about the smoke and fog spewed by corporate media and chattering
consultants of all colors. Let us begin with a stark forecast: The
Democratic Party primaries must result in a national ticket that
is fit for Black participation. If the party cannot loosen the fatal
grip of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) - the Republican
wing of the party - it will die. Black voters and their allies will
either purge the DLC from national influence this primary season,
or leave the Democrats to spiral into deserved oblivion.
is what the polling data actually foretell - not an incipient Black
conservatism, but levels of frustration with the national Democratic
Party so high among Blacks that one more betrayal will likely spark
a massive exit, even if the destination is... nowhere, the
negative alternative that has already been chosen by a huge chuck
of younger African Americans.
and foremost, Black participation hinges on denying the presidential
nomination to the dreadful, racist Senator Joseph Lieberman (CT),
the DLC's champion. He will soon be recognized as wholly unacceptable
to Black voters, who are the progressive mass base of the party,
and to anti-war voters, a majority sentiment within the ranks at
this time, nationwide.
and the DLC spell electoral non-participation by Blacks. Therefore,
he and his ilk are the enemies of all those who seek the broadest,
most intense political involvement of African Americans in national
life. There can be no compromise with people who poison the political
well. Cohabitation with Rightists and racists means death to the
percent of Black voters participate in national elections as Democrats.
Therefore, the Democratic Party and its primaries are the
field of national electoral expression for Black people as a whole.
It is where the bulk of the people are - for now. In a fundamental
sense, African Americans work out their political yearnings and
programs through the mechanisms of the Democratic Party. If the
political house is unwholesome, polluted with the unmistakable odors
of white supremacy and Black sycophancy, African Americans recoil
as one body.
believe otherwise is to misread history - which is the norm in a
society that prefers to operate on a succession of lies. No group
turned more quickly and dramatically to the promise of Democratic
liberalism than Black Americans. It is on the residual strength
of the promise of inclusive, progressive Democratic politics that
Blacks have remained solidly Democratic since completing the transition
en masse and in the political blink of an eye four decades
loyalty to Democratic Party structures has been misinterpreted as
inertia - a racist conclusion that implies laziness of thought and
action. This false reading of African American motives and intelligence
has led whites in the Party - and some Black operatives - to miscalculate
the cumulative effects of the savage compromises that have been
foisted on Black Democrats since Jimmy Carter's "New South"
term in the White House. Assuming that Blacks will "stay"
simply because they have nowhere else to "go," national
Democrats refuse to understand that Rev. Al Sharpton's support derives
from deep anger and heartfelt disappointment, not with Trent Lott
and the White Man's Party, but with them. Sharpton is dismissed
as a mere showman, in effect relegating Black voters to the status
of an Apollo Theater crowd on amateur night. The expectation appears
to be that Sharpton and his supporters will make a lot of noise,
attain emotional release, and return meekly to the fold.
Democratic Party and its consultants grossly underestimate Black
capacity for decisive action, ignoring the sea changes that have
swept over the Black body politic in the past. More specifically,
they underestimate Rev. Sharpton, who has no personal stake in the
Democratic Party's institutionalized structures of Black mollification
and is the sworn foe of the Democratic Leadership Council.
Sharpton tells Village
Voice writer Thulani Davis, "Many people who are running,
in my judgment, are to the right of Republicans," he is speaking
most directly about Sen. Joseph Lieberman and the DLC. When Sharpton
declares that he is in a battle for "the soul of the Democratic
Party" he means he is running against the existing structures
that have brought the Party "to the right, not the center."
And when polls show that Sharpton will capture Black majorities
in the primaries, that means masses of African Americans agree with
his assessment of the Party and are as anxious as he is to disassemble
its racist components. Huge numbers will follow Sharpton despite
his perm, because they know that he "speaks truth to power,"
an esteemed quality among African Americans, the most sophisticated
electorate in America.
Sharpton will not tolerate the influence, much less nomination,
of Lieberman, the standard bearer for all that is wrong with the
Democratic Party. Sharpton will treat Lieberman as the Republican
that he is, methodically "outing" the devious crypto-racist
in terms that no amount of corporate media ridicule and distortion
can obscure. It is at that point, in the heat of foreign conflict
and domestic anxiety, that the Black public will approach a sea
change in their perception of the Democratic Party.
future of the Party will then be in the hands, not of Rev. Al Sharpton
who does not seek to destroy it, but of the men and women who have
disrespected Black voters for the better part of a lifetime. They
can have a Party crippled by Lieberman's DLC, or they can retain
a Sharptonized Black electorate. But they can't have both.
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