BY CHARLES W. CHERRY II, ESQ.
THE FLORIDA COURIER
Now that “King Don” – that’s what I’ll call him for the next four years – is POTUS No. 45, eight years of sleepy Black advocacy while wearing “bedroom slippers,” as Barack Obama famously said, are now over.
Black America is back to where it has been for almost 400 years: fighting and advocating for its issues, by any and every means necessary.
Here are some things we must do, starting today (in random order):
•Donald J. Trump, who many Black Americans considered to be a racist, misogynist egomaniac with narcissistic personality disorder, is the president of these United States. We’ve all gotta deal with it. He’s just the latest man “with issues” who’s held the presidency. And it doesn’t mean he can’t be an effective president.
WikiLeaks, Russian hacking, FBI political fumbles or Hillary Clinton’s popular vote count don’t matter any more as far as the daily lives of Black Americans are concerned.
Hillary Clinton and the Democrats, who arguably had the most to gain from stopping King Don from taking office, never even bothered to fight the election results in the court system, in the court of public opinion, or in the Electoral College. Therefore, whiny Democrats should shut up, sit down, and focus on preventing their beloved party from becoming a historical 21st-century footnote.
•We must get back in the fight. Two weeks ago, I wrote this: “Over four centuries, Black people NEVER quit advocating for our own interests. Malcolm X said we should have “no permanent friends; no permanent enemies; just permanent interests.’
“Disgracefully, the First Black Prez was given a pass by ALL the major civil rights organizations and the increasingly irrelevant Congressional Black Caucus in exchange for Oval Office meetings and White House parties featuring the Cupid Shuffle and the Wobble. Black activism went on an extended leave, ending when Trayvon Martin’s and Mike Brown’s deaths energized youthful nontraditional advocacy groups.”
Historically, this is an “all-hands-on-deck” moment. And I believe that in the midst of the political chaos in the wake of King Don’s election, there are outstanding opportunities for Black America if we are savvy enough to take advantage of them. There is something everyone can do to protect both their own individual and our collective interests. Let’s find out what it is and get to work.
And we should be ruthless and unapologetic when we make demands. Speaking of demands…
•The concept of a “Black Agenda” should be general knowledge inside Black America. Since the founding of America, our demands haven’t changed. We want to be treated like every other American citizen and have the same constitutional rights and privileges. We don’t want to have obstacles and barriers placed in our way because of our skin color. We want America to recognize and acknowledge its long history of racial discrimination, and adjust accordingly.
The details and specifics have evolved throughout American history, but the general concept remains the same. Want details on the current “Black Agenda” with a partial list of demands?
Start with www.iamoneofthemillion.com’s “Platform Planks,” and do online research from there.
•Be willing to do something different. Marching, online petitions and complaints, mass rallies, sit-ins, lawsuits, or social media advocacy alone are insufficient to make the systemic changes Black America needs to reach his fullest potential.
•Build coalitions inside and outside the Black community based on commonalities that allow us to temporarily minimize our differences. Black strippers have got to get together with Black “church girls.” (Occasionally, those two groups might overlap.) Black Lives Matter must get together with Black cops and Black prosecutors. Black homosexual advocates must get together with Black churches. (More possible overlap there.)
Black nonprofits must get together with Black entrepreneurs. Black mainstream journalists must get with nonprofessional Black bloggers with followers. Black pro-choice advocates must get with Black pro-life advocates.
The focus must be on issues causing disproportionate pain in Black America. We should all be able to agree on goals such as better education, ending mass incarceration, restoring voting rights of ex-felons, ending double-digit Black unemployment, and making our communities safer.
We must also work with coalitions on a project basis with other communities with similar interests. As an example, Latino voting activists should be a natural fit with Black activists to push a federal constitutional amendment making voting a constitutional right for every U.S. citizen since the 1965 Voting Rights Act is now endangered.
•Focus on what Trump does, not what he says. Ignore the tweets. Now that he is president, King Don will use his Twitter account to control the mainstream Corporate Media’s daily news cycles and headlines, and force them to focus their reporting resources away from what is really going on: the executive orders, the proposed legislation, the political appointments, the administrative actions.
Expect King Don to defend lies, deflect from the issues and distract your attention EVERY DAY on Twitter, which is critical to that strategy. Don’t take the Twitter bait.
•Unfollow @POTUS and @realdonaldtrump on Twitter. King Don counts anyone who follows him as a supporter. When he became president, he took over Obama’s Twitter account, @POTUS, which had 14 about million followers. (Trump himself has 22.1 million Twitter followers as of Wednesday night, when I wrote this article.) Unless you want to be counted as a Trump supporter, you should unfollow his Twitter and his presidential account.
•Bookmark dependable news sources and fact-checking outlets. King Don’s administration will exist in a universe of its own, where straight-up lies and misinformation can become “alternative facts” at their leisure. Consequently, the Black press and independent fact checkers are more necessary now been ever. You can’t depend on your Facebook or Google News feeds to provide you with factually accurate information.
•Stay emotionally healthy. Don’t follow political events in real time. After all, what can you do about them? The Internet has an endless supply of facts and fiction mixed together. Unless you have time to sift through it all, pick a time of day in which you will check your trustworthy news sources for information. There’s nothing wrong with going “old school” and waiting to get your information at the end of the day.
•Hold Trump accountable for what he says he will do, including his campaign promises. King Don is starting off fast. Over just two days, he signed executive orders and memoranda killing the Trans-Pacific Partnership, handicapping “Obamacare,” and moving forward on building a Mexican wall – all campaign promises.
The Florida Courier was one of only a few media outlets that paid attention to Trump’s “New Deal for Black America,” in which he promised safe communities, equal justice, tax holidays for inner-city investment and new tax incentives, a priority on helping African-American businesses, and infrastructure (including water systems) in America’s inner cities, among other commitments. We must collectively hold his feet to the fire since he’s our president too.
•Register as a non-party affiliated (NPA) voter. That is the easiest and most powerful way to make both the Democratic and Republican parties take us seriously. Once both parties see the NPA movement accelerate among Black voters, both parties will begin to “court” Black voters rather than marginalize us from the Republican side, or take us for granted from the Democratic side.
•Put feet in every political camp. Democrat, Republican, Green or other parties. Quit calling Black non-Democrats “Uncle Toms” and “Aunt Jemimas.” That makes it more difficult for them to bring Black issues to the table. As I’ve written before, a political party is not religion. You won’t go to heaven (or hell) because of your political affiliation. Let’s dial it down a notch and quit personally attacking Black people who think differently from the Democratic Party’s Black “norm.”
Here’s the other side of that. If you take a meeting with King Don, or if you’re fighting for leadership or influence in any party where you know you’re not generally welcomed, bring some demands from the “Black Agenda” to the table, or have a seat and let somebody with some spine give it a try. Don’t let yourself get “played” and pimped via a Steve Harvey-style photo op, which brands you as “their African-American.”
If you can’t get some results back immediately, keep your mouth shut about the meeting (“It was a frank and open exchange of views”) rather than gushing about how impressed you are about somebody you thoroughly trashed before the election, or looking like you just urinated in your pants.
•Make the CBC recalibrate itself by running strong, pro-Black advocates in their “safe’’ districts. The Congressional Black Caucus has lost its way. They should change their historical motto to, “‘One permanent friend (Democrats); one permanent enemy (Republicans); just permanent interests (Democrats).”
The CBC is more concerned about members’ reelections and its annual weekend rather than advocating unceasingly for the issues of Black America. Contrary to Barack Obama’s fairy-dust thinking, there is a Black America and a White America and a Hispanic and Latino America and other Americas that all make up these United States of America. Black people need political advocates who will unapologetically stand for them, no matter who controls the federal government.
•Whatever happens with King Don, Black Americans have been through worse. Over the past 500 years, we’ve survived the worldwide White supremacy Black inferiority brainwashing experiment, African enslavement, transshipment as imprisoned human cargo through the Middle Passage, attempts to destroy our family units, forced breeding, destruction of our native languages and religions, physical and psychological torture, legal and religious hypocrisy, Jim Crow and de facto segregation, and too many other atrocities to count. Still we stand – bloody and stressed – but unbowed. We will survive four years of King Don; eight if necessary.
Next week: Where them dollars at? Why leveraging our individual and collective economic power is the key to our futures.