Monday, May 17, 2021

The new Republican party

 

Lately, it is easy to dislike the Republican Party.  They used to stand for being fiscally and socially conservative.  That used to mean fiscal spending and social programs was kept low with the remote possibility of working with their Democratic constituency in addressing issues that impact society…whether good or bad.

We thought that with the removal of Donald Trump from office, the Republican Party would somehow reinvent itself to align more with what our constitution speaks of and serve the American people.  This is what some of us thought.

Instead, they have chosen to embrace Trumpism and embody the lack of a moral compass; pledging their allegiance to a man that lost the presidential election, was twice impeached and caused an insurrection that left several people dead and many injured.

The most obvious reason for them behaving in the way that they are could be that they know that the Republican Party does not stand for anything that could be construed as positive for the American people.  They have not proposed any legislation that would benefit the people that live in this country and with that realization comes the fact that they do not stand for anything constructive.

 The leader of the minority party is Mitch McConnell.  He has decided that the party that he believes belongs to him will do everything to block any accomplishments made by the Democratic party.  In a repeat of what happened during the Obama administration, the Republican party will become the party of obstruction and deflection.  They will accuse the Democratic party that they are the ones that will be the party of obstruction which in many ways will bring the accomplishments of the Biden administration to a screeching halt.

But here is the thing; shouldn’t Mitch McConnell and every other Republican elected to office serve the American People?  Isn’t this why we pay their salaries?  I mean, isn’t the whole purpose of our government be that they reach across the aisles and work with their opposing parties to come up with something that would best serve everyone that lives in this country?  Isn’t that the point?

Wasn’t that always the point?

So why aren’t they doing that?  Well, as much as I would like to lay the blame at the feet of the Republican party, I must fault the whole process.  I do not believe that we should have a Democratic party.  I also do not believe that we should have a Republican party; and we do not need anyone that pledges their allegiance to a man as opposed to the people of this country.

 Instead, we need one party that functions with a cohesive set of beliefs.  You can believe that you are conservative and bring your ideals to the table that would…wait for it; serve the American people.  This is the same with the Democratic party.

If white people are terrified of the black and browning of this country; instead of being fearful, maybe you should embrace it.  Understand that fleeing to an all-lily white area is not going to solve your problems.  There will always be black people.  There will always be brown people.  Maybe it is time for you to embrace them instead of running away from them.  Maybe your fears are unfounded.  Maybe they were grounded in a belief system that is a throwback to the forties and fifties.  Maybe it is time for you to face your fears and figure out why you were so fearful to begin with.  Was it something that you were taught?  Was it something that was learned and passed down throughout the years?

Was it something that you saw as you watched your families move from home to home hoping that you would find the perfect neighborhood?

I do not know.  But whatever the reason is, isn’t it time to set those reasons aside and understand that those reasons are unfounded?

I cannot speak for the Republican party because there will always be someone like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Josh Hawley.  There will always be people that will do anything possible to cling to power at all costs.

 We will perhaps never know what makes the Republican party tick, but I know what we can do that will fight against their ideologies.  We can vote…no matter how long it takes; no matter how difficult they make it for us to cast a ballot.

We must show them that racism is not the path to a perception of success which translates to wealth.  We ought to show them that they are employees of a government that adheres to the constitution that was written by our forefathers.

Plain and simple, it is the people of this country that you work for.  You do not work for Donald Trump.  This is and perhaps never was about how the government works for you.  It is about how the government should work for the American people.

Maybe it is time for the Republican party to choose what they genuinely want to be.

Maybe it is time for them to re-invent themselves into something good.

We can only hope.

 

~ J.L. Whitehead

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, March 28, 2021

How does America feel about voter suppression?

Civil Rights Act of 1964

I was three years old when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was created. People of color and their constituents fought the idea of white dominance and suppression. People of all colors lived and died so that the preamble of the United States Constitution blanketed everyone in spoken word and deed.  We trusted our elected officials to do what we sent them to congress to do.  We thought (perhaps foolishly) that the idea of white supremacy would die down slowly with the implementation of the Civil Rights Act, which is why I find it unfathomable that we are in a similar position now as we were then. We have been fighting this battle now for over fifty years.

The fight is real and the response from whites is just as visceral now as it was then.  We are finding out that the idea of white supremacy did not die as much as it has evolved.  Just like people, our ideals have become something that is ingrained in us.  It forms our core beliefs in who we are as well as what we want to be.  And yet despite all of this, you would think that we changed into a better people.  For many of us, we have and for a small portion of us, we have not and perhaps never will.

Watching Politics

I started paying attention to politics back when Clinton was in office.  I watched the fiasco of the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal unfold before the world stage.  I was a little taken aback about how quickly the primeval instinct of the Republican party’s response would be to his affair, clutching their pearls and quickly taking the moral high ground.  They did this not knowing that twenty years later, the people would elect a morally bankrupt man who would turn America on its ear.

Simultaneously, we had the realization that the country was rapidly becoming black and brown.  This would lead to a clash that would culminate with the election of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States along with a vicious fight for our democracy.

The Republican party has become something that I hardly recognize anymore.  They used to reflect conservative values; and even though I interpreted that belief to be more about being socially conservative as opposed to fiscally conservative, that belief has fallen by the wayside and in its place is something that is starting to look like autocracy instead of democracy. Even as you read this, the Republican party is pushing out 253 pieces of legislation to restrict voter’s rights in 43 states across the country. 

Is America pro or con the idea of voter suppression?

So how does America feel about voter suppression?  That depends on who you ask.  For the average black and brown person, the response is quick.  They stand against it because they will not tolerate something that restricts their right to vote.  For the Americans that support the current Republican party’s endeavors, the silence is deafening because no one wants to admit that they support (whether secretly or not) the idea of restricting the right to cast a ballot especially if those casting said ballot is black or brown.

Most recently, Governor Brian Kemp of the state of Georgia signed into law the following:

“The new law imposes new voter identification requirements for absentee ballots, empowers state officials to take over local elections boards, limits the use of ballot drop boxes and makes it a crime to approach voters in line to give them food and water.” CNN News

 Put another way, the Republicans want the option to severely limit black and brown turnout for fear that they will never win another election...at least not anytime soon. Rather than come up with something legislatively that would win over Americans, Republicans would rather cheat.  They want the option to choose who wins and who loses the next election.  What this means that if their nominee wins, great.  If their nominee does not win, then somehow, the opposing party cheated…something that they are trying to do right now.

This is nothing new from the Republican party, but it is the first time that they decided to embody the merits of Trumpism as opposed to standing on the right side of morality and fairness.

The far left

I have been accused of being part of the far left although to date I have never been linked to any conspiracy theories; at least not yet.

I am not a part of the far left.  I stand firmly on the side of what is right and wrong.  Hopefully, we all know this…white, black, and otherwise.  And yet, we have people that will turn a blind eye to what is wrong in the name of what I believe to be for nothing more than whiteness.

The sins of whiteness

It is some of my white brothers and sisters that have repressed, maimed, killed, incarcerated, raped, and pillaged communities of colors for generations.  It is some of my white brothers and sisters that implemented policies like Jim Crow and when that was abolished, they implemented Mass Incarceration.  It is some of my white brothers and sisters that have subjugated whole races of people into slavery…and we are tired.

White people have fled neighborhoods when people of color moved in…as if somehow, we would inflict some disease on them if they stayed to get to know us. 

I say this as if I need something from white people…and I do.

I want you to be me for a day.

Or even better, look at yourself from the outside in and ask yourself the question, “Am I really living up to the person that I want to be?”  “Do I exemplify what is good, fair and decent as I say I do?”

~ J.L. Whitehead

 

 

 


Saturday, February 20, 2021

What happens to the idea of white supremacy?

 

For a couple of months, I had peace of mind.  I could turn on the television and not get upset.  I normally reserve my emotions for conversations more personal and with people I know.  And right now, at this very moment, I am highly emotional.  The feelings remind me of when I was in elementary school; floating in a sea of my own anxiety…feeling like I can grasp the lifeboat of sanity only to be hit by a wave and slide under water again.

For a fleeting moment, I had peace. Trump lost the election and on January 20th, 2021, he would be out of office.  We could start anew.  The man that I wanted to win won the election; and I want to believe that the win mattered.  Sadly, my eyes are opening to the fact that there will always be a war in our government.  With Trump’s loss comes his spirit…the spirit that infected our government in a way that I never thought would happen in my lifetime.  And at the heart of all of this is the resurgence of white supremacy.  33% of white people feel as if they are under siege…that their kind is slowly being eroded or eliminated.  They are saying to America that they have the right to stand up for the rights of white people the same way that blacks stand up for the race of their demographic.  They are enraged and believe that 33% of their kind have been left behind at the expense of others.  Or at least, this is their perception.  I want to make a point to some of my readers that may be totally oblivious to others.  33% of America may feel as if they have been left behind…but it is totally lost on them that these are the exact same feelings that people of color have had to live with all their lives.  Simply put, it is okay that black and brown people are left behind economically if this demographic does not include the 33%.

What these same people do not realize is that white supremacy infringes upon the rights of people of color.  It always had.  Our nation’s history is steeped in white supremacy, which I believe is something that people of color remember vividly, and some white people forget conveniently.  33% of this country forget how it was for black and brown people.  They say that that was a long time ago or that they do not feel that way. 

We know that racial disparities exist and are alive and well in this country.  We know that white people deny its existence because to do so would mean that they could continue to enjoy white privilege. 

I used to deny the existence of white privilege saying that as I have gotten older, things have become better for people that look like me.  But the simple truth is that although things have gotten better for me, things have not really gotten that much better for me and my people.  It may look like that for white people; but if they continue to enjoy white privilege at the expense of people of color, then things really are not that much better for all of us.

The good news is that times are changing for the better for people of color.  Opportunities are becoming available that will hopefully level the playing field for all of us.  This is not at the expense of white people because it was something that should have been in place a long time ago.

I bring this up because we still do not have what we need.  We haven’t for quite some time.  We still deal with the disparities that oftentimes relegates us to the back of the proverbial bus.  We look at white people with disbelief as issues of race and all the problems that appear to come with it be of no major concern to 33% white people.  They are not interested in blacks being murdered in our streets because they are not the ones doing the dying.  They are not interested in being incarcerated at our borders because they are not the ones being locked up.

 33% of this countries white Americans supported Trump.  Let that sink in for a moment.  That is one third of every white man and woman that passes you on the street or in the market.  He wound up getting more votes this year despite his dismal performance as president over the past four years.  And why?  They believe that if he says that he was the best president since Lincoln, then it must be the truth even though he has a history of having a loose relationship with honesty.  They believe that he inherited an economy that was in shambles when in fact, he inherited a good economy due to the polices that had been implemented by the Obama Administration.  Not true?  Well, look at what the Obama Administration inherited, and that Mitch McConnell stated to his constituents that he was going to make it his mission to make Obama a one term president.  A lot of what motivates Donald Trump’s supporters is what the former president says.  If he says he won the 2020 election, then he won.  If he says that he is the true patriot and that people that follow him are also true patriots, then they are.  If he lies to them and if those lies mean that he is willingly misleading them, then so be it.

Trump was never a politician.  He is a wealthy opportunist.  He had no interest in governing unless the outcome would ensure that people of color would be hurt.  Whether this was building a useless wall, arresting people of color at the border, and then separating them from their children, giving tax cuts to the wealthiest of Americans or imprisoning people seeking asylum from their countries of unrest.

Trump had no interest in governing, but he was very much interested in the power of the presidency.  You cannot have one without the other.  And this was very much evident in his not wanting to do anything towards the end of his presidency.

I was foolish to think that after Trump’s tenure, the feelings that catapulted him to the Oval Office would subside.  It didn’t.

We see the aftereffects of everything that he has said and done.  We have seen how he wields the power of the white house.  And thankfully, that is over.

But now that we are at the beginning of a new administration, what will become of the feelings that the 33% harbored against people that do not look like them?  Will they still believe in the ideologies that revolve around white supremacy?  Or will they realize that the feelings that came to the surface get pushed back to the recesses of their mind as it becomes clear that those feelings do not have a place in a democratic society?

I don’t know. 

Only time will tell.

~J.L. Whitehead

 

 

 

 

 

The new Republican party

  Lately, it is easy to dislike the Republican Party.   They used to stand for being fiscally and socially conservative.   That used to me...