It's Martin Luther King Weekend as I write this. and although I am in Canada I still recognize and observe this holiday. From all the club flyers I saw in the past couple of years it seems that what was supposed to be a celebration for this great man has been reduced to excuses for twerk contests and showing up in your best bling. Since I have been in Toronto, it has been interesting to learn that many folks of colour here feel that Dr. King's legacy is just African-American history since the majority are of Caribbean decent.
And as I look around this year, even though we as Black People have many things to recognize as accomplishments……leading roles in motion pictures like "Creed" and on television shows like "Scandal" and "How To Get Away With Murder"…..Trevor Noah and Larry Wilmore are doing amazing jobs at replacing Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert……we should be really proud of the idea "For Us By Us". But as he is closing in on his last year as president of the United States, Barack Obama has been dragged through the mud for the past seven years. Actually, because this is an election year we should expect that….especially from the Rethuglicans.
But Obama has been one of the best presidents that the United States could have ever had. Do I agree with every single thing he has done? Absolutely not! The subject of drones and deportation of Mexicans will definitely be a thorn in his side in the history books. But on the whole, this man has been phenomenal with what he has endured and accomplished. I'd like to think Dr. King would have been proud.
But between the rhetoric of the Republican candidates hoping to get the nomination and the headlines about Bill Cosby there are plenty who are not pleased with all Black People. And even some people of colour are torn on what is going on in the media. Some have said that they think Obama has not done enough for the Black Community and was not black enough in the White House. And these are probably the same Black People who believe that Bill Cosby is innocent….that this is another attempt to bring down one of our pioneers. Many are venting that the black colleges that are denouncing Cosby should return the money he gave them. But I guess this is just like when Michael Jackson was accused of molesting children. I can appreciate and respect him for his accomplishments and contributions to the industry plus our history, but all the evidence points to his guilt and I cannot excuse that. So, do we abandon the achievements and hang them in the public court? I say we do like the lyric in the theme song for the 80s sitcom Facts Of Life….."Take the good, take the bad". Because let's face it….we could not have a show like Black-ish without The Cosby Show.
For those who are criticizing Obama consider that he made history and broke a major color line. For all the young people who have been inspired by his accomplishments we have to consider how that will impact our future and Black Culture.
I think in the movie "Selma" we got a different perspective of the man we knew as Martin Luther King. He was human, with weaknesses like everyone else. Do we respect him less because we heard he had sexual affairs outside of his marriage? Do we label Obama as the worst president because it took him a while to publicly speak about the Black Lives Matters movement? I personally think that the good that these two men have done outweighs any of their shortcomings.
In this year of Larry Wilmore's phrase, "The De-Blackening Of The White House", I would like to warn all people of color about what this year has in store. Remember when Mitch McConnell said back in 2009 that the Republican agenda was to block anything that Obama wanted to do in the White House? Well, as you can see they definitely kept their promise. And even though Obama outsmarted their tactics and found ways to make things happen, the Republicans are now blaming him for the very things that they blocked to add to the list of his non-accomplishments. Along the way they tripped up Hillary Clinton with voting against sending the needed arms and supplies to our troops in Benghazi back in 2012. I guess to help damage her image for this election.
But I think the most disturbing thing that the Republicans have done over the past seven years is slowly restructuring voting districts to rig the next presidential election. I don't think that they were expecting someone like Donald Trump to come along, but they only have themselves to blame. He preys upon the politically uninformed and the lowest common denominator in socially aware causes.
Actually, FOX News is really to blame. It was FOX that created the Tea Party which opened the flood gates for the extremists to come out of the woodwork. They wanted to create an anti-voice to support idiots like Sarah Palin back in 2008. I don't think they could have predicted that a few of the crazies would later end up in the Senate. And in turn, their witch hunt for Obama's birth certificate would give a voice to Trump to begin his platform.
But make no mistake…this year the Republicans have every intention of taking back the White House to continue their agenda of tax breaks and deregulations for corporations. Why else would they vote to say that corporations are people. And I know it seems like some Bizarro World concept where people are saying and doing outrageous things and not suffering the consequences….but we have to stand up and stop this train. It's time to get off the crazy train!
Republicans are so used to making money and keeping minorities in check that they feel entitled. Remember when Newt Gingrich ran for president back in 2012? He did and said some really outrageous things and was unapologetic. Sounds like Trump borrowed a page from him. And perhaps this is why someone like Bernie Sanders is rising in the polls on the Democrat side.
I think all the propaganda of the past about socialism being communism is becoming a joke. For all the things that the U.S. has taught its people about the rest of the world is slowly unfolding into a huge lie. We are a country of dreams, but our culture is a hodge podge of everyone else's. The melting pot has created Hollywood, entertainment and the art of leisure, but its traditions and values are questionable.
So, I beg everyone to start planning for this year's presidential election right now. Stop being distracted by the puppet show of Trump, reality TV and gossip. Start looking closer at what is being said in this election. I'm not telling you who to vote for. I'm just telling you that if you want to vote in this very important election. The future of the United States depends on who makes it to the polls. Find your districts and what days you are allowed to vote! Yeah….that's right! I said "what days you are allowed to vote". Because the Republicans have done a job on most of the voting districts across the land. If you wait until November you will probably be really surprised by all the road blocks that have been put in place. And even though the Democrats were successful in taking the state of Florida to the Supreme Court about their rezoning of voting districts, that's not gonna happen all over the country.
If you were upset about this year's Oscar nominations which excluded most of the black films submitted (I guess our consolation prize is Chris Rock hosting the ceremony), you should have been upset at Obama's last State Of The Union. The disrespect and contempt that the Republicans displayed during his final address was horrible. The anger and resentment that they feel because they didn't think he could even get elected is so pathetic. It has fueled their hatred and the movement of the extremists. This would explain all the politics that surrounds the cops who are getting away with shooting and murdering black people across the U.S. It's the voice that tries to lessen the the message behind Black Lives Matter. And it's the ones who kept their confederate flags up.
Dr. King understood that his time was just the beginning, the first steps of our struggle. Obama understood that his presidency was the beginning of opening the possibilities for Black People in the United States.
Viola Davis' speech at last year's Emmy Awards was a declaration of how far we have come. Kendrick Lamar's reach with his records, in my opinion, proves that Hip Hop is universal. If Martin were alive today I think he would praise Obama on his work. I think he would encourage our people to start looking within and take responsibility for our future.
To quote a line from Jade Elektra's N-word protest song "Scared of Evolution"…."It's time to for us to wake up to the possibility of what we could be."