others under the same tent, umbrella or whatever.  Usually, the winning party is the one that best held it’s nose regarding all involved divisions.

The classic example of this situation would be otherwise reasonable Republicans tolerating hillbilly separatists and then Trumpism.  You-all need to be shame—not “ashamed” but good ole country “shame.”  Trump called Omarosa a dog.  No real southern gentleman would tolerate a high public official acting like this but you-all so badly wanted the Supreme Court seats that you sold America down the river.

It’s time for my “broken record for the record” statements as the Democrats are again poised to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

You can’t win Georgia in Atlanta alone; the White rural Dems are mostly gone; Progressives and Moderates will perish as fools if they can’t live together; and we still need 40% Dem turnout in so-called Red areas.

The election scales will be tipped by Moderates/Centrists.  While both extremes are vocal, the bulk of America is near the center.  In Georgia, Dems need better numbers in suburban areas and the third tier cities.  You have Atlanta, the next six cities and then my beloved third tier.  If Jason Carter got 100K more votes in Atlanta, 50K in the next six cities and 50K in the third tier, he would be governor today.  But check this: creating voter buzz and energy is easier in the third tier because events and happenings are rarer there.

I haven’t visited Atlanta in over five years and the traffic on I-75 north of Macon gets on my nerves. Family matters forced me to drive to Lake Oconee last week from South Georgia. Oh my lamb, we have been sleeping on the other spine of Georgia, U.S. Hwy 441.  Douglas, McRae, Dublin, Milledgeville, Madison and Athens could tip statewide elections if properly cultivated.  The GOP will have you think these areas are as conservative as the Georgia Mountains but it’s not true.  The heart of Georgia is still 30 to 40 percent Black and not all Whites are Trump folks.  The formula to win in Georgia is to go big in the cities BUT still keep it close everywhere else.

The dadgum Democrats need to do a spinal tap on the Hwy 441 communities to diagnose the kitchen table issues unique to them—southwest Georgia isn’t southeast Georgia and Bainbridge isn’t Brunswick.

We must learn from the Alabama Senate victory: find and fund successful indigenous operations.  But, you don’t send college kids with blue hair down here to teach country folks the importance of being Progressives.  Many of us are a different type Democrats: Black, gun owning, church attending, military supporting, hip hop culture questioning and pull yourself up believing.  However, we want zero parts of the mess the GOP has become.

Last broken record for the record: beat Trump, avoid civil war, God don’t like ugly, light a fire under the Blue Team (figuratively).

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Improving Black America starts with a comprehensive approach; winning elections is just one piece of the overall pie.  We must make peace with the ghost of our oppressed past but if you are waiting for proper acknowledgement and fairness, you will be waiting awhile.

Some parts of America will never understand that the country’s general agenda is counterintuitive to some subgroups’ agendas (Latinos, Women, Native Americans, Blacks).  This nation’s greatest wealth before oil was free and systematically discounted Black labor. Since that wealth jumpstarted our economy, my Black investment in this Republic is without question.  Still, many White southerners can’t understand that Gone With the Wind appeared differently in my Black eyes as Malcolm X did in theirs.

The Art of War is based on understanding the other side.  Blacks involvement in the Democrat Party is so-so but the Conservative Movement/GOP to southern Whites is a way of life second only to church.  Correction: church is woven into politics and the comprehensive, all-encompassing  lifestyle is powerful.  Conservatism in the White community is similar to fraternities and sororities among Black college grads.  Get it: a Kappa Alpha from U.G.A. will never understand the connections between all members of Omega Psi Phi.  Oh, a veteran can say he or she proudly served in the Air Force years ago but in most case, the U.S. Marines are a life-long frat whose commitment goes to the bone. Because the stakes are so high, Black southerners need that level of involvement in change actions.

I loved when Chuck D in Public Enemy rapped, “Whatcha do getcha head ready…Instead of getting physically sweaty.” Rather than working the Pecs in your chest, you should consider these PECS.  We must move forward Politically, Economically, Culturally and Socially.

But first, who are “we”?  When President Trump says we, he is speaking about his base; not the whole nation.  “We” to me in this writing is Blacks about striving.  While we are reluctant to separate our agenda from Black America as a whole, some of us have grown weary with a certain element of our community.

P.E.C.S.

Politically: We must vote in every election and watch the political arena like a hawk constantly.  When wise people see the issues on the table, voting and action come naturally.  Unfortunately, the part of our community most impacted by public policy doesn’t actually vote in real numbers.  This moderate argues daily with Liberal/Progressive friends about the existence of Black Moderates, Centrists and yes Conservatives.  We aren’t talking about Blacks who are deeply into the GOP and yes, the Conservative Movement seeks to preserve a time in which Blacks were second-class citizens.

No, Black moderates to conservatives are people who harken back to the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s.  In those days, the preoccupation was Blacks living in America without restrictions.  Some of us are concerned that the Progressive Movement emphasizes what government can do for you only.  Government shouldn’t fix a life that you causally broke with bad decisions and softness.

Economically: Money is some kind of funny.  In our community, we act like high school Economics class wasn’t mandatory.  Basically, we must learn when successful oldheads are teaching how to keep your bills low until your dollars are solid.  Conspicuous consumption refers to the consumers who buy expensive items to display wealth and income rather than to cover their real needs.  In the Barbershop as a kid, I learned “they buy things with money they don’t have to impress people who don’t care about them.”  And, we will be here all day if we dive into homeownership vs. renting and spending vs. maxing out the employer provided retirement fund.  Growing money over 30 years is the prettiest thing in the world.

Culturally: I was around when hip hop was born and it’s a cool art form.  But, is art imitating life or life imitating art.  To make it plain, our youth have an unhealthful relationship with the thug element of rap culture. While we were dig early rap, we wanted the Cosby Show lifestyle.  T.V. and the internet pumps massive amounts of influence into developing brains—much of that information is opposite to the directions and principles of our parents.

For this writer, the Cosby Show was the gold standard but James and Florida Evans raised a solid family on Good Times.  On the other hand, the Jeffersons was almost buffoonery- a Black man gets rich but is still a clown. I wonder if White America realized that Norman Mailer was culturally mocking them with All in the Family.  As a kid, I knew it from the theme song.

Boy the way Glen Miller played

Songs that made the Hit Parade.

Guys like us we had it made,

Those were the days.

Didn’t need no welfare state,

Everybody pulled his weight.

Gee our old LaSalle ran great.

Those were the days.

Absolutely, it was a great time to be a White man in America.  If you worked hard and kept your nose clean, you could have a nice life. During that same post World War II period, Blacks were lucky not to be killed for trying to stand up as men and women.  The song was right “Guys like US we had it made” because Whites enjoyed most of the American pie and minorities ate the crumbs.  You do realize that soul food was the meats and vegetables left over after master ate high on the hog.

They didn’t need no welfare state or need to know how to avoid double negatives.  When Trump is firing up his base at rallies, this is the American culture they are planning to make great again; a culture in which people of color are returned to their proper place.

That “old LaSalle” was a great American automobile from Detroit but as President Trump says we don’t make anything in America anymore.  We need a culture based on family, faith, honor and achievement rather than weed and weave and look at me.

Socially:  Honestly, I don’t know where culturally ends and socially begins.  The second dictionary definition of socially says “in the company of others, especially for pleasure.”  Birds of a feather flock together and the “We” part of Black America must seek out achievement-oriented, fully-focused others.  In this new era of correctness, we are hesitant about calling out Blacks who have “relaxed” what is proper and acceptable.  Well, I stand with Secretary Colin Powell in thinking that all of America should reinstitute the concept of shame.

Theories and ideas on a blog are nothing without action.  If we don’t adopt and implement a new comprehensive plan, our southern Black goose is cooked.

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Don’t Sleep

Because Trump is right, I want to apologize to my fellow moderate Blue Dog Democrats.  While I can’t stand most of Trumpism, the whole GOP got behind him after he won the nomination.  The two largest sections of the Democrat Party in the South are the traditional moderates and the emerging Progressives.  If Dems don’t learn to come together, we will make Trump a two term president then experience eight years of President Pence after that.   By that point, America could be on the verge of a real life “Handmaid’s Tale” and no one saw it coming.

Over the last year, I thought the Establishment Democrats in Georgia were pouting because they can’t control the Progressives.  Of course, some Dems want a loyalty oath from the Bernie Sanders’ crew because their lack of support for Hillary is one of the factors that put Trump in the Oval.  The Progressive Movement might need to form a party of their own but if you are rocking with us, rock with us until the wheels fall off.

Last night, a local elected official asked me why he can’t donate directly to the Stacey Abrams for Governor campaign and I thought he was mistaken.  Actually, he was right because it appears the campaign is using the ActBlue fundraising mechanism.  ActBlue is fire hot with progressive causes but primarily using them causes pause for traditional Dems on some level.

Of course, the traditional Dem methods in Georgia over the last 15 years haven’t met with much success.  Generally, they raise money, spend said money on T.V. ads with their friend’s firms and then ask Black folks to do GOTV as volunteers.  Say what?  Credit Ms. Abrams for changing that madness and maybe that’s why the Establishment is ruffled.

Look, fighting the mess of Trumpism will require all hands on deck like the invasion of Normandy—there is plenty of combat to go around.  We know the traditional Dem methods can get to a certain point but in Georgia and nationally, getting over the top calls for firing up young people who are drawn to progressive issues.

Again, I want to apologize to Blue Dogs whom I thought were ignoring the Progressives.  It could be that both sections were territorially boxing out each other.  They must stop that silliness, join hands and sing “The More We Get Together,” the Beatles’ “Come Together,” or Tupac’s “I Ain’t Mad at Cha.”

In 2016, some Republicans held their noses and voted for Trump. It seems they were listening to Stephen Stills’ “Love The One You’re With.”  When the Dems get together, we need to see diversity at the table.  The GOP is running America into the ground with little input from anyone not like them.  Oh, the Democrats in the South during most of my life were a coalition made up of recently warring factions.

While it was difficult being in a party with former (let’s hope) segregationists, it worked in transition.  Now, many of those Dixiecrats have found a comfortable home in the GOP….good riddance.  What we aren’t going to do is spend time begging them to come back.  Their numbers can be replaced with suburban families and a “woke” young electorate.  It’s awkward when Progressives attempt to energize old Blue Dogs like me and it’s equally awkward when moderates approach them.

Democrats need a concerted effort in which subgroups with proper funding do what they do best.  If we aren’t successful, the future could be a version of the Handmaid’s Tale featuring Jim Crow’s great grandson…. Jamie Crow. “Praise Be.”

Downtown

The White establishment in the Democrat Party in Georgia refuses to acknowledge the changing tides.  Hey, I clearly understand because sharing power is difficult.  But, your anachronistic mentality will keep President Trump in the Oval after 2020.

So, we had a governor primary between the two Staceys and Ms. Abrams won.  I had a great hour long phone talk with Mrs. Evans and feel that she is a future U.S. Senator or Federal Judge.  While Evans is closer to me on the political spectrum, I voted for Abrams because she was party leadership and her strategy has better math.  Dems can’t win statewide by getting the Tea Party/Trump voters back and why would you want them back.  We win by presenting the real issues to the people and getting them to see the horrible alternatives.

So, the above mentioned establishment seems ticked off that voters chose the Stacey with whom the establishment have less influence.  “How dare they….BMWs aren’t free…I must eat…Whole Foods is spendy.”

Their answer is to support other statewide Dem candidates with the resources and interest they normally would give to the top of the ticket. To win in Georgia and nationally, the Dems should be a party with diversity at the table and I have learned to respectfully listen to the Sanders Progressives as I listened to Dixiecrats in the 80s.

The old guard establishment (the remains of the Dixiecrats) are the same folks whose strategy of spend money on T.V. ads then tell Blacks to GOTV for free lost most elections in Georgia over the last 15 years. Stacey Evans has been gracious after the election.  But, what will happen if Black voters see signs that the old guard isn’t with Abrams because they can’t control her campaign.

Also, Abrams national support brings in resources that the state Dems don’t have.  If I hear one more time that Abrams must seek the rural vote, my head is going to explode.  She has spent considerable time in rural south Georgia but she can’t be everywhere.  We got you, Stacey; we would have had the other Stacey and we have the whole ticket.  Anyone who is selectively offering support to the ticket should be ashamed.  They say it’s better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.  Well, we are building a rural voter education network called OPEN 20/20 because we want to see more of our side of town voting in every election.

Turfcutter

Do we really care about the future of our children because actions speak louder than words? Yes, I am concerned about the treatment of kids who recently crossed the southern border and yes, I understand that everyone from troubled nations can’t come here.

But, I am more immediately concerned with children from the American South.  If you share my concerned you will learn to read political money maps (I just coined that term.)  See, candidates and elected officials base their actions and interests on computer-generated election maps—where are the voters and for whom did they vote locally, state and nationally.  President Trump’s cabinet might very well make funding decisions on Red and Blue areas on the map.

Atlanta is the heart of Georgia; she gets more state funding because she pays more taxes.  But, the Gainesville/Hall County area gets a disproportionate amount of money because those folks vote, vote, vote. How many high-powered elected state officials are from that region?

South Georgia on the other hand is struggling with population decline and the remaining people don’t vote enough.  On the local level, leaders have computer programs that show voting down to the street and down to the house. If you want to see where local government money is spent, where roads are paved, where schools are located and where the police act nicer, you should view the election results maps.  The squeaky wheel gets the grease.  You can march up and down every street in protest but please end that march by marching into the polling place.

Conservatives have a vision of America that is basically “back to the future” and with President Trump, they finally have a leader who is brash enough to implement it.

Look here, first, you secure the borders and send the farmworkers and manual labor illegals back home.  Not to worry because the people currently receiving public assistance will be doing those jobs after those programs get tossed in the trash. You know, the schools on our side of town should get more funding because we paid most of the taxes. The Help was such a good movie.

In my community, you hear grown men break down pro and college football in the fall with scientific details….at high school football games.  Yes, sports is good clean fun and a healthy past time but I can read the election results map.  Those same loving fathers don’t vote.  They care more about kids reading defenses than kids reading Hemingway.

Those plotting conservatives long for the days when those strong Black backs would be making them money in the fields or low-wage factories.  My friends and I often say that we are all one generation from the projects.  Yes, our grands lived in the projects and were glad to be out of Mr. Charlies’ housing quarters on the Jim Crow plantation.

But, that statement is a riddle… did you catch it.  We can be back in the projects if we don’t continue to strive, if we aren’t mindful of how we carry ourselves, and if we aren’t diligent in all of our actions.  Yes, there will always be poor people but your situation should be based on your actions; not color or systematic privilege/oppression.

I bet Trump wouldn’t have won Georgia if every public housing adult resident who could vote did vote. As Democrats, we can’t keep fighting battles for people who aren’t battling for themselves.  You might not care who runs the White House and Congress but the troops on the front line of the next war will come from our part of the map.