from an African American
July 10, 2001
I've written here before. I've spoken of my dad's terrible
experience with the 2000 Election. So it should be no surprise
that I have paid close attention to every move the GOP has
made against blacks nationally and in Florida.
As far back as I can recall, we as a people have never been
as embattled as we seem to be since this administration stole
its way into power. And I find myself torn apart about it.
We have the 2000 election, it's aftermath, and now the call
for all out war against us by the Florida Republican Chairman.
Today, in response to this fact, I had one of the most wonderful
experiences in my life when a friend of mine, Steve, who's
white, was one of a panel of recipients receiving an award
for their constant work since the coup.
Our circle of friends showed up to support him, and when
his name was called we all were so proud. When Steve got ready
to go on stage, he grabbed me and our friend Jose. We both
tried to pull away but he had a steel grip on us and dragged
us to the stage with him.
The first thing he did after he said thank you was to take
my hand and tell the audience "this lady here is my best friend."
With the other hand he grabbed Jose, a Hispanic, and said
"and this man is my best friend."
"When they hurt, so do I, and they are being tossed around
big-time these days. Jose's people are being used like they
are some commodity by Republicans, jockeying to get their
votes. And my friend Des's people are being badmouthed and
tossed away because the Republicans can't seem to break the
hold Dems have on this group and they are a solid voting block.
So they have decided to just write them off and go on the
attack - a tactic that is being done because they anticipate
getting a large Latino vote because they know the newer ones
are not going to know better. It's annoying to me that they
are as blatant as they are, but one main reason for it is
because there was no public outcry from other Americans, whether
they are black or not. They think that no one from the their
core base, white Americans, really cares about how African
Americans and other minorities were and are treated. All these
months, Bush pretty much just ignored us and stuck to reaching
out to Hispanics. But what changed him? The poll that said
Americans believe that he and the GOP have a bad problem with
blacks and that they view this largely as Bush's fault. So
he plans another scripted photo-op with inner city kids and
plans a July 4th celebration filled with Black choirs.
"None of this is sincere, though. He simply wants to
please those moderates that are uncomfortable with overt racism.
But there is a way to make sure Bush does not take this charge
lightly; we have got to speak up!
"I cannot argue if the African-American electorate says
that no one cares unless they are black, considering what's
been thrown at them, and the silence over this thing. This
is what we have to change; our voices should be not be silent.
"Remember, the Abolilionist movement didn't really take
off until whites combined with blacks to end slavery. The
same has to happen here if we are to get this administration
to listen. Their struggles must be ours. These are my people
as well, and their pain is mine. Next time, it could be me
or you that they target, and if we don't care now, no one
will care then. Color me black or brown if you want to, but
I won't sit passively by and let the GOP kick my friends around
just because their party is unwilling to do the real work
needed to make amends and try to build trust between them.
"Instead I'll say, when Des and Jose are in pain, then
so am I. And so should you be."
I was in tears by the end of his speech. It was truthful
and very moving. Also, it made me think.
Is that true? Do many Americans blow off this situation
as simply irrelevant?
It is bothering me. So much so that I had to write, just
to get some feedback from people. My last best hope has always
been that there are decent Americans out there, that oppose
this assault on the African-American community at large.
If there are, they might be prevented to speak out about
it. But my hope has been that if they did have the chance,
they would complain to the mountain tops about the injustice.
If I can't hang on to that, I have nothing.
So now I ask, did I have that wrong? Is this as important
to the majority as it is to the minority? God, I hope so.