From firstname.lastname@example.org Fri Aug 25 09:30:24 2000
Gen. Powell Invites You To Join The Grand Ole Party
By Elombe Brath <ElombePLC@aol.com>, August 2000
Before Black people get swept up in the dust storm left by Ret. Gen. Colin Powell's speech to the Republican Convention which, under the guise of speaking on education, glorified most of the most reactionary leadership of the Grand Ole Party (GOP) which have held state power and executive privilege for twelve years of the last two decades, we need to understand the man who spoke and who and what he was speaking for - and against.
If you think that Gen. Powell, whose popularity is based on his reputation for waging war on Third World nations from Vietnam to Iraq and Panama, was speaking on behalf of the broad masses of Africans who are suffering all over the world, you are dead wrong. Likewise, if you think that he was speaking up for the advancement of the majority of African-Americans in the United States, wrong again. And if you thought that he was trying to see that our people get a proper education to carry us through the 21st century, well, sorry, wrong again.
Gen. Colin Powell was simply speaking up for the corporate interests that have feathered his nest and have chosen a high profile role for him to help consolidate their vested interests without stirring up the "democratic distemper" in the U.S., particularly Black people and other peoples of color. This is why Powell, the U.S. champion of volunteerism, is reported to be paid $150,000, plus first class travel and accomodation, per speech. While being hinted as a possible Secretary of State (or is it Education?) in his cabinet by Gov. Bush, Powell also let it be known that he could just as well work for Vice-President Al Gore if he is the one who is victorious in November.
The general's admission is another reason why so many people now believe that there is no major difference between the Republican and Democratic Parties, both which uphold monopoly capitalism and are sponsored by corporate interests. And it`s not just Powell that, when push comes to shove, shut up and either directly take the money or fall in line with those who are bribed and hired to help manage an economy favored for ruling class elements - the real minority special interest group that controls this country.
It was interesting that Powell, so trusted in regards to national security of the United States that he could be chosen to be the National Security Advisor for Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, as well as the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the country's military apparatus, was not invited to say anything on the second day of the ceremonies. This Star Spangled Banner Extravaganza with Bombast Bursting All Through the Night tribute to America's wars, featured Bob Dole, Stormin' Norman Schwarzkopf, McCain, et al, heard not a peep from the military man who was responsible for probably killing more people of color throughout his career than all of them put together.
Powell's role at the convention seem to be saluting all of his former bosses and praising the Texas governor whose five and half year tenure is marked with his presiding over the executions of over 135 inmates, including Shaka Sankofa (formerly known as Gary Graham.) It was Shaka Sankofa whose presumption of innocence caused many people, both pro- and anti-death penalty advocates, to take pause and show enough concern that the case was seen as one of the best illustrations to call for a new trial in history.
This fact did not dissuade Bush from allowing the execution of Shaka Sankofa to go forward. What was particularly repugnant about Bush's modus operandi was use of a host of Black intermediaries to cover up his criminal conspiracy to engage in state sanctioned lynching. From the so-called "one eye(d) witness to a Mock attorney to a covert agent presiding over the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to our so-called Black Supreme Court Justice to absorb and deflect attention to themselves and away from him; it was a devious, slick revision and twisted update of the senior Bush's playing of his Willie Horton electoral race card that destroyed his Democratic opponent, Massachussetts Gov. Michael Dukakis.
In the case of John McCain's befriending of Gov. Bush in the most humbling superlatives, his omission of any murmur of the influence of "soft money" (i.e Big money financing" in the electoral process, was shameful. Being that campaign reform was his main political contradiction between him and his now fearless leader upon which his former candidacy and rivalry with the Texan governor was based, and he defeated Bush in seven primaries, was very, very interesting.
And the financial fat cats impact on the campaign was even more sharpened when the New York Times revealed on Tuesday night, August 1st, that "two elite groups of 739 individuals and corporations have contributed at least $94.8 million in so-called soft money to the Republican Party since the beginning of 1999."
The two groups, the Republican Regents who gave $250,000 each to the party every two years, headed up by Mel Sembler who is the finance chairman of the Republican National Committee, and Team 100, which was formed in 1988, whose members gave at least $100,000 to the RNC (and/or GOP) also every two years.
McCain, another military "hero" but dissimilar to Powell's "heroics", had also signed on to perform in the carefully crafted script which seems to have been a passport to get onstage in prime time during the show in Philadelphia, gave their blessings to their newly beloved candidate in the most glowing platitudes. Ret. Gen. Powell, sounding more like someone auditioning for Education czar than a former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff with his eye on the Secretary of State slot - or maybe that of his former boss, Dick Cheney, President George H.W. Bush's Secretary of Defense.
If anyone thinks that Colin Powell's tongue-lashing of the assembled Republican Convention attendees on affirmative action and admonished them to persuaded urban so-called "minority" youth to go to college instead of being shuttled off to prisons and death chambers that he is spearheading the democratization of the GOP by de-emphasizing its racist character, think again. His speech was tailor made and approved by the RNC as a tactic to confuse enough of the Black and Latino electorate to win over a fraction more of both previously despised communities to increase their image of a new, all inclusive, Big Tent political formation with Abraham Lincoln as its standard bearer.
About this Black fidelity to Abraham Lincoln. Doesn't anybody remember that it was Ole Honest Abe, the 16th president of the so-called "Great Emancipator" who said, "I will say, then, that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the sociaI and political equality of the white and Black races - that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes - nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and Black races which will ever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And in as much as they cannot so live, while they do remain together, there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I, as much as any other man, am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race."
Is Gen. Powell hip to this part of Abe Lincoln? Are you? Does the Black community understand the fallacy that placing our people's destiny in the hands of hypocritical white icons and the founding fathers of the then-slavocracy which they protected in both their Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution that had to be amended time after time to make it more reflect what they said it was in the first place? Do you think that the Republican Party, and even in a certain sense, the Democrats too, are seriously going to give you unfettered prominence in their respective political formations? In education, as Carlos Cooks pointed out over 45 years ago, "Do you believe that the white man is going to educate the Black child to compete with his?"
Well then, what is George W. (recently written as Dubya by some in the media) and his retrofitted Republican Party up to with its sudden overture to the African-American community? Is there another reason for their reformulated agenda?
With this in mind, R.W. Apple of the New York Times recently made an interesting observation. Apple pointed out that rather then soley attribute this revised image of the Republicans as becoming a neoliberal formation being aimed at reaching out to the so-called minority electorate, could it very well be, as in the game of billiards, a "three-cushion shot, a subtle play for the votes of white surburbanites, a pivotal voting block that includes many voters for whom civil rights remains a high priority?"
Apple points out that David Bositis, a member of the nonpartisan Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, believes that Bush "has no chance of getting any significant African-American vote", adding that the governor's overtures are "not even about that." Instead, "It's about the suburbs, and about moderate swing voters all across the country. There's no better way to distance himself from Tom DeLay and Dick Armey and the other hard-liners in Congress than showing that he's friendly to blacks and Hispanics."
In the case of John McCain, an embittered Vietnam War POW who, incidently, still uses the disparaging vile term "Gook" which was coined during the Korean War for use against those from North Korea (but supposedly not those from South Korea!?), he's another piece of work. McCain claims that he can neither forget nor forgive the Vietnamese who, after captured in the process of killing their countrymen, held him prisoner to the end of the U.S. Indochina war. Yet he and Powell are supposed to influence people who have been brutally treated over 224 the years by the conservative Republicans - as well as the Democrats - to forgive and forget our experiences and give the GOP a chance.
In support of wooing Black voters to cast their ballot for the Bush-Cheney ticket the attention of African-Americans are directed towards the rising bright Black star of foreign policy and national security affairs of the administration of president Daddy Bush and his Son the Candidate's senior foreign policy advisor, Candoleeza Rice.
Candoleeza Rice is the Republican Party's predecessor to the Clinton Administration's Susan Elizabeth Rice, Assistant Secretary for African-Affairs within the Department of State. While Candoleeza and Susan share the same last name, they are not related - except, perhaps, tracing their family name back to the same slavemaster. They have different slavemasters now but both, although highly paid, are enslaved to a political socioeconomic system that has enriched itself by plundering the majority of the world's people.
While Candoleeza is a former Soviet, now Russian specialist (i.e. an anti-communist/pro-capitalist scholar) and Susan is a highly touted Africa specialist (i,e. a pro-capitalist/ anti-revolutionary nationalist academic), they have as much in common as do their two respective political parties. Their party affiliations notwithstanding, the Rice sisters both have their intellectual capabilities diminished in regards to the liberation of Africans and other oppressed people throughout the world who find themselves in a desparate struggle trying to resist the domination and stranglehold of debt trap monopoly capital and its transnational corporations.
A listener to WLIB called in to Mark Riley and Wayne Gilman and said that rightwing television host Robert Novak claimed that Candoleeza Rice's speech was "dumbed down." I don't know whether if it was dumbed down or not, but I do that for her to assert that she was "an individual" rather than "part of a group" was pretty damn dumb for a Black woman with a Ph.D, who entered the University of Denver at age 15 and graduated at 19 with a BA in political science (cum laude), to make.
But then again, when you look at the illustrious corporate boards that she is a director, including Chevron, Trans- america, University of Notre Dame, International Advisory Council of J.P. Morgan, San Francisco Symphony Board of Governors and the William and Flora Hewlet Foundation, as well as being a Hoover Senior fellow and a professor and provost at Stanford, you understand where this young 45 year old professor - who as Time magazine pointed out, was mentored in foreign policy by Prof. Josef Korbel, the father of the current U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright - is coming from.
Born in the infamous Jim Crow Birmingham, Alabama in 1954, the same year when the historic Supreme Court ordered that public schools should be desegregated "with all deliberate speed", when we see Dr. Rice is now and where she intends to go. While her meteoritic rise to fame and fortune came about out of the struggle of Black people, it has nothing to do with Black people now.
Contrary to what the Republican Party represents culturally, e.g. the music of Kate Smith (whose presence and music was indeed invoked), this convention seemingly presented more Black people entertaining onstage than Showtime at the Apollo. When one looked at the television screen periodically, because of dextrous camera work, it seems that every one of the 4 percent of Black Republicans who were said to be among the 4132 delegates assembled at the First Union Center were showcased for their at least 15 seconds of fame.
[Incidently, it was reported that 45,000 people were in attendance, including 2,066 delegates, 2066 alternates and 15,000 media personnel; the other nearly 20,000 people were not accounted for in regards to which sector they represented or how many demonstrators were outside - or if there is any relation to this question. Additionally, if Black people represented 4 percent of delegates attending and their total number was only 85 (according to Riley on `LIB), did the percentage calculated also include alternative delegates with the party regulars, which - if done - would lessen the percentage nearly by half. A trivia question, yes, but I believe a very telling one. Moreso, is the observation, that Texas, the second largest state in the Union, had only one Black delegate.]
With all of this said, prepare yourself for the most deceptive appeal to the African community as the Republican National Committee goes through the coronation ceremony of supposedly the most qualified person to lead us through the first five years of the new century: Bush-Cheney, the real choice of the dynastic ruling class and their oiligarchy.
As of now, you can try to figure out how are you going to be able to convince the majority of white people in the U.S. that since King George of Britain to George Washington - the first George W. - through George Bush the 1st and possibly George Bush the 2nd (or as he hinted, the second George W.), along with the all the others who historically have chosen to "let George do it." Whether we discuss Republicans or Democrats - or in between, the fact remains that American politics, as well as politicians, are as trustworthy as Three-Card Monte. Brace yourself for a real rumble if we are ever going to be respected or gain our self-determination to realize our liberation from this 224 year old nightmare that we still find ourselves wistfully in search of today.
Therefore, when Gen. Powell gives the order to fall in line, "We want you!", take it from me; It's best you take a deferment. When the general says, "At ease, men" (and women), it's best instead for you to snap to attention!
Copyright (c) 2000 Elombe Brath. All Rights Reserved.
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