By James Clingman, NNPA Columnist –
(NNPA) - What has this country become since Barack Obama was elected President? Or, has it always been this way? Where have all the evil, vicious, malcontents been hiding for 100 years? Or, have they been here all the time? How is it that we have not achieved that state of nirvana so many talked about on January 20, 2009? Or, is it really unreachable?
Do you remember the column I wrote during inauguration week? It was titled, The Morning After, which alluded to the state of this country, especially Black people, after the dust had settled, the hoopla had died down, and the euphoria had dissipated. Now that we can take a real honest look at ourselves, do we like what we see?
Politically speaking, I am not surprised by the shenanigans of the so-called “far right” and “far left” wings; but it is a bit disconcerting to see some of the so-called progressives and centrists getting their shots in as well. It simply begs the question: Have we really come as far as we say we have? And, brothers and sisters, that answer is a resounding “NO!”
On the economic side of the coin, Black folks are still fighting for survival, now along with many others in this country, for employment, inclusion, and business support. We are still being “dissed” by the banks when it comes to loans, interest rates, and credit card fees. Our bailout, long overdue, has yet to come and probably never will come.
Socially, although many pretend to be in a state of mutual respect and brotherly love, we are still at odds with one another due to inequity, suspicion, and fear. One hundred and forty-five years after Black people were so-called “freed” disparities continue to exist, institutionalized by various entities, and many are still advocating for “race dialogues” between whites and Blacks. You would think that Black folks just arrived here rather than being in this country since it started.
We know the situation that exists in the areas of education and criminal justice. So what ties it all together, this web of discontent and despair? It seems to me, based on what is taking place among the so-called leaders of our society, along with the big-wig movers and shakers, it all boils down to a scarcity rather than abundance mindset. Too many folks are out simply to get theirs and to get as much of yours as they can. The poor are competing for crumbs and, with their zero sum mindset, are afraid that if you get a dollar or a job it takes a dollar or a job away from them.
Where it all end? Will this country change before it collapses under the weight of its own greed, injustice, intolerance, and hate? I don’t know if we will make it or not, but by the looks of things I do know we have a long way to go, and we better get busy turning this battleship around.
Our representatives, those we elect to help us, are bilking us. They have the best of everything but would deny us even a smidgen of relief. They have the best healthcare, but have to debate and decide if we should have it. They have the best retirement plans but ponder cutting our Social Security, a system in which they do not even participate. They go into office in many cases, just as broke as we are but come out as millionaires by working the political system to enrich themselves rather than looking out for our interests. How is it that we, the electorate keep returning these same characters to office even after they have done absolutely nothing for “the people”?
Corruption, excess, self-indulgence, and greed rule the day, much akin to some of the great empires we read about in years past. Evil acts are being perpetrated against good people, such as Shirley Sherrod, the U.S. Department of Agriculture employee who was summarily fired for what amounted to helping a white farmer. Isn’t it strange that no one has been fired for the years of discrimination against Black farmers, which has resulted in a $2 billion punitive award (who knows when it will be paid)? Sherrod gets fired for a positive comment, and for decades other USDA employees keep their jobs while blatantly discriminating against Black farmers. What a country, huh?
We are, as they say, “In a pickle.” We are in the belly of the beast. And we had better get busy making appropriate changes before the vaunted “United” States of America goes down the proverbial tube.