Loyal to Race before Party

America is a nation still entrenched in deep-seated racial biases.  It elected a black president but didn’t really want one.  At the time he was introduced to the landscape the country was going through a lot of painful issues.  It had been buffeted by the storms of an illegal war; an upward creeping unemployment number; an economic downturn looming on the horizon from failing banks and an auto industry falling off the cliff.  From a forward perspective things were looking bleak.  During this time the potential, first black president came offering messages of hope and change; which were so timely and so well needed to buoy the spirits of all Americans.  There was sincerity in the messages and (I believe) sincerity in the messenger.  America (deep in its spirit) didn’t really want the messenger.  That was evident from the aftermath of his winning the Democratic primary.  Some of America cried and booed his Democratic primary triumph.  But after much coaxing the people settled down to the reality of having what they didn’t really want and accepting what was democratically thrust upon them.  In time the Clintons convinced the Democratic constituents he was the party choice and should be given the chance to offer service as our president-if he indeed could beat the Republican rival.  As things went; he did just that.  The Republican ticket (with its not-so-solid presidential contender in addition to the not-quite-ready-for-the job vice presidential nominee) lost the bid to this young messenger of hope and change who brought along a fiery running mate that made the future of America look promising.  The messenger was young-he appealed to the young.  He was smart-he appealed to the intellectual.  He was a father in a structured family-he appealed to the hope of positive family values.  He exhibited quality in his appearance and articulation.  Foreign dignitaries (for the most part) gave him firm recognition and respect-more-so than did many Americans.  In spite of all of these positive qualities he garnered very little respect from the Republicans and their base.  They were never void of resentment and always behaved as if he wasn’t good enough for the office.  The party sought to tie his hands at every juncture; in every endeavor and dragged its base along in the effort.  The base consisted of a cadre of mostly white, biased hate mongers whose desire was to roll back many of the social and economic gains made by the black people of America.  It seems the anger over losing the election and (ushering in the first black president after 219-years) never really went away.  This scenario left the Democrats in somewhat of a precarious position.  Never in the history of American politics have white Democrats or Republicans been faced with the dilemma of supporting and being loyal to a black presidential-head of the party.  The Atlanta Compromise (an agreement made between Booker T. Washington and the white establishment) set forth that in exchange for a basic education for black people whites would be allowed to maintain political power.  Because of this agreement the notion of whites politically being in control and blacks being ignored in the mix of politics, whites have always had the liberty of satisfying the desires of their white constituents only.  They (for the most part) had to constantly do a juggling act in order to appease their mostly white constituency.  However, their districts comprised both black and white constituents and satisfying both was often impossible but the right thing to do.  There was always so much the black constituents wanted for themselves and so much white constituents didn’t want them to have.  White constituents were always comfortable with a rising unemployment rate; rising crime statistics in the black neighborhoods and declining economic power.  The whites pushed their political representatives to satisfy their demands in order to get their vote.  Over the years that is what the white politician did.  It was a given that such should be the case.  The first black president left many in a quandary about many things.  The Republican Party and its supporters had determined they would allow nothing of a positive nature to go forth from the president.  They wanted their own agenda only but the irony of it all is they really had no agenda.  So every policy the president brought forth was spun (by Republicans) as bad.  In the meantime, the president had been the cause of many positive initiatives-the healthcare initiative, a declining unemployment rate and the rescue of financial institutions and the auto industry from the brink of disaster.  Putting aside any other positive accomplishments; those alone should have been enough for Democrats to grab a hold of and push the president and his agenda.  However, they allowed the Republicans to hijack the conversation and turn all of the president’s accomplishment into negatives or nothing at all.  In the meantime, the “beat-up-the-president” game gained traction in districts across the country-especially among white folks-and the president became a “toxic asset” in the eyes of those who wanted to buy into the rhetoric.  Politicians got caught up in it because some of their constituents wanted to believe the lies; just as those who wanted to believe the president was born in Kenya.  Instead of Democratic politicians aligning themselves with the president and standing in support of his accomplishments they chose to run away from him.  They had been sold a “bill of goods” and for the satisfaction of their white constituents they sided with the fear mongers.  Some blacks sat watching their white Democratic politicians running from the president in disrespect of his policies and accomplishments.  Some of those blacks probably decided it was not expedient for them to go to the polls and vote for someone who didn’t like the one thy liked and respected.  Some of those black voters left the white Democratic politicians on the sidelines and they lost the races.  It appears that many (if not all) of the politicians who didn’t want to be seen with the president lost their election.  They were white first and then Democrats.  The modern-day white Democratic leaders are constantly running in fear of being on the wrong side of the desires of their white supporters.  As long as the black president was rising in the popularity polls (due to some positive or popular legislation or decision) the Democratic leaders didn’t mind being seen supporting him.  That wasn’t often or long lasting because the Republicans made it their primary agenda to turn everything the president did or said into something negative.  The biased-thinking whites (both Democratic and Republican) embraced the negative pushback and became part of the noise-makers.  In the meantime the Democratic leaders began to lose control of their constituency and began running in fear of losing their job.  As soon as the president’s popularity began to “head south” the Democratic Party standard bearers sought to distance themselves from him and his policies.  Most of his policies were good-they could have run on them but they were afraid their constituency would no longer support them if they embraced those policies.  Some of the Democrats seemed to lack the ability to fashion a winning message in favor of the president’s policies-in the way the Republicans fashioned one against his policies.  Most of the Republican messages and messengers bordered on falsity but they made them stick.  The American whites wanted to believe the negative because they (deep in their heart) disliked the black president.  The white Democratic constituents were quick to voice discontent with the president.  It is granted; all of his proposals didn’t materialize and left elements of his economic and social agenda in a lurch.  It can also be said that some of the policy agendas he put forth weren’t written in stone but we should not have demanded perfection of him anymore than what we did not demand of any prior president.  None of their policies and agendas were perfect.  Both blacks and whites are disgruntled over various areas such as border crossings, immigration, the handling of certain foreign policy issues, terrorism and other nation crises such as the Ebola issue.  Many of these issues weren’t the president’s to do alone-the Republicans tied his hands at every turn.  However, they were shrewd enough to pin the fault on him and vocal enough to make it stick.  Many of the white Democrats didn’t put forth enough effort in his defense.  They were poor party messengers with a weak party defense.  They had to be white first in the eyes of those whose vote they needed.

Consider the Missouri Democratic Governor, Jay Nixon who virtually went around in circles over the Ferguson, Missouri incident.  The city was built up with munitions to look like a battlefield but the battlefield was against its own citizens.  It seems the president had to call him on the phone and ask him to do something.  I guess he was going to allow the armed police officers to just slaughter the citizens wholesale.  He seemed to be more concerned about the white citizens of the area than being concerned about right.  He was white-even before being a Democrat.  The Democratic president wanted him to do something positive to diffuse the situation but he was like “Nero fiddling while Rome burned”.  Jay Nixon let stand a Missouri Prosecutor, Robert P. McCulloch who had been shown in the past to be very biased when it came to incidents involving black people.  The Democratic Governor had the chance to ask the prosecutor to step aside for fear of the prosecutor not seeking a fair grand jury rendering.  He (although a Democrat) was more concerned about the feelings of his white constituents than fairness for all.  He was white first and Democrat second.  There is nothing new in this posture of politicians satisfying the needs and desires of whites in their district over those of blacks.  What is new is the fact that white people have too long taken black people for granted.  These politicians are still sleeping and blacks are just waking up.  Those blacks awakening from sleep may have been the cause of some politicians losing their job.  Are the white politicians surprised?  Maybe they are and maybe the outcome will be a lesson well learned.

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