Tag Archives: Politics

You Think I Don’t Know? You Don’t Want Us to Vote!

You Think I Don’t Know? You Don’t Want Us to Vote!

Our voting rights are always under attack. As black people, we have faced wave after wave of laws and actions designed to prevent us from voting. There has always been opposition to seeing us vote in large numbers. For a long time, this meant preventing us from voting altogether. Eventually, measures (like poll taxes) prevented us from voting in large numbers. Then, the idea that we chose not to vote led in “relaxed” measure to prevent us from voting. Fast forward to 2008 and 2012 when Barack Obama ran for President and you saw black people vote in record numbers.

You Think I Don’t Know? You Don’t Want Us to Vote!

Without Obama on the ticket in 2016, we did not vote in the same numbers and it resulted in Donald Trump’s Presidency. After four years of Trump, I can tell you every black person I know was on a mission to vote and get Trump out of office. If you prescribed to the pre-Obama notion that black people would stay home instead of vote, then you would have believed Trump would win. Yet in state after state, the strong turnout of black voters proved to be the difference that swept Joe Biden into office. Remember, there has always been opposition to seeing us vote in large numbers.

You Think I Don’t Know? You Don’t Want Us to Vote!

So now we are seeing voting laws enacted by Republicans in states all across the country. These laws are being presented under the guise of illegal voting. But, in reality they are designed to stop people of color from voting in large numbers. They know our votes matter and it scares them. Republicans understand this simple fact: by 2050 (and by some estimates a lot sooner) America’s minorities will outnumber the current white majority for the first time in our history.

You Think I Don’t Know? You Don’t Want Us to Vote!

This means, in their mind, members of the new majority will register and vote as Democrats in massive numbers. If this happens, they will be hard-pressed to win elections in the future. Their only way to stop this is to make it harder to vote. They are doing it by reducing polling places, limiting early voting, and purging voter rolls. These actions have a target: black Americans, and to a lesser extent, people of other ethnic groups and those seeking equal rights. My question to you is what are we going to do about it?

You Think I Don’t Know? You Don’t Want Us to Vote!

Here’s a blog post I wrote back in 2018 to discuss this issue in more detail…

Voting: Vote Suppression 101

Next blog post: You Think I Don’t Know? My Blackness is a Threat

Gary A. McAbee, Author and Blogger: JOIN ME ON SOCIAL MEDIA!

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I’m Ready to Impeach THIS! Our Politicians Do Not Serve Us

I’m Ready to Impeach THIS! Our Politicians Do Not Serve Us

I am sick and tired of the political climate in the United States. While I still believe this is the greatest country on earth (with the greatest political system), it is definitely not due to our politicians and the way our government is run. “We the people” are not being served by “they the politicians”. In fact, we are being used, manipulated, and neglected all at the same time by our elected officials on both sides of the aisle. It has to stop, but I don’t see any way it will. We are too far down the path of bipartisan bickering, the influence of money in politics, a lack of term limits, and political tribalism to see any meaningful change. My friends, this does not make America great, nor does it strengthen our democracy in any meaningful way. I’m ready to impeach THIS!

It amazes me how our politicians are unwilling to compromise for the good of the American people. Instead, any flimsy compromise you hear about is for the benefit of the politicians and the philosophies of the party they represent. It’s damn near criminal! As an example, people have needed relief for a year due to COVID-19. Democrats and Republicans still cannot agree on how much and how it should be allocated. So they won’t compromise enough to help those in need. Instead they view it as a tug-of-war over government spending, taxation, corporate handouts, etc, not the needs of their constituents. Basically, if a piece of legislation doesn’t satisfy a political party (and it never does), then their votes will create gridlock. This is bipartisan bickering. Meanwhile, the unemployment rolls continue to swell, the food lines get longer, and our economic anxiety lives on. I’m ready to impeach THIS!

The influence of money in politics is disgusting. Don’t get it twisted, they are all on the take! Don’t assume your favorite Democrat is free of the influence of money. They need donations to run for office, right? This means the donors can have a “say” in policies put in place once your Democrat wins an election. Their donation is undoubtedly higher than the average American’s and probably tied to a corporation or special interest group. You can assume correctly they have more influence than Joe the farmer who donates $25 to his favorite politician. Not only that, who do you think gets access to our politicians? Good old Joe can’t call his senator and strike up a conversation, not for $25. But many rich donors can because they put more in the pot. If they don’t like what they hear they can withhold their money or donate to someone else. I’m ready to impeach THIS!

Why is it that our Congress does not have term limits? If the office of President is limited to two terms, then our Senators and Representatives should have term limits too. There is no way you can convince me that old ass Mitch McConnell-R (elected in1985) or Patrick Leahy-D (elected in 1974) thinks like this is 2021. Do they know their decisions require solutions that will work in 2021 instead of when they were first elected as Senators years ago. This is because they, and countless others in both parties have been in power too long. They have no business making policy for our country anymore. But here’s the catch. Guess who has to vote on changing our laws to create term limits to get these fossils out of office? Our senators and representatives have that power. Why would they even consider it? They have power, prestige, money and all the trappings of being politicians. As long as their “gullible” constituents continue to vote them in, they continue to stay in power. I’m ready to impeach THIS!

We can’t forget about political tribalism, which is an unwritten rule that says politicians support the views of their party most, if not all of the time. It doesn’t matter if the policy is good or bad, it will most likely be supported by the entire political party as a way to hold the party line. Where are the individual thinkers in our government? They are there, yet they do not have the courage of their convictions to break with their party for the sake of the American people. The impeachment trials are proof. Republicans, even those who knew Trump was guilty, would not dare vote against him and their party. While it is true there were a few defectors, they are many more who wanted to vote to remove him, but chose not to. This is because they refused to buck the party line, alienate many voters, and piss off their donors. God forbid that a politician would vote for the good of the American people because it would be the right thing to do. Instead, politicians overwhelmingly stay within their tribe even when its against their own conscience. I’m ready to impeach THIS!

So what do we do? I have several answers. First, we need either a viable third political party, or a group of independent lawmakers who will not perpetuate bipartisan bickering. This will help break the gridlock in Washington that hinders our ability to pass legislation to help the American people. Next, we need to weed out the influence of money in our politics. We should limit the numeric and monetary amounts of donations people, corporations, and super-pacs to reduce donor’s influence over politicians and policy making. Also, we should have congressional term limits. The easy way is to follow the term limits of the President. Politicians should be limited to two terms so new leadership gets a chance to lead. Finally, we should hold our elected officials accountable when they vote with their tribe instead of following the will of the people who elected them. We need to be more vigilant with monitoring how our politicians vote and how often they are for and against their party’s policies. I’m ready to impeach THIS!

I believe these are sound ideas, but none of them will come to pass. Let’s face it, the crooks have the building blueprint, operate the security cameras, know the safe combination, and put a getaway car on standby. If caught, they also write the laws, are friends with the police, eat dinner with the judges, and went to school with the attorneys. In other words, the politicians have all the power and advantages to keep the rules of the game the same. Unfortunately, for any real change to occur they would have to change things from within. Good luck with that happening. The entire political establishment knows they are in a “good” spot as long as none of them mess it up for all of them. They need to keep us in the dark about the rules of their game, how they play, and the results they want to achieve to stay in power. I’m ready to impeach THIS!

In my opinion, we have a few ways to influence change that our politicians can’t directly control. First, we must educate ourselves about our government. We call it civics: a social science dealing with the rights and duties of citizens, government, and how it affects life. If civics is not brought back into our school curriculum, they we have to learn civics “School House Rock” style, one video at a time. Next, we need to learn about the inner workings of our state and local government. Sure we know (to some extent) the roles of the President and Congress, but what about our local judge, councilperson, and school board member? They affect our lives far more than our national leaders, yet we do not learn who they are and what they do. Next, we need to educate ourselves about all candidates and vote. We do not have to vote by party affiliation. Instead, we should vote in our own interests regardless of which party agrees or disagrees. I’m ready to impeach THIS!

We are past the point of no return. We are beyond thinking government does not affect us. We are done with accepting what our politicians tell us. We are through with thinking our voices don’t matter. You matter. I matter. We matter. This is our country, and we need to hold our political leaders, on both sides of the aisle, to a much higher standard. We need to send the message that we are tired of politics as usual. While I don’t encourage storming the Capitol, I do encourage more education, more determination, and more consternation to help fix our political system. I’m ready impeach THIS! Our politicians do not serve us… yet!

Gary A. McAbee, Author and Blogger: JOIN ME ON SOCIAL MEDIA!

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Enough Is Enough: 25 Reasons Why Your president Must Go …NOW!

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
  • It affects virtually nobody. Over 200,000 Americans have died from a virus the president downplayed and said would magically go away… your president must go!
  • When asked about a peaceful transfer of power, you president responds if we get rid of the (mail-in) ballots, there will be no need for a transition… your president must go!
  • The commission to find widespread voting fraud did not find enough cases so it was disbanded, yet your president still believes voting fraud is why he lost the popular vote in 2016… your president must go!
  • Mexico is not, did not, and will not pay for the wall. Nor has much progress been made on building said wall… your president must go!
  • Your president has used numerous disparaging remarks about people of color and women who challenge his beliefs and opinions… your president must go!
  • There were very fine people on both sides… your president must go!
  • According to your president, reports show you can have ultraviolent light inserted in the body and ingest chemicals to clean out the lungs (as prevention of Covid-19)… your president must go!
  • On the world stage your president physically pushes other world leaders out of the way so he can be in the front… your president must go!
  • He only hires the best people, yet the turnover in his administration exceeds his predecessors and still has vacancies he can not fill… your president must go!
  • Your president disparages the military, its generals, and even gold star families via Twitter and while speaking with aides behind closed doors… your president must go!
  • The United States Post Office, which is a national institution, is being slowly dismantled just in time for the 2020 election so it can not handle mail-in ballots… your president must go!
  • A tweet for everything: your president said Barack Obama should resign because of 2 deaths caused by Ebola… your president must go!
  • According to him, hydroxychloroquine treats coronavirus and people should try it because they have nothing to lose if they take it… your president must go!
  • Members of his own cabinet and various government agencies question is competence and decision-making abilities… your president must go!
  • Police and Secret Service members use tear gas and other methods to clear out peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square so your president can pose for a photo op at a church he wasn’t invited to use… your president must go!
  • Your president asked why Joe Biden did not enforce a mask mandate, when as a private citizen Biden has no authority or responsibility to do so… your president must go!
  • Your president displayed a weather map altered with a sharpie to include Alabama after he mistakenly said that state was in a hurricane watch area… your president must go!
  • Your president is still fighting to withhold his tax returns when it is a common practice for every candidate in the last 40 years to do so and after he said he would release them… your president must go!
  • Officers in uniforms without any insignia arrest protesters on the street and take them away in unmarked vans… your president must go!
  • One vigilante goes to another state and kills two protestors and he says the gunman acted in self-defense…  your president must go!
  • Key witnesses for the impeachment trial were blocked from testifying even though their testimony should have proven his innocence… your president must go!
  • The coronavirus numbers would be a lot less if you take out the totals from the blue states, as if they (and those who get sick and/or die) are not under his jurisdiction at all… your president must go!
  • Poll after poll show other countries trust your president far less than his predecessors and barely higher than adversaries like Vladimir Putin… your president must go!
  • Children in cages will discourage people from coming to the United States… your president must go!
  • There are recordings of your president saying how bad the virus is, yet he publicly downplayed its effects and holds rallies where people can get infected… your president must go!

Enough is enough! Your president must go… NOW!

If the YOU Fits, Wear It

baby Shoes

If the YOU Fits, Wear It

Colin Kaepernick (and countless others) tried to prevent the protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd by trying to get YOU to talk about police brutality. They tried to get YOU to understand, or maybe just show a sliver of empathy. It was done peacefully. In Kaepernick’s case, he went as far as contacting Retired Army Green Beret Nate Boyer to find a method of protest that would be appropriate. Mr. Boyer and Kaepernick settled on a taking a knee. Maybe they found a way that would get YOU to take notice. Maybe this time YOU would listen.

YOU chose to disregard the message. If the YOU fits, wear it.

The message was clear. We need to finally have a conversation about the way black people and black communities are policed. We need to address the issue of police brutality. We need to discuss justice for those whose rights are violated unjustly at the hands of the police. Finally, we need to improve police training and tactics so black people can feel safe in their own communities while seeing police as an ally, not an adversary.

YOU chose to twist the message. If the YOU fits, wear it.

Suddenly, Kaepernick’s protest was about disrespecting the military. How can that be true? He consulted an Army veteran to discuss a respectful method of protest. It was agreed that kneeling would be appropriate. Thousands of veterans from all races and walks of life support Kaepernick and his method of protest. But by your standards, kneeling in silence is too loud! YOU also said it disrespects the flag. In what way? Did he break any of the good ole American “revere the flag” traditions? He did not burn it. He did not let it hit the ground. He did not wear it as a garment. When did Kaepernick disrespect the flag?

YOU always use your privilege to define what is right and what is wrong. If the YOU fits, wear it.

Your privilege says YOU still have the “right” to define right from wrong. Your privilege “allows” YOU to redefine the protest, push the wrong ideology, and garner support by using a false narrative. Your privilege “warrants” the ability to tell everyone else how to protest, when to protest, where to protest, and why to protest. If any protest falls outside your views, then YOU also decide we can not and should not be allowed protest. But isn’t it ironic that YOU always defend your right to protest as it is written in your Constitution? That is privilege. It says to me, your Constitution was not written for us.

YOU chose to (dare I say) shoot the messenger instead of reading the message. If the YOU fits, wear it.

It is unfair to discuss Colin Kaepernick without mentioning protesters and leaders who preceded him. The United States of America has shown an interesting pattern: vilify the leader of the protests if they are black. Regardless of the protest or the real reasons for the protest, the response is always the same. YOU choose to discredit the messenger to twist the message. YOU did it to Frederick. YOU did it to Harriet. YOU did it to Sojourner. YOU did it to Marcus. YOU did it to Martin. YOU did it to Fannie. YOU did it to Malcolm. YOU did it to John Carlos and Tommie Smith. YOU did it to Sharpton. YOU did it to Colin. And the sad part is, YOU do not know more than 2 or 3 names on this incomplete list, nor do you know the protests they led and the messages they tried to deliver.

YOU do not allow us a remedy when we have a problem. If the YOU fits, wear it.

Each of the people referenced had an agenda. Each had a message. Each had a concern. Each had a remedy for the issues they tried to discuss. In fact, all these messengers and the protests they led pointed to a fundamental truth about America. Your country has never lived up to the promises it “made” to us:

  • Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness
  • Equal protection under the law
  • Rights protected and defended in the Bill of Rights and amendments to the Constitution
  • All men are created equal
  • Government as the protector of the people and the rights bestowed upon them as Americans

Believe it or not, America has not fully lived up to these basic, fundamental principles as they relate to black people. I know this is the part where, once again, YOU get to tell me I am wrong. YOU get to define my experiences in this country even though I live them daily and YOU do not. YOU have the right to tell me to love America or leave America even though neither of us started here. YOU get to defend your beliefs, while I do not get to defend mine.

YOU choose to ignore the problem yet again. If the YOU fits, wear it.

YOU choose to stick your hand in the sand, while we tell YOU repeatedly that we do not feel like we are full-fledged American citizens. YOU choose to disregard our challenges, many of which are as American as apple pie: racism, economic distress, basic and human rights, lack of protection under the law, poor education, incarceration, destruction of our families, and police brutality. By the way, this is NOT an exhaustive list of the challenges we face. Why does it take protest for YOU to understand these issues? Why does it take protests for YOU to “hear” us? I have a better one. Why have Harriet, Marcus, Martin, and Colin had to protest the same problems over and over again, yet YOU still choose to ignore them?

YOU are surprised that peaceful protests become violent protests. If the YOU fits, wear it.

YOU think our protests are riots. Not true. YOU think our protests are about looting. Not true. YOU think protests are bout violence. Not true. Let me be clear: our protests are an attempt to get YOU to at least hear our concerns. Yet YOU chose not to be concerned. YOU choose not to learn. YOU chose not to show empathy. YOU choose not to care. YOU choose not to listen. Human nature leads the messenger to turn up the volume of the message until YOU can hear it. When protests become violent, it is because your ears are closed. Your mind is closed. Your heart is closed. Honestly, I am amazed there are so many peaceful protests because they have not been “effective” yet. YOU still do not hear the message.

YOU do not listen regardless of how the protest occurs. If the YOU fits, wear it.

We protest by negotiating, ask Frederick. YOU do not listen. We protest by sitting, ask Rosa. YOU do not listen. We protest by giving speeches, ask Martin. YOU do not listen. We protest by marching, ask John (Lewis). YOU do not listen. We protest by taking a knee, ask Colin. YOU do not listen. Do YOU notice a trend? We protest, and YOU do not listen. Each of these protests were peaceful, but still YOU did not listen and I know why. In your view, we do not have the right to protest. Remember, your Constitution was not written for us. We should be happy to be American, right? We should be happy to live in the “greatest country in the world”, right? We should respect all things American, even though most of those things never respect us, right? We “are” American so why should we even consider protesting? To YOU we should, dare I say, get on our knees and thank our Creator for being “American”. Under these false beliefs, I can almost understand why YOU believe YOU do not have to listen to us.

YOU want acceptance of the status quo because it benefits YOU. If the YOU fits, wear it.

YOU need law and order to protect your interests, not mine. IF the YOU fits, wear it.

YOU have the inherent right to force you views upon me and I must agree. If the YOU fits, wear it.

YOU cannot possibly be wrong under any circumstance. If the YOU fits, wear it.

YOU are not concerned, as long as my issues do not affect YOU. If the YOU fits, wear it.

YOU have been conditioned to think a certain way because of your privilege. If the YOU fits, wear it.

As a final thought, because YOU choose not to listen, YOU can expect more civil unrest. Because YOU choose not to care, YOU can expect more peaceful protests. Because YOU choose not to help us, YOU can expect more violent protests. Because YOU do not feel the need to see things from our perspective, YOU can expect deeper divisions in our country. We tried to tell YOU. Harriet said it. Marcus said it. Malcolm said it. Colin said it. In fact, he even asked BEFORE he said it. Still YOU do not understand. YOU do not support us. YOU do not respect us. YOU do not want us here. YOU do not accept us as equal. YOU do not listen.

If the YOU fits, wear it. At least we will know who YOU are.

Do YOU know who YOU are?

 

Gary A. McAbee created the Wake Up/Rise Up Black America blog to have a powerful voice and positive impact in African-American neighborhoods, communities, and society. The articles posted are not only for African-Americans, but for all people due to their relevance and cultural significance. Along with his other blog, Motivation for the World, Gary can get people talking about issues that affect us all. He is the proud author of three self-help books: Wake Up! 42 Ways to Improve Black America Now!, the follow-up Rise Up! 42 Additional Ways to Improve Black America Now! , and Defining Success: One Word at a Time.

 

Join Gary A. McAbee on social media!

 

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Just Pass the Damn Bill!

Bill

Just Pass the Damn Bill!

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, several things have happened to wake up Americans. One of these things is our government’s inability to pass the damn bill! There is always bickering back and forth between the two political parties about their reason for and against most bills. The process is then drawn out, and it could take months for a “sensible” bill to become a law. It is what pisses me off about politics: they take too long to pass the damn bill!

In the midst of the debate over the merits of a bill, the political spin and gamesmanship takes center stage. Both Democrats and Republicans exchange shot after shot at each other, while an important piece of legislation hangs in the balance. It’s all a game, but do we really understand how the game is being played? The best way to explain it is with a simple example with a few exaggerations just to prove the point…

There is an intersection in your city without a stop sign. The street leads directly into a school zone. Cars speed through the intersection and a lot of drivers speed through the intersection, blow past the warning signs, and pass the school. One day, a crossing guard and a child got hit and killed by a motorist. Now the community wanted action to fix this problem. A local congressperson in the Orange Party decided to write a bill to pass a law to add stop signs at this dangerous corner and regulate speed in a new school zone.

Another congressperson in the Purple Party knows an owner of a liquor store chain. He donates money to her campaign and the Purple Party. The owner has an eye on opening a store on corner of that same intersection. He calls the congressperson about the store and reminds her of his generous donations. They will help her get reelected. Now the congressperson wants to add provisions in the stop sign bill that would allow the liquor store to open on the same corner. These are two totally separate issues, but somehow they are associated with the same bill.

The leaders of the Orange and Purple Party argue the merits of the bill. Eventually, they work out a compromise and both measures are included in the final version of the bill. Now it goes to a vote. Officials in the Orange Party want the stop signs, but can’t vote for the bill because of the liquor store. Since they have the majority, their votes override the members of the Purple Party, who favor building the store to satisfy their party member and her generous donor. Now that the bill has been defeated, the games begin. The Purple Party broadcasts the following outcome:

The Orange Party is anti-child safety because they voted against adding stop signs near a school zone!

Because the bill in this simple example is really 1400 pages long, (1350 of those pages are about the stop signs and 50 pages are about the liquor store), it is hard for the public to “see” why the Orange Party struck down the bill. It is also difficult for the Orange Party to refute the anti-child safety claim. The narrative sticks and the public blames the Orange Party every time another incident occurs at the intersection. Meanwhile, the Orange Party voted against the bill because it did not want a new liquor store near a school. At least they “won” that battle.

While this example is purposely far-fetched, it is a snapshot of what happens in our government. There is no such thing as what I call a “clean” bill: short, sweet, and to the point without extra provisions. In my opinion, they should vote on single-item bills. In our example, there could be two “clean” bills: one for the stops signs and another for the liquor store. Then we can get the votes, accept or reject each bill, and implement any laws that pass. Instead, we get 1400 page bills stuffed with pork: extra provisions that are added to satisfy all parties involved in the bill. The pork in our example is building the liquor store. Notice that the will of the community is never addressed after the problem is identified.

I am sure it is impractical to have “clean” bills because of sheer volume. Our representatives would be expected to read and understand all of those bills before they vote. By the way, a lot of them don’t read the 1400 page bills they vote on now anyway. Maybe writing short, “clean” bills a few pages long would change that fact. But I suspect they still wouldn’t read. Instead, they would continue to vote based on their party affiliation, while supporting their colleagues and donors, rather than doing what the community wants and needs.

There has to be a better way to pass the damn bill that someone much smarter than me can figure out. In the meantime, our only hope is to take more interest in what our officials vote for and the reasons they do it. If they hold to the party line or satisfy donors without helping to pass “sensible” legislation for us, then we should notate it, remember it, and vote their asses out during the next election cycle. It is much easier said than done, because they know we do not hold them personally accountable for their votes. We must take back our voting power and get our official to break the gridlock to get things done.

To our elected officials across the country:  just pass the damn bill!

 

Gary A. McAbee created the Wake Up/Rise Up Black America blog to have a powerful voice and positive impact in African-American neighborhoods, communities, and society. The articles posted are not only for African-Americans, but for all people due to their relevance and cultural significance. Along with his other blog, Motivation for the World, Gary can get people talking about issues that affect us all. He is the proud author of three self-help books: Wake Up! 42 Ways to Improve Black America Now!, the follow-up Rise Up! 42 Additional Ways to Improve Black America Now! , and Defining Success: One Word at a Time.

 

Join Gary A. McAbee on social media!

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/garymcabee

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wakeupandriseup

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Coronavirus Exposes the Truth About America

42446260 - 3d rendering of the retro black bomb

The coronavirus outbreak reveals a truth most Americans already know. There is a divide in our country driven by inequality that exists in plain sight. Our systems cannot, and do not support all Americans, for various reasons. Our politics has not worked to reduce the problems confronting many Americans. Just look at SOME  of what this crisis has “uncovered” …

  • Our health care infrastructure is inadequate. Too many people cannot afford healthcare. Others cannot afford to take time off work to receive healthcare.

 

  • Many people live paycheck to paycheck. They cannot afford to take a day off and miss a portion of their paycheck.

 

  • More children rely on school meals than we thought. They need meals provided by schools just to avoid hunger. Even with these meals, far too many children still go to bed hungry.

 

  • Many people cannot afford daycare. As a result, so settle for smaller day cares that barely meet the standards they should uphold. Other people chose to let their kids stay home alone.

 

  • Many people do not have adequate savings to handle a disruption of daily life. They will have a hard time should businesses and workplaces shut down.

 

  • Many people do not benefit from the tax structure in our country. While some receive tax breaks from their tax status, others are penalized for various reasons.

 

  • Many people suffer from inadequate access to affordable housing and rent control. Inability to afford rent relegates millions of people to high-density, yet low quality housing.

 

  • Our regulatory systems do not benefit enough Americans. Businesses can take advantage of holes in regulations that negatively affect people in ways they will never know or understand.

 

Unfortunately, the coronavirus has exposed the truth. Compassion and empathy should prevent people from finger-pointing. Instead, we need to work together to support each other. We need to work together to end the threat of the coronavirus and prevent future pandemics. Our work begins with knowledge and awareness of these (and countless others not mentioned here). Our next move is to work on bridging the gap between those who have and those who have not by tackling these issues.

If nothing else good comes from this crisis, think about the fact that maybe, just maybe, all Americans now know what was “hidden” in plain sight: there is a divide in our country driven by inequality. Until we address the inequality in our society, events like the coronavirus will continue to pull our country apart. Let’s work together to keep us together.

 

Gary A. McAbee created the Wake Up/Rise Up Black America blog to have a powerful voice and positive impact in African-American neighborhoods, communities, and society. The articles posted are not only for African-Americans, but for all people due to their relevance and cultural significance. Along with his other blog, Motivation for the World, Gary can get people talking about issues that affect us all. He is the proud author of three self-help books: Wake Up! 42 Ways to Improve Black America Now!, the follow-up Rise Up! 42 Additional Ways to Improve Black America Now! , and Defining Success: One Word at a Time.

 

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Summarizing Trumpism with One Quote from LBJ

LBJ

I can summarize Trumpism with one quote from LBJ. But before I begin, we need to think about the history of class, economics, and politics as they affect minorities in our country. No one can deny our country’s record on these issues. It has been a failure. Let’s start with the climate in our country when former President Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ) made a quote that summarizes Trumpism today. This quote was made in the 1960s. Then (not now), the country was divided by several issues, including the intersection of politics and racial tensions. Sound familiar?

Democrats and Republicans made policy shifts then that still stand today. Democrats, led by President Kennedy and later Johnson, inched toward Civil Rights reforms that would benefit minorities and marginalized people. Republicans, led by a new dependence on Southern white voters, galvanized around keeping class and economic systems intact that benefited whites in America. It was quite a showdown, and it is a battle that continues now.

With the volatility of life in the 1960s as a backdrop, LBJ offered the following quote. It summarizes Trumpism today…

 

“I’ll tell you what’s at the bottom of it. If you can convince the lowest white man that he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you”. – President Lyndon Johnson

 

  • Trump and people who think like him have convinced, and in some cases, reaffirmed, “the lowest white man’s” belief that they are better than people of color. Therefore, they can base their anxieties about race, class, economics, and a myriad of other issues on people of color. People of color are the problem! As a result of this thinking, they can scapegoat black people for crime while blaming immigrants for taking jobs. They must keep the myth alive that their skin color makes them superior to “the best colored man”.

 

  • Trump and people who think like him have convinced “the lowest white man” that a vote for a Republican is always in their best interest, even when Republicans oppose things they need. Some of “the lowest white men” and their families depend on social programs, yet Republican agendas consistently cut or try to completely end these programs. Yet they are convinced Republican will take care of them on other issues, like scapegoating black people for crime while blaming immigrants for taking jobs.

 

  • Trump and people who think like them have convinced “the lowest white man” that conspiracy theories abound, and all of them are designed to destroy white people in America. Most of these theories help “the best colored man”, and dare I say, women more than “the lowest white man.” So, minorities and immigrants get welfare, free healthcare, affirmative action, and even separate schools that whites do not get. Conspiracy theories like these run rampant and fuel anti-minority and anti-immigrant sentiment.

 

  • Trump and people who think like him have convinced “the lowest white man” that the county he knows, and loves will disappear as demographics shift. It’s a fact; whites in America will become the “minority” when their numbers are compared to non-white people in this century. Our country is getting browner, and this means America will change. White people will lose their rights! To counter this threat, the “lowest white man” believes in the “need” to make America great again (by keeping America white).

 

  • Trump and people who think like him have convinced “the lowest white man” the only way to stem the threat minorities and immigrants present is to prepare for the next civil war. White supremacists carried out terrorist activities throughout our history to terrorize and intimidate. Today we see these acts as a desperate attempt to fight back and stop minorities and immigrants. Why do you think “the lowest white man” refuses to give up his Second Amendment right to own guns, especially guns designed for war? He needs them just in time to make America great again.

 

  • Trump and people who think like him have convinced “the lowest white man” that he will be at the bottom of society if “the best colored man” takes over America (see Barack Obama). We can go a step further. They are convinced, and probably afraid, that all the injustices perpetrated against people of color in America, will be done to them. Maybe they will be imprisoned at higher rates. Maybe they will receive lower wages. Maybe they will have their voting rights restricted. What happens when “the lowest white man” is treated like a second-class citizen?

 

I believe that most white people in America do not agree with “the lowest white man”. But some are not ready for the changes future demographics will bring. They think in terms of one or two issues Trump, and “the lowest white man” fear. It is unfortunate that Trumpism relies on both sets of people to make America great again. It relies on “the lowest white man” to vote for him because of his paranoia. It plays on the fear of some white people who are afraid of what will happen as the country becomes darker.

Lyndon Johnson said it best. I’m sure he had no idea his words would still apply in 2019… and 2029… and 2039…

 

Need more proof? These stories are hot off the press…

 

New Jersey Police Chief Who Called Donald Trump ‘Last Hope for White People’ On Trial for Hate Crime

White supremacy connected to rise in hate crimes, ADL reports

A Former ICE Chief Melts Down

Candace Owens to Congress: White Supremacy and White Nationalism Are Not a Problem

Trump Official Says Statue of Liberty Poem is About Europeans

 

Gary A. McAbee created the Wake Up/Rise Up Black America blog to have a powerful voice and positive impact in African-American neighborhoods, communities, and society. The articles posted are not only for African-Americans, but for all people due to their relevance and cultural significance. Along with his other blog, Motivation for the World, Gary can get people talking about issues that affect us all. He is the proud author of three self-help books: Wake Up! 42 Ways to Improve Black America Now!, the follow-up Rise Up! 42 Additional Ways to Improve Black America Now! , and Defining Success: One Word at a Time.

 

Join Gary A. McAbee on social media!

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/garymcabee

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wakeupandriseup

Twitter: https://twitter.com/McAbeeGary

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/garymotivation/

Do You Get Mad, Indifferent, or Take Action?

Picket Sign

When you learn about injustices that occur on a daily basis, do you get mad, indifferent, or take action?

When you hear about another mass shooting, do you get mad, indifferent, or take action?

When you see someone do something politically incorrect, do you get mad, indifferent, or take action?

When you watch a video about a traffic stop gone bad, do you get mad, indifferent, or take action?

When you know someone is being taken advantage of, do you get mad, indifferent, or take action?

Getting mad is easy. In today’s cell phone driven society, people are recording life. We see a lot more things happening. We see more injustices unfold right before our eyes. A natural result is we finds thing to get outraged about, sometimes on a daily basis. Some of these things make us mad, but not mad enough to do anything. Sure we might comment on a post, or complain a little to a “listening” ear, but our “anger” does not elicit a response that will provide a solution or remedy.  We just don’t care enough to take action.

See: police misconduct

This leads to a feeling of being indifferent when certain things happen. Again, we are not moved to care enough to take action. Indifference sets in when we see or hear about the same injustice time and time again until it becomes normal. It no longer shocks, angers, or moves us in any way. We simply accept it. It gets worse when we justify injustice. We say things like: “that’s the way things are” or “he /she always does things like that”.  We rationalize things and dismiss them as if they are routine. Our indifference shows and remains until things change.

See: mass shootings

Taking action is the hard part. What things get you so upset that you must take action? I am sure the list starts with people we care about. Let some injustice fall upon a loved one. We will respond. But will we take action when something unfair happens to a total stranger? How about those times when we see something on social media? Shouldn’t we be moved to action then? I think we know why to take action: injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere. We have to learn when to take action and how to effect change. Then, we will make a difference when injustices occur.

See: Trump protests

I will leave you with this. When you see injustice, regardless of what it is and who it is against, do you get mad, indifferent, or take action? I suggest you figure out what gets you mad and take action. I also suggest you figure out what makes you indifferent change it into action. In both cases, you make a conscious decision o get involved. When more people get involved, more injustice gets eliminated.

It’s your move. Will You Get Mad, Indifferent, or Take Action?

I am Trumped Out

Decay 1

Marker at the entrance of the now defunct Trump Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City, NJ

I don’t know about you, but I am tired of Donald Trump. I am tired of his Presidency. I am tired of his antics. I am tired of his tweets. I am tired of his lies and falsehoods. I am tired of his misrepresentations. I am tired of his insults. I am tired of his bullying. I am tired of his family. I am tired of his enablers. I am tired of his supporters. I am tired of those stupid red MAGA hats. I am tired of him period.

I am Trumped out.

I hope he leaves office soon. I believe anyone would be better as President than Donald Trump. I’d take Mike Pence for a few years. I’d take George W. Bush again if it was possible. I’d take Mitt Romney. Honestly, I would take any Republican over Trump, and that includes Mitch McConnell (but not by much). There are plenty of Republicans who would be better at this than Donald Trump. At least they would be more Presidential. Mr. Trump does not have a Presidential bone in his body. It shows every day.

I am Trumped out.

I am convinced that he is the worst President in my lifetime. Since I was barely born when Richard Nixon was run out of office, I will not include him. You don’t have to be a Presidential historian to figure it out. Just think about the political climate we had in recent years. Think about our relationships with our friends and allies around the world. Think about our dealings with our enemies and hostile governments around the world. Hell think about how we debated our politics. All these things have taken a turn for the worse with Donald Trump at the helm.

I am Trumped out.

Trump is worse than Gerald Ford, the man who pardoned Nixon and his criminal activity. He is worse than Jimmy Carter, the man who let the hostages sit in Iran. Trump is worse than Ronald Reagan, the man who sold arms to Iran to fund Nicaragua. He is worse than George H. Bush, the man who promised “no new taxes” and then raised taxes. Trump is worse than Bill Clinton, the man who lied about his Oval Office escapades. He is worse than George W. Bush, the man who never found a single weapon of mass destruction in Iraq. Trump is worse than Barack Obama, the man who let an embassy fall in Benghazi. Even at their worst moments, each of the last seven Presidents are better than Donald Trump.

I am Trumped out.

I am ready to turn the page on this farce of a Presidency. Let the history books and historians who write them retell you what you already know. In the words of Donald Trump, his Presidency is “a disaster.” He, his handlers, supporters, and a few loyal republicans, are the only ones who will not acknowledge he is failing “bigly.” He “hires the best people”, only to see them investigated and charged. He knows more things than everyone but calls the Bible book “Two Corinthians.” He wanted to deny aid to Puerto Rico, in part because “it’s surrounded by water, big water.”

I am Trumped out.

If you agree with me that’s great. If you don’t that’s great too. We can agree to agree or agree to disagree. But I am tired of Donald Trump. I am tired of the uncertainty his Presidency has delivered. I am tired of the revolving door of people who work, and then leave the White House. I am tired of his ability to appoint Supreme Court and lower court judges (which will impact our country for the next 30 years). I am tired of Melania Trump being dragged through this nightmare. I am tired of him blaming Obama, the Bushes, Hillary Clinton, Robert Mueller, and anyone else but himself. And finally, I am tired of his stupid freakin’ border wall.

I am Trumped out.

 

Gary A. McAbee created the Wake Up/Rise Up Black America blog to have a powerful voice and positive impact in African-American neighborhoods, communities, and society. The articles posted are not only for African-Americans, but for all people due to their relevance and cultural significance. Along with his other blog, Motivation for the World, Gary can get people talking about issues that affect us all. He is the proud author of three self-help books: Wake Up! 42 Ways to Improve Black America Now!, the follow-up Rise Up! 42 Additional Ways to Improve Black America Now! , and Defining Success: One Word at a Time.

 

Join Gary A. McAbee on social media!

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/garymcabee

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wakeupandriseup

Twitter: https://twitter.com/McAbeeGary

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/garymotivation/

 

Voting: Vote Suppression 101

No Vote

Voting: Vote Suppression 101

 

I consider denying voting privileges one of the great disqualifiers. Disqualifiers are things that are taken away from people to prevent them for being active participants in our society. Denying the right to voter meant to disqualify millions of people. It is a way to silence opposing viewpoints, deny the rights of others, and prevent some people from contributing to our system of government. We know there is one political party who actively seeks to deny people from exercising their right to vote. The question for me is very simple: why?

We have heard the main “reason” stopping, or at least scrutinizing the right to vote for some people. Illegal voting is the claim thrown about by those who want tighter voting restrictions. However, study after study has shown that illegal voting is rare in our country. Yet stopping “widespread” illegal voting is a winning argument for those who want to disqualify others by preventing them from voting. It is a scare tactic. It is fear-mongering. It is wrong, and it must be stopped.

What are the ways that voting is being suppressed in our country? The following list contains several ways votes are being suppressed, voters are being intimidated, and votes are being challenged…

  1. Gerrymandering: also known as drawing and redrawing of political maps that represent voting blocs. As maps are drawn, they focus of the demographics of a given area which tells and predicts voting patterns and trends. Winning districts is equal to having additional representatives in government. If you can draw political maps that favor your party winning more districts, then that party will have more representation. One political party has a habit of gerrymandering and fight against efforts to fix poorly drawn political maps.

 

  1. Limiting early voting: reducing the days in which people can vote in advance of an election. Early voting, especially on weekends, is convenient for those who work abnormal schedules or multiple jobs. People like this may have a hard time getting to the polls on election day. They are also more likely to be poor, minority, and older voters. Early voting gives these voters options. One political party has a habit of limiting early voting, especially in areas where there are poorer, minority, and elderly voters.

 

  1. Closing polling places: reducing the amounts of polling places where people can exercise their right to vote. The amount of polling places should be based on the number of eligible voters in each area. Simply put, areas with more voters need more polling places. It should be based on a mathematical formula, maybe one polling place per 10,00 eligible voters. This would cut down on waiting times on election day too. One political party has a habit of trying to close polling places, especially in densely populated areas where there are poorer, minority, and elderly voters.

 

  1. Stripping voter rolls: or removing names from the voter rolls based on technicalities that the voter may not know exist. Eligible voters are being purging from voting rolls due to issues like incorrect addresses, spelling issues, and even hyphenated names. All these issues can, and should be allowed to be, corrected on voting day. However, in some places voters are also being removed from voting rolls for not voting in previous elections. This is more difficult to fix on election day. One political party has a habit of striping voters off voting rolls while the voters are unaware it is happening to them.

 

  1. Challenging voter Identification: having the correct voting identification can be a challenge. Not everyone possesses a driver’s license, so a non-driver state identification should be usable. Students, especially those from out-of-state, would not possess either identification, so their student identification should be acceptable. Elderly people may not have any of these forms of identification, so a list of acceptable forms of identification should be drafted from them (similar to forms of identification needed to complete I-9 forms for employment). One political party has a habit of challenging all of this and making it difficult for anyone who votes that does not possess a driver’s license.

 

  1. Registering to vote: should be allowed up to and including election day. A country whose economy is based on computers and programming should be able to have a universal system to record and add eligible voters regardless of when they register. We have some states that has strict cut-off dates from registering to vote. Then we have others that somehow find a way to allow same-day registration and voting on election day. There is an astonishing lack of consistency attached to voter registration that affects, local, state, and national elections. One political party has a habit of pushing for limiting the times for new registrations by eligible voters.

 

  1. Restoring voting rights: anyone who has had their voting rights have been taken away should have the ability to have their rights restored. This includes people improperly removed from voting rolls. It also includes former felons, who have paid their debt to society by fulfilling a sentence issued by a judge or court proceeding. Once their sentence is complete, then their voting rights should be restored. Again, people who fall into this category are more likely to be poorer and minorities. Once political party has a habit of blocking restoring voting rights to those purged from voting rolls and to those who served time in prison due to crime.

 

  1. Political advertisements and robocalls: are tactics used to suppress the vote by providing false information or intimidation. Political advertisements are misleading and can make voters think twice about heading to the polls. Some ads have said things like criminal background checks, warrants, and child-support payments will be checked at polling places. None of these things are true. Robocalls, or recorded phone calls, often give misleading information like wrong dates and times to go vote. One political party has a habit of spreading falsities about the voting experience both at the polls and through ad and robocalls.

 

  1. Integrity of voting machines and counting: voting machines should be as secures as ATM machines. For some strange reason, we are not concerned when we stick a card in an ATM and it has a record of our monetary transactions. The same should be true for voting. We have voting machines that change votes. We have voting machines that do not list all the candidates or list them in different orders than sample ballots distributed to voters. We have issues with counting during every election cycle, which forces recounts and additional confusion. Again, it is astonishing that we do not have a standard voting machine or technology used nationwide. Instead, each state, and in most instances, each community has their own way of voting and recording votes. One political party has a habit of blocking upgrades to our voting machines and technology that would secure the integrity of voting.

 

  1. Secretary of State: is the elected official responsible for voting in their state, Of course, the Secretary of State belongs to a political party. Their decisions about each of the previous 9 voting issues raised here can be supported or rejected by the Secretary of State. It is amazing to me that a person n this capacity would be more wiling to find ways to discourage people from voting rather than encourage and find ways more people can vote. Yet disqualifying and discouraging people from voting happens time and time again in states across the country. These efforts are often spearheaded by the Secretaries of State in numerous states. One political party has the habit of having Secretaries of State who look to limit voting rules and regulations, often to the detriment of poorer, minority, elderly, and student voters.

 

I have laid out an extensive case that points to one fact: someone or some group, some politician, or politicians, and some elements of our voting system, are meant to disqualify and prevent some of our citizens from voting. Historically, this narrative fits with the history of voting rights in the United States. First, voting rights were only given to white males who owned land. This disqualified everyone else. Then it was given to other white males. This disqualified everyone else. Then it was given to women. This disqualified everyone else. Then it was given to minorities and all remaining citizens. This qualified everyone to vote.

However, tactics like those presented here were slowly, yet steadily implemented to take away the right to vote for many people. Isn’t it interesting that these tactics are more likely to negatively affect the people who were disqualified from voting the most: poorer, minority, and elderly voters. Add to that younger, student voters who are more likely to vote for one political party over another. The reasoning behind all of this is clear to me. Voting is a way to consolidate and keep political power that favors one group of people over others. Any disruption of this “system” is met with opposition in the form of preventing people from voting to change the “system”.

I put the blame for this directly on the political party who has a habit of making it harder from people to vote: the modern Republican party and those responsible for its leadership. They are fully aware of the demographic shift that is occurring in our country. In 30-50 years, they and their followers will become the minority in this country. This means there will be far less people who will vote for them and their conservative ideology. To defend against this, they use tactics to disqualify people from voting. Simultaneously they are using their elected officials, especially judges, to enact and enforce laws that will ensure their way of life and political “system” will continue to thrive and survive long after they are no longer the majority in our country. This is despicable, and it must be met with vigilance. We can’t allow people to be disqualified from voting.

Voting: Vote Suppression 101

 

 

 

Gary A. McAbee created the Wake Up/Rise Up Black America blog to have a powerful voice and positive impact in African-American neighborhoods, communities, and society. The articles posted are not only for African-Americans, but for all people due to their relevance and cultural significance. Along with his other blog, Motivation for the World, Gary can get people talking about issues that affect us all. He is the proud author of three self-help books: Wake Up! 42 Ways to Improve Black America Now!, the follow-up Rise Up! 42 Additional Ways to Improve Black America Now! , and Defining Success: One Word at a Time.

 

Join Gary A. McAbee on social media!

 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/garymcabee

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wakeupandriseup

Twitter: https://twitter.com/McAbeeGary

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/garymotivation/