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.
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.
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 Party.
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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