My next statement is uncharacteristic of me because, as a former intelligence officer, business executive, homeland security professional and now an associate dean, my hallmark has always been prudence and ensuring my words are measured. But I feel it needs to be said. I wonder if 2008 is the last peaceful American presidential election I will have witnessed in my lifetime. I find myself asking, "To what lengths will people go to ensure President Obama is reelected?"
Will President Obama step in and calm the waters, and if he doesn't, does that beg the question of whether or not agitation to the point of violence is the Democrats' strategy for victory in 2012?
I look around me and, like a geologist measuring the warning signs of an impending volcanic eruption, I'm disturbed and wondering if anyone else is picking up on the signs of disaster.
The incendiary words of the Congressional Black Caucus during their "jobs tour" were the rhetorical equivalent of throwing a lighted match in a tinderbox.
Rep. Maxine Waters declared the Tea Party "can go straight to hell...and I intend to help them get there." One satirist suggested that this wasn't a threat, but rather an invitation since, in his words, "Her district IS hell." But I digress.
Rep. Frederica Wilson, a freshman congresswoman from Florida, said the real enemy of the people was the Tea Party.
These are the orchestrated rantings of demagogues, whose intent in stirring the passions of their constituents is presumably to achieve the electoral results they desire in 2012.
When every disagreement on policy, every word spoken from one ideological corner, or every criticism of America's first black president, however legitimate, constitutes an act of racism, the collective tendency of everyday Americans is to throw up their hands in disgust and "shake the dust off [their] feet," to use Jesus' words, as they leave their intransigent brethren behind to wallow in their bitterness and suffering.
It's not enough, however, that over the past two years, their scurrilous and baseless claims have diminished the charge of racism to the point of irrelevance, at least as far as the general population is concerned.
Rep. Andre Carson opened a new and dangerous chapter in this ongoing battle of worldviews when he stated that members of Congress affiliated with the Tea Party movement wanted to see blacks "hanging on a tree."
Taken together with the other statements from Congressional Black Caucus members, accusing the Tea Party of wanting a return to Jim Crow laws and second-class citizenship for black people, this has all the appearances of an orchestrated campaign to stir up animosity in the black community with the intent of, at best, intimidating voters who don't support their divisive agenda or, at worst, making targets of them.
The resulting firestorm and calls for his resignation have not swayed Rep. Carson who, incidentally, is one of the members of Congress who falsely accused Tea Party crowds of spitting on and hurling racial slurs at black legislators during the Obamacare debate in March of 2009. Rep. Carson said to CNN:
“I stand on the truth of what I spoke...My intentions weren’t to hurt anyone or any group. I wanted to speak to the issues that concern me and the philosophical issues that concern me as it relates to certain leadership within the tea party organization, not the entire tea party, but certain elements that have concerned me deeply and for quite some time that I think should really re-evaluate what it means to be an American and we shouldn’t go along the path of taking America back to the ‘good old days’ because those days were not good for everyone.”
Truth? What truth?
There isn't a scintilla of truth in his charge that Tea Party participants want to lynch black people. In fact, judging from the flash mobs in Milwaukee and Philadelphia, it appears that white people have more to fear from black people than the other way around when it comes to violence.
The only white people I've heard recently that expressed a desire to lynch black people are the tolerant liberals at a Common Cause rally in Palm Springs, California, who believe the best way to demonstrate their displeasure with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is to "put him back in the fields" and "string him up...and his wife, too." And they call the Tea Party "terrorists"?
Rep. Carson's statement is irresponsible, especially coming from a member of Congress who took an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States, not agitate against it by provoking a desperate community which, frankly, has been misled as to the source of their desperation.
Despite the outcries, he will not resign, nor will he apologize, because his intent is not to build bridges, but to burn them, and the communities on either side of them, to the ground. He is doing precisely what he and others of his ilk intend to do, and that frightens me. They are convinced that this nation is irredeemable, and so they have no qualms about taking us to the brink of chaos, and beyond.
I didn't think violent political upheaval could happen here, because I believed our political system, our sense of justice, and the fundamental character of America wouldn't allow it.
But when the Department of Selective Justice - err, the Department of Justice - presumably with President Obama's blessing, refused to pursue the slam-dunk prosecution of the New Black Panther Party for voter intimidation in 2008, it could have been the first indicator of the Democrats' plans to ignore or allow voter intimidation in 2012, when the president stands for reelection.
The black community is hurting, and they are buying into the lie that their pain is caused by the everyday Americans in the Tea Party movement, who are too busy with their own struggles and frustrations with Washington to spend even a nanosecond plotting to hang blacks from trees.
The black community is hurting for better education, and it's the Tea Party that's fighting to give them choices while the NAACP and the unions block the pathway to better schools. Yet somehow it's the Tea Party that wants them "hanging on a tree"?
The black community is hurting for jobs, and it's the Tea Party that insists on immigration enforcement so jobs are preserved for Americans and legal residents, while the Congressional Black Caucus, as I've written in the past, finds "more solidarity with illegal aliens and unscrupulous employers, who collude to take jobs away from young and low-skill American workers, than they do with their constituents who look to them for help." Yet somehow it's the Tea Party that wants them "hanging on a tree"?
The black community is hurting to create generational wealth, and it's the Tea Party movement that wants to eliminate the death tax, which hurts black families in the nascent stages of wealth creation, and wants to unleash black entrepreneurs from the shackles of overtaxation and overregulation so they can become rich and leave a legacy for their children and their communities. Yet somehow it's the Tea Party that wants them "hanging on a tree"?
I've said it publicly, and I'll say it again: Every liberal policy that purports to help black people either kills or demeans them. If the black community wants to know who's holding the rope, they should look to those who claim to be on their side.
Emotion has a blinding effect, however, and the agitators in the Congressional Black Caucus know this all too well. How else do you think they are returned to power in every election despite the crushing poverty, crime and untimely death in their districts?
What, then, should our response be?
I am reminded of the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, who said, "We may have all come on different ships, but we're in the same boat now."
These are the words of a statesman, and his message of non-violence and love exposes the members of the Congressional Black Caucus as the mean-spirited mini-potentates they have become.
I imagine that, when they come to commemorate the new memorial in Washington which bears his name, his statue will glower at them as they profess to honor his name, while their actions violate his legacy. They are shooting holes in the boat we're sharing.
I assure you that not every black person in America subscribes to their frenzied threats of another "civil war" driven by race and class. All Americans of good will must come together and stand against intimidation, threats and violence in this political season, wherever and against whomever they may occur.
We can stand together against those who would stir the discontent of others into hatred. The demagogues and race merchants are declaring war on everyday Americans who do not wish them ill, but we will not stand idly by and allow them to set our nation aflame. We will confront violence with respect for the rule of law, and agitation with solidarity that reaches across racial boundaries.
Proverbs 25:21-22 says, "If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you." We will answer their campaign of hate with a response of love, and their consciences will burn with shame, even if they are too prideful to admit it.