This past week, the Washington Post reported that tensions have risen (again) between the Congressional Black Caucus and President Barack Obama, a self-professed black man. In fact, similar reporting can be found all over the news. The line of reporting implies that there has been a pre-existing, ongoing tension which is just getting worse.
I say great!
The Black Caucus is doing exactly what it is supposed to do, advocate on behalf of black folks, hence its name. By its very existence, the CBC creates tension, as too does the existence of the Hispanic Caucus and other organized advocate groups for the rights of gays, lesbians, transgender people, questioning people, women, disabled veterans, military families, retired people, children, and so on.
Just think. If we were a true democracy and everyone’s rights to just “be” was equal to the every other’s, we would not need all these rights groups in the first instance. In fact, the very tension prerequisite for these groups to form and function is born out of the vast inequalities that are prevalent in our great democratic experiment.
The current tensions have been disguised as economic woes; i.e., a downturn in the markets, downgrade by Standard & Poor’s of the U.S.A. credit rating, loss of jobs, reformation of entitlement programs and the list goes on. I say disguised because, as I have been stating all along, the real dilemma is still about how we get along and share with others, about getting our rightful portion of the world’s resources: space, food, shelter, clothing, material wealth, etc.
Here comes the rub. The President of the United States, currently in the person of Barack Obama (the self-professed black man) is elected to serve the interests of the entire country, albeit unbalanced as they have always been, including the interests of all its citizenry: whites, blacks, Native Americans, Hispanics, Asians, gays, straights, differently able, et al.
I distinctly recall how wonderful many said they felt when, in 2008, Obama declared that he was not just the black President, even though he is now being suspected by some as “governing while black,” or, in the estimation of various members of the Black Caucus, not black enough — crimes now punishable by not being re-elected.
Let’s just stop and regroup. So there are tensions between the people’s advocates and our elected (by majority vote) leader.
Good. Tensions demand responses.
First, the Black Caucus must continue to exist, make waves, fight for its constituents and, hopefully, prevail through this and every administration to come until…
So, too, all the other groups organized to advance the causes of justice must continue to be encouraged to pursue their “biased” agenda. I’m not speaking of the simple justices won by majority vote on issues — those issues mainly found being debated in the open media, being tweeted, on YouTube, in the Cloud, on CNN, Fox, and other instant data retrieval systems.
I’m talking about the justice that Martin Luther King Jr. referred to when he said, “When evil men plot, good men must plan. When evil men burn and bomb, good men must build and bind. When evil men shout ugly words of hatred, good men must commit themselves to the glories of love. Where evil men would seek to perpetuate an unjust status quo, good men must seek to bring into being a real order of justice.”
So who are the evil men (and women)?
Michael Jackson implored us to look at the man in the mirror.
Pogo reminds us that we have met the enemy, and he is (still) us.
What about you?
Do you have a plan? Are you involved with a cause for justice? Do you even vote?
Are you a builder or are you dropping bombs of doubt and hatred?
Whom have you talked to, e-mailed, tweeted or Facebooked about the current events?
What are the words that you’re using?
Have you established and committed to an order of justice for which you can make demands of your elected representatives to extract?
Be a good man (woman).
Antonia Williams-Gary is a consultant with Miami-based Savings and Grace Enterprise. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.