Wed, 31 October 2018
How Stupid Do Stacey Abrams and Lucy McBath Think We Are?
The midterm elections are a week away and I can’t find anybody worth voting for. I live in Georgia, the 6th congressional district, where Stacey Abrams is the Democrat running for governor, and Lucy McBath is the Democrat congressional candidate. McBath is running four points behind Republican incumbent Karen Handel. Stacey Abrams has been polling only two points behind Brian Kemp well within the polling margin of error for months now.
For those outside Georgia, if Donald Trump is some kind of horrible bad grandpa Brian Kemp is an especially mean uncle out of Athens GA, normally a pretty liberal college town. Kemp ran commercials in which he blew up stuff, fired up his big chainsaw to cut regulations, waved his guns that nobody better try to take, and slammed the door of that big truck he’s got in case he has “...to round up some criminal illegals and take ‘em home myself.”
Republican Kemp has been GA Secretary of State, in charge of Georgia’s elections for eight years now, during which time he’s struck about a million or so mostly minority voters off the rolls, interfered with voter registration drives, and caused several tens of thousands of other new voter registrations to simply disappear. This is standard Republican practice across the country because the numbers of their dependable vote are shrinking. So Republicans try to hold down the vote in Democratic areas, and Democrats try to maximize registration and turnout.
6th district congresswoman Karen Handel was Brian Kemp’s predecessor in the office of Georgia Secretary of State for eight years. In that capacity she disappeared her own share of minority votes and voters. She also had a hand in cooperation with the crooked Democrat who held that office before her, in bringing Diebold’s faith based voting machines into Georgia.
The Democrat running against Handel is Lucy McBath. Her son was murdered in Jacksonville FL back in 2012 for the crime of playing his music too loud, and since then McBath has become a professional gun control advocate. The big problem though, with the professional gun control advocates are completely unable to point the way to a less violent society without telling the truth about America’s present and past. The narrative the professional gun control advocates spin around gun control generally ignores the official violence of police and the military. In the real world, the Second Amendment to the US Constitution was written to guarantee that every able bodied white man was armed and ready to take part in slave patrols or Indian killing and land stealing militias. When chattel slavery mostly ended and the theft of the continent was complete, the gun industry had to find other markets and other reasons for existing, and some of what they came up with included the myths about civilians with pistols being able to hold the government accountable and more.
An even bigger problem with Lucy McBath is that like many 2018 so-called progressive Democrat congressional candidates this year, McBath is running for US Congress without a single word to say about foreign policy, except a vow of support for the apartheid state of Israel. She’s a candidate for US Congress without a word to say about the four or five countries we’re bombing or the dozens of other countries we’re deploying US special forces in or flying drones over. Almost-a-congresswoman Lucy won’t talk to us at all about the 800 US military bases around the world which cost us about a trillion dollars a year, more than what the next nine or ten nations spend put together, and reporters don’t ask. The Republicans don’t bring it up either, a sure sign that this is something they pretty much agree on.
And then there’s Stacey Abrams. Stacey is a tax attorney, Spelman and Yale Law grad from Gulfport MS. She was first state rep from an Atlanta district in 2006. In American legislatures, party caucus leaders are chosen by the amount they bring into party coffers in donations from PACs, corporations and wealthy individuals and their expertise in doling it out to other lawmakers. By 2011 Stacey Abrams was chosen Democratic leader in the GA House, a post which she held until beginning her run for governor in 2017. She’s written several romance novels on the side too.
Stacey Abrams wants to be president, and Georgia governor is one of the checkmarks on the way there, and election to governor will immediately put her on the short list of contenders. She lays that out quite clearly in her latest book Minority Leader How to Lead From the Outside and Make Real Change. It’s a memoir-centered self-help book, an I-did-it-you-can-do-it-too kind of thing with checklists at the end of every chapter. The “it” she talks about in the book is achieving power, but for all her deep understanding of how to maneuver to obtain this power Stacey offers very few if any clues about what great things she wants to do with that power.
We’ve seen that movie before though haven’t we? Didn’t we just finish eight years of an unaccountable black president presiding over the greatest loss of black family wealth since we started keeping statistics on it? Didn’t we just see three million American families lose their homes? Didn’t we hear Eric Holder, the first black attorney general tell us the banks to were too big to jail and too important to investigate, and didn’t we see Loretta Lynch the second black attorney general literally write the fine print on get out of jail free cards for CitiGroup and other criminal investors who walked away with billions. We’ve lived to see a black president break his word on raising the minimum wage and delivering single payer health care? The first black president blockaded and bombed all the countries the white presidents before him were blockaded and bombed and added a few new ones, including the actual overthrow of a prosperous African country, where black Libyans and other Africans are being traded as slaves right now. Didn’t we see the first black president expand fracking around the world, privatize big chunks of public education, and let all the torturers and kidnappers on the US payroll off the hook?
Given all that, why should we let Stacey Abrams and Lucy McBath and the rest off with not even a pretense that they’re accountable for their stands on all these issues where they intend to exercise the power granted by our votes? Why? Giving Stacey and the others room to figure out where they are on all this is not an option. They’re all bright and well informed people, especially Stacey. They know where they stand, they just don’t feel obligated to let voters know. And why should they? Stacey is running against a crew of frank and open racists. It should be enough for her to show up with advanced degrees from humble beginnings, both of her parents preachers and apologetically black, female with dreads. And what do governors have to do with foreign policy anyway?
Well, the truth is that governors conduct foreign policy all the time. So do local governments down to cities and counties, when they decide whether to do business with ICE. and how aggressive they want to be in funneling bodies into the ICE detention machinery. Joe Arpaio in Arizona certainly had his own foreign policy, so do Cobb and some other Georgia counties, and so does Brian Kemp. Stacey Abrams and her party will pay lip service to the scriptural notion that we are obligated to be kind to the stranger. But she surely knows that hundreds of thousands are fleeing Central America. Stacey knows knows the US has invaded and occupied and bullied and blockaded Central America countries about two centuries now, putting in place the governments of gangsters and military death squads that have made those places the murder and human trafficking capitals of the world. The Central American refugees are fleeing the hellscape that US military and economic intervention have imposed on their countries.
Brian Kemp and Donald Trump want to greet them with theatrical cruelty, and that sells, especially to frustrated white Americans looking for someone to blame for their economic insecurity. In the face of that, pleas for kindness to the sojourner don’t sell well. The truth – that the US created a hell people are fleeing from might sell, but it’s a place Stacey and her party have never laid the groundwork to go, and never intends to go. Hondurans elected a mildly social democratic president in 2014, and the black president’s secretary of state Hillary Clinton lost no time letting the world know she favored a military coup to oust him.
Stacey and her party never bothered to explain to Georgians what Medicare For All was, or to line up behind it. As a result we got the Affordable Care Act, in which health care for thirty or forty million was to come through Medicaid expansion vulnerable to interference in states under Republican control like Georgia which had the option of rejecting, and Georgia did just that. She also opened up more room for Brian Kemp to tell bigger lies about what Medicare For All is, and what Abrams represents. That day in Ebenezer Church when Congressman John Lewis told young black activists that free college tuition and health care were un-American Stacey was almost certainly in the room, and in definitely in agreement with Lewis.
If eight years of Obama taught us anything, it’s that a black president can do immense damage to the cause of black working class families. Showing up female with dreads and riding on black girl magic just isn’t enough, and keeping your politics on war and peace a secret till after you’re elected – as Stacey Abrams, Lucy McBath and a host of others are doing this year is a sign of pure contempt and real disregard for the folks she expects to support her political career. We have indeed seen this before. Lucy, Stacey and the rest can continue their careers without my vote, thank you very much.
There’s already a cohort of thirty or so CIA Democrats, Democratic congressional hopefuls straight out of the military, police, intelligence and homeland security world. Add those to the progressives who won’t speak on the subject, and it looks like any congressional blue wave that hits will be mostly blue dogs, right wing Democrats. We have indeed seen this one before.
For Black Agenda Report, I’m Bruce Dixon. Google and other corporate social media companies have actively limited the availability of Black Agenda Report in search results for more almost three years now, on the specious grounds that we might be under the influence of the Russians. The day isn’t far off when they might ban Black Agenda Report from Facebook or Twitter to protect people from news, commentary and analysis from the black left. So the only way you can be sure you’re getting fresh Black Agenda Report each and every week is to go to www.blackagendareport.com and hit the subscribe button which delivers summaries and links to all our new content each and every week to your email box, where corporate social media companies can’t block or even trace it, which is why they call email “dark social media.” Dark social media is the only social media still under our control, so subscribe.
Wed, 17 October 2018
It’s three weeks till the midterm election. In Georgia where I live the big contest is between Brian Kemp, the secretary of state, in charge of administering his own election for governor, and Democrat Stacey Abrams. Kemp is a longtime fixture in Georgia politics, an out and out racist who has purged hundreds of thousands of voters from the state’s rolls in the last several years, the latest a block of 53,000, about 70% of them African American voters. Abrams, who if she wins will be the state’s first black and first woman governor, has been the leader of Georgia Democrats in that state’s House of Representatives since 2011.
I’m personally and politically way over the notion that electing black faces to high places makes things better for ordinary African Americans. It’s good for the careers of those elected, for their investor-contributors and a narrow circle of people around them. But it just doesn’t elevate the situation of ordinary black people. It’s been tried again and again, and it just hasn’t panned out that way, so I can’t get excited about electing the first black governor. I ain’t mad at those who believe this lie, or even at those who tell it. I must have believed it once upon a time too, decades ago, my salary depended on it, and I certainly spent a good piece of the 80s and 90s helping sell this mistaken notion to others.
The Greens are not allowed on the ballot in Georgia, thanks to the politicians of both parties who don’t want the competition. So while the Republicans are busy disenfranchising people, and the Democrats are herding people onto buses for early voting, I’ll be in DC this weekend with Ajamu Baraka and Cindy Sheehan and others for the Womens March on the Pentagon. There are some things we’re allowed to vote for, when we’re allowed to vote at all, and some others we are not.
I live in Georgia’s 6th district, where the incumbent Republican congressional rep is the vile and corrupt Karen Handel, Brian Kiemp’s predecessor as GA Secretary of State.. The Democrat running against her is Lucy McBath, a black mother whose unarmed teenage son was gunned down in Florida in 2012. McBath is raising money at a terrific rate and has been polling within two points of Republican Handel for several weeks. Almost-a-congresswoman McBath has lots to say, unfortunately none of it very insightful, about gun safety. Beyond swearing fealty to the apartheid state of Israel, McBath has nothing to say about foreign policy, about the world beyond the shores of the United States. Not a hint. Not a word.
As I wrote last month, 22 out of 32 so-called progressive Democratic party candidates for Congress – those backed by Justice Democrats, Brand New Congress and Our Revolution – have nothing to say about foreign policy beyond support for Israel.
This is beyond troubling. It’s ominous. The US has more than 800 military bases around the planet, fleets in every ocean, and more nukes pointed at more places than anybody, and is bombing four countries that we know about. The US is flying drones over most of Africa, and has special forces operating on the ground in dozens of countries. The US of A spends more on the military than the next ten nations combined, and the military budget which most Democrats voted to approve, is likely to be paid for with cuts to Medicaid, Medicare and social security, and all the forms of federal aid (except police and prisons) provided to local governments.
Apparently there are some things the two capitalist parties will allow us to vote on, and some other things which are completely and utterly off the table, now and forever. Like empire. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the party’s official corporate pocket, has embraced an unprecedented number of candidates straight from the military and intelligence sectors. Progressive Democrats running for Congress have with few exceptions, chosen to dummy up. But really who are the dummies here? Democratic congressional candidates like McBain are all accomplished grownups. They know where they stand, they just don’t want us to know for sure till after they’re safely elected. It’s a piece of contemptible duplicity which Democrat voters train themselves to accept. It’s one more reason I can never be A Democrat again.
I’m under no illusion that there will be hundreds of thousands of people at the Pentagon this weekend. Those kind of numbers usually come from hundreds of hours on the part of paid organizers, and tens or hundreds of thousands spent on logistics, which usually comes from the nonprofit sector – corporate philanthropy. In their infinite wisdom, the masters of philanthropy do not fund that kind of thing.
There’s a critique of the weekend march on DC or Wall Street or your local center of power as well which asks what are we accomplishing when we don’t disrupt business as usual, a critique that wonders, when we show up and holler slogans and speechify into streets that are empty but for the crowds we bring, what are we accomplishing? I’m not sure.
But this year, nobody is allowed on the Georgia ballot except Republicans and Democrats, and with nearly all the Democrats pretending they don’t have a position on empire, a march on the Pentagon, the first in 50 years, seems a sensible step on the way to building a visible and powerful movement for peace. I’m sure those of us in DC this weekend will be considering what the steps after this look like.
For Black Agenda Radio I’m Bruce Dixon. Please know that Google and other corporate social media do suppress the availability of Black Agenda Report’s content in search results and other displays. The only way to be certain you’re getting resh news, commentary and analysis from the black left is to visit us at www.blackagendareport.com and hit the subscribe button so that our free weekly email with notices and links to all our content arrives in your email box every week.