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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.”

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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.

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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 imple 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.

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The number 20 has been in my mind for the last 20 months.  I swear it’s a sign and the reason my friends and I created OPEN 20/20- Our Public Education Network.  Check this: 20/20 like perfect vision.  Now, if I could only see how to fund it—still waiting for that sign.

https://open2020blog.wordpress.com/

* 20 trendsetters in 20 Georgia cities where candidate Obama got over 4,000 votes.

* 20 people with an existing connection with 20 other connected people in a 20 mile radius.

*  2020 presidential election is the ultimate goal.

* 20 minutes of substance and information per hour in a “party with a purpose” setting.

* $20,000 seed funding.

* 20 initial receptions or meetups with 20 trendsetters.

* 20 buzz-generating public rallies driven by the trendsetters’ sign-in sheets.

 

* 20 minutes to early vote.

* 20 percent of the South could revert back to the oppressive mindset of the 1920s if we aren’t careful.

* In the interest of knowing your fellow Americans, do you have 20 friends or associates who are “different” from you.

* Do you interact 20 minutes a week with “different” social, cultural or political views for research purposes?

* After 20 years as an adult, do you have a liquid $20K in the bank.

* 20 year olds make decisions in 20 minutes that take 20 years to correct.  Should they stop and think for 20 seconds before acting?  We need 5 of the 20 trendsetters in each city to be around the 20 something age range.

 

* Our community could be 80% of the population yet receive 20% of the public resources and services.  The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

* Who isn’t 20 pounds overweight?

* Former FLOTUS Michelle Obama would recommend 20 percent of green veggies on our plates.

* Do you personally know 20 local, state or federal public servants—elected, appointed or hired.

* Can we have 20% more of our community voting in South Georgia in elections? Can we get $20 million dollars more in grants?

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“The Democrats need to show up and show out for the election” saying sounds like a broken record literally.  The Dem formula is as dated as records, 8 Tracks or cds and we wonder why we can’t win.  To be a national political party you need a functioning structure on the local, state, regional, and national levels.  You also need inclusion at the decision making table and the lines of communication between everyday people and the leadership should be give and take; listen and then speak.

We know the Trump-type people are the new version of the TEA Party that has taken over the Republican Party.  Good Country Club business people are taking a back seat to country people with clubs who mean business and I don’t mean Callaway golf clubs.

The Democrats have identity problems of our own.  The new energy is the progressive movement of Bernie Sanders.  He received more millennials votes than Hillary and Trump combined.  But like the TEA Party, the Progressives aren’t a political entity designed to win elections.  They are a social change movement with politics being one of their methods.

Does the end justify the means?  My Republican friends, who are decent conservatives, look the other way as Trump and his wrecking crew uses every dirty trick and technique to take power.  I still take my hat off the Jeb Bush and those who said if that is what it takes to win I won’t do it.

If I had my way or a say, I would hope that the new Democrat Party continues the current commitment to all Americans by including a representation of various groups at the table.  That’s a touchy subject with southern Black folks.  The successful Democrat Party of old was an uneasy coalition of Blacks and southern Dixiecrats.  Well, those rural White Dems are gone for the most part but their numbers can be replaced by lighting a fire under Blacks who don’t vote and attracting Whites who are too intelligent to cosign Trump’s destruction of this country.

When President Trump says “we,” he is talking about his supporters; not all Americans.  Over the last 20 years, some Republicans have started to act on issues and policies with little to no input from anyone who didn’t vote for them… To The Victor The Spoils.  We learned in junior high that once elected an official represented all of the people.  I worked in three Democrat congressional offices and we had Republican staffers in all three…Black, White, rich, poor…I was the poor one.  I bet you could put every Black staffer in the current Georgia delegation in a minivan comfortably and few would be above the entry level.

For years, I thought Rep. Sanford Bishop’s cool political approach should have been the model for the next generation of leaders.  This blog has always said that Senator Barack Obama learned more from watching Bishop than anyone else at those weekly Congressional Black Caucus lunch meetings.  Bishop should be the vocal leader of moderates in the nation.  I personally think an active Bishop could have tipped the election to Hillary in three states.

I am a moderate and Bishop brings my views to the decision-making table. Who is the evolution of Sanford Bishop?  We aren’t talking about a Bishop clone because, to be honest, Bishop is too nice.

I am going to Jarrod for next gen leadership.  South Georgia attorney Jarrod Burch should be recruited into the public service of some type—judge, congressman, behind the scenes rainmaker.  If you think about it, he is similar to Bishop (smart, HBCU student body president, nice law school grad, fraternity man, people like him).  Burch is also a great father and military man.

During the governor race between the two Staceys, Burch and I talked about the candidacy of his law school classmate Stacey Evans (that’s loyalty) but was always positive and respectful about Stacey Abrams.  If the Dems are to be successful in November 2018 and November 2020, we need a comprehensive approach to reach folks who are registered but vote infrequently.  Abrams can’t nor shouldn’t do it alone.

Honestly, we need a new network like this blog’s spinoff OPEN 20/20.  That jewelry store has the slogan “He went to Jared.”  Well, the Dems in my region need to go to Jarrod for some new political blood..brainy with street credibility like Obama.  There are things that need to be done that the traditional organizations and apparatus aren’t built to do.  To make it plain, regular folks need to speak with regular folks about the importance of being active in policy, government and social change….voting is just one part of it.

https://open2020blog.wordpress.com/

 

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We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates is an important book.  The following notes restructure my views on Blacks in America from the past relative to moving forward… read this and let the concepts sink into your mindset.

There is a basic assumption in this country, one black people are not immune to, which holds that if blacks comport themselves in a way that accords with middle-class values, if they are polite, educated, and virtuous, then all the fruits of America will be open to them. In its most vulgar form, this theory of personal Good Negro Government denies the existence of racism and white supremacy as meaningful forces in American life.

page 22   When political strategists argue that the Republican Party is missing a huge chance to court the black community, they are thinking of this mostly male bloc – the old guy in the barbershop, the grizzled Pop Warner coach, the retired Vietnam vet, the drunk uncle at the family reunion. He votes Democratic, not out of any love for abortion rights or progressive taxation, but because he feels – in fact, he knows – that the modern-day GOP draws on the support of people who hate him.

page 54  Implicit in the notion of code-switching is a belief in the illegitimacy of blacks as Americans, as well as a disbelief in the ability of our white peers to understand us.

page 67 The four million enslaved bodies, at the start of the Civil War, represented an inconceivable financial interest – $74 billion in today’s dollars- and the cotton that passed through their hands represented 60 percent of the country’s exports.

“White men,” wrote Mississippi senator and eventual president of the Confederacy Jefferson Davis, “have an equality resulting from a presence of a lower caste, which cannot exist were white men to fill the positions here occupied by the servile race.”

page 85  America is literally unimaginable without plundered labor shackled to plundered land, without the organizing principle of whiteness as citizenship, without the culture crafted by the plundered, and without that culture itself being plundered.

page  138 The poet Lucille Clifton once put it succinctly:

They act like they don’t love their country

No

What it is

Is they found out

Their country don’t love them.

page 140 “When our laws, our leaders, or our government are out of alignment with our ideals, then the dissent of ordinary Americans may prove to be one of the truest expression of patriotism,” Obama said in Independence, Missouri, in June 2008.

page 152  I subscribed, like most, to the theories of the sociologist William Julius Wilson: that the decline of the kind of industrial-high-paying low-skill jobs that built America’s white middle-class had left large numbers of young black men unemployed, and the government made no real effort to ameliorate this shift. An array of unfortunate consequences issued from this swift – family poverty, violent streets, poor schools.

page 158 Whites in the middle class often brought with them generational wealth – the home of a decreased parent, a modest inheritance, a gift from a favorite uncle.  Blacks in the middle class often brought with a generational debt – an incarcerated father, an evicted niece, a mother forced to take in her sister’s kids.  And these conditions, themselves, could not be separated out from the specific injury of racism, one that was not addressed by simply moving up a rung.

The sin of slavery did not stop with slavery.  On the contrary, slavery was but the initial crime in a long-tradition of crimes, of plunder even, that could be traced into the present day. And whereas a claim for reparations for slavery rested in the ancestral past, in was now clear that one could make a claim on behalf of those who were very much alive.

page 163 The Case of Reparations… Deuteronomy 15: 12-15

And if thy brother, a Hebrew man, or a Hebrew woman, be sold unto thee, and serve thee six years; then in the seventh year thou shalt let him go free from thee.  And when thou sendest him out free from thee, thou shalt not let him go away empty: thou shalt furnish him liberally out of thy flock, and out of thy floor, and out of thy winepress: of that wherewith the LORD thy God hath blessed thee thou shalt give unto him.  And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the LORD they God redeemed thee: therefore I command thee this thing today.

page 168  From 1930s through the 1960s, black people across the country were largely cut out of the legitimate home-mortgage market through means both legal and extralegal.  Chicago whites employed every measure, from “restrictive covenants” to bombings, to keep their neighborhoods segregated.

page 176 “A heavy account lies against us as a civil society for oppressions committed against people who did not injure us,” wrote the Quaker John Woolman in 1769, “and that if the particular case of many individuals were fairly stated, it would appear that there was considerable due to them.”

page 179 The last slaveholder has been dead for a very long time.  The last soldier to endure Valley Forge has been dead much longer.  To proudly claim the veteran and disown the slaveholder is patriotism a la carte.  If Thomas Jefferson’s genius matters, then so does his taking of Sally Hemings’ body.

page 186  Old-age insurance (Social Security proper) and unemployment insurance excluded farmworkers and domestics – jobs heavily occupied by blacks.  When President Roosevelt signed Social Security into law in 1935, 65 percent of African Americans nationally and between 70 and 80 percent in the South were ineligible.

page 200 To celebrate freedom and democracy while forgetting America’s origins in a slavery economy is patriotism a la carte.

page 201  And this destruction did not end with slavery.

page 202  Black nationalists have always perceived something unmentionable about America that integrationists dare not acknowledge – that white supremacy is not merely the work of hotheaded demagogues, or a matter of false consciousness, but a force so fundamental to America that it is difficult to imagine the country without it.   …that American prosperity was ill gotten and selective in its distribution. What is needed is an airing of family secrets, a settling with old ghosts.

page. 206  All of our solutions to the great problems of health care, education, housing, and economic inequality are troubled by what must go unspoken.  “The reason black people are so far behind now is not because of now,” Clyde Ross told me.  “It’s because of then.”

page  215  The most direct example in my life of the price we black people paid for living under the weight of someone else’s purpose – of being a disposable prop in someone else’s national sage – was my friend Prince Jones, murdered by a police officer shortly after I’d left Howard.

page 231 In absolute terms, America’s prison and jail population from 1970 until today has increased sevenfold, from some 300,000 people to 2.2 million.  The United States now account for less than 5 percent of the world’s inhabitants – and about 25 percent of its incarcerated inhabitants.  In 2010, a third of all black male high school dropouts between the ages of 20 and 39 were imprisoned, compared with only 13 percent of their white peers..

page 240 Just as ex-offenders had to learn to acculturate themselves to prison, they have to learn to re-acculturate themselves to the outside.  But the attitude that help one survive in prison is almost the opposite of the kind needed to make it outside.  Craig Haney, a professor at UC Santa Cruz who studies the cognitive and psychological effects of incarceration, has observed:

A tough veneer that precludes seeking help for personal problems, the generalized mistrust that comes from the fear of exploitation, and a tendency to strike out in response to minimal provocations are highly functional in many prison contexts but problematic virtually everywhere else.

page 249  When the Justice Department investigated the Ferguson Police Department in the wake of Michael Brown’s death, it found a police force that disproportionally ticketed and arrested blacks and viewed them “less as constituents to be protected than as potential offenders and sources of revenue.” This was not because the police department was uniquely evil – it was because Ferguson was looking to make money.

page 250 Gunnar Myrdal, 1944: “Such persons are a danger to the Negro community. Leniency toward Negro defendants in cases involving crimes against other Negroes is thus actually a form of discrimination.

page 257 Surveys have concluded that blacks and whites use drugs at roughly the same rates.  And yet by the close of the twentieth century, prison was a more common experience for young black men that college graduation or military service.

page. 258 Deindustrialization had presented an employment problem for America’s poor and working class of all races.   Prison presented a solution: jobs for whites, and warehousing for blacks.

page 275  For African Americans, unfreedom is the historical norm.  Enslavement lasted for nearly 250 years.  The 150 years that followed have encompassed debt peonage, convict lease-labor, and mass incarceration – a period that overlapped with Jim Crow.  This provides a telling geographic comparison.  Under Jim Crow, blacks in the South lived in a police state.  Rates of incarceration were not that high – they didn’t need to be, because state social control of blacks was nearly total.  Then, as African Americans migrated north, a police state grew up around them there, too.

page 280 Daniel Patrick Moynihan, 1964.  His point was simple, if impolitic: Blacks were suffering from the effects of centuries of ill treatment at the hands of white society.  Ending that ill treatment would not be enough; the country would have to make amends for it. “It may be that without unequal treatment on the immediate future there is no way for (African Americans) to achieve anything like equal status in the long run,” Moynihan wrote.

page 318  Power was what mattered, and what characterized the differences between black and white America was not a difference in work ethic, but a system engineered to place one on top of the other.

page  328  According to Patrick Sharkey, a sociologist at New York University who studies economic mobility, black families making $100,000 a year or more live in more disadvantage neighborhoods than white families making less than $30,000.  This gap didn’t just appear by magic; it’s the result of the government’s effort over many decades to create a pigmentocracy – one that will continue without explicit intervention.

page 322  Obama: “speak to the hurt, and the sense of injustice, and the self-doubt that arises out of the fact that (African Americans) are behind now, and it makes us sometimes feel as if there must be something wrong with us – unless you’re able to see the history and say, “It’s amazing we got this far given what we went through.”

page 334  For a century after emancipation, quasi-slavery haunted the South.  And more than a century after Brown v. Board of Education, schools throughout much of this country remain segregated. There are no clean victories for black people, nor, perhaps, for any people.  The presidency of Barack Obama is no different.  One can now say that an African American individual can rise to the same level as a white individual, and yet also say that the number of black individuals who actually qualify for that status will be small.

page 350  Black workers suffer – if it can be called that – because it was and is our lot.  But when white workers suffer, something in nature has gone awry.  And so an opioid epidemic is greeted with a call for treatment and sympathy, as all epidemics should be, while a crack epidemic is greeted with a call for mandatory minimums and scorn.

page 350  On the eve of secession, Jefferson Davis, the eventual president of the Confederacy: The white laborers of the South are all of them men who are employed in what you would term the higher pursuits of labor among you.  It is the presence of a lower caste, those lower by their mental and physical organization, controlled by the higher intellect of the white man, that gives this superiority to the white laborer.  Menial services are not there performed by the white man.  We have none of our brethren sunk to the degradation of being menials.  That belongs to the lower race – the descendants of Ham.

page  354  “These days, what ails working-class and middle-class blacks and Latinos is not fundamentally different from what ails their white counterparts,” wrote Senator Barack Obama in 2006:

Downsizing, outsourcing, automation, wage stagnation, the dismantling of employer-based health-care and pension plans and schools that fail to teach young people the skills they need to compete in a global economy.

page 364  The first black president found that he was personally toxic to the GOP base.  An entire political party was organized around the explicit aim of negating Obama.  It was thought by Obama and others that this toxicity was the result of a relentless assault waged by Fox News and right-wing talk radio.  Trump’s genius was understanding that it was something more, that it was a hunger for revanche so strong that a political novice and accused rapist could topple the leadership of one major party and throttle the presumed favorite of another.

page  365  It is as if the white tribe united in demonstration to say, “If a black man can be president, then any white man – no matter how fallen – can be president.”

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If voting and public policy aren’t your things, you should think again.  The squeaky wheel gets the grease or folks who actually vote decide everything.  Democrats generally advocate for working people but those same people blow off voting. They spent countless hours on cellphone games, sports, T.V. or just chilling but can’t find 15 minutes to vote.

We are at a crossroads with policy in the South.  I personally see a re-segregation of the region voluntarily but if you know southerners, the wealthy will get theirs and everything else.  In rural counties, certain people are moving out of the county seats, homeschooling their kids and envisioning a battle to create a nation where everyone looks and acts like them.

We need a country where all voices are heard at the discussion table and we need 5 hot topics to convince people on my side of the railroad tracks that voting in every local, state and federal election is of vital importance.  Here is the kicker: some of the issues don’t seem to directly involve you but they do.

Weed: The majority of southerners and I have never violated marijuana laws.  We need to have a public discussion and statewide vote on weed laws compared to legal alcohol and prescription opioid drugs.  Firstly, California Governor and former smoker Jerry Brown is right; we shouldn’t have a society in which everyone is high daily….people have things they need to do.  If that was the case, the rest of the world would overtake us in productivity.  However, cannabis seems to have serious medical benefits and is possibly less harmful than liquor.

Some think the alcohol lobby is fighting weed legalization but I think the drug companies don’t want homegrown competition for pain relief.  While hard drugs like heroin and cocaine should never be recreational, the people should be allowed to vote on weed because the criminal commerce of this product is packing prisons.  Let me understand: crack was horrible and destroyed our community (lock them up and toss the key) but opioids are destroying the other side of town and they need treatment.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta on CNN will have a special report on pot vs. pills on April 29, 2018, and I look forward to getting better informed. Agriculture is Georgia’s top industry and our research universities might one day develop, as Colorado has, cannabis strains that reduce anxiety and pain without euphoria. The people should be allowed a vote.  Former State House member and current candidate for Secretary of State Dee Dawkins-Haigler broke down the cannabis public policy points in a You Tube video I came across recently. I sincerely appreciate the intelligent progressive dialog.

Schools:  “Make America Great Again” involves changing the structure of school funding.  Taxpayers often complain that the money spent on schools should be higher in their part of the community because their property taxes fund the local portion of schools.  The ultimate objective of the school choice movement is finding a dollar amount for educating each kid and allowing parents the flexibility to leave their children in public schools, move them to private schools or keep the money and teach them at home. Because that amount won’t pay for a private school education, working class families will have fewer options.

Some conservatives argue that the only job of teachers is to teach but modern teachers are role models and surrogate parents.  People learn to be around folks not like them from classmates and teachers—Black, White, Red, Brown, Yellow.  To the Duck Dynasty types, everyone not like them is likely against them.  Teachers and coaches are selected by principals and administrators and those people are selected by elected school board members.  If you don’t vote, your kids won’t have any teachers with their cultural background.  We also know that teaching has been one of the first middle class positions in many Black families.

Military: The Armed Forces and civilian federal government jobs joins teachers as Black mobility opportunities.  As you know, Black G.I.s died for freedom in Europe and southeast Asia when their families weren’t free in Georgia. We must vote to support the troops by electing a President and Congress that will send troops into harm’s way only when a clear and present danger exists and start the mission with a defined exit strategy.  The Pentagon, White House and Congress should be watched on behalf of our brave service members like a hawk because rich kids aren’t on the frontline as much as working class folks are.  A young high school graduate from the poorest family can have a career and a place to live a week after graduation if he or she joins the military….and never see poverty again.  But, a leader like the current President could send him into combat because some other leader looked at him funny.

Healthcare: We need universal basic healthcare coverage for every American.  Currently, the uninsured use the E.R. as a doctor’s office.  An annual checkup could detect an issue early and the cost of treatment would be low.  Actually, we need a tough, preventative healthcare system in which doctor’s warn of the looming consequences of bad habits like obesity and substance abuse.  Some hardcore public policy wonks believe expensive treatment for those who were long ago warned should be withheld.

If you won’t vote for Democrats who support healthcare rather than the far right conservatives who are in bed with the insurance, hospital and drug companies, you shouldn’t be surprised that America will be great again when poor people start dying.

Jobs: America is the land of opportunity and I hope you have had a few.  Ideally, kids would pay attention in school, at church and at home—learning the information and skills needed to train on the man’s job or in college.  In reality with technology and innovation, companies can function more productively with fewer people.  The competition for jobs and career is intense and growing more intense as other parts of the world emerge in the global market place.

In a nutshell, our young adults need to be clean cut, focused, energetic and patient.  The progressive movement is pointing out low wages resulting from corporate greed and as President Trump says, we need to manufacture things in America again.  There is no easy answer but we know that the solution involves a comprehensive plan—everyone at the table.  But, if working people don’t vote, the decision will primarily reflect the interests of rich fat cats.

In summary, we can’t figure out why my side of the community doesn’t vote but we better come up with some hot topics fast.