Watergate, South?
Move over, Oprah
Return to sender

Dear Reader,

Rep. Cynthia McKinney's loss resonated deeply among Blacks and progressives - and thrilled the opposition, a segment of which appears to scour the Internet in search of sites to rant at. This is strange behavior. Although 's publishers have spent many decades in electronic and print media, the find-the-enemy-and-scream syndrome continues to amaze us. Someone should do a paper on the subject.

A dilemma arises, however, from a set of hostile and often mean spirited writers who, nevertheless, manage to touch on interesting points - if only by accident. These are puzzling types, the kind who should know they don't belong in the conversation, but who chime in anyway. Occasionally, these people skirt the edges of sense closely enough that we feel compelled to share their letters with you.

We'll save that (short) list for the latter part of this column. First, letters from our writers in-their-right-minds.

Erik Nelson brought to our attention events that he believes contributed to Rep. McKinney's defeat, August 20.

I'd like to make sure you are aware that the Cynthia McKinney campaign was, in fact, sabotaged. I received an email from her campaign describing how Labor Union headquarters were ransacked the night before the election. The burglars stole 31 phones which were to be used to get out the vote; replacement phones did not arrive until late afternoon, near the close of the polls. Moreover, keys to 10 campaign vans disappeared the morning of the election, preventing campaign workers from canvassing neighborhoods and transporting voters to the booths. Does not this warrant an investigation?

We replied that Watergate also began as a "third-rate burglary." Call the law, by all means. It would, however, have required much more than ten vans and some phones to reverse the solid white tide, reinforced by a disaffected 30% of African American voters. Vastly more political vigilance is necessary, if the Hard Right is to be prevented from sneaking into the house, as it did in 4th district of Georgia.

A few of our most articulate writers insist on anonymity, which is irritating. However, in the interest of the free flow of thought, we allow them to keep the veil.

I thank you for your article about the Hard Right attack on Cynthia McKinney. Finally someone has noticed that the whole situation, while trying to appear like it was about what she SAYS, was really about how she VOTES liberally on issues, especially on issues of concern to the whole economic spectrum of black voters (social security, prescription drugs, the environment, affirmative action, economic issues, and the America-Israel situation). One local alternative paper endorsed Majette after saying that they agreed with McKinney on (almost) every single issue that she has voted on over the past several years. Also there were Majette signs every couple of blocks, and a concerted TV ad campaign. How did a political unknown get that much money?

One thing about it, those Majette signs have now come down. The Hard Right, and their 35,000 voters that effectively decided a race that was won by 20,000 votes may win this one outright. I believe they are going to cross right back over to their own side in November and, helped along by a disenfranchised working class black vote who might stay away (only hurting other vulnerable democrats in statewide contests), they could win a majority democrat district, which would be a shame, but a brilliant strategy. For whatever it's worth, I am a black middle class voter in DeKalb county's 4th district.

Anonymous? We bet half of the county recognizes this person's distinctive voice.

McKinney's magic was working in Bourbon, Missouri, enthralling Leona Heitsch.

McKinney was the only person, outside of [Congresswoman Barbara] Lee in California who stood up to Bush and his right wing cabal. This is one left wing WASP from Missouri who was championing McKinney and sooo disgusted with the machinations that took her out of the House. She is so good. I contributed to her election campaign and wish I could have done more. She needs to stay in the public eye and I wonder if Oprah or somebody couldn't help her set up her own political talk show. Cynthia just can't shut up. She may be the only one with the courage to speak up and save this country, and the whole world from the greedy oil conglomerate Bush represents.

G.E.Williams, Sr. writes from Savannah, Georgia. His is an historical perspective.

Once again the tricks of slavery have tricked us again. Because a white man says he does not like the honest and direct outspokenness of Ms. McKinney, some weak minded pawn jumps at the opportunity to please "Massa". When will we as a people realize that we will never be treated as or looked upon as equals by the small minded racists of this country? Once we come to that realization, we will stop being pawns in destroying our own race. We still have the slave mentality that kept us in bondage well after slavery ended. Some of us are still slaves because we still have that overwhelming desire to please "massa" at the cost of our brothers and sisters.

There have been too many people, black and white, that have paid the ultimate price to finally end slavery. The modern day slavery we face is no different than that of the past. The tools of the game are the same; divide and conquer, treat some better than others and lie to all of us. Cynthia McKinney, will be alright, she will survive! We must encourage, support and stand with her in this war. Just as stated earlier, she is not the last black leader that will come under such an attack. We must see things as they really are and not as the "magicians" desire us to. Ms. Mckinney, Stay Strong, Stay Safe, Stay Black!

Pam Allee thinks well of this publication and is therefore, by definition, extremely intelligent. She is also a decisive personality:

My partner sent me Mr. Ford's letter beginning "Fight on, Sister McKinney." I had to stop in the middle of reading it and subscribe. I haven't read such right-on, directly spoken truth for a very long time. Thank you very much. What a treasure is.

Mr. Ford and co-publisher Peter Gamble are appreciative.

It's also good to know that those who disrespect the sensibilities and dignity of Black folk are not welcome in the presence of Bob Anderson, of Earlsboro, Oklahoma.

Randall Kennedy's book is not worth reading and certainly not worth buying. However, individuals of Kennedy's mentality must be monitored to let the Black world know who among the Black race are traitors. Kennedy ought to try writing a book on character; I bet he would discover that he has none.

Messages from the margins

Now that the sane, progressive people have had their say, let's deal with the problem writers.

This publication believes that readers should be treated with respect. Each email is accepted as an outstretched hand of greeting; good intentions are assumed as a given, and we are secure enough in our presentation to accept criticism. An important part of our mission is to provoke debate among Blacks and progressives.

It is both unseemly and unwise to edit out all negative response; serious politics is not a love fest.

So, what do you do with someone like R. Jones?

You just don't get it! Why is it so difficult to understand why, and that, Cynthia lost? It reminds me a lot of those loyal Confederates - after all these years - they still can't accept the fact that they were defeated.

Unfortunately, your rhetoric is unmatched by empirical data to support your claims. For example, give me some statistical demographics of the voting patterns in the Fourth District and show how it impacted the outcome of the election.

Jones has just made it almost certain that his letter won't be published, not because he disagrees with us, but because he does not address the issues discussed.

The commentary, "Cynthia McKinney's Honorable Defeat," was concerned with the general behavior of the district's Black and white vote, and the scope and source of challenger Denise Majette's African American support. Majette won one mostly Black precinct, and our research indicates she could not have picked up more than 30% of the total Black vote. This, and the widely accepted figure of around 90% white support for Majette, is all the data necessary to make our point: that Majette was not backed by a majority of even the Black "middle class," and her victory is essentially a white electoral triumph. Complex questions flow from these conclusions, but the factual basis is simple.

The data provided is not enough for R. Jones, who wants to talk about something else. He clearly revels in the rightwing victory, cackling on about how "the voters emphatically expressed themselves and we'll just have to learn to live with the results," before snidely wishing McKinney well.

Jones is not a person you want to spend time with, if you are the kind of reader we think you are. We have made you aware of Mr. Jones' existence, only as a means of explaining why you won't see his type of letter in our e-Mailbox. (This is a one-time exercise.)

John Cook represents a slightly different problem. Responding to a Guest Commentary by Dr. A. Chika Onyeani, Cook begins his letter as if with compassion for the people of Africa:

I hope that you will read this article to its writer when those 11,000,000 Zimbabweans starve because of what is going to happen there. They have taken the land from those who will produce [the whites] and given it to those who don't know how to. Because of the accompanying hunger the wild life of Zimbabwe may be completely destroyed from poaching for food. Like Zaire's [he means Zambia's] refusal to accept the 500,000 tons of our genetically altered farm products, we are going to see a horrible cost of life due to the arrogance of the leadership in those African countries.

Cook drops the words "those African countries" in the same way that others mouth the phrase, "you/those people." Then, the punch line:

Before Ghana threw off the yolk of colonialism its economy was 4 times greater then that of South Korea. Now its economy is 1/24 of South Korea. I wonder if you will have the courage to report on the results of this "return" of land in say a year.

We don't entertain the opinions and racist subtexts of those who yearn for a return to colonialism. We don't believe our readers care what they think, either. No assemblage of "facts," no amount of repetitive crimes by leaders or usurpers in Africa or the Diaspora can legitimize white minority rule, privilege or ill-gotten property. You won't hear from Cook and his ilk in these pages, again.

The exercise is over.

No, we don't publish all of the mail. We have too much respect for you to do that.

Keep writing.

Your comments are welcome. Visit the Contact Us page for E-mail or Feedback.




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Other commentaries in this issue:

The Trojan Horse Watch:
Identify, expose and defeat Black stealth candidates

How Sister McKinney Lost
and what we can learn from it by Bruce A. Dixon, Guest Commentator

Misreading the Zimbabwe Crisis: by Bill Derman and John Metzler, Guest Commentators

A letter to our readers: CIA-Crack website is back... Coca-Cola kills... Smallpox: none of the nurses' business... Victory in St. Louis, Setback in New Orleans

Commentaries in Issue 11 September 5, 2002:

Cynthia McKinney's Honorable Defeat: The Hard Right's New Black Strategy rolls on

America Held Hostage - by Bush: Public safety doled out for a political price

E-MailBox: Randall Kennedy and bad whiskey… McKinney: pain, sorrow and anger… Dr. Onyeani challenged on Zimbabwe… Offer to buy out The Black Commentator

A letter to our readers: Mugabe in the cross-hairs

You can read any past issue of The Black Commentator in its entirety on the Past Issues page.