results of mini Super Tuesday are in, and the winner is Joe Biden.
The loser, at least for now, is the movement. We can’t proclaim
with absolute certainty who the Democratic nominee for president will
be, though it appears it is Joe Biden’s to lose.
wasn’t supposed to be this way. The field of Democratic
candidates started out as a diverse group, and historically so, with
a sizable numbers of people of color, women, and a few change agents,
along with a liberal sprinkling of mediocrity, empty suits and decoys
dishing out non sequiturs and empty platitudes, and a couple of
billionaires who came ready to purchase the election with bags of
money. And now the apparent winner of this reality show contest is
Joe Biden, a man who was left for dead just two hours ago, even by
the party establishment, and whose political career was quickly
salvaged from the ashes upon his third presidential run in 30 years.
this your king?” as the young black folk--the millennials who
are future of this country--would ask. When you are fighting against
white supremacy in the Oval Office, and you must defeat the rise of
neo-fascism on American soil before it consumes all of us, and before
more black and brown children are kidnaped, locked in cages and
covered in Reynolds wrap, ask yourself this question: What is the
goal? What are we getting at here? Is the endgame to go back to
normalcy, like the good ol’ days? Or can we acknowledge that
those days were not so good, and were a nightmare for many of us,
which led to the nightmare we are experiencing now?
we walk and chew gum at the same time, and realize that we must
eliminate Trump, but also understand we must eradicate the conditions
that produced Trump? Trump is not the cause of the disease but rather
the symptom of a coronavirus that has infected the body politic for
years. Get rid of him, and he comes right back unless you acknowledge
the systemic flaws in the system, reform them, or just burn the whole
damn thing down. This is what some candidates such as Elizabeth
Warren and Bernie Sanders have understood, while moderates such as
Biden have proclaimed “nothing
would fundamentally change”
under his administration.
it possible to fight white supremacy with mediocre white moderation
and milquetoast mayonnaise centrism? The white moderates that Dr.
King so eloquently spoke of would have us believe that. They would
have us believe that with the urgent and overarching need to remove
Trump, we should forgo any calls for economic and racial justice, and
wait until a more convenient season.
many people committed to social justice, this campaign is turning
into a grave disappointment. But despair not, as there is opportunity
in crisis. This election year is bringing so many realities to light,
and providing valuable lessons for those who care to open their eyes
and learn from them.
revolution does not come every four years. Some folks try to
organize every four years when election season rolls around, not
understanding the struggle for justice and social change is a
nonstop, 24-7 endeavor. However important, the presidency is not the
only venue to bring about a transformation in government and in
society. From the federal races to the state and local contests all
the way down to the campaign for dog catcher, the movement must
insert itself, run candidates, energize and inspire people, and
register people to vote.
Democratic establishment and the movement may have irreconcilable
differences, and that’s ok.
While it is crucial to snatch the government from Trumpism in 2020,
there is a fight for the soul of the Democratic Party taking place
here. When South Carolina Congressman James Clyburn endorsed Biden,
and called the former vice president an honorary black man. it
appeared heartfelt, and maybe it was. However, it was also
transactional. And Clyburn is a veteran of the civil rights struggles
and should be honored for that. But we must also acknowledge that
Clyburn, who has taken $1
in contributions from Big Pharma, feels a sense of kinship to Biden,
who, like Clyburn, opposes Medicare for All and is beholden
to healthcare lobbyists.
That is not to say that Clyburn or Biden are bad people or somehow
stand alone in this regard.
Democratic establishment, like their Republican counterparts, suffer
from the corrupting affliction of money in politics. The Big Oil
money funneled to the Democrats stands in the way of a bold,
aggressive Green New Deal to save the planet from the ravages of
climate change. The Wall Street donors, the banks and credit card
companies, will not allow government to save students,
disproportionately black, who suffer from the crippling debt of
predatory student loans.
the beginning of the campaign, the Democratic Party’s Wall
Street sponsors made it clear that they would not tolerate
then-frontrunner Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders as president,
preferring four more years of fascism to a democratic socialist,
social democratic or otherwise left-leaning and progressive president
who would mess with their money and make them pay billions--no,
trillions-- in taxes, and unleashing Dr. King’s “radical
revolution of values.”
black voters and you’ll get your feelings hurt. Black
voters vote their interests, so don’t disrespect them for not
voting your way. More than any other group, African Americans know
what is at stake in this election. And in their case, their very
lives are hanging in the balance. While some younger black voters
gravitated towards Bernie and Warren, older folks preferred Biden
because he reminds them of Obama, or because they thought he provides
the best chance of getting Trump’s boot off our collective
neck. Perhaps the Sanders campaign didn’t show up and refused
to court their vote. When Sanders bailed on the Selma commemoration
and passed up the opportunity to campaign with Mayor Chokwe Antar
Lumumba in Jackson, it sends a message that black folks, particularly
in the South don’t matter to you. It’s hard to make that
up with a Flint town hall with Cornel West when the damage is already
done and you then proceed to lose Michigan. And reaching black voters
means more than offering criminal justice reform.
all his troubling policies that have harmed black people, and the
problematic comments—the crime bill, Anita Hill and Clarence
Thomas, Corn Pop, illiterate black parents and their record players,
the poor kids who are just as talented as the white kids, etc.—
he still wins the black vote. Biden opposed school busing and broke
bead with white segregationist lawmakers in the Senate, back in the
old days of “civility.” Senators Kamala Harris and Cory
Booker called him out on his segregation stance, but now they endorse
him, so go figure.
happens in November, the struggle continues. While we must remove
Trump, we also must remove money out of politics, whether it be the
Democrats or the GOP. The movement for social justice must force the
Democrats to change, and that is whether the movement takes over the
Democratic party or operates outside of it. But change will come.
They say don’t mourn, organize! Well, it is fine to mourn.
Mourn because it is therapeutic, and it will help us get to the next
place where there will be more victories and happiness. But then we
must get to work.
Democrats and progressives, are you ready to jump aboard this Joe
Biden Malarkey Express?