Much to the surprise of my inner circles, I did not write every day this week about the government shutdown and the potential default of the United States.
He, my husband, already thinks I am a little too transparent or a little to raw in my opinions of the political nature.
Right, perhaps, but there came a time in my life when I decided that holding back wasn't worth it. That I had a calling, as Oprah, my late father, and the black female seminarian told me, to use the power of the pen to sound an alarm. I have to write and be a clarion.
I gave some thought to the events taking place and even my husband's silent commentary that he has only so much he can affect as a University administrator to be concerned about what those knuckleheads are doing in Washington.
Then I remembered two key facts - I am the daughter of David Lee and Mary Aloyse Foster Brent and that means that I have to speak up and out. I am the daughter of a woman who fought for her place in higher education despite the doors being slammed in her face, despite not being granted entry - her name is still chronicled in the history of two major catholic institutions in St. Louis. That my father, in the face of crippling racism and black elite fear, stood his ground at 311 Gordon Street and protected his family against cross burnings, tire slashings, relentless beatings of his step-son, and racial epithets written on his property. He stood tall and proud in 1972 and said, no, you can not intimidate me or my family. I am their daughter.
So, my thoughts.
This government shutdown and impending default (breaking news, they just voted to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling until January 2014) was the work of spoiled brats. Petulant children who did not get their way (despite trying to rig the election) and decided to use whatever they could to hold the country hostage. Gen X (Cruz) and Boomer (Boehner) white men who can not stomach the fact that a black man (President Obama) reached the highest office of the land. They, along with their financiers and rest of the crazy bunch, orchestrated what they thought was a fear brigade, like the rich white sons of the cross burners and tire slashers of my youth.
I watched, read, and listened for my white allies, friends, to speak up and out about this nonsense.
Some did, to me, and in my presence, on their social media pages, and everywhere they could. I was not alone on my soapbox.
Others, sadly, were deafeningly silent as the events unfolded.
All of it because of an insane hatred of the President of the United States.
All of it for the last six, almost seven years, because of the color of his skin.
That is what I have been speaking up and out about.
Sure, President Obama has made some decisions I disagree with, just like President Bush II did before him. Yet, I respected the office, the place of him as the head of state, the one in charge.
He, President Obama, was not given that same respect by the whites (and a few crazy token blacks) in this country who felt it was not his place (remember the Birthers?). Then they wanted to take their country back (Tea Partiers) and use whatever gains he had (Affordable Care Act) to try to destroy him (Government Shutdown 2013) simply because they can not believe that a black man is smart and can govern, and rose above them, essentially their boss.
Call it what you will, it was all because of his skin color and their obstruction is treasonous in my opinion.
I think it was when my fellow MBAs (all those Wall Street financiers) decided that siding with the Republican Party (and the Tea Party) would end up messing up a lot of their livelihood, that some of the Republicans decided to use that big thing on their shoulders for something other than pandering to a few racist, still fighting the Civil War, congressmen. Maybe when Wall Street started sounding the alarm of what could really happen when the Full Faith and Credit of the United States is destroyed that these crazies in congress (who still got paid, got health care, and got dinner) thought it would be better to reach agreement and try to spin the message than to actually let the United States default on its debt.
One of the things I hope happens is that people don't forget this nonsense. That these men intentionally did this because of one black man.
I hope people go out and vote in droves in November, heck, take the day off, if these jokers stay in office, you won't have a job anyway. I hope people remember their growling bellies from hunger and depleted savings accounts during these two weeks of shutdown. I hope people, white and black, remember they have more in common than not. I hope even, that the stupid redneck waving the Confederate Flag and the Marine Flag in front of the White House will step off his idiot box long enough to realize that it isn't the black man that took anything from him.
The people of this country are better and deserve more than the few who want to hoard it all. Heck, even their backers the Koch Brothers stepped off the bandwagon to weigh in that they are not a part of this - despite their continued hatred of President Obama. Even one of their hallowed right-wing conservative preachers chimed in and the John McCain, the rival of the President in the first win, has remembered what that Maverick nickname was for, and has been speaking up and out against the crazies that have taken over his party and the pansy Speaker who can't stand up to the bullies. People in this country deserve better. And white people know better. The big black boogie man did not round them all up and put them in jail because of slavery, Jim Crow, or any of the other ills black people endure daily in this country. They know better.
So, I have been thoughtful and good, waiting to think about it all and still come up with the same conclusion I had in 2007, this has been about race and fear, class and greed, power and control.
It wasn't necessary, didn't have to happen, and will take a long time to fix. Oh, and the thing they said they were against? Was already working, already law, and was proven constitutional - from the same Supreme court whose majority are not friendly to black issues - that same court said that the Affordable Health Care was the law of the land.
Petulant, spoiled, bratty, rich, children shut down the government. Because someone once told them everything they did was "awesome," they never learned to compromise and cooperate with others. Don't we deserve better than this?