When I was a young man in what seems like a hundred years ago there was the John Birch Society. They were dedicated to the destruction of Dr. Martin Luther King's reputation and all things liberal and Black. Today there is the Tea Party dedicated to the destruction of the reputation of President Barack Obama and all things liberal and Black. They have added Latinos to their target. The two parties are essentially the same White folks trying to get back to the fifties when White superiority was the order of the day.
The society is all grown up and they are now a party with the likes of Sarah Palin, Michael Beck and racist hypocrites like Rush Limbaugh at the head. In truth the Tea Party is just an arm of the Republican Party, just as the John Birch Society was.
When Reverend Joseph Lowery gave the prayer at President Obama's inauguration he was right when he ended by quoting that old saying from the Black community that goes essentially like, "If you're Black step back, If you're Brown you can stick around, If you're White you're all right ." However, I do believe that Reverend Lowery updated it and said something like, "If you're White you ought to get right." Well it seems that he foresaw the Tea Party and the hate that a large part of White America is demonstrating toward our first Black President - President Barack Obama.
I can't get the Shirley Sherrod story out of my mind and my disappointment with the NAACP for joining the Tea Party in prematurely calling for her resignation. Many older African American's have a Shirley Sherrod moment in their history. For me it's the day when my father who had quit his job to open up his own business in the fifties and the White man that he had worked for loyally for many years contacted my father's landlord and convinced the landlord to raise my father's rent so high that he couldn't survive and was forced to return to work for the "man."
Oh yeah, there have been other moments more directly aimed at me but none like the one that stifled our family's future. The story of Black farmers that Shirley Sherrod lived, the story of the destruction of the Black Panthers who created so many positive programs like school feeding programs, Freedom Schools, Saturday Schools, and highlighted the concept of self preservation and fighting injustice. I guess that was just as dangerous as teaching Black's to get an education so they could read, write and reason.
Funny thing about the Panthers and the Black power movement was that we learned that the police were occupying forces in the Black neighborhood. When you have occupying forces they stifle the growth of the "natives." This is much like the U.S. Military are occupying forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. When the products bought and sold in a community or nation are made in a location outside the community or nation, the outsiders control your economy. That was the lost message of the 1965 Watts riot when the Jews controlled the economy of the Black community. That was the lost message of the 1992 riot in South Central Los Angeles when the Asians controlled the economics of the Black community.
Now in more international terms America's economy is being controlled by foreign countries like Asia with their cheap labor and Mexico with its cheap laborers. The White middle class and rich want to blame Barack Obama, but he is just a player in the whole game. He can't change it in a day, and he can't change it by himself. It's like a marriage. If you stick to it long enough you are going to make mistakes but if you have a common goal you can succeed. Congress and the President are married but the Congress has a bunch of Tea Party types and racists who can't stand the idea that there is a BLACK MAN in the Whitehouse.
They used to be afraid of a Black man sleeping with their white daughters. They have lost that battle. Now it's how can they keep a Black man from getting the real power that goes along with being the President of the most powerful country in the world. They aren't killing him with bullets. They are pretending to be more civilized than that and are killing him with words. A Black Russian poet named Alexander Pushkin wrote that "words are mightier than the sword."
My prayer for President Obama is to do the best that you can under the circumstances. Consider yourself a one time President as Lyndon Johnson did, but get it right so that your legacy like that of Johnson's is to make a difference in one term.
It was a southern Lyndon B. Johnson who got to be President because of Lee Harvey Oswald's single bullet. Johnson got the Civil Rights Bill passed. He got Medicare passed, and got us out of a war called Viet Nam. Can you do that for us Mr. President so that the world will be better for your Malia and Sasha and our millions of Shirley Sherrods, as well as the off-spring of my dad, Albert Hopkins?
What's more important - a second term for you in a defective America or one term in an improved America? We stand with you as we did before, but when it's time it's time. We can't give up. Divorce is not an option here.
We know the battlefield is not level. We know that racism is still alive. We know that the racists who control the corporations and their billions of dollars get tax breaks while moving their corporations overseas to avoid paying their fair share of taxes in America. We know they get subsidies to not grow food to feed America and then charge us a ton for the food grown elsewhere. The rich corporations have lobbyists to pitch their positions while we just have our prayers and our bodies. We know that it's time for the younger bodies must step forward, for such a time as this. But they are sidetracked with Hip Hop.
I once heard that one bullet can silence a thousand prayers, but I also know that prayer plus action works. There were a thousand bullets, bull whips, ropes, dogs, cattle prods and laws to keep Blacks enslaved, but prayer plus taking to the streets worked. It's time again to put works into action. Let us not forget that the rules have changed, somewhat. In the past there were preachers leading us, now the preachers are sometimes working against us due to their own greed. Remember, that there are no permanent friends or enemies, only permanent interests. Pray for the gift of discernment so you can identify the enemy no matter their color or what clothes he/she wears.