Sunday, June 24, 2018

Black Americans Transcending Sordid Past, Making Strides

Has anyone experienced a "skin burn on the knee?" In athletics, they refer to this common abrasion as a "strawberry."

A strawberry is usually quick to heal; if it is able to avoid a bump or bruise. The wound will scab and heal without complications. However minor athletic injuries such as skin abrasions often fail to escape bumps and bruises! One little ding breaks the scab and the healing process must start over.

This little analogy is surprisingly applicable to race relations in America. We will make progress. Then, there will be some incident or even "slip of the lip" and we'll experience a relapse.

I was born and grew up in El Dorado, Arkansas. For those not familiar with Arkansas geography, El Dorado is located in the extreme, south central part of the state. It is 120 miles south of Little Rock, 13 miles north of the Louisiana State line.

El Dorado is "deep south." In other words it is more akin to Mississippi than Tennessee. Yet natives will tell you that El Dorado is more in sync with East Texas; with Louisiana flavor. Maybe it has something to do with El Dorado's being the "oil capital" of Arkansas.

Baby boomers who attended elementary school in El Dorado will quietly admit that the public schools were segregated. In fact, the entire town of 26,000 was distinctly segregated. In 1970, El Dorado was 38% African American. The White population accounted for the rest. I doubt that there were 50 "non Castilian Hispanics" in the city, or in Union County,population 50,000, for that matter!

In 1970 full integration came to Union County. Washington High School, El Dorado's long standing black institution, was closed. White and Black students were suddenly together. The result was different than expected.

There weren't fights and riots. In anything, there was relief. Peer pressure had prevented either side from becoming "too chummy" with the other. To an extent, this went away. White kids and black kids continued to segregate themselves. But, there was no real hostility and plenty of open communication.

What didn't go away was the fact that the black kids had not been privy to the same educational intensity prevalent in the white schools. To be sure, there were some superlative black students. But the prevailing demeanor was more in line with apathy.

In 1970 dozens of El Dorado's "fifty and sixty something" white teachers abruptly retired. They were replaced by recent college graduates. The new "norm" was to "float" students. In essence, Brown versus the Board of Education's" mandate was about "bringing a social change" to America. It had little to do with improving and advancing educational standards.

Well meaning elites blamed the substandard black educational institutions. The truth inside the question amounted to economic inequality. It wasn't that Washington High School received less money than marginally integrated El Dorado High School. It wasn't that teachers there were less qualified, worked less or failed to maximize every child's ability!

In came down to "after hours help on the home fronts."

Many black kids did not have mothers at home; because their mothers were often employed by white families. These black mothers helped raise the white children, in addition to cooking and cleaning their parents' homes.

People today continue to blame the white south for slavery, even through the 13 amendment's passage took place 153 years ago. Maybe it's because 100 years later, there still remained remnants of the old order.

Don't think for a second that the north isn't completely without stain. Prior to emancipation, the black man was, at best, a second class citizen in the north. In fact, he wasn't even that! Citizenship did not come until 1868 with passage of the 14th amendment. In 1965 black people in he north experienced a "coolness," as if they were uninvited guests. As a black friend from Atlanta phrased, "it was like we were there, but we weren't there."

1970 was a wake-up call; for black and white Americans.

Was continuation of an old system, in affect a "caste system" wrong? Sure it was! Yet, Black Americans were pretty much assured that they would be okay, if "they remembered their place." They had their school system. They had their movie houses, churches, and restaurants.

Unequal? Demeaning? Sure! But, historically they had seen worse! Much worse!

Interestingly enough, a friend from Cleveland, Ohio told me of his recent conversation with a black friend, who announced that he was returning to Alabama. Somewhat surprised, my friend queried. "Why? Aren't things better for a black person here than there?"

To his astonishment the answer was a definitive "no, because in the south, a black man always knows where he stands."

This sounds somewhat self deprecating, if not contradictory. What it amounts to is "familiarity." In the South, the races have always lived in close proximity. As individuals, White and Black Southerners generally like each other. A large number of White Southerners will admit to being "more comfortable in the company of a Black Southerner, than a white New Englander."

There are so called, "experts" from Boston and San Francisco who ridicule and chastise "flyover Americans," calling them racists, fascists and bigots. They even had a 2016 presidential candidate refer to them as a "basket of deplorables!" Yet, when you check credentials of these "experts," you'll note that most attended all white, elitist private schools.

To these "experts," the Black man is an exotic creature, the ideal "posture child," showcasing their call for an end to injustice and inequality. In short, the ideal tool to advance their "divisionist" agenda! Their quandary rests with the fact that African Americans ARE making huge strides toward making Dr. King's dream, a reality! Traditional "Al Sharpton style race hustling" is becoming stale! Especially when economic news from Washington includes record employment numbers for African Americans!

It's not that Black Americans aren't aware of their sordid past! Don't think for a minute that they fail to comprehend how unkind history has been to them; how unfairly their ancestors were treated! The question becomes, "where do we go from here?"

Can contemporary Black Americans forgive White Americans for crimes committed by their ancestors decades previously? I think some most definitely can and are doing so this day!

Without question, the majority of White Americans are ready to bring Black Americans fully into the American family. They are doing so with unimaginable expediency! Abraham Lincoln would be shocked if he were alive today!

True, we've had continuous "hiccups." That "scab" does get broken from time to time. But, we are doggedly making strides.

We cannot sanitize history. We must not run from it. We must embrace it. If for no other reason than the fact that history often repeats. We must know what we are capable of.

Sadly there are those who are simply too hurt and too angry to proceed. For these tormented souls, we should consider some form of compensation and subsequent immigration assistance. Hate destroys. It would be better to make a life in a place that you don't hate; with people whom you don't resent.

For some, the legacy of ancestors trapped in involuntary servitude may be too much to stomach! Never mind the fact that most English Colonists entered America as indentured servants. It's a haunting thought that will remain generations hence.

Yet with it comes the gritty acknowledgment that a place in America has been won. For this reason, more than any other, Black Americans should be supportive of strong, secure borders! Those pushing for open borders are no friend to Black Americans!

Shame on these "opportunists" who resort to racial disparities when on the losing end of an argument. These are the "true American deplorables!" To resort to such tactics is the essence of "cowardness."

Unfortunately, this is an adversary that knows no shame. They are comfortable pitting Americans against each other. For them, it's about "power' and nothing more. However, their "overconfident smugness" could be their undoing.

Expect Black Americans to tip the scales and find these "experts" wanting...

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Kentucky 6th District a Bell Weather for Midterms

Kentucky's 6th District may be the Congressional bell weather for fall midterms, and Americas' future.

Incumbent Republican, Garland Hale "Andy" Barr is seeking his fourth term. He replaced Democrat Ben Chandler in a second try in 2012. Chandler had nipped Barr by 772 votes in the 2010 congressional midterm.

Barr has been consistent with his promise to "support tax cuts, regulation cuts and to reduce the size, scope, and cost of government." A strong supporter of the recent Trump tax cuts and an ardent advocate of reapealing "Dodd-Frank," Andy sits on the powerful House Financial Services Committee.

2018's Democrat challenger is recently retired, Marine Lieutenant Colonel, Amy McGrath. McGrath's story is inspiring, if not sexy. She is a decorated combat fighter pilot turned student, turned university instructor. August 1st of 2017, she made the You Tube announcement that she planned to run against Andy Barr in the 2018 midterm.

Positioned expertly as the underdog, McGrath faced Lexington Major, Jim Gray who had been beaten decisively by Rand Paul in the 2016 Kentucky Senate race. Most pundits gave McGrath minimal chances of ousting Gray, who had the support of the national party. The outcome was not as close as even the most optimistic McGrath supporters predicted.

Without question, Barr has done a superlative job! Not only has he kept his promise to "support tax cuts, regulation cuts and to reduce the size, scope and cost of government," he has been one of the most vocal supporters for border security. And, he is bringing home results to 6th District.

From his position on the House Financial Services Committee, he was one of the architects of the "Financial Choice Act," proposed legislation that would begin the dismantling of Dodd Frank. This past week, President Trump signed into law a watered down version of the Act. But, changes so critical to Central and Eastern Kentucky made the cut! Perhaps the greatest accomplishment was the exclusion of Community Banks doing less than 500 mortgage loans per year from Dodd Frank and relief from Dodd Frank for the Mobile Home industry.

Making it easier to borrower money at Community Banks, and obtain small loans for mobile home financing, is more important to Americans living in Berea, than Boston, or Berkley! Expensive regulation from Dodd Frank, has forced better than 1500 Community Banks out of business. Because the little guys couldn't afford the armies of lawyers and accountants that Chase or Wells Fargo could. Now, they are exempted.

Barr who gained his undergraduate degree at Thomas Jefferson inspired, University of Virginia and later graduated from University Kentucky's law school, had immediately sized up the problem. His father, Garland Barr is a prominent Lexington C.P.A.. You might say that Andy "grew up" in an accountant's office. As a result, he was privy to hundreds of hours of tax law discussions. When you combine philosophy, law and numbers, the results are quite amazing!

Congressional Districts send Representatives to Washington D.C., with one purpose in mind: "To represent the needs of the district." From this perspective, Andy Barr has hit a "home run!" After initially supporting Scott Walker for the nomination, he has voiced unwavering support for Donald Trump. His support for Obama Care Repeal, Dodd Frank repeal, help for the V.A. and the Military, plus tax cuts, immigration reform and border control, are a reflection of the majority of 6th District voters. In short, this is what they wanted. This is what he promised. And, this is what they are getting and will continue to get!

Assuming that he wins in November...

Amy McGrath is a fine person. Her service to her country should be revered. She is married to a career military man, who happens to be a Republican.

Her political positions? Well..She supports free healthcare for all. On this subject, she is very close to Bernie Sanders. She opposed the U.S. exit of Paris climate accord. How she would vote on most pending legislation? It is always difficult to speculate when a "thin resume" is involved!

We know that she has a solid academic record, especially on globalist topics. How that would benefit Central Kentucky is unknown.

The question becomes, "is it worth it for 6th District to replace Andy Barr with Amy McGrath; when Barr has been instrumental in getting legislation passed that is vital to members of the district?"

We do know that a vote for Amy McGrath is a vote for Nancy Pelosi's return to House Speaker and Maxine Waters advancement to Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.

Nancy Pelosi called the tax cuts "crumbs." To her, they likely are "crumbs." Pelosi is extremely wealthy, with a net worth well north of 30 million. In her book, $1000-$2000 is "crumbs!"

Waters is another "limousine liberal" with a seven-figure net worth. Representing one of California's poorest districts, she herself resides in a home estimated to be worth 4.5 million. She has passed three bills in 27 years of service.

The economy is booming like never before. Unemployment is at an all time low. African American and Hispanic unemployment is the lowest in history. To hear Pelosi and Waters talk about today's America, "the sky is falling and the president should be impeached."

So, "is it worth it for 6th District to bring Andy Barr home, in favor of Amy McGrath, knowing what Andy has accomplished for the district? Do we want to put the breaks on the record setting economic recovery, pausing to impeach the president?"

That's pretty much Nancy and Maxine's agenda!

Amy? Well, she is a military hero and should be revered for her service to the country. Whether he votes lock step with Nancy and Maxine is unknown. One thing is for certain. If she strays too far from the party leadership line, she won't be appointed to any important committees. It goes back to "why" do districts send representatives to Washington.

In short, is it worth replacing Andy Barr with Amy McGrath?

Turnout in 6th district Kentucky should decide. If Republicans stop and weigh this elections impact on them personally, they'll show up at the polls in November. Andy Barr will win going away.

Such is the case with most "red leaning districts" like Kentucky 6th.

It's about rewarding results.