Image of Donald Trump with supporters. From Time.com.
There is an ongoing debate about what made Trump a viable and victorious candidate in 2016 preventing democrats, liberals and progressives from responding effectively to their political wrecking. For example, Carol Anderson, professor of African American Studies at Emory University and author of White Rage (2016), penned an essay on November 16, 2016 called “Donald Trump is the Result of White Rage, Not Economic Anxiety,” summing up how white rage propelled Trump to the White House. A day later the notable progressive, Dr. Cornel West, asserted, “Trump’s election was enabled by the policies that overlooked the plight of our most vulnerable citizens,” in his opinion piece for the Guardian, “Goodbye, American Neoliberalism. A New Era is Here.”
What we see is a clash between two perspectives: one sees desperation for economic relief as the major reason why white voters’ chose Trump; the other observes contempt for racial equality and black progress as the predominant motive for Trump’s white voters.
© Endriashz | Dreamstime.com - Barack Obama Photo
For some time, I've been thinking about why Senator Bernie Sanders's call for a "political revolution" does not get the response that I think it deserves from the Left. He's right that there's a lot to change in the way American politics functions and that money enjoys an unfair advantage. Indeed, democrats, progressives, and liberals agree.
So, why does Sanders's grand call for a "political revolution" deflate as soon as it is shouted? Why doesn't it invigorate everyone on the Left? For sure, Sanders is not lacking conviction and the veracity of his mantra is acknowledged. Perhaps, not enough people know who he is or understand his ideas. Or, maybe the Democratic establishment is not really interested in a "future we can believe in," to borrow another slogan from Sanders.
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The future of progress is in the hands of Hillary Clinton’s supporters.
Most of Clinton's supporters have no qualms about voting for Bernie Sanders in the event he wins the Democratic nomination. For Clinton’s supporters, the difference between the two Democratic nominees is minute compared to the difference between the Democratic and the Republican candidates. However, it seems many of Sanders's supporters don't come to the same conclusion. They see Clinton as being no different from Cruz or Trump. Taking their view to its logical conclusion, if Clinton becomes president, we should expect to see the same results that a Ted Cruz or Donald Trump administration would execute.
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Doing American democracy is challenging.
So, the better we understand how it really works, the better we can understand the difficulties of American politics.
Many of us mistakenly believe that money and corruption are responsible for all of our political problems. Even if the USA was without political or economic corruption and racism and bigotry, American citizens would face formidable challenges. Not everyone would immediately see eye to eye on religious differences and economic and political policies.
There are three tools of democracy we must learn, perfect and employ: pluralism, compromise-consensus building, and pragmatism.
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American democracy is our country’s best kept secret. It's the rose that grew out of political oppression and economic greed.
Most Americans don't know that and, mistakenly, hold it in contempt.
American democracy since its birth threatened to restrict the exorbitant political and economic power some people craved. So there was a plot to bamboozle unwitting individuals into thinking that American democracy is responsible for all the corruption we see in our country.
To the contrary, American democracy is the last thing corrupt politicians and demagogues, military-industrial complexes, or wealthy CEOs and big corporations want everyday Americans to get their hands on. Their strategy is simple. Keep people away from the polls. If that fails, influence who people will vote for, by pouring money into campaigns to either work for or against certain political actors. Yes, my fellow American citizens, American democracy is your best friend.
© Lightpainter | Dreamstime.com - Donald Trump Photo
America is going through a socio-political, economic exorcism. Donald Trump and his troop are coming out of America’s bosom, exposing the decadent side of our American nature.
And, that’s just what the exorcist ordered.
The imps of racism, fascism, demagoguery, xenophobia and anti-intellectualism are aggravated, because America has changed for the better. We are witnessing a natural, adverse reaction to the Obama Phenomenon. Essentially, Trump’s impassioned entourage is an outgrowth of exploited social, political, and economic grievances, the rise of the Tea Party, extreme Republican obstructionism, and the reckless fanning of apocryphal claims against Barack Obama.
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“Unbought and unbossed” black women are here, fellas.
Olivia Pope, the iconic character played by Kerry Washington in Shonda Rhimes' popular political drama TV series Scandal, is symbolic of the political and economic ascendancy of black women in the USA.
Once an innocent, blithe, daddy’s baby girl, Olivia is now an independent, decisive, thick-skinned power player in the dangerous world of American politics ruled by alpha males.
If you put aside the scandalous love affairs, entertaining political chicanery and exploited personal flaws, a powerful black woman stands center stage.
What makes her so special?
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I want black people to be more involved and effective in American politics. But three obstacles stand in our way—pessimism, a lack of liberal education, and resignation. Here are the three keys to unlock the path to successful black politics and democratic progress: Hope, Education, and Persistence.
© Monkeybusinessimages | Dreamstime.com - Multi Generation African American Family Standing In Garden Photo
Perhaps, the question "what does it mean to be black?" is a case closed for those who champion Pan Africanism or a “melanated-people-of-the-world" fellowship.
However, people still ask: "How does a person know whether he or she is black?" "When can someone's black identity be revoked?" Or, "are black people free to renounce their blackness?"
The idea of "blackness" is not clear for many black people. In other words, does it refer to genes, phenotype, blood type, melanin, geography, or culture? Or, is there a scale of significance? Does one factor precede the rest?
It seems that black people do agree that black identity has something to do with Africa. Unfortunately, that's not enough.
Do you know what black politics is? Is it reverse racism? Is it a conspiracy to take over the world? Or, is it just a hustle for black politicians, sellouts, and Uncle Toms?
The backlash from white and black Americans to the election of Barack Obama, the first black president of the USA, exposed an urgent need for white and black Americans to better understand what black politics is.
On the one hand, too many white people do not understand the agenda of the Black Lives Matter movement (BLM) in the Age of Obama. Many believe the propaganda that frames the BLM as a racist hate group and a terrorist organization. In fact, the Black Panther Party in the 1960s and 1970s was portrayed as criminals wielding guns and plundering their own communities. Yes, this is a gross misconception of black politics. An outright lie. Pure nonsense.
On the other hand, many black people are blind to the black political significance of Barack Obama's election and cannot comprehend his actions as an African-American president of the USA. Not only do many black people charge Obama for doing nothing to help African Americans, they say he's not black enough. Meanwhile, we can’t even recognize or appreciate the artistic forms of black politics in Spike Lee's controversial film Chiraq, which calls attention to gun violence in poor black neighborhoods, or Beyonce's Super Bowl performance and "Formation" song and video, which boldly displays the plight and quandaries of our invisible black lives, concerns, and frustrations in America. Mr. Lee and Queen Bey are now being accused of exploiting the black community. Also, some black people have recently thrown notable civil rights gladiator John Lewis under the bus for endorsing Hillary Clinton instead of Bernie Sanders and for saying, “I never saw him [Bernie Sanders]. I never met him.” Yes, I'm afraid to say that this might be the fault of black-on-black player-hating, or the effects of the "post traumatic slave syndrome," or, I hope, a misunderstanding of black politics.
Whatever the case, we need to talk about black politics. Right now.