Getting the wrong information can occasionally be a good thing. Here I am sitting on the beach at the Silver Sands Resort in Duncans, Jamaica with my laptop at hand. My friend, Joe English, told me that 56K internet access here costs $8 for half an hour, something that seemed to be not worth the effort or expense.
Joe, a retired, rich-enough Westside Chicago real estate baron, loves Jamaica. He comes here every two or three weeks for 10 days or so. This is his 105th visit in the past 18 years. He has stayed in nearly 20 of the 90 villas for rent at Silver Sands. He knows some of the locals and some of the bigwigs. So I figured he’d know what he was talking about when it comes to the costs of things. As it turns out, Joe got it half right. It is 56K access, but if you have your own laptop, it’s only $5 an hour.
But I am on vacation. And the sandy beach, the blue water and the Red Stripes have not exactly put me in the mood for research and writing. I am reading though. Right now, I’ve got What is What, The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng by Dave Eggers. It’s a novel about one of the Sudan’s Lost Boys, his journey to escape and, as a result, to Atlanta. If you’re confused by how I’ve just described the book, I understand. You’re going to have to Google the novel or check it out at www.amazon.com if you want an expanded explanation of what’s going on. I’m 25 pages in and fascinated.
I’m also reading Dr. Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing: on the Campaign Trail ‘72. I’m amazed at how many parallels I’m discovering between then and now. The least surprising is that the Right is still wrong.
Take my word for it. My latest column for Ebonyjet.com explains some my misgivings about, and observations, on the Republican party’s presidential field. I’ll have more to say as the campaign continues.
I’ll be back sometime between tomorrow and the day after Christmas.
Voice Your Choice
In the presidential race, Republicans, once again, leave us no choice in the matter. A cursory review of the content of their character.
Friday, December 14, 2007
By Monroe Anderson
The two-party pool of candidates for African American voters boils down to this: There are the Democrats, on the one hand, and there are the Democrats on the other.
As far as the Republicans candidates are concerned, blacks need not apply.
This was again obvious in September, when Republicans Willard Mitt Romney, Rudolph Giuliani, John McCain and Freddie Thompson decided to pursue other interests rather than appear at the All-American Presidential Forum hosted by Tavis Smiley.
These men were only taking the cue set by their latter-day GOP saint, Ronald Reagan, seven presidential elections before them. In 1980, the star of B-movies and former California governor kicked off his campaign for the general election in Philadelphia, Mississippi, the infamous site where three civil rights workers–James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner–were murdered by Ku Klux Klansmen during the civil rights struggle16 years earlier. This was Reagan's not-so-subtle signal to white southerners that closed minds think alike. It was also the beginning of the Republican party's "Southern Strategy" that resulted in the last of the Dixiecrats turn-coating in droves to join the GOP.
In his Mississippi speech, Reagan announced that he believed in states' rights and that "we have distorted the balance of our government today by giving powers that were never intended to be given in the Constitution to that federal establishment." He promised to "restore to states and local governments the power that properly belongs to them."
Nearly three decades later, Republican candidates are still trying to win one for the Gipper. Consider:
Romney–When the former Massachusetts governor gave his speech defending his Mormon religion, he neglected to explain how he had tolerated the church's official racist policies. It wasn't until 13 years after the Civil Rights Act of 1965 was passed that the elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints got around to no longer officially excluding blacks. And while Romney's explaining what he knew about the church's racist practice and when he knew it, he should also explain why there are no blacks as top-tier advisers on his campaign staff.
Giuliani–He made national news when four of New York's finest cornered Amidou Diallo, a black immigrant from Guinea, in the vestibule of his Bronx apartment building. The plainclothes cops fired 41 shots at Diallo. Unarmed and not a suspect of any crime, Diallo died while trying to go home. Guiliani is now running on 9/11 and his boast of cleaning up New York but when the city's blacks speak of "Giuliani time," there's no nostalgia.
Ron Paul–For some reason, the Texas congressman is the highest polling Republican presidential candidate among blacks. Surely that won't hold when word gets out that he has informed his closest supporters that "our country is being destroyed by a group of actual and potential terrorists -- and they can be identified by the color of their skin." Small wonder he has become the darling of the Ku Klux Klan and the Skinheads.
Thompson–The former U.S. Senator from Tennessee, off-and-on actor and lobbyist, in a speech to the Federal Society, an organization of radical right jurists and lawyers that has pretty much hijacked the nation's jurisprudence system, said: "We need judges and justices who understand that imposing racial quotas is really a denial of what America is all about."
McCain–His anti-civil rights voting record is right there with the worst of them. He's been rated zero percent by the ACLU. In July 1995, the Arizona senator voted yes on banning affirmative action hiring with federal funds. As a member of the U.S. House, he voted against the Dr. King national holiday.
Mike Huckabee–The Southern Baptist minister has not exactly been at the forefront of issues that concern African Americans. But his active courting of black leaders and ministers back in the late 1990s was enough for him to garner 48 percent of the black vote while he was the governor of Arkansas.
Compare them with the Democratic field where there's an African American, a woman, a Mexican American and a fistful of other candidates who are not antediluvian.
So choose carefully in the fast-approaching primary elections because you'll have only one choice next November when the general rolls around.
Monroe Anderson is an award-winning journalist who penned op-ed columns for both the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times. He is a regular contributor to Ebonyjet.com.