Dear Dr. Ford

I know you can’t read this. But I am writing to put this into the electronic atmosphere so that hopefully these sentiments can reach you where you need it most.

I don’t envy you today. I haven’t envied you since your name was leaked. For the last couple weeks your name has been scandalized and your words diminished. Not by the neighborhood, your school, your church or the office. But by powerful white men who make laws and craft legislation; whose ultimate goal is power, who see their potential Supreme Court nominee as a ticket to take back to their constituents so that they can say, “See! I gave you what you want. Elect me again!” Never mind that they claim to be the party of morality. They proved that to be false decades ago. But I digress.

I said I don’t envy you. But make no mistake; I admire you! Since day 1 you have done more than was asked. Once your name was revealed you stood by your truth. You took a polygraph and passed. He didn’t. All while these same men, conservative Christian men continued to sully your name, dismissing you with statements like, “In the very near future, Judge Kavanaugh will be on the United States Supreme Court.” Then he had the nerve, the audacity to back it up with this choice of words, “So, my friends, keep the faith. Don’t get rattled by all of this. We’re going to plow right through it…” 

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“Keep the faith? Plow right through it?  Just like the judge the Senate Majority leader wants to hire, he sees you, Dr. Ford, as something to plow through. I can only imagine the frustration, the anger, the anguish. And yet here you are today ready to stand before a murderers row of elite oligarchs. This after they tried to force you into an ultimatum of appearing on Monday. This after refusing an FBI investigation that you requested. An investigation that is known to take only 3 days. This after refusing to subpoena the friend of the judge who was in the room. They all but have him in the witness protection program. Last but not least; your accusers don’t want to accuse you to your face themselves. They want to get another female to do it for them so that they can claim clean hands. Knowing all of this and yet here you are! Ready to stand in front of the entire world on a truth that you will have to live with forever.

I don’t know what will become of the judge after today Dr. Ford. Since you’ve come forward there are at least 4 other women who have as well. They won’t get the opportunity you will today. Even the highest office holder in the land have attempted to ‘slut shame’ one of them.  (I hate that phrase by the way but he literally is calling her a slut.) You Dr. Ford are courageous! Your actions today are ‘sheroic’ and to be praised. As many detractors as you have, there are many more who have your back. We are cheering you on, gritting our teeth as if we are in that lion’s cage with you. We will hang on your every word, every expression, every breath sending loving vibes of strength and encouragement. And at the end of the day, know that you would have shown some woman out there that it’s OK to stand up for yourself publicly- if she so chooses to do so.

Now go forth you bearer of girl power! Show them what you are made of! Be strong, be steady, be yourself!

With Love,

Those Who Love Equality and Justice

 

 

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Don’t Cry for Him Judge Scalia? Conversations and Conflicts of a Judicial Tyrant

Sitting at my computer I got a notification on my phone.  I opened it and said, “Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Found Dead in His Home.”  The moment was surreal.  Kind of like the moment I learned Natalie Cole had died.  For me it just came out of nowhere.  Mouth wide opened I took my phone to where my wife was sitting and just showed her the screen.  She hesitated as well with a look of, “like for real?”  

The next thing I told her that as the members of the GOP find out what we just learned, they will be scrambling as hard as they ever have in order to come up with a talking point about the open position on the court that President Obama has 11 months to fill.  “Make no mistake.  There are emergency meetings and conference calls being set up we sit here to orchestrate a plan.  For them the timing couldn’t be worse.  They are going to block whomever he nominates.

Within minutes my wife and I went to dinner.  By the time we started to eat I saw that Mitch McConnell had demanded that the POTUS not nominate anyone in Scalia’s seat and that if he did, they would block the nomination.  By the time the GOP debate in South Carolina began, the message had been repeated a thousand times.  I started posting my own views on social media.

You know how after every mass shooting republicans never want to talk about gun control?  They say things like, “We haven’t even had the funerals yet and here you are trying to politicize this tragic experience.”  It’s not like they ever want to talk about it regardless of how much time goes by.  But I digress.  I expressed that the man’s body isn’t even cold yet and here they are politicizing his death.  I expressed that right wing conservatives don’t care anything about Scalia.  They only care about what he stood for and what he represented.  They cared that he reinforced their beliefs and helped solidify laws that crushed black people, poor people, gay people, and women.  Their court appointed ace in the hole, their god who brought vengeance on anything that wasn’t rich, Christian and Caucasian was suddenly and without warning taken.  And now just a few hours from him being put in a morgue, the right wing establishment is devouring their god like he’s high priced steak and lobster.

In the midst of this I became fascinated with my own response to finding out Scalia was dead.  Unlike Natalie Cole death, I wasn’t at all sad.  I felt some kind of joy about it.  I’ve had a secret list of 3 people who I’ve said to myself, ” I won’t wish death upon them.  But if they die, I won’t be mad.”  Scalia happened to be on that list.  And no I won’t write the others.  98% of me rejoiced that this tyrant of a man won’t be able to ruin anymore lives, or do any more damage than he’s done beyond previous judgments that the rest of us will have to live with.  2% of me felt kinda bad for the 98%.  Because I am a person who is full of love and compassion, it seemed a tad bit unsettling that I rejoiced.  I could never see Scalia, a man who loved himself perhaps more than any other Supreme Court judge in history actually retiring.  Death was the only way out.

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As I posted short commentaries on Scalia’s court decisions and the GOP’s hateful responses to Obama’s presidency once again, I waited for reactions from people who may agree or disagree with my observations and opinions.  I wondered especially if any of my African-American friends were experiencing the same inward duality that I was.  Black folk in general are raised not to celebrate ones death.  No matter how evil that person is or was.  My guess is that’s related our faith and history in Christianity. It hasn’t been often in my lifetime that a significant oppressive figure had passed on.  I know well the history of assassinations against progressives.  I know of state sponsored murders of people who fought for freedom for me and those who look like me. But when was the last time a figure whose name is so polarizing for black people been so suddenly and permanently removed… even naturally?

I sent text messages to a few friends of mine.  “Dude, Scalia is dead!”  One wrote back, “I see.  Sad.” I responded,  “Sad for who? Not us!”  He responded that loss of live is loss of life.  He did not agree with Scalia judicially or politically.  We exchanged a few more sentences and phrases.  But one of the things I mentioned is that if I did not grieve for Osama Bin Laden when he met his end, how could I grieve a man who has spent his life’s work attempting to destroy every piece of equality and progress we’ve fought to achieve?  It was only a couple months ago when Scalia said in open court that black people needed to go to lesser and slower schools because we were too stupid to function in the ‘big ones.’

As custom, it’s natural to speak good of any figure who holds such a prestigious position.  People have described him as brilliant, colorful, a legal giant.  I wouldn’t use those words.  But I’m not the only one.

Tim Wise put it this way: While I revel in the death of no one, I cannot abide the hagiographic nonsense that is presently being offered by persons across the spectrum about how Scalia was “passionate” and brilliant, ad infinitum. There is nothing brilliant about putrescence, nothing insightful and worthwhile about venality posing as insight. To say that there is nothing unconstitutional about executing innocent people (as he did in fact say), or that it’s OK to imprison persons for “gay sex,” among other things, is never the work of a genius no matter the big words and poetic flair with which they might say it. Those opinions are evil, vile and worthy of utter derision. They are not the work of a genius, but a fetid little man whose moral calibration slouched towards those of Torquemada and the Inquisitors. I feel for his family and mourn their personal loss. And that is the extent of my mourning, as it is the only type of which one such as this is deserving.

More on Scalia’s legacy in this link:

Perhaps some may think my Bin Laden comparison was a stretch.  Though I could argue judicial terrorism on blacks, women, gays and poor people, I can bring it closer to home.  If I lived during The Civil War, would I mourn the death of Robert E. Lee?  How about Jefferson Davis?  These people fought to keep my people in bondage.  If Scalia had the wherewith while he was here, whose to say he wouldn’t bring back slavery?  I can easily see him saying, “If the Founding Fathers wanted slavery to end, they would have indicated this in the text.  Since they didn’t, I don’t see anything unconstitutional about it remaining in tact.”

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I discussed some of this on social media with a very well respected minister Traci Blackmon.  She is as progressive and courageous as Christians go.  She expressed via her Facebook page; “Tonight I offer prayers for the family of Justice Scalia. He was not a friend to me or my people. But he is still God’s child.”   As I write this it has 430 likes.  Some talked about his children and the devastation they must be feeling.  Others were less than sympathetic.  One person’s response in particular touched on my earlier thoughts:  “Yes I know. I felt guilty and unChristian like to have no sadness in his passing, almost a glimmer of happiness. I checked myself and voiced it. But there it is.”  Another responded, “What an example of God’s grace. Thank you for helping me check my own internal feelings. I did not wish him ill, but I am delighted he’s no longer on the bench. I pray that our next justice will have more compassion and understanding.”

Ahhh see where I’m coming from? What is to say the original sentiments were wrong?  Is it possible that it’s natural to delight in the death of your oppressor and not at all unrighteous?  If it is righteous, would I care to pray for the family now that he’s dead?  Does it matter what his family thought of his work?  Did the Jews say prayers for Adolph Hitler’s family members after he died? Did my Christian parents and grandparents believe it properly pious to pray for the family of Alabama Governor George Wallace after he died?  I understand that THEY were not the ones siccing vicious attack dogs on us and spraying us with water hoses while authorizing police to savagely beat us in the public streets.

Where exactly is the line of demarcation?  As I told Traci, I just don’t know.  Proverbs 11:10 says, When the righteous prosper, the city rejoices; when the wicked perish, there are shouts of joy.

Regardless, I know what the right wing establishment feel.  Not only will they hold Scalia up as a hero of epic proportions, they want to do everything in their power to replace him with one just like him if not worse.  Someone who hates me, my wife, my mother, my kids, my grand kids. Hoping and praying that this doesn’t happen is not something I am conflicted about at all.

SCOTUS Blog on Recess Appointments to the Supreme Court

 

 

Sermon on The Mount, or Cee-Lo’s Revenge!

I do not plan on speaking much on this election.  I hope to say what I have to now and not much after this.  Truth is, regardless of who won we have great challenges in our nation and we have a lot of work to do.  No need to recite all the details regarding the economy, jobs, education, the military and so forth.

Still, I don’t mind acknowledging that this election was different than any other I have been involved in. The first time Barack Obama was elected it was special.  It was unbelievable to me. I never thought I would see a person of color in the White House.  And for those thinking that’s all I’m about, you would be wrong.  In other words, I could have voted for a Colin Powell presidency, while Clarence Thomas’ supreme court appointment and Herman Cain’s candidacy can go kick rocks!  Most people who look like me can joyfully celebrate accomplishments by people of color from a historical perspective of where we’ve come from, but we are not hung up on color for the sake of color sake.  As the old folks used to say, “Everyone who’s my skin folk, ain’t necessarily my kin folk.”  I voted for The President the first time because I believed in his vision and what he stood for.  His skin color was a caveat, not even close to a deciding factor.

That being said it wasn’t hard at all to recognize and understand all of the racist vitriol surrounding the White House since Obama was elected four years ago.  From the beginning as surprised as I was that he was elected, for racist Caucasians, they were equally enraged.  Rush Limbaugh exclaimed, “I hope he fails!”  Joe Wilson went ballistic with his “You lie!” blast in a display of disrespect to the office never seen before.  Mitch McConnell let it be known that his #1 priority was making The President a one termer.

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John Boehner stood opposite whatever President Obama stood for, even if Obama changed to Boehner’s position.

The First Lady couldn’t even promote fighting childhood obesity without being attacked.

Jan Brewer put her finger in the face of The President as if she was ready to scrap!

I could go on.  But let me get to my points.  I’m exhausted.  The President, myself and a whole lot of black folks, progressives etc. have taken a lot of shit over the last four years.  We have heard it all.  Now it’s our turn.  Others can say what they need to, but I will speak for myself!  In my Cee Lo Green voice, I present “F#@! YOU” notices to the following:

Mitch McConnell: F#@! YOU, 4 More Years!  Try working for the American people and not against the black guy for a change!

John Boehner: F#@! YOU, 4 More Years! Focus more on helping our nation and less on your tan!

Rush Limbaugh: F#@! YOU, 4 More Years!  Looks like YOU failed! Send your Mexican nanny to the pharmacist for more drugs you fat assed blubbering dope fiend!

Todd Akin: F#@! YOU, 4 More Years! Guess the women of Missouri “did that thing” to shut your ass down!

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Tavis Smiley and Cornel West: F#@! YOU, 4 More Years!  Yep I said it.  You have toured the nation perpetrating the fraud about a “Black Agenda” while you never asked Bush, Clinton or any other president to do the same. My president cares for all people… including black people.  It was insulting and ignorant that you tried to lay ever problem within the African-American community as his feet and expect him to focus on those and those alone.  You both are frauds!

Fox News: F#@! YOU, 4 More Years!  Hey look at it this way, your ratings will remain steady with the racist who will tune in and hear you whine, lie and avoid the real issue which is that White male domination is blowing away with the wind.  Another generation and a half, and you may only have 7 viewers listeners using a CB radio!

Sara Palin: F#@! YOU, 4 More Years!  How’s that for “shuckin’ and jiving?”

Business Owners who threatened their employees: That what foul what you did trying to intimidate your workers.  Quite desperate too!  None of Obama’s policies hurt your businesses especially.  You get every tax break in the world!  If you fail, its more likely because of your shotty business decisions. F#@! YOU, 4 More Years!

People who said Colin Powell voted for Obama because he was black:  Yea, how many of you voted for McCain and Romney because they were white?  Yea that’s what I thought…. F#@! YOU, 4 More Years!

Republicans, those who tried to disenfranchise minority votersThem days are over!  We aren’t allowing you to get away with that any longer!  Get a clue!  You lost in every court, including the Supreme Court!  And the only people who were caught attempting to commit voter fraud were REPUBLICANS!  F#@! YOU, 4 More Years! 

Franklin and Billy Graham: (And all the other radical white and black evangelicals) You actually sold out your Christianity for racism.  I guess you can put Mormonism back on the cult list now!  F#@! YOU, 4 More Years!

Mitt Romney: Oh yea I ain’t forgot about you geechie!  F#@! YOU, 4 More Years!… sincerely the 47%!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a 4:20 flight to catch to Denver.

FirstFam

Holla!