by M. Quinn
As of late, a number of state and federal officials have been putting on a dazzling performance of what could be appropriately described as surface politics. The recent apology by the United States Senate for refusing to implement anti-lynching laws that would have inevitably saved countless African Americans from the brutality of being hanged was a apology delivered much too late. It likewise represents hollow rhetoric unless the federal government is prepared to introduce legislation to recompense the tyrannical and horrendous acts of violence against innocent African men, women and children during this extremely brutal time in the United States.
In addition, the recent charges brought against eighty-year-old Edgar Ray the Klu Klux Klan member who murdered three innocent black people during the civil rights era was a verdict rendered some forty years after the fact. These crimes against humanity have the undeniable stain in a legacy that we call American history.
Racism in American society continues to remain so intrinsically embedded in the minds of countless people that the Klan member was merely found guilty of manslaughter, not murder, as he should have been for the execution of these human lives. These two events merely skim the surface toward truly addressing America’s immorally racist past and present, and are miserably superficial acts of atonement. Therefore, these gestures essentially equate to the appearance of making a difference, without really making a difference at all. Hence the status quo continues. It is time for America to stop dancing around the racist practices of its immoral past and the cultural schism that is so ubiquitous in this country, and address the matter head-on.
Don’t get me wrong, these two events needed to be reconciled and brought to past. However, without concrete legislation put in place on a federal level to redress America’s malevolent past, these actions merely represent showbiz politics.
It is imperative that we begin to call upon legislation that will have a long lasting and methodical affect on reversing the ills of America’s past inequities. In addition, it is also necessary that a non-partisan oversight committee is incorporated within the totality of this legislation to ensure that the enforcement and executions of these laws are not merely another meaningless political exercise.
Until we as a nation are seriously prepared to address the ills of political, social and economic inequalities in this country, we will continue to operate at a socioeconomic and cultural stalemate.
During his inaugural speech in January ‘2005, President Bush stated that America could not carry the baggage of bigotry and the message of freedom at the same time. He went on further to state, that the difficulty of any task, is not an excuse for avoiding it.
However, one must ask what legislation has President Bush introduced to truly address America’s depraved past? Better yet, what institutions have been created since he made this speech? Has Mr. Bush remotely addressed the brutality perpetrated against innocent African men, women and children during the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade? Of course not! President Bush would rather retreat to the cloak of secrecy and denial as some sort of pseudo safe haven.
If George W. Bush’s vernacular represented a four-course meal, it would still only equate to bread and water. The words that materialize from his mouth definitely do not contain the essential ingredients to positively sustain a nation.
Congressman John Conyers, Jr. proposed Bill H.R.40 has been rejected by Congress since first being introduced in 1989, and Mr. Bush surely has not seen fit to incorporate this matter into the countless speeches and press conferences that he has held since his inaugural address in January ‘2005 - Showbiz politics.
It remains a deplorable presentation of representation when the politicians of a sovereign nation with the vast wealth of America continue to engage in showbiz politics rather than addressing the immediate concerns that pertain to the health and welfare of its people.
This is why it is imperative, and critically important that Black political leaders, clergy and all others that participate in this year’s Million Man March on October 14th – 16th in Washington DC, do more than have another speech giving ceremony. The energy generated by the first Million Man March was phenomenal, but unfortunately that magnificent power was allowed to subside, while everyone from the organizers to those that participated became strangely silent after this occasion, or were simply lulled back asleep.
The organizers and political leaders of this year’s event must not engage in an exercise of showbiz politics themselves. It is essential that we as the people of this nation begin to address the legislative body on Capital Hill, and write legislation that will ultimately reconcile and make recompense for the plight of the African during the Trans Atlantic Slave trade, and address America’s racial quandary in its entirety.
The days have ended in organizing social and political marches just for the sake of having them, or giving speeches just for the sake of hearing great oratory skills. We must begin to understand that this strategy has run its course, and is no longer a viable approach toward real change.
While Mr. Bush and his band of conservative cronies continue to master the game of misinformation and showbiz politics, we cannot allow ourselves to be deceived into believing that this approach is an effective solution in instituting genuine change for people of color in America.
What we need are revolutionary politics. Revolutionary politics do not consist of photo opportunities and feel good rhetoric; it has substance as the principal ingredient. With the collective body of distinguished black intellectuals, clergy and activist that will no doubt participate in this year’s Million Man March, it remains very important for these individuals to follow up this event with action in the days, months, and years long after the excitement from this gathering has subsided.
So therefore, I urge everyone to go Washington DC in October ‘2005 and participate. I further urge every conscious person to begin to understand the necessity and importance of political activism.
Real change requires action, action and then more action! The time has come, to put an end to showbiz politics!