In the Bag – Mixed Race, Black, and Latino Leadership

In the Bag

“There’s a sucker born every minute.” – P.T. Barnum

Once again people-of-color (POC) are at a precipice. Like lemmings staring down into the abyss, the overwhelming majority of mixed race, brown and black people are prepared to jump and drown themselves in a sea of election rhetoric, lies, and deceit.

Comparatively, the classic lemming fable was fiction. Tragically, the POC story is embedded in reality, and in a creepy ironic twist, led by political rats – resembling human beings.

Political suicide ain’t pretty to watch. I’ve witnessed some memorable ones in my time. The latest, the Black Congressional Caucus PAC endorsement of Hillary Clinton. Latino leadership will inevitably follow. The notable exceptions to this blind indulgence were co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Keith Ellison, Rep. D-MN., and Raul Grijalva, Rep. D-AZ., and Barbara Lee, Rep. D-CA.

Remarking on the sanction, Lee Fang of the Intercept wrote:

“…members of the CBC PAC Board include Daron Watts, a lobbyist for Purdue Pharma, the makers of highly addictive opioid OxyContin; Mike McKay and Chaka Burgess, both lobbyists for Navient, the student loan giant that was spun off of Sallie Mae; former Rep. Al Wynn, D-Md., a lobbyist who represents a range of clients, including work last year on behalf of Lorillard Tobacco, the makers of Newport cigarettes; and William A. Kirk, who lobbies for a cigar industry trade group on a range of tobacco regulations. And a significant percentage of the $7,000 raised this cycle by CBC PAC was donated by white lobbyists, including Vic Fazio, who represents Philip Morris and served for years as a lobbyist to Corrections of America, and David Adams, a former Clinton aide who now lobbies for Wal-Mart, the largest gun distributor in America.”

The Black Caucus PAC’s reasons for endorsing the “Queen of Chaos” (the title of Diana Johnstone’s book on Hillary) were, predictably the same indoctrinated talking points they’ve committed to memory and grown accustomed “articulating” to the media and gullible, low information voters. As Presidential endorsements go, this one is no more unseemly than most, given how K Street largess secures access, status and policy in the political process. But it’s a doozy, nevertheless. It serves to remind us how pay-to-play politics works.

Not to be undone in fidelity to the Hillary campaign, actress America Ferrera and legendary Latino labor activist Dolores Huerta at a recent Nevada Democrat political event claimed Bernie Sander’s supporters’ jeered “English Only” chants at commentary translated into Spanish.  They later tweeted their unsupported claims on social media, furthering the impression that the Sander’s campaign was indifferent to Latinos.  There was only one problem with their assertions. They were unconfirmed by evidentiary video or audio readily available for viewing of the event.  No matter.  No need to let an inconvenient truth impede political purpose.  Latino apparatchiks, however popularly perceived, proved equally adept and willing to promote “white lies” in support of future political and entertainment “cash” cow considerations, opportunities, and compensation.  How convenient.

Welcome, to the Obama/Clinton Democratic Party’s Wall Street temple, where cash is king and Hillary, is its moneychanger; adept at dispensing loose change, but not beyond cracking an aristocratic whip on disobedient POC enablers. Oh, she’s acutely aware that her ticket to the Presidency lies in the hands of black and brown voters. But a war chest protects and emboldens; and makes matriarchy possible, if not inevitable. She’ll do it with a smile, just like Obama.

We’ve seen this play before. As audiences did at the Elizabethan Globe Theatre, we’ve succumbed to tribal conformity, watching as ritual, Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” (Act II, Scene VII). “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women, merely players.” Indeed, Act II. The Bard couldn’t have written two more duplicitous players. We see in them what we want them to be. Not who and what they are – merely, actors.

It should be obvious by now that POC leadership, headed by a biracial President, has failed us. Obama bailed out Wall Street (without prosecuting banksters) rather than help Main Street – even though Main Street put him in office. He droned, spied and failed to prosecute the war criminals in the Bush Administration. Coldheartedly, he deported thousands of immigrant and refugee status families; turned a blind eye (until late in his presidency) to the incarceration of thousands of POC for profit; he unapologetically supported the fossil fuel industry and Arctic drilling; created a captive, onerous, mandatory, predatory insurance and pharma health care system; pushed corporate trade agreements that off-shored jobs, stripping countries of sovereign law; attacked our civil liberties and whistle-blower protection; and inexplicably authorized the military industrial complex to send our blood and treasure to fight corporate, constitutionally unlawful wars.

Think about that for a second. Obama sent our children to die for empire and corporate profit (oil, natural gas, and defense contractors). And no, the Republicans didn’t make him do it. He did it on his accord. And now, we have Hillary knocking on (down) the door, with black and brown legislators dutifully lined up behind her, panhandling for crumbs.

It’s sad, but true. Our POC ‘leaders’ are inept and co-opted and are merely the newest variation, in a long line of racial and ethnic gatekeepers. They’re commissioned to guard the plantation (and Hacienda); to genuflect and grovel at the altar of their white, big business masters. Their accrued currency, both monetary and professional, is as bankrupt as the liberty, opportunity, and empowerment they profess to promote and represent. Their betrayal of racial and ethnic heritage, intellect and resources are purposeful, designed to harness private interests and suppress dissent, power, and influence, and make certain external control and white hegemony.

Self-inflicted, black and brown people remain politically marginalized, socially manipulated, and economically exploited. Just because legislators happen to be people-of-color - doesn’t make them our brothers.

It’s foolishness and self-defeating to remain politically tribal, gender, and “color-loyal” – without a return on our (voter) investment.

As people-of-color we’ve been reduced to a political prison of dreams. We deserve better than to live our political life – without parole.

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