Message From The Grassroots To The White House

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We can't let the next four years pass without a major jobs program; with African American communities getting a fair share.

[Op-Ed]


Presentation at CEMOTAP headquarters November 26, 2012. The actual taped presentation deviated slightly from the text due to time constraint.
 
Today I would like to talk about the recently-concluded election.

Many of you remember election Night, November 6, when we shocked so-called Republican guru Karl Role and Presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Romney's supporters right? They were Everyone was shocked except us.

Rove had tricked very wealthy White men like the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson to hand over $300 million dollars to promote Romney's campaign. Plus with what Romney spent on the campaign, they spent more than a billion dollars.

You remember on November 6, Karl Rove was so shocked that he wanted to prevent FOX News from calling the election for President Obama. He was sitting there in the studio and even after FOX News' own statisticians said this thing is a done deal, Karl Rove wanted to take over the studio and prevent them from announcing the results which was of course a Barack Obama victory. As if that was only that one TV studio in the whole United States of America.

If Karl Rove had the power I bet you he'd send tanks to surround the White House that night and claim it was Romney who had won right? He would have had Obama arrested and declared Romney the president.

Now why was this the case? Why was Karl Rove so shocked? Why was Republican candidate Mitt Romney also shocked? You all remember how he looked when he came out on stage to give his concession speech? You saw the looks on the face of his wife and his children? Why were they all so shocked? Why they thought money can buy anything. That the rich guy always gets what he wants -- and Romney wanted The White House.

What happened? Something they did not expect to happen had indeed happened. Black folk showed up to vote -- Yes, you did what you were not supposed to do as far as Rove was concerned. You had to mess it up. You showed up; yes you did.

Black folk are not supposed to show up to vote because they don't care about issues. They don't care about what's gonna happen to Social Security; they don't care about Medicaid; they don't care about Medicare; and they don't care about the healthcare bill.

This is what people like Karl Rove believe. And he convinced Romney to believe this too. And he convinced Romney's VP running mate Paul Ryan to believe this too.

Remember what Paul Ryan said after the election? He said they were surprised by the level of turnout of the "Urban Vote." He's certainly not referring to White voters when he talks about the "urban vote." Why that's me and you.  

And even after you helped defeat Romney and Ryan, they're still insulting you. Ryan said he didn't expect you to show up. Romney last week tried another explanation. Since you showed up, he wanted to know why you bothered to show up.

So last week he concluded that Obama had given you all these goodies to show up. He induced you with goodies. I don't know about you but my account is completely dry. So I would like to talk to any of your who got goodies from Romney in order to show up to vote.

Remember how Republican talking knuckleheads like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O' Reilly were saying this even before the election. That Obama was promising "stuff" for his base. And Romney himself was caught on tape saying he couldn't be bothered by the 47% of voters who would support the president anyway. The folks who wanted the state to provide for them and didn't want to take responsibility for their affairs.  
 
You know this is what I can't stand. How could you believe that Black voters would not turn out when the whole year you've been devising ways to prevent Black people from voting? You reduced voting days in Ohio and reduced the hours in Florida.

You tried to introduce voter ID laws in Pennsylvania knowing that many Democratic-leaning voters, many African American voters, including elderly ones would not have time to get the IDs before election time. It took a State Supreme Court's intervention in Pennsylvania to set you right.

In Ohio after the State courts turned you back you took the matter all the way to the United States Supreme Court whichrefused to take up the case. In other words the Governor of Ohio went all the way to the United States Supreme Court to try and deny Black folk the right to vote. In a democracy aren't we supposed to broaden rather than shrink the electorate?  
 
So I don't even understand their own conduct. How can you say Black people won't show up to vote because they only vote on emotion? They only voted in 2008 because that was the first time it looked imminent that a Black candidate could actually win. But this time around there were a number of things working against the President  -- or so you thought.  

Number one:  He couldn't use that First Black President card again.

Number two: Black folk were mad at him because of the high level of unemployment in the Black community, as Cornel West and Tavis Smiley kept reminding us.

Number three: He never visited places like Harlem, or Bed-Stuy or Compton.  

Number four: He went ahead and said it's okay for people of the same sex to marry.

 
So given all these factors it just wasn't possible for Black folk to show up in the same numbers as they did in 2008.
 
Now here is where I have a question. If Karl Rove and these other campaign advisors that Mitt Romney had believed all this stuff about Black voters than why were they so busy trying to suppress the Black vote? If you're so confident they were not going to show up why would the governor of Ohio go all the way to the United States Supreme Court to prevent Black voters from exercising their right to vote?
 
So when they always say Karl Rove is a brilliant strategist I shake my head. When they say Romney was brilliant and that's why he made BAIN capital successful I shake my head. Romney started BAIN capital with a couple of million dollars invested in his business by some drug cartel families in El Salvador.

How many of you knew about this? It didn't make The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal or CNN. But it was in The Nation magazine; and on Democracy Now with Amy Goodman; and, in The Black Star News. If you Google it on our website you will still find that article.
 
So anyway it turns out they were all wrong because you all showed up in record numbers again right?

In 2008 Obama won 96% of The Black vote. This time in 2012 he won 93% of the Black vote -- minimal decline. We held steady at 13% of the total electorate.
 
So now they say they say the country is "divided." And everyone believes it and I hear even Black commentators in the media repeating it. Well you know what -- I don't buy it and you shouldn't buy it either.

How can we be divided when 93% of Black folk voted for the President; when 73% of Asians voted for the President; and when 71% of Latinos voted for the President.
 
Let's put it this way: If 59% of Whites had voted for Romney, as they did this time; 73% of Asians voted for Romney; 71% of Latinos voted for Romney; and 93% of Blacks for Obama--- would we say the nation is divided?
 
No we would not -- we would be saying everyone voted for the best candidate but look at what Black voters did.  No one would be saying this nation is "divided." They would say 'what's wrong with Black voters'?
 
So you won the Presidency for Barack Obama. And without your vote he would not be President today.
 
You won Ohio for the President. In Ohio Blacks made up 15% of the electorate, up from 11% in 2008 and 97% voted for Obama.
 
You won Michigan. In Michigan Black folk made up 16% of voters up from 12% in 2008.
 
You won Virginia; where Black folk made up 20% of the total electorate.
 
You won Pennsylvania for the President. You helped win Florida. You almost won North Carolina for him -- he lost that state by a very narrow margin. I believe Black voters make up 23% of the electorate.  
 
You helped the President win the key battleground and swing states that he needed to win.
 
So now that he's President what is to be done? You know he owes you something. And he knows he owes you something. And he knows, you know, that he knows, he owes you something right?
 
I would like something to be done about the unemployment level in the African American community. The current level is 14.3% versus a 7.9% overall rate of unemployment. In the White community it's 7.3%; in the Latino community it's also high, about 10%; Asians the lowest, 6% I believe.

This is unsustainable and unacceptable. You know what this means? It means somebody has your job. You're subsidizing someone.

We're supposed to be one nation right? One family. But it's like the head of the family has four kids and he has 10 loaves of bread. And one kid gets four loaves; and one kid gets three loaves; and a third kid gets two loaves; and the fourth kid, that's you, gets one loaf.

We can't let the next four years pass without a major jobs program; with African American communities getting a fair share.  Public works, infrastructure, building roads, bridges, repairing schools and the like  -- putting people to work on the economy.
 
The second thing that I think we should demand for is the end of neo-colonial exploitation in Africa. I know some people think this term no longer has relevance but people like that are pretending.
 
It's even much more relevant today than it's ever been. Let's look at the situation today in The Congo. The crisis in the Congo today is the same as it was in the early 1960s when Patrice Lumumba was murdered. The players are the same but the strategies have been slightly modified.
 
In the 1960s after independence Belgium didn't want to leave Congo, which they had called Belgian Congo. So they undermined the country's independence. They never allowed Patrice Lumumba to exercise independence and sovereignty.  The Belgians promoted secession in Katanga under Moise Tshombe.

And in the ensuing turmoil and division Belgium intervened in Congo claiming it wanted to rescue Belgians, Whites trapped in the Congo. And the Belgians and the Americans with the CIA encouraged the Army commander Mobutu to seize power and to arrest Lumumba and to send him to Tshombe where he was murdered. Tortured and then shot by firing squad by Tshombe's supporters and Belgian agents and his body dissolved in acid.
 
Now today in Congo we have turmoil including in the city of Goma. These marauding gangsters, committing massacres, mass rapes -- raping even infants simply to terrorize whole communities so that they can flee their homes so that these outside mining interests can plunder resources. Only today they are using puppet leaders like Rwanda's General Paul Kagame and Uganda's General Yoweri Museveni. These two men have replaced the role that people like Tshombe and Mobutu played in the 1960s.
 
And General Kagame and General Museveni happen to be friends of the United States government. So called allies. Because they do Washington's bidding. Uganda has sent 10,000 troops to Somalia as peace keeping troops. Washington says it fears Somalia could become a haven for Al-Qaeda and its allies. So Uganda by sending troops there on behalf of the U.S., General Museveni gets a blank check. Literally getting away with mass murder within Uganda and now in Congo.
 
The same thing with Rwanda, which has sent peace keeping troops to the Darfur region of the Sudan; again something the United States favored.
 
Malcolm X complained about how the Congo was exploited and dismembered in the 1960s. The plunder and murder which began under King Leopold of the Belgians, and was continued by Mobutu on behalf of outsiders as well as his appetite for large scale theft, continues today with new players.

But I guarantee you even though the President knows he owes you big time, the initiative is still going to have to come from us --- It's going to have to come from the grassroots. So that's my message -- from the grassroots to The White House.

We could start off with a Website. GRASSROOTSTOWHITEHOUSE. Grassroots from allover the country.  I've already reserved a domain name called GRASSROOTSTOWHITEHOUSE.  I'm hoping this can help start a national conversation.  

I realize it will be a difficult pitch though if it's sold as a jobs program for economically depressed Black communities. It would have to be designed based on low income because while Democrats control the Senate we still have a Republican-dominated Congress and many of these programs would need to be passed by Congress.  

We need to learn how to: petition and lobby; mobilize and vote;
demonstrate and protest; and, media outreach.


Thank You Sisters and Brothers.

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