A Brother’s response to Sen Manchin’s OpEd

Sen. Joe Manchin, I read your Op-Ed in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, and I have a few questions for you. You are well within your rights and responsibilities as a member of the Senate representing West Virginia with your concerns over the filibuster. In a perfect world, I think your arguments would have merit. In case you haven’t been paying attention for the past decade or so, we don’t live in a perfect world. In fact, Black Americans have never been within an Apollo rocket shot reach of a perfect world in America.

You may or may not be aware of the particular struggles of Black Americans, but I can assure you life here for us is no Saturday morning picnic. Our right to vote in America was enshrined into the Constitution in 1870 by the Fifteenth Amendment. It wasn’t until the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1965 that LEGAL barriers enacted by state and local governments to deny our right to vote were made illegal.

Imagine that. Our right to vote was enshrined into the Constitution, and it still took almost 100 years for America to make our God-given right to vote legal. Imagine the furor you’d have if you lived your entire life under a Constitution that says you can vote, yet your government makes it illegal for you to exercise that right. A Black American born in 1871 was a US citizen with the right to vote at birth. If that person lived to be 90 years old, he/she would have lived their entire life with their right to vote being illegal depending on where they lived.

Unfortunately, we now are witnessing that the fundamental right to vote has itself become overtly politicized. Today’s debate about how to best protect our right to vote and to hold elections, however, is not about finding common ground, but seeking partisan advantage. Whether it is state laws that seek to needlessly restrict voting or politicians who ignore the need to secure our elections, partisan policymaking won’t instill confidence in our democracy — it will destroy it.

As such, congressional action on federal voting rights legislation must be the result of both Democrats and Republicans coming together to find a pathway forward or we risk further dividing and destroying the republic we swore to protect and defend as elected officials.

Sen. Joe Manchin

Here’s where I have a problem with your OpEd. You admit partisan policymaking will destroy our democracy. So, what are you doing to combat and stop the GOP attack on the voting rights of minorities? You keep claiming that we need bipartisan effort to move forward. How exactly are you going to get authoritarian acting Republicans to quit pissing on the Constitution? It’s not like this is a new or recent issue for Black Americans.

That was back in 1980. Even more recent, there’s this admission from the right.

Now I understand that you may not have a full grasp of the issues that Black Americans face on a day-to-day basis. It’s not like you actually represent a sizable segment of our community. West Virginia has approximately 72.000 Black residents as of 2018 estimates. If you use the rounded estimate of 330,000,000 people living in the US, 13% of that total comes out to 42,900,000. That puts the percentage of Black America represented by you at 0.17% rounded off. That’s not even one quarter of one percent. There are actually more Black people living in my county, Henry County, than there are in all of West Virginia.

I honestly don’t expect you to lift a finger towards the issues faced by Black Americans. It has not always been a position taken up by moderate liberals in America. Look back at the observations made by Dr. Martin L. King Jr if you doubt me. If moderate liberals gave a damn about issues that we face, it wouldn’t have taken us almost 100 years to be able to legally cast a vote in all 50 states. If moderate liberals gave a damn about issues we face, you wouldn’t have needed to write your OpEd because moderates would have been able to forge these pathways long ago ending the fight.

The idea that you’re going to forge some bipartisan agreement with the current GOP that will help minorities is laughable at best. In all honesty, I think it makes you look like a fool looking through rose colored glasses. That’s just my opinion though.

When 2022 rolls around, we will see the results of your insistence on “procedure”. If nothing else, America has seen Republicans abandon procedure and norms in an outright move to consolidate their power and control over America. There’s nothing stopping them from abandoning their goals now, so we will see what happens if/when you fail miserably leaving our rights hanging out to dry. WV won’t have a problem as 9 in 10 residents are White, so Black people losing rights won’t have an effect on your voter base.

I’ve said that America is sliding towards becoming an apartheid state for almost a decade now. The next few years will show whether I’m right or wrong. If nobody fights and we see more minority rights trampled, who will be there to support Democrats when we can’t vote? If Democrats lose control over more elected offices, who will be there to slow the GOP from turning America into their personal right-wing utopia? I hope I’m wrong and seeing things that are not there. Looking at how easily some people here fall for conspiracy theories and outright lies, I don’t see where my worst fears are not entirely within the realm of possibility.

So, are you going to deal with reality Joe, or continue to live in your Walter Mitty world? You’re playing with the rights of my people now, and I don’t find it amusing at all.

America’s longest war

Photo via CBS News/60 Minutes

May 31,1921 is a day that has lived in the minds of Black America for 100 years. Now, the rest of the world is beginning to come to grips with what it has been like to live Black in America. The Greenwood Neighborhood was one battle in what has been America’s longest war, the war against Black America.

I can already hear the huffing and puffing that I’m making this up, but if you’re not a Black American, the odds are that you’ve never heard of the following incidents linked here. This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the attacks that Black America has suffered. There are many that never get talked about and have been swept under the rug of revisionist history in America. As one former Attorney General said about history, “history is written by the winners, so it largely depends on who’s writing the history.”

This is why the whole argument over Critical Race Theory is laughable. CRT is no ooga booga boogeyman that’s going to destroy America. Look at the Britannica Encyclopedia definition for proof.

Critical race theory (CRT)intellectual movement and loosely organized framework of legal analysis based on the premise that race is not a natural, biologically grounded feature of physically distinct subgroups of human beings but a socially constructed (culturally invented) category that is used to oppress and exploit people of colour. Critical race theorists hold that the law and legal institutions in the United States are inherently racist insofar as they function to create and maintain social, economic, and political inequalities between whites and nonwhites, especially African Americans.

So, CRT isn’t teaching America to hate White people. CRT suggests that we’re all biologically alike and the idea of White America and Black America is something we’ve created that doesn’t exist. The problem with this is that some folks are highly invested in the idea of racial separation, and they will use those divisions to gain/maintain wealth and power in this country regardless of the damage it causes along the way. It’s hard to explain this to people who are incapable of thinking critically on their own and rely on shit peddlers like Mr. Rufo here to do their hard thinking for them.

So, when you damage that “brand” of trying to find peaceful coexistence and make it toxic, what alternative do you leave for those of us who want to peacefully coexist? Bet you didn’t think that far, did you, Mr. Dumbass?

Now, back to what I said is America’s longest war. This whole notion of White supremacy has been a part of this country since Whites came here to colonize the Western Hemisphere. Once again, I know I am going to rile up some people, but the truth isn’t always a pleasant walk through a valley full of lilies in bloom. Whether intentional or not, white settlers imported labor or used indigenous people to do the hard manual labor they were incapable of doing themselves. They had trouble with native crops, so they used Native Americans to grow them. There were rice farms in the Carolinas that were productive because of imported African slave labor with expertise in farming rice.

America’s history has been written to sanitize it of instances that paint the majority in a bad light. The burning of Black Wall Street, Rosewood, and other Black neighborhoods isn’t taught in our history books. The successful coup in Wilmington, NC where a mixed government was deposed with a white supremacist government taking its place isn’t a well known moment in American history either. There are no chapters in American history on Sundown Towns or the Negro Motorist Green Book that explain how travel or even living has been difficult for Black America.

So, consider this whenever you hear people talking about a race war in America. There has been a war ongoing in this country for its entire existence and then some. Not all wars involve guns, tanks, and bombs. The Cold War is a perfect example. Look at those who fear the most by living in a society where we’re all one and the same, and you’ll find those who are active participants in America’s longest war.

America is lucky in that Black America only seeks to exercise our hard earned rights of being American. There’s no movement to exact revenge for the past atrocities committed against us. We only want acknowledgement of the past and a national atonement for how we’ve been wronged and blamed for what’s been done to us. There are still living survivors of this war, and it’s in America’s best interest to end this now before Black America decides to stop turning the other cheek. The last thing this country needs is a very physical and deadly war.

Memorial Day

May the families of those who have given their lives in the name of freedom and America not see their loved one’s lives given in vain. — Brosephus

January 6th Commission

Getty Images via Aljazeera.com

Let’s discuss the idea of a January 6th Commission. There’s no doubt that a deep investigation into all things surrounding the insurrection that occurred in Washington DC is warranted and required if we wish to maintain our democracy. This was a direct attack on the Constitution itself as the plan was to disrupt a process laid out within the Constitution to certify the winner of the presidential election. I don’t think it is as much of an if it will happen question as it is a when will it happen.

There has to be accountability for all people responsible. This includes those pictured above who marched on the Capitol Building, those who attacked police officers, as well as those who encouraged and financially supported the entire fiasco. As history has taught us before, a failed coup becomes a practice run when it goes unpunished. So, America must hold everyone responsible for their roles, even those who are elected to office. It’s my opinion they should face much harsher punishment because of their abdication to uphold their oath of office to defend the Constitution.

There are some who are trying to derail the whole process, such as this one here:

Personally, I think the January 6th Commission needs to be focused only on the activities surrounding that particular day, and there is precedent for Congress limiting investigations like this. For example, the 9/11 Commission didn’t investigate NASCAR safety due to the death of Dale Earnhardt at the Daytona 500 earlier that year. Nor did the 9/11 Commission branch off into investigating the arrest of Robert Hanssen even though that arrest directly involved national security. So, the idea pushed by Rep. Greene and others is absurd to say the least.

As I am always trying to find common ground, I’ll offer this idea to those who want to expand the 1/6 Commission to include Antifa, BLM, and other occurrences from last summer. I think it would be a great idea to form a commission to investigate ALL these issues. If you want to put them all under the same investigation, I even have a great name you can use.

The Joint Committee on White Grievance and the Browning of America.

Now, before you get your knickers twisted, hear me out. The undercurrent of Jan 6th was white grievance stoked by Donald Trump among others. The actions of Antifa, literally anti-fascists, is a direct and opposite response to the rise in fascist tendencies in America which predominantly comes from White America. The rise of BLM, Black Lives Matter, is a direct response from White America ignoring the value of Black life itself when we’re killed under questionable circumstances by government actors. We can fold the hearings on the Tulsa Race Riot into this committee as well as that was another example of white grievance run amok.

Today’s conservatism has devolved into nothing more than knee jerk reactions intended to piss off liberals and fire up the base. There appears to be little to no intellectual basis in the grunts and mumbles coming from leading conservatives today. A thinking conservative would want to limit the Jan 6th investigation to just that one issue. At the same time, a thinking conservative would be doing everything they could to disassociate themselves with the vein of ignorance that fed the lies leading up to the insurrection. Instead, the leading mouth pieces appear to want to dig themselves into a deeper hole. If that’s what they want, then who are we to deny them their pleasure?

So, whether we deal with the actions of Jan 6th alone or in conjunction with others, we will have to dive into the cesspool of white grievance. That’s just a fact. The whole idea of taking your country back implies that you lost it to “others” when we know exactly who those “others” are. No matter what happens, conservatives are going to cry about it, so we may as well give them something serious to cry about.

January 6th Commission or The Joint Committee on White Grievance and the Browning of America. Choose one of the two Democrats, and get the hell on with it already. They’re both one and the same with only the latter involving a larger timeline than the former.

The clock is ticking

I’m guessing that you’ve seen this video by now. If not, take a few minutes to listen or you can read the article about it that was posted on Mother Jones. Here’s a snippet to digest.

The leaked video reveals the extent to which Heritage is leading a massive campaign to draft and pass model legislation restricting voting access, which has been swiftly adopted this year in the battleground states of Georgia, Florida, Arizona, and Iowa. It’s no coincidence that so many GOP-controlled states are rushing to pass similar pieces of legislation in such a short period of time. 

Republican legislators claim they’re tightening up election procedures to address (unfounded) concerns about fraud in the 2020 election. But what’s really behind this effort is a group of conservative Washington insiders who have been pushing these same kinds of voting restrictions for decades, with the explicit aim of helping Republicans win elections. The difference now is that Trump’s baseless claims about 2020 have given them the ammunition to get the bills passed, and the conservative movement, led by Heritage, is making an unprecedented investment to get them over the finish line. 

Now, I don’t know how much more evidence anyone needs to see, but Heritage people are owning their efforts to disenfranchise American citizens and deny us our constitutionally protected rights. No matter how elected officials try to explain away their actions, these laws are a continuation of the attack on the Constitution which started on January 6th. Republicans have basically declared war against the Constitution and the United States itself.

Undoubtedly, there will be those who will attempt to portray this assault on voting rights as some altruistic attempt to secure our elections. That is all based on whether you buy into the lie that this election was riddled with fraud to begin with. Then, it would have been enough fraud to adversely affect the outcome of the election.

There was some fraud involved with the 2020 election. We have seen a few prosecutions happen where Trump voters broke the law. What we haven’t seen is the evidence claimed by Trump supporters that show widespread Democratic shenanigans. There were over 60 lawsuits filed, and not a single shred of evidence that would sustain a lawsuit. Arguments about judicial bias are moot considering some of the cases were tossed by judges that Trump himself appointed.

The lingering question is what happens now. Manchin, Sinema, and others who claim to seek bipartisan agreement in Congress have to make a decision. This decision affects millions of Americans who risk being disenfranchised by a GOP hell bent on securing power at any cost. Do these moderates side with Heritage and the GOP, or do they side with the Constitution. There is no compromise with people who are enemies to the Constitution. None at all.

The videos from the Heritage meeting should be all over the news. All Americans should be concerned. If these wealthy people are willing to screw over the Constitution once, they will do it as many times as it takes to achieve their goals. Right now, it’s minority voting rights. If you don’t step up to defend the Constitution now, who will be there to help you when they come for your rights? As Samuel L Jackson’s character reminds us all in The Hitman’s Bodyguard, the clock is ticking.