Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Most Segregated Day in America

Calling attention to the paradox inherent in the existence of "black churches" and "white churches" while answering a question posed to him during a Q&A session at Western Michigan University, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said: "We must face the fact that in America, the church is still the most segregated major institution in America. At 11:00 on Sunday morning when we stand and sing and Christ has no east or west, we stand at the most segregated hour in this nation."   

It occurs to me that there's a recurring period of segregation in America that lasts longer than that, a full twenty-four hours in fact.  It's election day.  Granted, it only happens once every few years, but it is a sight to behold. By now, it's been well documented that Democrats can count on 95 percent of the black vote.  All they have to do is get them to the polls.  Sheryl Stolberg of the New York Times pointed this out in a piece called, "Black Vote Seen as Last Hope for Democrats to Hold Senate". Early on, referring to a document on the subject, she says this, "...The confidential memo from a former pollster for President Obama contained a blunt warning for Democrats. Written this month with an eye toward Election Day, it predicted “crushing Democratic losses across the country” if the party did not do more to get black voters to the polls."


Later on in the article, she points out the lengths to which Democrats are going to get out the vote. The efforts include enlisting black barbershop and salon owners as "captains", charging them with getting people registered to vote and out to the polls.  On top of that it was noted, and I can attest to this because I was listening, that President Obama used his sans-a-star-belly relationship (my Dr. Seuss reference for those that remember the story about the Sneetches) to drum up support on "black radio". He taped interviews with three nationally syndicated hosts, Steve Harvey, Yolanda Adams, and Rickey Smiley.  In the Rickey Smiley interview he said, I’ll bet there are a whole bunch of folks listening to your show who may not even know that there’s an election going on, I need everybody to go vote. The election’s on Nov. 4. You can go to a website,, to find out what your polling place is.”  

So, the POTUS asked a 'whole bunch of folks' that he assumed didn't even know there was an election going on to go vote.  The implication is that it doesn't matter that those (black) folks didn't know about the election and it doesn't matter that they may not be "up on the issues",  they should just go vote.  I can imagine this as the trailing and unspoken thought, "I know you'll vote Democrat because you always do.  See you in two years, suckers."

Okay, that was probably a bit harsh.  President Obama more than likely doesn't think of blacks as suckers of the Democratic party.  But, judging from a political ad currently airing in Louisiana, State Senator Ed Guillory probably does.  In the ad, the former Democrat turned Republican says this according to the Wall Street Journal, "Mary Landrieu first ran for senator in 1996, promising to be a champion for the black community.  Eighteen years later, little has changed.  Our communities are poorer than they were in 1996. Our schools continue to fail children. Our jails are filled with young black men who should be at home being fathers.  You are not Mary's cause and you're certainly not her charity, you are just a vote—nothing less and nothing more. For her, you're just a means to an end, so that she remains in power. Mary Landrieu knows that she doesn't have to do anything for our community, because no matter what she does 95% of us will line up and vote for her every time."

By way of extension, you could remove Mrs. Landrieu's name and insert any Democratic candidate's name and this ad would still ring true.  Why that's the case remains a mystery, at least to me.  How long does somebody, or some group of people, have to keep breaking promises, for whatever reason, before you lose faith in them and act on that lost faith?  Not much longer, I hope.

This situation kind of reminds me of the fictional politician, Fred C. Davis, from the Good Times television series, who once said to the Evans family, "As long as I'm Alderman, there will always be a place for you in the projects."  To which Florida Evans, the matriarch of the family, pensively replied under her breath, "and that's the sad part."



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