Category Archives: Race & ethnicity

Black Voters to Democrats: You’re Welcome

by Kashana Cauley, New York Times, DEC. 13, 2017 (print title: “What Democrats Owe Black Voters,” 12/14/17). Doug Jones, now Senator from Alabama, owed his upset victory to Black voters (despite a state voter ID law designed to cut down on Black participation). The lesson (conclusion of the article):

…To be competitive nationwide, Democrats need to fight voter ID laws, pass automatic voter registration, restore the Voting Rights Act to its full strength and work to re-enfranchise ex-felons, who deserve to be fully reintegrated into society. Democrats should also make policy appeals aimed at black voters and support promising black candidates like Stacey Abrams, who’s running for governor of Georgia in 2018.

The Alabama election results provide a great opportunity for the Democratic Party to make a stronger effort to reach out to black voters. We are just like white voters in that we like to be courted and told that our participation matters. If Democrats want to win more elections, they have to integrate black voters into the heart and soul of the party.

Let America Be America Again

A note on this poem was posted here on July 4, 2017. We just can’t resist updating it now, because Donald Trump Jr. was just quoted (CNN) as saying that there are “people at the highest levels of government that don’t want to let America be America.” Leaving aside the chilling reminiscences of the “stab in the back” theme in 1930’s Germany, we can wonder if he meant to endorse the eminent African American poet Langston Hughes’s views on American history. Probably not.

Langston Hughes (1902-1967) graduated from Lincoln University in Chester County in 1929 and became a leader of the Harlem Renaissance.

It’s a powerful poem, reaching a still-relevant crescendo at the end (see the full text at PoemHunter):

…From those who live like leeches on the people’s lives,
We must take back our land again,
America!

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath–
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain–
All, all the stretch of these great green states–
And make America again!

See also the very moving video of illustrated excerpts from the poem MoveOn, directed by filmmaker Frank Chi and recited by actress Alfre Woodard.

Charlottesville inevitable in the Age of Trump

letter in the Daily Local News, 8/16/17

The violence that happened in Charlottesville on Saturday, August 12th, at a White Nationalist rally is shocking and disturbing, but really not surprising.

A young woman was killed and 19 others injured by an avowed Neo-Nazi sympathizer who plowed into a crowd of people with his car. The surprise to me is–with all of the armor and open carry firearms brought to the demonstration for White Supremacy full of hate groups like the KKK, Neo-Nazis and others–that gunfire did not break out and more people were not killed and injured. This rally represents the ugly, dark side of a small, but fervent group of supporters of President Trump emboldened by his language of division, scapegoating immigrants, Muslims and our first black President.

Donald Trump has fed the paranoia of white supremacy and bigotry throughout his campaign and term, and has alt-righters like Steve Bannon, Steven Miller and Sebastian Gorka working in the White House shaping his world view every day. No wonder the KKK, Neo-Nazis and others see this presidency as bringing their abhorrent views into the mainstream.

On the day of the violence, Trump called out ‘hatred and bigotry on all sides’ but refused to name White Supremacy or the many hate groups that espouse this corrosive philosophy.  As President of the United States, he has a moral obligation to denounce in the strongest terms all vestiges of the ugly hatred and racism that are part and parcel of the alt right. But Trump cannot bring himself to denounce these bigoted groups by name who strongly support his presidency.

There are so many episodes of instability and chaos related to our President.  Here is hoping that this very important inflection point will expose Donald Trump’s support for racism and division, and will be given the full attention and exposure for the travesty it is, causing more responsible Republicans to distance themselves from his failing Presidency.

More importantly, it is an opportunity for the Republican party itself to stand up to the alt right and separate themselves from its ideology of hatred and influence on their party today.  Marco Rubio, Orin Hatch, and even Ted Cruz stood up and denounced white supremacy. Will our President ever do the same? If not, just one more reason this man is unfit for office.

— Tom Buglio, West Chester
(n.b.: DLN letters are no longer online there)