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Abrams and Gillum should have easily won; they made the right moves.  The costly miscues came from the Democratic Party in rural areas.  Why is this starting to sound like a broken record?  The young people currently doing political strategy don’t know what a “record” is nor have they checked the election record.  Shall we start a list that would have gotten another 100K voters in Georgia and 100K in Florida.

  1. History: Al Gore=Hillary Clinton=Stacey Abrams. If the working families who are the focus of Democrat issues would simply vote, elections would be runaways. After everything done by the successful Clinton/Gore White House, Gore should have defeated Bush with no problems. The same should have applied to Hillary after Obama’s White House.  But in a twist, the mess of the Trump White House should have driven working Dem voters to the polls in even better numbers.  Problem: the Dems are too nice and politically correct to speak hard to those voters about the real consequences of not voting.
  2. Obama=Trump=Abrams. For real. The Democrat establishment wanted Hillary over Obama. After Obama won with his own organization, he didn’t feel compelled to turn over his fundraising database or network to the D.N.C.  Trump did a similar bypass of the R.N.C. because they knew he wasn’t presidential material.  Today, he controls basically a MAGA/Trump Party outside of the Republican Party and if they try to drop him, the drama will be serious and entertaining.

Since Abrams wasn’t the choice of the state Democrat establishment, she raised millions outside the state and didn’t feel the need to be “plural” with her campaign pronouns.  “Us and We” were more about the Progressive wing of the national party than the statewide Democratic ticket. Problem: Winning statewide in a diverse state like Georgia requires an uneasy alliance like Blacks and Dixiecrats in the 80s and 90s on the Dem side and Country Club Republicans with Trump zealots on the GOP side.  Hillary and Abrams tried to win primarily in the urban areas; the numbers were there but the margin of victory in both their races was rural Democrats that were not cultivated.

  1. Agriculture areas not cultivated: Ms. Abrams did hit the piney woods of rural Georgia hard but it wasn’t her job to be everywhere. I feel like Chicken Little with the sky is falling thing. Moderate Dems kept waiting for Hillary to spend some money rallying Dems who lived in G.O.P. congressional districts.  But, her cool hipster team didn’t see the need after looking at numbers in Georgia’s 6 biggest cities. They thought it could be done with T.V. ads.  What was left on the table was the margin of victory in Georgia and in the panhandle of Florida.  Van Jones on CNN said Hillary spent a billion dollars on T.V. ads and expected Black women to do Get Out The Vote as volunteers.  To her credit, Abrams learned from that.

Problem: the Democrat Party of Georgia needed to recruit quality, well-funded congressional candidates outside Atlanta.  Those candidates drive out numbers in their region.  What do I need on these candidates’ resumes: Military, gun owner, church officer, farm childhood, graduate of a college that plays football on T.V., Black college alum or Black Greek network,  Andrew Gillums’ charm, Moderate who can relate to Progressives.  If we had such candidates in the Red congressional districts from Augusta to Macon to Valdosta, Abrams and the Dem ticket would have had an additional 100K votes there.

  1. Rep. Sanford Bishop: If Bishop had a strong opponent, he would have fully engaged his campaign machine. The results would be an additional 40K votes for the Dem ticket in vital Columbus, Macon and Albany. Rep. Bishop has three of the five Black urban areas outside Atlanta in his district.  He is basically the leader of Georgia Moderates and the leader of rural Democrats in the South.  In other words, a busy Bishop could have produced the numbers needed to give Hillary Georgia.  A really busy Bishop could have help the Dems in the parts of Florida above Gainesville.  Yes, some of us think that an aggressive Bishop could have tipped Georgia and Florida to Hillary and kept Trump out of the Oval.

Andrew Gillum, in or out of the governor’s mansion, will continue to energize Florida. I just realize that Abrams and Gillum cultivating their states for the next two years could swing these states to the Dems.  Are we looking at two cabinet members in the next White House?  Come on, you know that’s how presidential thank yous work.

  1. Should be Shame: It’s a blank blank shame that high school football games are packed with Black folks but the same numbers don’t appear on the Democrat voters results. To be real, we aren’t talking about voting for her or him; we are talking real kitchen table issues.  It has to be “Vote for this candidate because these issues are important to your family: healthcare; the re-segregation of  your kids schools disguised as school choice; attracting new industry and jobs; criminal justice reform.”
  2. Missing Moderates: Can southern Democrats walk and chew gum at the same time. President Jimmy Carter warned that Georgia Dems shouldn’t forget about the Moderates in suburban and rural areas.  We don’t need or want back former Dems deep into Trumpism but there might be a 10 to 20 percent of non Dems who see Democrats as healthier than the divisiveness of the new G.O.P.
  3. Preaching to the Choir, literally: Have mercy, these candidates see numbers in Black churches so the big bishops are going to need that sizable check. That’s nice but church folks vote anyway. The question is how do you get the sinner vote also (too much?) or shall I say how do you light a Fuse under them.  It starts with listening to them; connecting on a personal level before voting time.  Did the homeboys know what Stacey Abrams planned for reform of the money bail system and weed laws.  The Dem ticket in Georgia could have gotten 60K pot smoking voters and another 30k senior citizens who want to grow their own non-hallucinogenic pain relief.  Also, some Georgia farmers are interested in a new cash crop. Yes, we left maybe 90K votes on the table right there.

In summary, the Democrats don’t need to wonder what we should do next to secure victory in 2020.  Projectlogicga.com has been outlining (begging) a better approach for rural Georgia voters for ten years.  Because rural voters are pivotal in 2020, planners should come see us soon and bring a checkbook.

Scary: The New Negro

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President “By Any Means Necessary” Trump is scaring his folks to the polls with fabricated facts—correction- lies.  If the Democrats had heart, they would use that same information to scare our voters to the polls but with real facts.  With a final push, Dems could win in Georgia and Florida and those wins might compel this nation to dump Trump.  We need rallies and meet ups in every corner of south Georgia the Saturday before election day—stop playing with Halloween and start dealing with the “New Negro.”

The Art of War teaches us to respectfully be familiar with the opposition.  Actually, I am more motivated to vote against Trump’s vision for America than anything.  For the record, the Dems’ vision of leadership mostly involves all views at the discussion table while the Republicans are “winner take all and no holds barred.”

Trump code speak of “Make America Great Again” and “I Want My Country Back” is clearly saying we should get back to an America in which there was a ruling/wealthy class and a defined servant class.  In other words, African Americans will be Negroes again.  “Build The Wall” is code for “Stop illegal immigrants from south of the border, kick the ones here out and get Negroes back to doing whatever work is available at whatever wage…oh, they will do it or starve after USDA food assistance ends.”

For the record, the vast majority of Blacks are against open borders because we are still waiting to be made whole for the infusion of wealth we provided to a young America by our forced free labor.  While my Progressive friends will disagree, most southern Blacks dislike the socialistic idea of the government doing for your family.  Our best America is one in which everyone has a fair shot at the good life but if you are weak and lazy, you made your rough bed…sleep in it.

Halloween is often about the dead.  Well, healthcare is the number one issue in this election season because uninsured people die from preventable issues.  There should be universal minimum healthcare for every American; if you are doing well, you should have employer-provided better care. In reality, insured people use the expensive E.R. as a doctor’s office and the government pays for that as indigent care.  One annual checkup could catch and address medical matters before they become serious and expensive.

Halloween isn’t as frightening as jail and prison.  The Republicans were all “lock ‘em up” when crack hit the community but are for treatment (as they should be) since misused opioids provided by Big Pharma hit the other side of town.  The Dems would redo weed laws and one day grandma can grow her own non-hallucinogenic pain relief.  That would be a nightmare for the Republican-supported drug companies.

Private prisons feel a lot like the old chain gang for Negroes and poor Whites.  I appreciate Stacey Abrams for introducing the “money bail” system to me—if you go to jail without bail money, you will sit there until your court date…even if you are innocent.  Yes, Ta-Nehisi Coates correctly wrote that the local governments sometimes see our community as a revenue source from criminal fees, fines and penalties.   That’s scary.

Dems are too politically correct to say hard stuff but I will.  As New Negroes, your children will be doing “strong back” work with secondary regard to their intelligence.  The Confederacy was based on the belief that no Black person should do a nice job that any White person would want.  Folks at Trump rallies often rock “The South Was Right” pro-Confederacy bumper stickers.  Once and for all: no one is trying to take your firearms used for hunting and home defense.  However, you are frightening people with talk of a new Civil War.

From We Were Eight Years In Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates

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.

 

The New Negro kid will be attending a second-rate K-12 school because under GOP “Local school control” concept funding will first go to the part of town that pays more property taxes first.  “School choice” is code speak for “give my family the per child cost of education so we can teach them at home or in private schools—away from those people.”

Finally, the scariest thing in the world is President Trump with the nuclear button.  Wrestling it away from him starts November 6, 2018.  Teens like to play Fortnite but the same teens might be sent to die in an unwinnable war because Trump and his Republican Party love being macho.

We need to spend the last days of this election season putting the real scary issues on the table so people will vote vote vote.

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I voted for the whole Democrat Team today because our diversity of thoughts “looks like Georgia today” and the Trump- led Republicans feel like Georgia of 1971.  Someone should be handing out “Looks like Georgia today” Democrat t-shirts and let me break down why.

Every candidate with a “D” next to his or her name voted for Obama and Hillary in the last few presidential contests.  They share a vision of public policy that brings everyone together; a policy that gives each child a chance to be their best if they work hard and focus.  The Republicans have been taken over by the TEA Party Movement and “Make America Great Again” is code for I want my 1951 America back; the America that had a defined ruling class and a servant class.  Every candidate with an “R” next to their names is a Baby Trump—local, state, federal.

I am a Black man who doesn’t vote automatically.  When it was clear Hillary would win the Democratic nomination, I took the Republican primary ballot to vote for Moderate John Kasich because stopping Trump from becoming president was as important as anything.  If the Democrats do well next month, the Republicans will hopefully dump Trump.  As Trump says in his rallies, he is on the ballot in November.

It’s so cool that the Dem Team in Georgia has Stacey Abrams at the top.  She is a policy expert who would get healthcare for everyone.  Lt. Governor Candidate Sarah Riggs Amico ; a Harvard MBA grad, is a transportation executive.  In Georgia, we grow food and fiber then ship it all over the world with our highway system, the Port of Savannah and the Atlanta Airport.  Sarah will be an industry attracting beast and selling Georgia as a place to bring jobs will be her priority number one.  So, Yale Law grad Abrams and Harvard B-School Amico can watch the Yale-Harvard football game next year from the governor’s mansion.

Former congressman John Barrow is a candidate for Secretary of State and brings my moderate views to the discussion table.  Barrow and Rep. Sanford Bishop are long- time Blue Dog Democrats and they provide a smooth counter-balance to the emerging Progressives.  The Progressives want to help everyone and that’s nice but the Blue Dogs ask if those positions can and should be funded.

State School Superintendent Otha Thornton is a former high level military officer who is on a mission to improve the schools for every kid while the Republicans are using the code “local control and school choice” to resegregate the schools in my opinion.  Yes, teachers should do better….heck, parents and children should do better.  But, funding private and charter schools with public money is simply an effort to get certain kids away from certain other kids.

Agriculture is Georgia’s biggest industry and today I voted for Fred Swann for Ag. Commissioner because he has farm families in mind more than big corporate farms.  Swann and State House candidate Marcus Batten have introduced me to some Progressive points of view.  I am old school but the Progressive ideas about legal marijuana are solid.  We need to explore the medical benefits and grow that crop in Georgia.  Batten is a real farmer and his understanding of the negative impact of Trump tariffs on our crops is deep. In Albany, voters should watch the raise of CaMia Hopson in State House 153.  She will be a U.S. Senator one day.

Today, I voted for a group of candidates who reflect the vast range of Georgians—young and old; rural and urban; Black and White; male and female; rich and modest; Moderate and Progressive.  Every Republican candidate on the ballot was cookie cutter Trump and that will not cut it in modern Georgia.

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Imagine: you are a 40 year old but the culture treats you like a “boy” or “girl.”  That was the life of Blacks in the rural South the first half of my life.  Looking back, I can now understand those who sought self-medication with liquor during Jim Crow.

“They treat me like a boy in front of my children…any work is really about keeping them rich…they don’t care about educating our children because strong back work is their lot in life and then they can show you in the Bible something about the descendants of Ham being cursed, African and us…that’s why slavery and Jim Crow is justified.”

But at the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Mrs. Nether and Mrs. Lumpkin taught us that being Black was noble and actually better.  Elections are won and societies are shaped in church parking lots, in Barber/Beauty shops and on sports/band practice fields.  The residual benefit of discussions and teaching explains that we can be better/should be better.  A community is a tree that must have strong roots to grow and be fruitful but toxins can easily invade and ruin everything.  Liquor, crack, illegal weed, heroin and now opioids often start poisoning people as a numbing agent for those who could understand the cards life dealt them.

Understand: Most people are their own worst enemies but the American dream is a nightmare for people of color.  The best theoretical America is one in which every kid has a fair chance to learn and grow into being a productive, home owning member of society.  Yes, Jesus knows that there will always be poor people and we should be compassionate with them.  But, being poor should be based on your personal productivity; not the skin or gender of your birth.

In a recent blog post, I wrote about improving our community with P.E.C.S. (Politically, Economically, Culturally, Socially.)  Yes, elections are part of the process every few years but we must grind smart daily.  We must create a positive culture around our families.  I think about the line in Gil Scott Heron’s “B-Movie” that said “the ultimate realization of the inmates taking over of the asylum.”

Heron wrote that after Reagan beat Carter for the White House but today I could easily apply that observation to the Black community’s embracing of Thug Culture in hip hop. Don’t get me wrong: artists should be free to express themselves. However, kids should experience art in a healthful context—N.W.A. introduced the nation to rogue elements inside the Los Angeles Police Department but maybe I am too old to understand the benefit of mumbling rap that glorifies crime on my street.

Gil Scott Heron and Muhammad Ali were the fathers of rap to me.  My friends Darryl, Cassie, Rhonda and I saw him in the Blues Alley Club in Georgetown in the early 90s.  Shaking his hand was painful for me because he was a skeleton.  Heroin was eating Heron.  We paid $35 each and he left the stage while the band played for 30 minutes—he wanted his poison in the dressing room.  But, we understood that his genius was self-medicating the pain of being a man in country that saw him as a boy. It’s like Billie Holiday writing “Southern trees bear strange fruit” about lynching while likely high as a Georgia pine.

If you are rich and White in the South, you predictably are conservative because life is grand and design to subjugate others to keep you in tall cotton.  But if you are the subjugated, you are liberal or radical because life isn’t fair…some change, any change would be welcomed.  In the Hall of Fame of American poets, I put Gil Scott Heron and Tupac next to Poe, Dickinson and Hughes.

Heron’s B Movie’s lyrics are really an epic poem.  President Reagan, an actor, was elected to play the role of hero on a white horse that saves the day by preserving a culture that keeps certain folks unfairly on top.  To many Whites, conservatism seeks to go back to a time when life was wonderful without acknowledging that the economic system was based on the robbing of the red man and oppression of Blacks who were never supposed to be here in the first place.  Africa without European colonization would be one of the best continents.

“Quick, we should find the Bible section about dark people working for the descendants of Noah’s other sons—Africans love working in blistering heat.”  For the record, the death of Jesus cleaned the slate for all people before him but evidently the question for some Whites becomes “are Blacks actually people.”

I was hearing knowledge and wisdom in a barbershop yesterday and it made me realize that I learned from Mr. Nether in the chair, from Mrs. Nether in the classroom and both of them in the A.M.E. parking lot as a kid.  Mrs. Lumpkin would encourage your growth every time she saw you.  When Desert Storm broke out, Mrs. Lumpkin’s former students knew exactly where Iraq was.  Unlike the Europeans who when there for oil, we knew that great civilizations of color existing in that region before Christ.  Mrs. Lumpkin taught geography with a timeline and the Great Pyramid at Giza was erected 2400 years before Christ lived.  And Napoleon wondered which Europeans came down to construct them—no, sir.

On a sly note, the Black church taught about the struggles of the Hebrew people AND the fact that some of those battles were with ancient Africans—us.  Watch out now.  Gil Scott Heron said “…Egypt and Libya have been moved to the Middle East…I will swear every time, this version ain’t mine…that’s why it is called “His” story.”

So, I have lived long enough that “conservative” too me is the Black culture of the 60s and 70s.  Kids, we actually had Black business districts called Harlem in every town and city in America.  A Black dollar touched five Black hands before it left the community.  To break it down, the conservatism of my White classmates is different from the moderation/conservatism of Blue Dog Democrats and rural Black church folks.  We are conserving two different periods of time or the culture they want to return is based on the oppression of us.  You know what “make America great again” and “I want my country back” are really saying.

It’s woven into every issue and policy they support local, state and federal.  Reasonable Blacks should all vote on the first day of advance voting if they remember the past those people want to be our future.  On the other hand, the well-intended Progressive Movement might inadvertently hurt our community with wishes of giving too much from the government without acknowledging that someone must fund those programs with taxes and giving to much stymies personal responsibility, planning and growth.  Yes, on some level, I am a conservative but I am trying to conserve the Black mindset from the 60s not the White oppressive mindset from the same time.

Gil Scott Heron’s B – Movie is poetry.

Well, the first thing I want to say is…”Mandate my ass!”
Because it seems as though we’ve been convinced that 26% of the registered voters, not even 26% of the American people, but 26% of the registered voters form a mandate ? or a landslide. 21% voted for Skippy and 3, 4% voted for somebody else who might have been running.But, oh yeah, I remember. In this year that we have now declared the year from Shogun to Reagan, I remember what I said about Reagan…meant it. Acted like an actor…Hollyweird. Acted like a liberal. Acted like General Franco when he acted like governor of California, then he acted like a republican. Then he acted like somebody was going to vote for him for president. And now we act like 26% of the registered voters is actually a mandate. We’re all actors in this I suppose.

What has happened is that in the last 20 years, America has changed from a producer to a consumer. And all consumers know that when the producer names the tune…the consumer has got to dance. That’s the way it is. We used to be a producer ? very inflexible at that, and now we are consumers and, finding it difficult to understand. Natural resources and minerals will change your world. The Arabs used to be in the 3rd World. They have bought the 2nd World and put a firm down payment on the 1st one. Controlling your resources will control your world. This country has been surprised by the way the world looks now. They don’t know if they want to be Matt Dillon or Bob Dylan. They don’t know if they want to be diplomats or continue the same policy – of nuclear nightmare diplomacy. John Foster Dulles ain’t nothing but the name of an airport now.

The idea concerns the fact that this country wants nostalgia. They want to go back as far as they can ? even if it’s only as far as last week. Not to face now or tomorrow, but to face backwards. And yesterday was the day of our cinema heroes riding to the rescue at the last possible moment. The day of the man in the white hat or the man on the white horse – or the man who always came to save America at the last moment ? someone always came to save America at the last moment ? especially in “B” movies. And when America found itself having a hard time facing the future, they looked for people like John Wayne. But since John Wayne was no longer available, they settled for Ronald Reagan ? and it has placed us in a situation that we can only look at ? like a “B” movie.

Come with us back to those inglorious days when heroes weren’t zeros. Before fair was square. When the cavalry came straight away and all-American men were like Hemingway to the days of the wondrous “B” movie. The producer underwritten by all the millionaires necessary will be Casper “The Defensive” Weinberger ? no more animated choice is available. The director will be Attila the Haig, running around frantically declaring himself in control and in charge. The ultimate realization of the inmates taking over at the asylum. The screenplay will be adapted from the book called “Voodoo Economics” by George “Papa Doc” Bush. Music by the “Village People” the very military “Macho Man.”

“Company!!!”
“Macho, macho man!”
“Two-three-four.”
“He likes to be ? well, you get the point.”
“Huuut! Your left! Your left! Your left…right, left, right, left, right…!”

A theme song for saber-rallying and selling wars door-to-door. Remember, we’re looking for the closest thing we can find to John Wayne. Cliches abound like kangaroos ? courtesy of some spaced out Marlin Perkins, a Reagan contemporary. Cliches like, “itchy trigger finger” and “tall in the saddle” and “riding off or on into the sunset.” Cliches like, “Get off of my planet by sundown!” More so than cliches like, “he died with his boots on.” Marine tough the man is. Bogart tough the man is. Cagney tough the man is. Hollywood tough the man is. Cheap steak tough. And Bonzo’s substantial. The ultimate in synthetic selling: A Madison Avenue masterpiece ? a miracle ? a cotton-candy politician…Presto! Macho!

“Macho, macho man!”

Put your orders in America. And quick as Kodak your leaders duplicate with the accent being on the dupe – cause all of a sudden we have fallen prey to selective amnesia – remembering what we want to remember and forgetting what we choose to forget. All of a sudden, the man who called for a blood bath on our college campuses is supposed to be Dudley “God-damn” Do-Right?

“You go give them liberals hell Ronnie.” That was the mandate. To the new “Captain Bly” on the new ship of fools. It was doubtlessly based on his chameleon performance of the past – as a liberal democrat ? as the head of the Studio Actor’s Guild. When other celluloid saviors were cringing in terror from McCarthy ? Ron stood tall. It goes all the way back from Hollywood to hillbilly. From liberal to libelous, from “Bonzo” to Birch idol…born again. Civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights…it’s all wrong. Call in the cavalry to disrupt this perception of freedom gone wild. God damn it…first one wants freedom, then the whole damn world wants freedom.

Nostalgia, that’s what we want…the good ol’ days…when we gave’em hell. When the buck stopped somewhere and you could still buy something with it. To a time when movies were in black and white ? and so was everything else. Even if we go back to the campaign trail, before six-gun Ron shot off his face and developed hoof-in-mouth. Before the free press went down before full-court press. And were reluctant to review the menu because they knew the only thing available was ? Crow.

Lon Chaney, our man of a thousand faces – no match for Ron. Doug Henning does the make-up – special effects from Grecian Formula 16 and Crazy Glue. Transportation furnished by the David Rockefeller of Remote Control Company. Their slogan is, “Why wait for 1984? You can panic now…and avoid the rush.”

So much for the good news…

As Wall Street goes, so goes the nation. And here’s a look at the closing numbers ? racism’s up, human rights are down, peace is shaky, war items are hot – the House claims all ties. Jobs are down, money is scarce ? and common sense is at an all-time low with heavy trading. Movies were looking better than ever and now no one is looking because, we’re starring in a “B” movie. And we would rather have John Wayne…we would rather have John Wayne.

“You don’t need to be in no hurry.
You ain’t never really got to worry.
And you don’t need to check on how you feel.
Just keep repeating that none of this is real.
And if you’re sensing, that something’s wrong,
Well just remember, that it won’t be too long
Before the director cuts the scene…yea.”

“This ain’t really your life,
Ain’t really your life,
Ain’t really ain’t nothing but a movie.”

[Refrain repeated about 25 times or more in an apocalyptic crescendo with a military cadence.]

“This ain’t really your life,

Ain’t really your life,
Ain’t really ain’t nothing but a movie.”

If Weed Users Voted Often

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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.

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 digging 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.

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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 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.

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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.”

smallyesno

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.

Black-White-Vote-t-shirt-dress-sticker

No..don’t..stop.  In Georgia Democrat politics, we are continuing the same self-destructive, plantation mentality of the last 20 years and are about to experience the same results.  We need to borrow a few plays from the Republican playbook…not the nasty disinformation but the posture toward the people.  If you noticed I didn’t say “voters”…I typed “people” because on the GOP side, the voters and the people are the same because most of them vote in every election while the “people” the Dems help and serve “vote” occasionally.  This must end.

Background: The Democrat Party of Georgia and much of the South lost most statewide elections in the last 10 to 15 years.  We have seen our officeholders drop to record low numbers in the state houses and state constitutional positions as rural Whites bounced for the GOP.  Those White voters broke the awkward alliance of Dixiecrats and the descendants of those oppressed until recently.

Problem: The establishment of the Democrat Party in Georgia consists of the same people from our heyday.  While we appreciate your service, something must change because the state and the nation has fallen into dangerous hands.  The establishment naturally enjoys power and status; their agenda is to keep control of everything.  No, their real agenda is to select candidates with deep pockets or who can raise big bucks.

Those candidates then hire the establishment’s cohorts as fundraisers, campaign managers, etc.  With secondary regard for the actual election results, the E wins by staying paid before one vote is casted.  For sake of full disclosure, I assumed I would be part of the E after returning to the state as a former congressional staffer. In all likelihood, my opinions would be different if the E valued my centrist views.

I feel like that guy Joseph from the Bible who was sold into slavery by his brothers but became pharaoh’s chief adviser.  In the end, he told his brothers that they meant it for evil but God meant it for good.  In this comparison, the GOP would be pharaoh?  Well, it was always my old country club, less nutty Republican friends who discuss policies with moderate Dems.  It’s ashamed that the extremes in their party took over; I know the feeling because the same can be said for the well-intended give, give, give, assist, assist, assist ultra-liberals in our party.

The Establishment or E is again running things from fancy offices in Buckhead and Marietta.  Like the latte-sipping liberals who control the national Democrat Party, they decide first who can produce enough money to keep them in tall cotton then, they craft what is important as issues based (you guessed it) on which interest groups have fat checkbooks.  Actually, the selected candidates are generally good people.  To me, it started with cookie company executive Michael Coles in the Senate race of 1998.

Georgia politically has three sections: Metro Atlanta, the Next Five Cities and Rural Georgia.  I haven’t been in Atlanta in six years—the traffic is too fast for me.  What voters do in rural Georgia should be based on what is important to us and not what the E in Atlanta and D.C. what to “teach” us is vital.

I give Trump credit for listening to his people (many of whom are nutty) and telling them he would do what they wanted if placed in office.  While he is so very wrong on most matters, the Democrats should learn to listen to the people first as Trump did….folks like that.

The Democrat Party of Georgia wants more White voters.  I know you aren’t running anything but you mouth in the South without a certain number of reasonable Whites.  But, I refuse to beg or want the people who said horrible things about the Obamas yet think Trump is great…good riddance.  Our better hope for White voters is suburban moderates and non-voting hip young people.

A national party has variety at the decision-making table…that’s not true of the current Georgia or national GOP.  I appreciate the diversity of the current Dem candidates for statewide office; some are friends and we see the return of a true Blue Dog.  The people will decide during the primary who moves forward…not the Establishment.  What you are not going to do is have the E in the plantation big house tell us in the field (the grassroots) what to do like we are children.

biisal

Shall we start 2018 by keeping it real; keeping it “100” as the kids say.  There are three long-term political prizes on the horizon of Georgia politics: the Democrat presidential nominee winning our state in 2020 and the retirements of Rep. Sanford Bishop and Senator Johnny Isakson.

These two statesmen are rare nice fellows in the mess that has become official Washington.  We need to look down the bench and study the depth charts to groom “who’s next.” Oh, some folks are grooming themselves in my opinion.

First, Former Congressman John Barrow (UGA, Harvard Law) is supposedly running for Secretary of State.  Are you kidding me?  This five terms representative would have been a Hillary Cabinet member.  He is gold or White gold to be exact.  Barrow was one of the last White Dems in the House from the South…super significant.  Traditionally, someone with his resume would only seek governor or U.S. Senator so his not running for governor is indication that Stacey Abrams is unbeatable in the primary.

To me, John Barrow and Stacey Evans are running statewide to build networks for Senate runs in the future.   After Black women flexed their political muscles in Alabama, you know the sistas in Georgia will show stronger muscles for Abrams in the primary this summer.

Rep. Sanford Bishop has had a stellar career but it could have been better.  We need Bishop to be the leader of rural Dems across the South but he won’t do it.  He likes being friendly with his “dear colleagues” on the other side of the aisle to get things done bla bla bla.  I have a newsflash for my old boss: most guys on the other side are horrible people these days.  It’s time to start throwing elbows in the paint.  Bishop should be able to tell you who he is grooming as congressional candidates in every district south of Atlanta.  See, we can’t win statewide without “down ballot” – congressional, state legislature, city council, county commission and school board.

Mayor Rufus Davis of Camilla and a host of Black mayors across Georgia are changing the game without seeking permission from the old guard.  Stacey Abrams must wonder why the old guard should be at the table since the party went down on their watch; they were too nice to counterbalance the ugliness and lies of the Tea Party.

The replacement for a retired Sanford Bishop needs to be a tough and resourceful leader because getting Trump out of the White House is so very important… nuclear nightmare important.

vote

The ultimate political objective is Donald Trump exiting the Oval Office.  Reasonable Americans should be laser-focused on that happening.  We shouldn’t blame President Trump for being exactly who he always was and employing “by any means necessary” methods to win.

For me, the blame lies primarily with a Republican Party that has so demonized everyone else that any member of their party is better than any Democrat.  The Democrats put Trump in the Oval because they ignored non-city voters; the Dems’ preoccupation has been driving higher voter turnout in cities and suburbs while blowing off us rural people as hicks and bumpkins.  Your Whole Foods pumpkin was grown by a bumpkin.

Achieving the objective starts with projecting the end and reverse engineering the desired result.  President Trump shouldn’t be reelected in 2020 and I personally think he has had it with public office…so let’s do him a solid and vote him out.  But, he can’t win the general election in November of that year if he isn’t on the ballot.  As Habakkuk 2:2 says, write the vision and make it plain upon the tables…tables, tablets, iPads, Galaxy Notes, smart phones.

The goal to reach the objective is: smart southern Blacks possibly swaying Republican primaries for better Republican candidates.

Most southern Blacks are Democrats but some like blogger Keith McCants and I are what you might call “functional Democrats.”  We know that an alarmingly big percentage of Blacks aren’t registered or vote only for the big elections.  President Obama often mentioned the large number of people who voted for him and exited the polling place without voting for other contests on the ballot.  We need some real hard hitting voting and public policy education and it can’t come from candidates or political parties… it must be us talking to us about us.

The well-intended Democrat Party is a comedy of errors and would have completely collapsed if not for the star power of the Clintons and the Obamas.   Whomever the Democrats select as their/our nominee in 2020, it should be fast and Bernie-free…I personally say Hillary.  Georgia Democrats would be free to vote in the Republican primary for a reasonable GOP candidate like Ohio Governor John Kasich.  It’s called hedging your bets with nuclear chips on the table.  A Democrats winning is important but not as important as keeping an unstable person out of the position.  Oh, I have Republican friends who to this day never supported Trump and question his fitness for public service.

The ultimate objective is assisted by election goals next year.  To me, all elections (state, local and federal) are indirect referenda on Trump and Obama.  If you still think Obama is a horrible person and Trump is wonderful, you have issues and will be in my prayers.   I might not be a strong Democrat but I am surely an Obamacrat.   Obamacrats and Trump supporters logically wouldn’t support the same candidates next year.

This blog started over 10 years ago and a recurring plea has been for Blacks to diversify our political portfolio…. don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.  Moderate to conservative Black southerners should strategically deal with reasonable people in both parties to achieve the objective of “a more perfect union.”  From the center, the Far Left seems almost as odd as the Far Right.

Weak Families = Crime

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The Sunday Albany Herald had an outstanding article about the root causes of crime.  To be honest, crime starts with the family foundation. When that mad man shot police in Houston last year, the Black police chief said the police are the scapegoats for bad families, underperforming schools and everything else wrong in America.

Before I share the hottest points from the article, I want to put my two cents worth in the mix.  A woman alone rarely successfully raises a strong man.  I couldn’t bring a girl up properly without help from ladies in my family, church and community.  Black churches need to be packed and teaching churches like the A.M.E. church shouldn’t be dying.  The residual benefit of church attendance for young family should be fellowship with successful and encouraging members of the community…folks eager to share their keys to positive living as well as connections.  Kids need to learn how to sit up straight and pay attention in class and that starts in church.

The federal and state government has unintentionally destroyed the Black family with too much assistance.  Kids plan to have kids like this: You have a baby with any oh body and you go get a check. Huh?

Then, you have babymakers, I refuse to call them fathers, who are too cool to flip burgers or pick fruit but not too cool to have others feed their “seed.”

Albany Herald    Sunday, November 26, 2007

Officials: Crime may be symptom of family issues             by Jon Gosa

Poverty is the mother of crime.

With statistics showing 33.8 percent of Albany’s population living at or below the poverty level, lack of material success seems to be a powerful argument for the city’s escalating violent crime.

“I want to know why these kids are out at 2 or 3 a.m., shooting each other.” City Commissioner Jon Howard said.  “Where are their parents? I don’t know how you do it, but we have to address the family.  I have a slogan: ‘If you can’t feed ‘em, don’t breed ‘em.’

71 percent of babies born in Albany were born to unwed mothers.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services study by Patrick Fagan “The Real root Causes of Violent Crime: the Breakdown of Marriage, Family and Community” the rise in violent crime over the past 30 years parallels the rise in families abandoned by fathers.

Data show that the type of aggression and hostility demonstrated by a future criminal often is foreshowed in unusual aggressiveness as early as age 5 or 6.

Even in high-crime inner-city neighborhoods, more than 90 percent of children from safe, stable homes do not become delinquents.

Many lawmakers in Congress and in the states assume that the high level of crime in America must have its roots in material conditions, such as poor employment opportunities and a shortage of adequately funded social programs.  But, members of Congress and other policymakers cannot understand the root causes of crime if they insist on viewing in purely in material terms. The view blinds policymakers to the personal aspects of crime, including moral failure, the refusal to exercise personal responsibility and the inability or refusal to enter into family and community relationships based on love, respect and attachment both to the broader community and to a common code of conduct.

Government policy has, evidence indicates, become a powerful facilitator of the long-term rise of crime.  

  

gilll

Gil Scott Heron

 

My mind is blown by election numbers. The mayor of Camilla, Georgia, and I were talking this morning about the vast opportunities that exist for communities that simply register and vote…the squeaky wheel gets the grease. In Sylvester, Georgia, the newspaper reported that 26% of the 2,900 registered voters made it to the polls this month—mayor’s race decide by 600 so-odd people total while it was 1,200 two elections ago.

Parents support the football teams in Camilla, Sylvester and across the South; they brave bone-chilling weather for hours, cook post-game meals and boost the cheerleaders and marching band. I hope they like marching in uniforms because the current occupant of the White House might draft them into a nuclear war with that fellow in North Korea. But, we should remember that President Trump didn’t win the popular vote and less that 10,000 voters in two states could have given the election to Clinton.

Police wear uniforms and I am fortunate to live in a town with decent officers. On the other hand, the Worth County Sheriff’s Office actions are being reviewed. I think I voted for the Sheriff and always had a “how you” familiarity with sheriffs of my teen years. But, when it was time for upset people to sign a petition to recall the Sheriff, it was clear that many if not most of those parents in the football crowd don’t vote.

My brothers hipped me to election stats with the first lines of Gil Scott-Heron’s “B Movie” after Carter fell to Reagan.  But, President Reagan (right or wrong) was tough….cheap steak tough. Trump is a character and real Republicans know it. At the risk of sounding dramatic, life as we know it might be saved by electing local leaders this year who serve as the foundation for winning in 2018 and ultimately taking the White House from Trump and those like him. While candidates are important, it all begins with reaching people—turning pissed-offed people into regular voters. Gil Scott Heron seems like a visionary today.

B-Movie

Well, the first thing I want to say is: Mandate my -ss! Because it seems as though we’ve been convinced that 26% of the registered voters, not even 26% of the American people, but 26% of the registered voters form a mandate or a landslide. 21% voted for Skippy and 3, 4% voted for somebody else who might have been running.

What has happened is that in the last 20 years, America has changed from a producer to a consumer. And all consumers know that when the producer names the tune, the consumer has got to dance. That’s the way it is. We used to be a producer – very inflexible at that, and now we are consumers and, finding it difficult to understand. Natural resources and minerals will change your world. The Arabs used to be in the 3rd World. They have bought the 2nd World and put a firm down payment on the 1st one. Controlling your resources we’ll control your world. This country has been surprised by the way the world looks now. They don’t know if they want to be Matt Dillon or Bob Dylan. They don’t know if they want to be diplomats or continue the same policy – of nuclear nightmare diplomacy. John Foster Dulles ain’t nothing but the name of an airport now.

The idea concerns the fact that this country wants nostalgia. They want to go back as far as they can – even if it’s only as far as last week. Not to face now or tomorrow, but to face backwards. And yesterday was the day of our cinema heroes riding to the rescue at the last possible moment. The day of the man in the white hat or the man on the white horse – or the man who always came to save America at the last moment – someone always came to save America at the last moment – especially in “B” movies. And when America found itself having a hard time facing the future, they looked for people like John Wayne. But since John Wayne was no longer available, they settled for Ronald Reagan and it has placed us in a situation that we can only look at -like a “B” movie.

Come with us back to those inglorious days when heroes weren’t zeros. Before fair was square. When the cavalry came straight away and all-American men were like Hemingway to the days of the wondrous “B” movie. The producer underwritten by all the millionaires necessary will be Casper “The Defensive” Weinberger – no more animated choice is available. The director will be Attila the Haig, running around frantically declaring himself in control and in charge. The ultimate realization of the inmates taking over at the asylum. The screenplay will be adapted from the book called “Voodoo Economics” by George “Papa Doc” Bush. Music by the “Village People” the very military “Macho Man.”

“Company!!!” “Macho, macho man!” “Two-three-four.” “He likes to be .. well, you get the point.” “Huuut! Your left! Your left! Your left, right, left, right, left, right…!”

A theme song for saber-rallying and selling wars door-to-door. Remember, we’re looking for the closest thing we can find to John Wayne. Clichés abound like kangaroos – courtesy of some spaced out Marlin Perkins, a Reagan contemporary. Clichés like, “itchy trigger finger” and “tall in the saddle” and “riding off or on into the sunset.” Clichés like, “Get off of my planet by sundown!” More so than clichés like, “he died with his boots on.” Marine tough the man is. Bogart tough the man is. Cagney tough the man is. Hollywood tough the man is. Cheap steak tough. And Bonzo’s substantial. The ultimate in synthetic selling: A Madison Avenue masterpiece – a miracle – a cotton-candy politician …Presto! Macho! “Macho, macho man!”

Put your orders in America. And quick as Kodak your leaders duplicate with the accent being on the dupes – cause all of a sudden we have fallen prey to selective amnesia – remembering what we want to remember and forgetting what we choose to forget. All of a sudden, the man who called for a blood bath on our college campuses is supposed to be Dudley “God-damn” Do-Right? ”

You go give them liberals hell Ronnie.” That was the mandate to the new Captain Bligh on the new ship of fools. It was doubtlessly based on his chameleon performance of the past: as a Liberal Democrat. As the head of the Studio Actor’s Guild, when other celluloid saviors were cringing in terror from McCarthy, Ron stood tall. It goes all the way back from Hollywood to hillbilly. From Liberal to libelous, from “Bonzo” to Birch idol, born again. Civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights: …it’s all wrong. Call in the cavalry to disrupt this perception of freedom gone wild. God damn it, first one wants freedom, then the whole damn world wants freedom.

Nostalgia, that’s what we want…: the good ol’ days, when we gave’em hell. When the buck stopped somewhere and you could still buy something with it. To a time when movies were in black and white, and so was everything else. Even if we go back to the campaign trail, before six-gun Ron shot off his face and developed hoof-in-mouth. Before the free press went down before full-court press, and were reluctant to review the menu because they knew the only thing available was…Crow.

Lon Chaney, our man of a thousand faces: no match for Ron. Doug Henning does the make-up; special effects from Grecian Formula 16 and Crazy Glue; transportation furnished by the David Rockefeller of Remote Control Company. Their slogan is, “Why wait for 1984? You can panic now…and avoid the rush.” So much for the good news….

As Wall Street goes, so goes the nation. And here’s a look at the closing numbers: racism’s up, human rights are down, peace is shaky, war items are hot. The House claims all ties. Jobs are down, money is scarce, and common sense is at an all-time low on heavy trading. Movies were looking better than ever, and now no one is looking, because we’re starring in a “B” movie. And we would rather had…John Wayne. We would rather had…John Wayne.

“You don’t need to be in no hurry. You ain’t never really got to worry. And you don’t need to check on how you feel. Just keep repeating that none of this is real. And if you’re sensing, that something’s wrong, Well just remember, that it won’t be too long Before the director cuts the scene. yea.” “This ain’t really your life, Ain’t really your life, Ain’t really ain’t nothing but a movie.”