Editor’s Note: Remembering the late Brother Jim Clingman during Black History Month and in this political climate I thought it to be apropos to reprint this editorial from our 2011 archives.
“Rather than organizing ourselves into a voting bloc that must be reckoned with and leveraging our votes, we end up acquiescing to political parties and their selected candidates. Rather than asking the candidates what they will do for us, we must present our demands to them, and rather than settle for lip-service we must have them sign an agreement signifying their support of our issues. I can hear the moanin’ and groanin’ now.” Jim Clingman
By Jim Clingman
Aren’t you tired of the rap and clap sessions by political wannabees and their respective contingents? I know I am. The so-called “debates” are downright insult- ing and embarrassing, especially on the Repub side, reminiscent of a stand-up comedy show, or “throwing shade” as young folks say. Over on the Dem stage (Or should I say in their “ring”?), what was a fight has turned
into a face-saving swansong for Sanders since he was, in his own words, “decimated” in South Carolina. Black folks strike again! With all the money these candidates have in the bank this “theater of the absurd” could go on for months, and when it’s all over Black folks will have not moved one inch toward real empow- erment. Unless we get serious about our own economic and political future, by establishing our political platform and being willing to promote, support, and leverage it, Blacks will continue to be relegated to the clown ring in this current political three-ring circus. We will be the diversions, the ones who turn the lion’s attention away from the performers, the clowns who turn the bull’s ire away from the bull rider by yelling and then jumping into a barrel. The “Yo Mama!” debates in the Republican ring are really not debates, in case you have not noticed; they are rap sessions, Ronald Reagan séances, and pseudo-patriotic diatribes, repeated ad nauseam by guys who swear they are the answer to our problems. The only one who has any kind of real record of having actually solved a few political problems is John Kasich. But he’s so far behind the others that a victory for him is very unlikely.
Over in the Democratic ring we have two combatants who offer condescending words and platitudes directly to Black folks, as opposed to the Republicans who say absolutely nothing to Blacks. The Dem candidates rail against the business establishment and tell us that we really need more jobs to solve our problems. I don’t know how they expect to bring us more jobs, which are created by private businesses, when they are constantly denigrating business. It’s just hype. By the way, why do you suppose the Black candidate, Willie Wilson, has been invisible?
Post Super Tuesday shouting matches about who cares for Black people the most now dominate, as though being embroiled in these kinds of discussions will move us forward.
Top that off with MSNBC’s U-turn in firing, demoting, or exiling their Black Barack Obama-can-do-no-wrong hosts and we have a real firestorm on our hands, don’t we?
Aren’t you tired of being hustled and huckstered? Aren’t you tired of the hype and the political histrionics? Those of us who are absolutely tired of it all have made a commitment to DO some
thing about it. First of all, we refuse to be swayed by patronizing pundits and condescending candidates. It matters not what they say; their actions are what matters. Understanding how the system works with regard to what they said versus what they do when they get into office, why are many of our people spending inordinate amounts of time arguing over whose plantation is more comfortable?
Rather than organizing ourselves into a voting bloc that must be reckoned with and leveraging our votes, we end up acquiescing to political parties and their selected candidates. Rather than asking the candidates what they will do for us, we must present our demands to them, and rather than settle for lip-service we must have them sign an agreement signifying their support of our issues. I can hear the moanin’ and groanin’ now. “Jim, they would never do that; so why ask them to?” That kind of defeatist attitude and subsequent surrender is indicative of why we are in the shape we are in today. If they refuse to support our demands, verbally and in writing, then why should we vote for them? What do we have to lose? Why vote for any candidate who does not support reciprocity for those who vote for him or her? That’s just stupid.
We must stop accepting the hypocrisy of candidates who say one thing and do another; we must not get sidetracked by arguments among political hacks and commentators that mean absolutely
nothing to us in the scheme of things. We must stop doing our best impression of Pavlov’s dog when they come to call on us. If nothing is funny, don’t laugh; if you are not itching, don’t scratch.
We must change the silly way we deal with politics by collectively leveraging something of substance in return for our votes. If we don’t change, the hucksters, Black ones and White ones,
will always win.