The movement towards civil rights and a color-blind society ended when Ronald Reagan took office in 1981. After only 15 years, the affirmative actions that Americans took to right the wrongs of 300 years were over.
Whether or not he was personally a racist, the fact is that his actions told Southern Segregationists that the Republican Party was shifting not only to Conservative economic values, but to the far Right both socially, politically and racially.
Soon former Dixiecrat politicians like Strom Thurmond, Trent Lott and Jesse Helms played prominent roles in the decisions of the Republican Party. After generations, ex-Klansmen once again held political influence with the White House. The racist mantra involved the words, “the poor.” Since everyone knew that the large body of African-American society was poor, and because the Republicans cared no more for the White poor than the Black poor, they used the terms interchangeably.
No matter what Ronald Reagan said, his record is clear. He not only opposed Medicare in 1964, but spoke on television and around the country against it, calling it the first step towards Socialism. He opposed the Civil Rights act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968. He said that the Constitution prohibited these laws.
Someone’s rights were going to be violated. Reagan was basically saying that it should be the individual person, whose skin happened to be black. In supporting the old Jim Crow laws against the new Civil Rights legislation, Reagan said the he merely felt that it should not be the business or property owners whose rights to prevent blacks from entering or using the facilities would be violated. There is no other way to read the law and Reagan’s opinion.
After Reagan opened the door and with his charismatic presentation of the rationale for bigotry, the Republican Party felt the way was clear to expand on racism as a political tool. They hired unscrupulous political hacks like Lee Atwater and Karl Rove to divide the South and appeal to Northern Whites who felt that Blacks had come too far, too fast.
Lee Atwater was the campaign manager for Ronald Reagan’s reelection campaign, and then the Chairman of the Republican Party. He spoke for all Republicans. In an interview, he said the following that made the Republican position quite indelibly clear:
“By 1968 you can’t say ‘nigger’—that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, ‘forced busing,’ ‘states rights’ and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites.…”
So the ads were all about how Willie Horton, whose black face was shown in campaign ads got out of jail and murdered someone. It was irrelevant, but it moved the racism forward. The campaigns were about the poor and how they are “lazy,” and the poor are–what? Mostly Black.
The Imported Americans, abused and beaten and enslaved. When one man by the name of Johnson from the Deep South…from the dark heart of bigotry, Texas, gives them a leg up, Atwater and Bush Sr. and Reagan are there to knock them down again.
Hatred beyond imagining, hatred beyond belief—stretching over generations–and racial hatred so intense that it can outlast and overcome the wishes of an entire nation. Lies and misdemeanors, lies and felonies, lies and the murder of the conscience of a country. This is what Lee Atwater apologized for before he died of a brain tumor, undoubtedly not certain of what would happen to his soul.
Desperate for some redemption, Lee Atwater at the certain end of his life converted to Catholicism. The question is: what kind of penance is due for trying to return a whole class of people to penury, and with poverty, depression and with depression…death? What penance is due for the death of hope and the decision to take food from the poor and education from a child? What kind of penalty should a Deity ask for encouraging hatred of an entire people?
How many years in Purgatory for these kinds of crimes? Lee Atwater was scared shitless of dying as he should have been.
So this is how they did it. This is how the Republicans denigrated Blacks while winning elections. It is what Hitler did to the Jews, but we must…as Atwater said…be more discreet in the current media era. Only the hicks, those who are or have latent tendencies to be racists, especially in the South where it is right there, palpable, just under the surface—only they will pick it up right away, pick up the old symbols and—know positively—what the commercials and speeches mean.
Blacks know, too. They are used to it. They understood the appeal to just enough lower-class, uneducated White voters to win elections. It takes very little to stir up the old animosities. Winning the South as a bloc lead to a changed balance of power. Now, the South was solid Republican. And so the Republican Party could begin to work on other lies.
The biggest lie, The Big Lie, was Reaganomics…the idea that you can cut taxes lower than the amount needed to run government but the amounts you cut will somehow be paid back by an expanding economy. If people have more of their own money to spend, it will increase the economy and increased tax revenues will result. Enough to pay back the tax cuts.
It was a fantasy. The national debt tripled in Reagan’s terms alone, then almost doubled again in only four years of Bush the First. Reagans’s economic argument was this: It is your money. You know how to spend it better than the government does. You will have more to spend, the economy will grow.
The economy grew. But only because the population grew. Under Reagan, unemployment averaged 7.5% for his whole term. In the subsequent Clinton era, we needed almost zero unemployment, increased taxes, a lot of budget efficiencies and a booming economy for the longest period of our history just to get the budget back in balance.
Yet Clinton was able to create, after a few years, a period of growth that averaged over 4%…after inflation…and a balanced budget. After the Recession of 1991-92 that he inherited from Bush the First. American family incomes grew by 14%, and African-American household incomes grew by one-third.
And the budget would have stayed in balance except that we elected a moron, a crony Capitalist and a war criminal to the White House in 2000. Two more tax cuts, two recessions and a Depression, two wars and a giant hundred-billion-dollar giveaway to the pharmaceutical companies and we now owe $17 trillion.
The cynicism, the utter disregard for human life that Lee Atwater embodied, still exists in the Republican Party. In fact, it has worsened. A billionaire-funded organization called the Tea Party Republicans will not allow no one to be nominated, in the South, or in any state unless he or she has fully demonstrated in some action, some verbiage, that he or she knows the “code.”
People like Congressman Louie Gohmert of Texas is typical. He rants on and on about the sloth of the unemployed, How they are so “lazy,” the code word since before 1865, first to describe slaves, later to describe Freedmen, who had no job nor skill nor education.
The culmination of all this barren intellectual effort was evident in 2008, when Republicans nominated an over-the-hill, genial but weak-minded candidate, Senator John McCain, (he finished almost dead last in his class at Annapolis) a war hero when the Vietnamese shot down his plane, who took on as the Vice Presidential candidate, what turned out to be little more than an ignorant, fluffy, little attention-seeking housewife-turned politician from Alaska.
Sarah Palin quickly displayed her total ignorance of all things governmental. She became such a national joke, so ridiculed by Democrats that she became the darling of that small core of unenlightened. Religious fundamentalist, anti-science, pro-carbon and deeply racist group in the Right Wing of the GOP. She resigned the governorship of Alaska after only two years and went on to make $25 million her first year working for the billionaires, the giant corporations, the Southern racists and Fox News.
Billionaires who own media companies and publishing companies will sell your books and put you on television but they want something in return. The Republican Party will support you as long as you attract the hicks and deliver the right message. And Sarah Palin is nothing if not a “media whore” as we now call people who seek constant attention on television, like Ann Coulter or Bill O’Reilly.
A little bit of racism, delivered now and then on the Fox News Channel is enough to pay back the debt.. Talking about the Snowden affair, Palin commented (where the Roger Ailes-written script indicated) that the President was leading from behind, that he was “lackadaisical” and acting as one would expect of a “community organizer.”
The word “lackadaisical” can easily be traced back to its use in old racist books and articles about slave and freedmen work habits. It is one of the easy code words to find. “Community organizer” is something new, a new racist implication. It must have been from one of the new, copywriters out of Hillsdale College or Liberty University. The idea of course is that someone like Barack Obama could only be qualified for a low-paid, low responsibility job in a “poor” (yes, meaning Black) neighborhood where people needed to be “organized” out of their lackadaisical habits.
So here we have the descendants of the slave traders and plantation owners, who imported slaves, beat and whipped and separated slaves from their families, sold slaves and kept them from any education under pain of violent reprisal. They are now the new South, post Reagan. The ownership society in the new Confederate south hasn’t had its fill of hatred for those that their ancestors imported from Africa, beat, enslaved and murdered.
Shouldn’t the Imported Americans be the ones to violently hate their White fellow citizens, and shouldn’t they be the ones underprivileged, discriminated against, thrown into virtual ghettos and treated with gross negligence to hate all White Americans with a hard, gemlike flame?
The new Tea Party and Neocon and Right Wing racists are as far from the traditions of the Old Radical Republicans like Lincoln and Grant and Teddy Roosevelt and Taft and Eisenhower as a professional wrestler is from a concert pianist. The only African-Americans they know are the ones who have some axe to grind for the Right Wing. There are some “Uncle Toms” around.
That is you must discriminate between someone who is black and has one set of values and someone who is black but totally different values. For example, the Republicans encouraged and many voted for a Republican Presidential Primary candidate named Herman Cain. Herman Cain must have some managerial skills. He was the President of a moderately sized but ostensibly successful pizza company
Herman Cain was quickly undressed by the media and other GOP candidates and shown to be a popular, genial and relatively intelligent man who knows next-to-nothing about politics or government. Cain took a traditional approach, earning his college degree at Morehouse, one of the original black universities, then a master’s degree at Purdue. He spent most of his career with major corporations in the food business, including Pillsbury where he was president of Godfathers pizza for ten years.
Van Jones took a different course. Raised in Tennessee, he was a lifelong Liberal and devotee of the Kennedy political legacy. He earned his degree at the University of Tennessee, Martin. He then became an advocate for free expression of ideas, developing media on college campuses and alternative media. He then went on to get his law degree from Yale. He became a legal advocate against police violence, against unequal jail sentences for black juveniles and for green issues.
Jones founded numerous NGOs involved with equality of opportunity and environmental issues. He was appointed in 2009 by President Obama to a special White House position on the creation of green jobs. Each man, Cain and Jones, applied his intelligence and effort to worthy causes. But each ended up on differing sides of the political spectrum. Their Skin color was irrelevant to their goals and achievements.
Some African-Americans, very few, have decided that a good way to get rich is to swallow their pride and join the Republican Party. It does seem strange to find African-Americans in a political party in which the underlying connection is that everyone in the Party has a disdain for and works against any legislation that would remotely help anyone who is Black.
Today, the rich oil men and the rich mining corporations and the very profitable pharmaceutical companies and the wildly profitable health insurance industry have literally purchased the legislators from the old Confederate states, the Deep South and the Old South. Purchased their support the way the great-grandfathers of the Southern Senators and Congressmen imported slaves and sold them in slave marketplaces…like cattle.
Republican legislators will tell you that things have never been better for those who have a good education and work hard. While it is true that people with a college education are now unemployed at a rate lower than full employment measurement rates, there are still about 9 to 10 million people unemployed as of August 2011. American unemployment is at 7.9%. Imported American—African-American unemployment is at 15.7%. There are about 28 million African-Americans in the U.S. population today and only about 15 million can find jobs.
African-Americans are lagging behind Whites in significant numbers in education, income, home ownership and employment. And they are not catching up, with average earnings only about two-thirds as much as Whites. Even with our foreclosure problems, about 1 out of 2 White Americans owns his own home. For African Americans it is 1 out of 5. Statistics don’t begin to tell the story of multi-generational poverty and ignorance and racism. You can be White and poor and still have a certain feeling of dignity. You can be Black and wealthy…or a President…and, as we have seen, can still experience insult and ridicule.
In the 1960s, we thought we had this racism thing whipped. The centuries-long disadvantages, to put it mildly, attached to being born Black had been recognized by a society mobilized for justice and equality after the death of President Kennedy. Our social awareness turned to social activism and Lyndon Johnson was just the kind of powerful legislator to get it done. By the mid=1960s legislation had been passed that gave African-Americans some small advantages in education and equality of opportunity in the search for a job.
The problem is that it was short lived. When Reagan was elected, his foreshadowing as a Right Winger, the speech against affirmative action in the very place in Mississippi where three Civil Rights workers were murdered turned out to be the way he would govern. After 375 years on this continent, 245 of which had been in slavery, 100 of which had been under Jim Crow, Ronald Reagan felt that 30 years of equal opportunity and affirmative action was enough to make thing right.
Was Reagan a racist? Lee Atwater was his campaign manager and later, while he was undisputed head of the Party, the Chairman of the Republican Party. He supported Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms, two of the biggest racists in U.S. history. He tried to have restrictions lifted on Bob Jones University for discriminatory policies against Blacks.
He lifted the affirmative action regulations that had enabled more Blacks to get government contracts. He reduced the number of Civil Right enforcement personnel at the Justice Department. He reduced federal aid to school lunches, (and defined ketchup as a vegetable) which at the time for some poor, mostly Black, children was their only hot mean of the day. (Remember, unemployment averaged…averaged…5% during Reagan’s Presidency…and Black net worth declined.)
And what was the outcome? How did Reagan’s making Blacks more responsible for their own actions, more self-reliant work out in practice? Because that is the only reason to do such things….unless you are a racist. They didn’t turn out so well.
Of the roughly 38 million Americans whom we call “poor” about half are White. About 9 million or 25% are Black. But the 17 million poor who are White make up about 10% of the White population. The 9 million who are Black not only make up 25% of the poor but they make up 25% of all Blacks. In other words one out of ten Whites is poor and one out of four Blacks is poor.
But it is much worse than even those numbers would indicate. The average White child attends an elementary school that is 78% White and only 30% of students could be classified as poor.. Statistically that means more property taxes, better buildings, facilities and teachers. It is just the way it is. Property taxes pay for schools. But Black students attend schools that are over half minority and two-thirds of students are from homes classified as under the poverty line.
The high schools where kids go to college are made up mostly of White kids (about 75%) and only about 11% of Black kids. As far as graduation rates go, Whites only graduate at about 75% of all attendees, but Blacks are lower, at about 50%. What are we doing with our society? If you want to ignore equality and fairness…you could still make the argument that, with 50% dropout rates for Blacks…we are perpetuating a welfare society.
So the question becomes this: do we want to keep Blacks from competing with Whites by maintaining a status quo in which they live in isolation, with poor schools, poor neighborhood infrastructure and wholesale poverty? Do we want to lead people into permanent poverty which leads to permanent crime which leads to imprisonment which leads us back to slavery? Are we simply collaborators with those who would enslave a whole race of people? Because that is what we are doing.
Today, the old Confederate idea of diverting attention of a real blight on society…enslaving other men for your own enrichment… by claiming the issue is really “states rights”…has returned. Today’s diversion is whether states and communities have the right to void affirmative action programs. Today’s diversion is to create the illusion of voter fraud to prohibit Black Americans from voting. The biggest fraud perpetrated on the American People these days is the idea that there is fraud. There is no voter fraud. That is a completely fabricated issue. There is less than a fraction of a percent of voter fraud anywhere in the country.
So how can our elected officials create laws that pretend that there is voter fraud and then try to strike it down with more restrictive voting procedures? It is done because our state legislatures have been co-opted by an organization called ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC is an alignment of forces who pander to racists in the South and in places like Oklahoma and Kansas and Missouri and Kentucky and West Virginia, where there are pockets of poor White bigotry that lie just under the surface and can be resurrected easily.
For those who don’t know, ALEC is an organization that was for many years secretly buying up the allegiance of state legislators. It is an organization composed of corporations that are or were instrumental in buying legislators, such as: Coca-Cola Corporation, Kaft Foods, MacDonald’s, Intuit (computerized tax preparation), Procter and Gamble, Wendy’s WalMart, Johnson and Johnson, John Deere, Dell Computers, Hewlett-Packard, Coors, Best Buy, General Motors, General Electric, the Dreyfus Fund, Western Union, Sprint, Bank of America, Merck, Unilever, Bristol Meyers Squibb, Publix Supermarkets, and the list goes on and on.
Everyone you thought cared about you is buying your legislators by sending them on luxury vacations to Palm Springs and high-end resorts while literally handing them laws to submit to stop anti-pollution measures, correct invisible voter fraud, putting guns in schools, training cops to be a private enforcement team to stop strikes or put down public demonstrations.
Remember the old quote from Martin Niemoller about the Nazis? Niemoller was a prominent protestant pastor in Germany during the Nazi era. He is most famous for this quote:
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.
Now they are coming for the Blacks and you had better speak up for them. You had better join them. You had better march for them, shout for their welfare, for their education, for a living wage to sustain them until we can make up for 375 years of oppressing and hating them.
You may think that you are safe. But Fascists…and make no mistake…these people are the new Fascists, Neo-Fascists, with their new Atwater and Rove techniques…and they will come for you next if you are not a target already.
The legislators working for ALEC, which, by the way, includes the governor of Wisconsin and a prominent Republican, Kirk Dillard, running for governor of Illinois, will tell you that the poor (Blacks) are lazy and shiftless. But, beware. We now have 38 million people who have become poor, and thanks to these people, millions more become poor every year. They are coming for you.
Yes, of course Blacks are lazy and shiftless. Let’s see who they are. They are men who work for the city, taking the bus to work at 5 a.m. to assemble in crews to sweep the streets. They are men’s room attendants who work from 5 p.m. until 2 a.m and then take the last bus home. They are dishwashers and garbage collectors and the men who mop the floors and clean the toilets. Does that sound lazy to you?
It sounds oppressive. A good job for an African-American is a government job, or an assembly line job , or a job carrying the mail in all kinds of weather. For the most part…don’t use Colin Powell as an example, nor Barack Obama either…for the most part African-Americans work in less than middle class jobs, make less than middle class wages and are not given the tools to climb out of lower class status.
American Aparteid is not over. But groups like ALEC and the Right Wing of the Republican Party would like you to think that it is. African-American persecution is on the rise. The only difference today is that now—unlike previous generations—because of instant communications—they must really include the poor this time. That is not good news for African-Americans. More poor does not make you wealthier. If you are at the bottom rung of the ladder, it makes no difference how high or how low it goes.
This time, we have a group of Right Wingers, Neoconservatives, calling themselves Republicans. But they are not Republicans at all in the traditional sense. They are hyper conservatives, trolling for table scraps from the billionaire corporation owners, that rarified air, where the only smell is that of money. They bow down, on their knees before the international corporations and their lobbyists.
The Right Wing has spawned an even further Right group. The Tea Party was a bunch of cranks and misfits who came out in 2009 against more taxes. Of course, President Obama did not raise taxes on these people, or actually anyone as it turned out. But these radical non-thinkers, who argued against health care under government control (which was never even considered by Congress) carried signs that read: “Hands Off My Medicare” (a government run system).
Developed into large assemblies by organizers at FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity, Koch Family funded racist organizations, the Tea Party members also carried racist signs and insulting racist cartoon images of the President in their demonstrations. These overt images by the somewhat cloddish, elderly stooges were soon replaced by more sophisticated presentations with busloads of people being brought into Koch Brothers organized rallies in Washington.
And what were these rallies against? Well, if you were a billionaire and hated giving large sums to the government you would organize morons to demonstrate against—taxes! While paying less than 20% of their income to the government, the billionaires saw taxes as an issue that the clods could be induced to rail against. Meanwhile, for lack of revenue, the very roads and bridges they traveled on crumbled beneath them on their way to demonstrate.
And how do these organizations survive? Is it the pure hatred of taxes or the prospect of a Medicare-like system replacing private health care premiums of $15,000 per year or more (if you can even get health insurance?) No. It is the debilitating American weakness, the subliminal idea that if we help society, we are helping African-Americans, whom the Right Wing—a racist organization for its own economic reasons—have successfully portrayed as lazy, shiftless, or “lackadaisical” if you prefer.
Do you really think that Blacks don’t want to work? Would you risk your life for a job, for a good income? Black Americans, who now make up ever larger segments of the military and police forces, also make up a large percentage of drug dealers…real drug dealers, not penny ante marijuana peddlers.
These people don’t take drugs. They sell drugs–heroin and cocaine. It is a dangerous business. They die at much earlier ages and in much greater numbers than even the average Black man, who has a much shorter life span than a White American male. They don’t do it to deliberately hurt other African-Americans. They do it for the money.
African-Americans play sports with a view to making a living at it. Why? Because experience tells them that they will not be able to compete in the educated and skilled jobs because the system, as it is now, does not show them that it works. To become a professional athlete is not like becoming a good amateur athlete. It takes dedication and sacrifice. Even with the greatest dedication, only a few make it to professional status.
Why can’t we change a system that rewards athletic prowess but requires at least minimum academic achievement? Would it not be better to have 600 college graduates who could return to their old neighborhoods and build them up than to have one superstar who would build a civic center and basketball court…or even a medical clinic? We need educated Black men to raise the average income of African-Americans. We do not need one superstar whose $30 million a year contract raises the median income beyond anything representative of the truth.
We must consider what constitutes wealth for the average family and the average family is not one that has a major league baseball player as the breadwinner. Wealth in most families means a good income, home ownership with enough equity not to be in danger of losing it, a good education, and inherited or family wealth, something to fall back on in bad times. Very little of that is present in African-American society.
But it is not personal characteristics that have caused a tripling of the wealth gap between Black and White families over the past 25 years. That increasing gap has come from government policies and from deeply entrenched social habits. For example, the economic policies of the Bush Administration led to a real estate crash that caused, thus far, foreclosure on 10.9 million homes. While there were more White families foreclosed than Blacks, as one would expect, the rate of foreclosure for Blacks was twice that of White families.
During the period of 2007-2009, studies showed that while White families lost an average of 12% of their net worth, Black families lost almost half of their entire net worth. This was because much of it was in newly acquired real estate, purchased at high prices, with expensive mortgages, as African-Americans, as White Americans have in past eras, tried to gain an economic foothold through that most common of investments, the residential home.
Foreclosures have an impact on more than individual wealth. We have seen that in Black communities around the country foreclosures have been disastrous for entire neighborhoods. Across the country, over $1 trillion in property losses have been experienced in African-American communities alone. We all know the story of Detroit, how property losses and subsequent lack of property tax revenue actually forced the city into bankruptcy.
So the facts are pretty clear. The Imported Americans never recovered from slavery. They made no gains during Reconstruction. And in the years since the initiation of Civil Rights legislation, only the 1960s and 1970s, and the Clinton years were years of advancement. Those advances were wiped out in the Bush years.
The Republicans of the 19th Century who fought for abolition of slavery, who died for it in the Civil War, no longer exist. They have absorbed the old Dixiecrat Party and now have a new Tea Party wing, which is even more anti-government and more racist.
Today’s “Republican Party” the Neocons, are merely a subservient organization to the giant global corporations who were founded here, but now in many cases are headquartered off shore. These large international corporations have paid off the Republicans to cut government regulations, reduce corporate taxes, eliminate rules on safety and pollution, give no-bid contracts to military contractors and promise to cut Social Security, privatize Medicare and reduce wages to less than $8.00 an hour. The evidence is quite clear. One need only visit the web site, ALECEXPOSED.org.
Here’s where everything converges. The same kinds of people as those who imported and sold or owned slaves are still around. It is no longer legal to own slaves, but they are trying to do the next best thing for their own self-interest—create slave labor conditions.
We now have some ability to survive, so, instead of 1 of 4 out of work as in the Depression, today only 9 people out of a hundred are out of work—but 15 African-Americans out of a hundred are out of work. One of the questions we need to ask ourselves is why would those 15 out of a hundred who are out of work be any different from the 85 who are employed? There is proof that we have created an economy that has only one job for every 5 individuals who apply. But where is the evidence that the 15 Blacks out of a hundred who can’t get that job are lazy? There is none.
The racism is still there. Mississippi wants to honor a Klu Klux Klan member on a state license plate. The Carolinas fly Confederate flags over their state capitols. They insult the President of the United States and encourage all Americans to arm themselves, even to carry weapons into college classrooms, churches and elementary schools. These people we used to call “nuts” or “fruitcakes.” They’re back.
They have found friends among the very rich. Just as they would sell human beings for a price, now they will sell the truth…tell a lie…for a price. And the rich overpay. They had no idea how little these little people would have taken merely to have the right to lie on television or radio…the celebrity itself might have been enough. Rush Limbaugh’s and Glenn Beck’s single most dominant feature prior to selling out to the rich was their consistent and pervading failure at everything. Each one’s most dominant identifying characteristic was failure.
Now they have found a certain notoriety and wealth by lying about health care. The legislators they promote are those who are bribed to vote against health care. They are told what to say about taxes and they say repeat it endlessly. They support the health insurance industry which is raping the citizens of the United States.
The Right Wing Republican party organization works tirelessly behind the scenes to create contracts for the favored Republican lobbyists on K Street who pay them the bribes. And they act in 2013 with the same stone-cold attitude of the slave traders. Neocons are trading in the slave business philosophy…the idea that you can take all the money in the Treasury and give it to the rich in tax rebates and then you can cut the salaries of Federal and State employees in order to pay for it.
And the Imported Americans continue to fall behind. They drop out of school at twice the rate of Whites. One out of four Black men who drop out of high school will end up in jail before they are 24 years old. They never get an education and never find a meaningful job. And so they repeat the cycle, fathering children out of wedlock because they have no career, no permanent job, no way to afford a wife and children in what Whites would call a normal setting.
In 2009, the Neo-Fascists in the Republican Party took over $400 million in campaign contributions, in that one year alone, from the health care industry to vote against the health care reform bill. It was not merely the pandering to the corporations. The Republicans have been doing that for a long time. The idea was to break the back of health care reform that would remove one more way that corporations and Southern states have to hold down African-Americans. If you have no health care, or if it costs you an inordinate percentage of your meager salary, then you have control.
And who led the charge against health care reform? The South. The Southern Republicans fought it hard and long. It passed the Senate and then passed in the House by only two votes. Nothing that makes Blacks stronger physically or financially is good for the Southern Wing of the Repulblican Party, or so they think.
The Neo-Fascists took the side of the hugely profitable health insurance industry against the needs of the People. That was specific but it was also symbolic. They were saying to those Southern supporters…we are doing this to put down the “freeloaders” the Blacks whom they want to subjugate. It isn’t necessary to see a Confederate flag flying on every Congressman’s limousine to know that their constituency—the rich and the bigots—want the poor to remain poor…low wages, few benefits…beholden to the “company store.”
Now the Republicans want to repeal health care. They have voted in the House of Representatives 38 times to repeal health care. But the Senate and the President will never let that happen. Blacks are a big part of the reason. Those with incomes up to $24, 352 for a family of three will be eligible for Medicaid. That is an increase of 4 million people who are not now insured. African Americans are uninsured at a rate twice that of White families.
Health care is a pivotal issue. The Neocons had complete control of Congress for 8 years. They have had control of the House of Representatives for at least 10 years of the last 12. They did nothing about health care reform while premiums were rising at 20% per year and medical emergencies were bankrupting half a million people a year. At the same time the Bush Neocon Republicans prevented desperate seniors, with huge drug costs from traveling to Canada or Mexico where drugs were regularly 50% cheaper and sometime 100% cheaper!
The question is this: do you want to trust your income and your benefits and your Social Security to those who have proved that they see you no differently from the way their ancestors looked at their slaves? Can you trust people who hold slavery and cruel and brutish attacks on innocent citizens, as the Klan did, as something to be admired? Would you recognize a KKK leader as someone to be put on a state’s license plate with admiration?
As we get closer to implementation of the ACA, the October 1 enrollment period, the GOP Neo-Fascists are doing their best to scare the American public. In Indiana, the Neo-Facist Republican Insurance commissioner says that prices will go up by 72% in the state that was the former national headquarters of the KluKluxKlan. Of course that is a lie.
In Georgia, the Republican Neo-Fascist insurance commissioner says that Obamacare will cost an additional 198%. That is not only a lie…premiums will go down…but it is preposterous. You see the same lies that you saw about African-Americans. The Republicans are desperately trying to persuade us that it will cost too much, just as they have tried to persuade us that welfare is all about lack of ambition.
Last year, prices went up in California by 39%. Elsewhere they went up 29% and sometimes as much as 60%. Why? Not just because they can get away with it. They have done it so that when they are in the new exchanges mandated by the ACA (Obamacare) they can bring those prices down but they will still be higher than last year’s prices. They can try this, but it won’t work. Prices will come down.
The reality is that health insurance exchanges will bring costs down. How do we know? We have a test. It is called, strangely enough, Romneycare. In Massachusetts at a cost of less than 1% of the state budget, good, low-cost health insurance is offered with subsidies to people up to 133% of the poverty level. This includes many African Americans. Fewer than 2% of people in Massachusetts are without health care insurance versus 16% (some say higher than that) nation wide.
The Neo-Fascist Republican plantation owners want to tailor the messages, to make the American slaves the victims because of their “lackadaisical” attitude towards life. The propagandists for the plantation owners, with their hundreds of daily television and radio broadcasts spread the lies about totally invented “death panels” and “government takeover of health care.” Of course it is not true and never will be true.
Hospital chains and some pharmaceutical companies know how much money they stand to lose. Health care is approximately a $2.5 trillion annual industry in the United States. A large percentage of that money will go directly from their very expensive bank accounts into the pockets of American citizens in health care savings—as has happened already in pharmaceutical drugs for seniors–as soon as this legislation takes hold completely. That is why they are fighting so hard for “repeal.” They have inflated costs and the excess profits go in their pockets.
There is no difference between these people and the plantation owners and the slave traders. These are exactly the same kinds of people. Now they want to extend their ownership of more than merely people with Black skin and African heritage. They want to own everyone. They want to control your health care, your wages, the equity in your home, your child’s education and how much government you can have, even if—as with Social Security—you have paid for it.
In the New Slavery era, beginning in 2001, our Republican plantation owners have given us two fruitless, costly wars and sent the poor to fight them. They have twice or more cut taxes for the rich and created laws to enable corporations to pay no taxes at all. We have borrowed money from China, supposedly a Communist dictatorship with whom our Masters have aligned us to pay for these tax cuts and wars. They have purchased, with this borrowed money a greater military establishment than the rest of the world combined.
Yet, we lost to our Republican plantation owners about $7.5 trillion of our net worth, and half of the net worth of African-Americans, setting them back about 35 years compared to White Americans. We have some 15 million people out of work, including about 20% of African-Americans.
U.S. corporations do not hire Americans but open plants in Brazil, India and China. The Republican plantation culture provides $800 billion in tax cuts to the rich while at the same time cutting heating fuel subsidies for the poor, and cutting food stamps for millions of Americans who now must go to over-burdened charities to survive.
Our new masters, the plantation owners of the new slavery, the Neo-Fascists, the Republican Tea Party Masters have returned the Klan in the form of ALEC to oppress and control the lives of the “poor. “ The Poor, that class of Americans who are lazy and who love the idea of living on half the amount of money it takes to survive. Just as the slaves of their forefathers loved to work in the fields in the searing heat, loved to be whipped and chained.
But before we moan about our own lack of political will, and whine about ALEC taking over statehouse after statehouse, we need to remember our past. America condoned slavery, we ignored the Imported Americans for 375 years. If we right that wrong first, then we can move forward. Our first job, before or simultaneous with ending the aggressive plantation culture of the Republican Neo-Fascists is to attack the problems of the Imported Americans—the African-American communities of this country.
We need to end poor schools. We need to provide security. We need to create industry and jobs and small businesses owned by Blacks. We need to create economic opportunity for Blacks and that tide will raise all boats. We may not have personally imported human beings, but our country did and we now must pay the bill. But that bill will create an economy that will create equality and economic growth at the same time.