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Trump, States’ Rights & The Coronavirus

Trump, States’ Rights & The Coronavirus

The Coronavirus is a Direct Attack on States’ Rights

The U.S. health care system is actually comprised of 50-states (plus DC), 3,169 counties and many local health care systems, all separate and unequal.

States’ rights are why 14 states – disproportionately located in the neediest region of the country, the South, with its anti-federal government ideology – are still rejecting the Medicaid portion of the Affordable Care Act, leaving millions of poor people without health insurance.

Every state, county and local health care system is different, with few national standards. So during this coronavirus pandemic, how it plays out in every state, county and locality will depend on: the prevalence of the virus; who has it; how many have it; where they’re located; are tests available locally; how quickly can they get the test results back; and how quickly can we identify those who tested positive with others they’ve been in contact.

Each health care system will also depend on its funding; the capacity and capability of the over-all local system; the number and quality of its workers; the availability of equipment; the density and age of the surrounding population; its poverty and racial composition, as many racial minorities and poor people will reflect different health care needs and require different priorities; and more.

Since the rebellion against King George and the American Revolution, there has always been some degree of resistance to a centralized or federal government – and anti-government generally is a close second cousin.  The defense of slavery, using the Tenth Amendment, baked in the ideology of states’ rights. More recently, President Ronald Reagan emphasized this anti-government ideology in his 1981 Inaugural Address when he said, “Government is not the solution.  Government is the problem.”  Former Speaker Tip O’Neill underlined it with his, “All politics is local.”

So, this anti-government and anti-democratic-political spirit has worked against the Constitution’s Preamble and its initial and continuing assignment, mandate and mission – i.e., to build a more perfect Union.  It’s impossible to build a more perfect Union using a states’ rights ideology – each state being sovereign and primarily looking out for itself.  President Trump is using the ideology of states’ rights domestically – e.g., each governor is primarily responsible for fighting the coronavirus; but then he turns the states’ rights ideology inside out and applies it to the international community as “America First.”

It’s a slap in the face to the United Nations and all other national, regional and international bodies whose missions are to save the planet, end world poverty, achieve international peace, work for international justice, regulate world finance and commerce, or take steps to create a more healthy world – e.g., the mission of the World Health Organization (WHO).

A central issue in this country from its beginning has been the relationship between the federal government and the states. It’s a question that has been with us since before the writing of our Constitution in Philadelphia in 1787 – the Articles of Confederation (1777) left state sovereignty too much in place – through the Supreme Court’s first major decision in 1793 (Chisholm v. Georgia), during the antebellum period of 1800 through 1860, clearly during the Civil War (1861-1865) and following the post-Civil War periods. It remains an active issue today – witness Donald Trump, states’ rights and the coronavirus!

Slavery was sustained by the twin ideologies of capitalism and states’ rights – that is, the sacredness of private property, protected by the states.  Out of that capitalist ideology come the worship of the private sector and the disparaging of the public sector – i.e., private ice is colder than public ice.  Donald Trump’s television show, The Apprentice, was a capitalist model – contestants competing against one another in a game of “survival of the fittest,” with the winner being the lone survivor.

President Trump has said he “loves pitting people against each other,” remarking that, “his whole life is based on that.”  “It brings out the best and worst in people; and if the worst comes out, you don’t want them working for you.”

It turns out President Trump is both the ultimate states’ righter and the devoted and proclaimed evangelical savior of the capitalist ideology!  State governors are screaming at him they don’t have the financial resources to handle what’s coming at them, begging Trump for help, but he refuses to grant them what they need; instead, telling them the primaryresponsibility for solving the coronavirus lies in a competition between them for needed scarce tests, masks, ventilators and medical supplies – i.e., states’ rights.  (The ideology underlies his petty politics of rewarding his political “friends” who praise him and punishing his gubernatorial enemies who are not appreciative of what he’s doing for them.)

Trump says our country wasn’t built to be idle and businesses are “raring to go” (meaning capitalism).  His deception has been so great that the American people have continued with a “business as usual” response.  On Easter Trump wanted to see “packed churches all over our country,” confounding the best advice from the world’s top health professionals and their recommendation of “physical distancing.” Unfortunately, if that happens, the President won’t be leading Americans to church on Easter Sunday; he’ll be leading his supporters directly to the coronavirus.

Vice President Pence argues that Trump’s formula for dealing with the coronavirus is local execution, state management and federal support.  With his business orientation Trump absurdly proposes that the federal government re-start the economy and re-open businesses one county at a time.  The U.S. has 3,169 counties.

Such an approach would only make a little sense if we had contact tracing for every county and state and knew: who has the virus; where is it located; how many have it; and with whom have they had contact?  But that would require tests and testing, and we don’t have those because the Trump administration engaged in months of denial and delay regarding the gravity of the pandemic and hasn’t been able to produce or coordinate enough tests, send them to where they’re needed, conduct the tests, do an analysis and or get the result back in a timely fashion. In a recent poll, 90 percent of mayors said they don’t have the tests.  We’re flying blind.

During this coronavirus pandemic the Federal Government’s role should have been to comprehensively see where the greatest emergencies were, and coordinate getting the tests, masks, gowns, ventilators and whatever else was needed to the places of greatest need!

Trump delayed signing the Defense Production Act (DPA) and refuses to effectively use it, citing all the companies that have volunteered to help. This disjointed effort by the private sector, foundations, charity and volunteers is admirable, but it won’t adequately address a national and international coronavirus pandemic.  The production of private companies, the efforts of state and local governments, donations by foundations, acts of charity and the labors of voluntarism must be orchestrated into a symphony of health coordination by the Federal Government and President Donald Trump is either refusing or is incapable of doing.

Under the DPA Trump can require companies to fulfill the needs of the hospitals for tests, masks, gowns and ventilators and prohibit hoarding and price gouging.  Without federal coordination Governors are complaining they’re competing against one another for necessary life protecting and lifesaving items.  Kansas Governor Laura Kelly said masks normally costing $.80 are selling for $4.00.  Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker said he’s bidding against FEMA for ventilators.  Such competition is driving up costs when fiscal restraint should be primary.

The Obama administration left behind a book with a plan informing the next president about what to do if a virus struck. Trump did away with the book along with the White House’s National Security Council positions responsible for preparing for such a virus. Our intelligence agencies wrote briefing papers in January 2020 about the coming coronavirus – Trump didn’t read them.  White House aides also tried to inform and warn him – he ignored them.  Trump only shared a positive vision with Americans, suppressed all bad news, lied and misinformed the American people about the facts.  He had to be corrected, and we had to be informed and warned, by Dr. Anthony Faueci about the coming pandemic.  America’s becoming number one with those testing positive for the coronavirus is the result.

Trump’s an extremist with his states’ rights, but he’s in the linage of the modern row of states’ righters – Goldwater (e.g., anti-civil rights), Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan (e.g., Philadelphia, Mississippi), H.W.-Bush, Clinton (e.g., the era of big government is over), W-Bush (the good people of South Carolina will figure out what to do with the Confederate Flag), and Obama (e.g., the Affordable Care Act) – who have all abandoned the more perfect Union legacy of Lincoln, FDR and LBJ.  Even Eisenhower can claim a piece of the “more perfect Union” label with his Interstate Highway System.

Trump claims he’s a nationalist and “a war time president,” but he’s fighting the coronavirus war as a states’ rights commander; and when this crisis is over, Trump, the Republicans, Joe Biden, if he’s elected president, and most Democrats will go back to fighting for things that should be “universal” – health care, affordable housing, public education and voting rights – as states’ righters.

So if you can’t figure out why Trump is failing the coronavirus test – and why we can’t incarnate the Constitution’s mandate to build “A More Perfect (democratic) Union” absent the coronavirus – look beyond Trump’s personal incompetence to the Republican Party’s current and to the linage of the Democratic Party’s historical loyalty to the ideology of capitalism and states’ rights as it manifested itself in slavery.

Mr. Floyds Spirit is now our Spirit In Honor of Mr. George Floyd

There are no words, to convey, any comfort, for the loss of a loved one, under these circumstances. One of the rights, that we are endowed with by our Creator, is the right to live a full life, without its premature interruption, at the hands of another human being. No right on earth is more fundamental. And the government has no greater, unstated, obvious purpose than to secure this right.

The words that we are able to muster are the embodiment of the spirit endowed to each of us by our Creator. For deep within every breath that we breathe, mindfully or not, is a spiritual journey. To the  Floyd family, we are profoundly sorry for your loss; for your loss is our loss and our lives are diminished by the absence of the unity of George’s flesh and spirit. George’s spirit is why we are here today. His respiration (his divinity), his aspiration, (his will), his perspiration (his work), his inspiration (his love of neighbor), his expiration (death) has inspired the world to action. His life mattered. Soon we will bury his flesh, but his resurrected spirit matters. And  we are reminded, of just how important, his living spirit is, in a poem written by English poet John Donne,

 

There are no words, to convey, any comfort, for the loss of a loved one, under these circumstances. One of the rights, that we are endowed with by our Creator, is the right to live a full life, without its premature interruption, at the hands of another human being. No right on earth is more fundamental. And the government has no greater, unstated, obvious purpose than to secure this right.

The words that we are able to muster are the embodiment of the spirit endowed to each of us by our Creator. For deep within every breath that we breathe, mindfully or not, is a spiritual journey. To the  Floyd family, we are profoundly sorry for your loss; for your loss is our loss and our lives are diminished by the absence of the unity of George’s flesh and spirit. George’s spirit is why we are here today. His respiration (his divinity), his aspiration, (his will), his perspiration (his work), his inspiration (his love of neighbor), his expiration (death) has inspired the world to action. His life mattered. Soon we will bury his flesh, but his resurrected spirit matters. And  we are reminded, of just how important, his living spirit is, in a poem written by English poet John Donne,

No man is an island,

entire of itself;

every man is a piece of the continent,

a part of the main.

 

Any man’s death diminishes me,

because I am involved in mankind;

and therefore never send, to know, for whom the bell tolls;

it tolls for thee.

We all share the same spirit. I never had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Floyd, I did not know that within him, he had the power to change the direction of the World, only God knew that in her infinite wisdom. This is why we are here. Today “the bell tolls; for us.” George Floyd is not the first Black man to have his spirit separated from his flesh, but America, and I believe the message for governments around the world, through their police and their agents, we want him to be the last. The unity of mind, body, and spirit is our God-given endowment. We have a right to that endowment, without the intervention of a Government, or the threat of its loss, at the hand of another human being.

I was reading an article written by Lonnae O’Neal and printed in National Geographic, this morning and she titled it, “George Floyd’s mother was not there, but he used her as a sacred invocation,” she subtitled it  “With his dying breaths, Floyd called for her as an assurance of memory.” Lonnie O’Neal writes from the perspective of an anguished mother, that in my own mind may give us a new insight into the experience at Calvary. She writes,

Please, man!” Floyd begs as he is ground into the pavement. His pleas mix with the ambient noises around him. They are the disjointed sounds from the clash of belief systems and competing visions of sovereignty, of ownership, of authority over black bodies compressed into the narrow frame of Floyd’s last moments.

“Momma!” Floyd, 46, calls out. “Momma! I’m through,” the dying man says, and I recognize his words. A call to your mother is a prayer to be seen. Floyd’s mother died two years ago, but he used her as a sacred invocation.

“He is a human being!” comes an anguished plea from someone in a desperate attempt to engage the officers’ reason or compassion or oaths of office. But at that moment, those officers are beyond the reach of humanity. Not Floyd’s, but their own. 

When I read this article I was moved to tears because it reminded me of standing before a federal judge and looking over at my mother, when my actions and behaviors had brought disgrace upon my family and at that moment I too was gasping for air. I couldn’t breathe.

In this life, I have delivered a few Eulogies and I have two conclusions, First that we live our lives as if life is certain and death is uncertain, but death is certain and life is uncertain. The Second conclusion I have reached from the perspective of a eulogist is funerals are a lot less about the dearly departed but about those of us who remain. Before the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment our ancestors could gather and the Eulogy was loaded with Freedom talk. There was talk of a future state in heaven, that was far more promising than the hell they were experiencing. There was talk of a desire for aid. “Who can aid us?” Can aid us, can aid us, Canada. The underground railroad became a path to a different life on earth. The underground railroad became a rare path to a practical, pragmatic, beyond philosophical existentialism.  A kind of earthly heaven.

This road is captured in all three verses that traverse human spirit in James Weldon Johnson’s “The Negro National Anthem.” and it is captured in “Let America Be America Again.”

O, yes, 

I say it plain,

America never was America to me,

And yet I swear this oath-

America Will Be!

by Langston Hughes

George Floyd said, I can’t breathe:

One of the first things a physician does, when the physician welcomes a new child in the world is to turn the child upside down, a light gesture on the back, and a slap on the behind, to shock the child into the reality that life is no longer in the womb, and in that instance, a child comes to terms with their first God-given endowment,  the right to breath, the idea of breathing is born. Then the physician turns to the mother and lets the mother know that the child is breathing. At this moment the mother has a knowing, the spirit is present and after 9 long months, the Spirit has flesh.

George Floyd said I Can’t Breathe: 

We are here today because the spirit of George Floyd has called all of us to an impromptu and emergency, “Enough is Enough meeting,” that we the living would not have been able to call for ourselves. We are here today because at the hour of his death, he was hungry and he thirsted. At the hour of his death America’s plan of low expectations for him and the possibility of incarceration and lifelong felonization. At the minute of his death, transcended it all and entered divinity, eternity, and changed the course of human history.

George Floyd said I Can’t Breathe:

We are here today because we have a choice of death by disease, death by cop, or as Thomas Paine  said, “If trouble comes, let it come to me, that my child may be free.” When presented with the stark choice, “live free or die”, or Jefferson’s theoretical ideal of “life, liberty, and happiness”, like the spirit of our ancestors that unfolded on the screen adapted from the Amistad Africans, we demand that America, for our children, “Give us Free.”

George Floyd said I Can’t Breathe:

We are here today because Fannie Lou Hammer was right, “ We are sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

We are here because James Baldwin was right, “To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all of the time.”

We are here today because Jesse Jackson is right Red Yellow Brown black and white we are all precious in God’s sight. 

George Floyd said I Can’t Breathe: 

Why can’t we breathe? Because we now know in a Pandemic, corporate interests and the stock market, and bailouts are a priority for the government, over the food around our table, and the success or failure of the stock market has nothing to do with our liberty and happiness, but, the police and the agents of the government, can still put their knee on our neck, threaten our very being, our lives. And  In America, we can never forget that we live under the threat of imminent harm for looking at birds too long.

America- we Can’t Breathe:

Why can’t we breathe? Because a novel-virus is disproportionately killing black, brown, poor, and elderly Americans.  We are not unmindful of the fact that when white America saw Italians and German and Europeans dying she reacted by shutting down her borders, closing states, shutting down industry,, but when our “domestic statistics through testing” showed that black people were dying at a greater rate than white people, not only did our national leadership abandon testing as a national priority, our national leadership decided to expedite the opening of asymptomatic America and use our government and our money as taxpayers to bludgeon Americans back to work in unsafe and unacceptable conditions and many of our asymptomatic white friends went to the beach, knowing full well there is nothing we can do including work alongside them in a diverse America without a vaccine.

America-we Can’t Breathe:

We reflected upon our breath. While Observing the American Passover we turned our focus to our neighbor and we realized, they didn’t have enough masks and protective equipment to provide for us or themselves in the event of illness and disease, We dreamed of the need to build a New America with a new beginning and we refused to ignore that 40 million Americans were out of work, through no fault of their own, numbers not seen since the great depression. This was a mighty dream we had around our Passover table and we have always known that the Negro in America is last hired and first fired when the economy is Bull and Bear, we suffer. But still, we reflected upon our neighbor and our infinite possibility together as Americans.

America-we Can’t Breathe:

Martin Luther King told us why? because “no lie can live forever.” America saw what we have seen and experienced some version of this brutality so many times that the world wouldn’t believe it, whether it is a negro watching birds in a Park or a Police officers with his knee on a black man’s neck, our neighbor would not have believed it without the video. This is a teachable moment for you. The video documentation of these horrific events is telling us nothing that we didn’t know, we leave quarantine because of you and because our neighbors, whom we love, have a  “new knowing.” 

We are here because our patience has run thin, and we have run out of peaceful, nonviolent solutions, to a centuries-old American problem of racial discrimination and public and private lynchings and the tragic reality that pacifism and dialogue hasn’t gotten us anywhere but to the next “enough is enough” meeting. From Trayvon Martin to LaQuan McDonald to Eric Garner, to George Floyd, from Sandra Bland to Brionna Taylor, we can’t protect ourselves or our women. 

 

America we Can’t Breathe:

Why can’t we breathe?  Because something is wrong with the entire science of forensic pathology when a scientist can come on national and international television and attempt to describe for half of all reasonable people on earth, that his conclusion was a death that is different from what more than a billion people have watched with their own two eyes. How could anyone accept that this man died from a comorbidity? That the primary cause of death was not asphyxiation by cop, but that he died from something else? Whatever he had, before a knee was placed on his throat, he lived with, for 46 years. The intervening event in his life is a knee in the throat. How is this acceptable? The coroner’s report is designed to help the cop in a court of law, and why hasn’t the coroner been investigated for falsifying his report? Something is systemically wrong when first-degree murder is reduced to third-degree and the pathology report is inconsistent with what most people on planet earth saw. Unarmed black men do not walk into bullets, no black man or woman crawls into a submission asphyxiating headlock, and no American is gullible enough to believe that a system this corrupt between prosecutor and coroner is credible.

Dr. James Forbes, one of the most prolific and profound preachers in the United States, shared with me recently that in the words inspiration, aspiration, respiration, and expiration is the word spirit, in each human breath is a person’s spirit, he said we are in an “advanced stage of depraved indifference towards life,” when a system teaches law-enforcement techniques to deprive a person of spirit, and then when a man Tapout’s’ and tells you “he can’t breathe” and when the government allows the officer to continue to apply the technique unless caught on video, the government is advancing a technique to deprive the American people of the divine, and to surrender their spirit. When applied to civilians, it is applied to change the sprite of a community or kill it.  When another human being tells you they can’t breathe, they are tapping out. That means stop. No means no, that too means stop.

Our protest is at the highest level of our faith, occurring in a pandemic, with an unresponsive government, that’s the context.

From 1619 to the present, before the Declaration of Independence (1776)  and the Constitution (1787) and the Bill of Rights (1791) before the Tenth Amendment and States Rights, from the beginning of time, our human rights were guaranteed to us by our Creator and no declaration, constitution, or amendment can undermine that spiritual endowment.

In America, the right to “Rebellion Against Tyranny” is as fundamental as the right to breath.

The great insult, of course, is that America continues to put “her property interests over our being.” Our being is contingent upon having a breath. Dr. King said, 

“I was aware that there are many who wince at a distinction between property and persons-who hold both sacrosanct. My views are not so rigid.  A life is sacred. Property is intended to serve life, and no matter how much we surround it, (property) with rights and respect, it has no personal being. It is part of the earth man walks on; it is not man.” 

Any person of color, and any American who has read, digested and understood American history understands that the Negro in America, through hard work and long struggle and sacrifice has had to move public opinion on the very question of their being over property,  from 3/5ths of a human being in the Constitution and regarded as chattel property and slavery within in the states just to enjoy our present protections under the Constituionton.

I believe our King was trying to tell us that white America has never known what it means to be treated or thought of as property, at the inception of the nation and Before the Mayflower, In the modern work environment, Black Americans are last hired and first fired, dismissed, under-compensated and discriminated against on the basis of race and gender. And then they spend most of their being fighting to be respected as a person in the sight of someone or a system who reduces our being in every generation to a thing. 

The protest is not directed at anyone’s life out of retaliation, the destruction of property is directed at the “thingness that equates and prioritizes property over being.” Property is not being and that is why it burns.  When property is looted and burned, it sends a message about American confusion and fake news.  It is the acknowledgment that God is responsible for being, and the arsonist and the looter, however wrong and illegal their unsupported actions are, is getting our attention. Corporate being is fake news and not of God.  The police are no longer “serving and protecting” the citizenry! The police protect and preserve property over being and case after case the police are willing to destroy our being over the business communities and the political classes property interests, ultimately their stock market interests. 

Conclusion

Even with all of this pain, there were some curious moments over the last week that represented the birth of a new spirit in America in the making, and in my mind, they are worthy of note. Viktor E. Frankl said, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” Dr. King said, “if one can find a core of non-violence toward persons, even during the riots when emotions were exploding, it means that non-violence should not be written off for the future as a force in the Negro life.” Among many acts since the death of George Floyd, I want to highlight just five of them.

1 The Spirit of black mothers while always present was elevated to global recognition. George Floyd did this. He did what no leader since Brown vs. the Bd. of Education could do. There are consequences today for ignoring black mothers in a major political party and the party’s nominee knows of the consequences.

2 The Amish fighting for George Floyd. I am curious to know if Minnesota authorities had any idea that George Floyd had Amish friends and friends from the Mennonite community. Did the Minneapolis Police Department know that he had such broad and global relationships?

3 Black men defending a cop. I read a curious article about African American men forming a human chain around a police officer and not allowing any harm to come to that officer. for surely they recognized his humanity and the ramification of violent harm, coming to that officer, the retaliatory response could fill hundreds of cemeteries across our country. Every black man in America owes those men a debt of gratitude.

4 It is impossible to ignore the Multicultural and multi-generational dynamics of the domestic and global protests. If it were not for George, the protests would be local and it would only be local news as it always has been. If the protests were all black people, and for only black people, under this administration, today we would be looking at a very different dynamic. This administration is aware of this dynamic and seeks to instill fear in the generation of white Americans who understand and whose ancestors survived European Fascism. Not every white protester is Antifa, not every black is nonviolent, the majority of the protesters are non-violent, law-abiding, outraged and fed up Americans and this protest is our right, and therefore the administration’s military response is an overreaction. The military should take a knee and those who do Joe Biden should pardon and restore them upon his inauguration.

5 It was curious to me that a Blackman couldn’t watch birds in Central Park and have the police called on him for no reason and, White women in one protest would form a line protecting black protestors, male and female, daring the police to come through them and therefore like Viktor Frankl, creating a necessary momentary pause.

George Floyds Spirit Called Out, “MOMMA” he gave up the ghost, and his Spirit went up to the Mother of the Universe…..

Mr. Floyd’s spirit is now our spirit and it is vibrating around the world. Now that it has awakened us, I pray won’t go back to sleep again.

I want to thank George Floyd for his mindfulness and his law-abiding behavior and most importantly for his last breath. Thanks to God and all of our mothers for resuscitating us, for giving us life that no one has the right to take, for healing our broken spirits, and thanks be to God for the natural right to breathe.

 

This morning I spoke with Joe Madison about my article: Robert E. Lee, Pickett’s Charge And Donald John Trump. Click on the link below to hear the interview:

In Celebration and Commemoration of the 91st Birthday Martin Luther King Jr

As you know I am preparing for my remarks tomorrow to celebrate and commemorate the 91st birthday Martin Luther King Jr. As I continue my research I stumbled upon a few weeks ago a rare article from James Baldwin and a series of interviews that he did with Martin Luther King. https://harpers.org/archive/1961/02/the-dangerous-road-before-martin-luther-king/ I have three quotes from the article, that I want to elevate this morning because I will not be using them tomorrow, but I thought them noteworthy. They are from the pen of James Baldwin.

“The Reverend King is not like any preacher I’ve ever met before. For one thing, to state it baldly, I liked him.”

That quote from Baldwin says a lot. He was likable and approachable. Dr. King was different than other preachers. Take away his title which he earned and their titles and when you look at the man, King stood head and shoulders above anyone in American history, maybe even the entire history of the profession of ministry. There are many people who have “style” and no “substance.” There are others who have “substance” and “no style.” Dr. King was the “style of substance.” I thought that quote noteworthy.

Secondly and even more importantly in the same article James Baldwin says.

“What he says to Negroes he will say to Whites; and what he says to Whites he will say to Negroes. He is the first Negro leader in my experience, or the first of many generations, of whom this can be said; most of his predecessors were in the extraordinary position of saying to white men, hurry, while saying to black men, wait.”

This quote raises the question of intellectual, spiritual and moral integrity. There is no substitute for that. A leader devoid of this basic characteristic isn’t a leader at all, but the foot shuffling, head bobbing, ham boning, tool of the establishment. I’ve wasted alot of time with people who got this model of leadership down pat. I must admit my gullibility, during a phase of style admiration. I did not recognize the character trait, until I was in both cultural settings. In the black setting, they speak in a dialect that includes the streets and familiarity. In other cultural settings they speak in a dialect that respects the kings language and lacks the authenticity of the reality of our circumstance.

When a person speaks with this kind of integrity, he or she will take heat from both sides. Because it is this integrity the challenges the conscience. For example you can’t blame everything on the white man, and ignore our moral degeneracy. Some of the things the white man does he does because he thinks we are not moral. On the other hand, the Negro lives across this country on an island of material poverty amongst a sea of material wealth and prosperity. The stock market doesn’t mean anything to us including its fluctuations. And yes I believe the economic conditions of health-carelessness, homelessness, joblessness, mass incarceration contribute to moral degeneracy. With that said we must speak with integrity to both sides of the dilemma.

I found a third and compelling comparative analysis that Baldwin made to distinguish profoundly our King from Booker T. Washington.

“He is not, for example, to be confused with Booker T. Washington, whom we gratefully allowed to solve the racial problem single-handedly. It was Washington who assured us, in 1895, one year before it became the law of the land, that the education of Negroes would not give them any desire to become equals; they would Be content to remain-or, rather, after living for generations in the greatest intimacy with whites, to become -separate. It is a measure of the irreality to which the presence of the Negro had already reduce the nation that this utterly fantastic idea, which thoroughly controverts the purpose of education, which has no historical or psychological validity, and which denies all the principles on which the country imagine itself to have been found, was not only excepted with tears but became the cornerstone of an entire way of life. And this did not come about, by the way, merely because of the venom or villainy of the south. It could never have come about at all Without the tacit consent of the north; and this consent robs the north, historically and actually, of any clean tomorrow superiority. The failure of the government to make any realistic provisions for the education of tens of thousands of illiterate former slaves had the effect of dumping this problem squarely into the lap of one man – Who knew, whatever else he may not have known, that the Education of the Negroes had somehow to be accomplished. Whether or not Washington believe what he said is certainly an interesting question. But he did know that he could not accomplish his objective by telling white man what they wanted to hear. and it has never been very difficult for a Negro in this country to figure out what white men want to hear: he takes his condition as an echo of their desires.

There will be no more Booker T. Washington‘s. And whether we like it or not, and no matter how hard or how long we oppose it, there will be no more segregated schools, there will be no more segregated anything. King is entirely right when he says that segregation is dead.”

And I would personally add
“Martin Luther King Junior killed it.” Now for all who have read what James Baldwin has said and what I have concluded, understand that I have very little room in my thinking for Booker T. Washington and his modern disciples. I see and hear their ideas on Facebook and other places all the time. I listen patiently, but I know regurgitated thought when I hear it. They don’t know I know. In the back of your mind must be equal high-quality. If it’s good enough for them it’s good enough for us, and there’s no need to build anything separate and apart from the other.

We die in every war from the revolutionary to the present, we built this nation, I believe in the death of second class citizenship. I believe in first class citizenship for everybody.

Later in the article Baldwin says “the problem of Negro leadership in this country has always been extremely delicate, dangerous, and complex. The term itself becomes remarkably Difficult to define, the moment one realizes that the real role Of the Negro leader, in the eyes of the American Republic, was not to make the Negro a first class citizen but to keep him content as a second class one. This sounds extremely harsh, but the record Bears me out and this problem, which it was the responsibility of the entire country to face, was dumped into the lapse of a few men. Some of them were real leaders and some of them were false. Many of the greatest have scarcely ever been heard of.”

Enough said for that now.

In the image below is Dr King with James Baldwin over Dr. kings left shoulder is my late great friend Rev. Dr. Bernard Lee. There is the rare photo that you can find where Bernard Lee is not in it with Martin Luther King Jr. He was faithful and there was no one closer. He was the keeper of Dr. King’s most private confidences. He passed in 1991 at age 55. https://www.nytimes.com/1991/02/14/obituaries/rev-bernard-lee-55-civil-rights-advocate.html Reverend Lee used to kick it in Washington DC Southwest, with Doris Crenshaw and my mother, who I presently see regularly when I visit Montgomery Alabama.

The Unity of One God our Creator: a future expectation

There is no doubt that James Madison and Thomas Jefferson and John Adams believed that the discovery of the functional extract would rally the entire nation to the unity of one God.

Letter: Mr. President Pardon the 68 Million (Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr.)

Facebook December 2016December 20, 2016 · Chicago, IL · 
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Dear Mr. President,

I applaud your commitment to facilitating second chances, through clemency and pardons, for more Americans than any other president in the modern history of our nation. I am assured that you have carefully and thoroughly analyzed of our prison system, which holds over 2 million of our family members and is exceedingly more populated than any other system around the world. However, these United States of America will continue to be fissured so long as over 68 million men, and women, who formerly offended, have not been fully restored to re-engage the land of opportunity with full freedom and rights due to every citizen of this great nation.

Mr. President, as our country looks for ways to balance immigration, we must also look for ways to re-integrate the 68 million men and women who were actually born into the constitutional rights of the American pursuit of life liberty and happiness. As our transgressed Americans walk out of prisons, having made penance for their deeds, they are also in need of relief in the face of their release. They need relief from an abridged set of constitutional rights which offers fragmented citizenship and inadequate tools to start a new race towards holistic happiness and freedom. They need the language of a pardon.

The full language of a pardon, communicates to each American, redeemed by time and service, that he is to take up his bed and go, and sin no more. Furthermore, it says America stands behind them. To be clear, the spirit of forgiveness inherent in a presidential pardon, Mr. President, is not to be confused with your other acts of compassionate corrective measures, such as the physical release of American grandfather, Ronald Moon. What I am seeking is mass restoration of hope that comes from having in hand, a clean slate, as a matter of pure fact, for those who have completed not commuted, their sentences.

My son Jesse Jackson Jr. has engaged this argument from this same perspective. At first glance it sounds like a platform to free himself. However, you know him well, he accepted responsibility and paid his debt in full. Mr. President, Jesse Jackson Jr. is driven by a commitment he made to the men he met in prison and now calls his friends. After being thrown in “the hole” for trying to teach his friends how to complete the complicated application process provided by our government’s Department of Justice, Jesse promised to take their voices forward when he was released. Passionately, he speaks of this promise, daily, to anyone who is willing to listen. As his father, I would unapologetically ask that you pardon my son. However, my son will not hear this request until former federal offenders, whose lives and futures you control in the millions, men and women, who stand in a long line before him have received restoration to citizenship.

His commitment is to freedom, therefore, he will ring the bell incessantly. He is also committed to justice and, as such, is willing to wait in line. Ironically, it is a principle gleaned from men who have fallen away from the law at times. For in prison, the rule is hard and fast: to break line is to ask for trouble in a system that requires adherence to rules and order to ensure peace and stability. We must restore the rights of these Americans and Grant them equal citizenship. This is what Ford did for Richard Nixon. He stopped the shame the blame and the guilt in his life and restore him to citizenship. With these words, Nixon life was made whole.

Now, therefore, I, Gerald R. Ford, President of the United States, pursuant to the pardon power conferred upon me by article 2, section 2, of the constitution, have granted and by these presents to grant a full, free, and absolute pardon unto Richard Nixon for all offenses against the United States which he, Richard Nixon, has committed or may have committed or taken part in during the period from July [sic-January] 20, 1969 through August 9, 1974.

I have witnessed the plea of my son on behalf of the 68 million; today I witness your continued efforts to make progress. Mr. President, I am asking, as a father, that you shorten the line by enacting a process which provides a clean slate and second chance for the multitude of Americans to recommit, with all the tools required, to re-build upon a level playing field, in the country known for freedom, justice and opportunity. Only the pardoning power of measured compassion can correct the harsh and inequitable system of punishment which falls short at the point of true redemption. I understand the clemency is definitely a reprieve on the sentencing of these Americans. We speak a pardon the other constitutional language because that means a second chance.

As Jesse Jackson Jr. requested last month, give the greatest gift at Christmas. Stuff the stockings of these Americans with a letter stating “You are free to start over, free to pursue happiness, free to restore your families and free to run the race, in full, as an American citizen.” Tell them, as a Christian, you are extending the pardon they require to go and sin no more. I write this letter with great zest and zeal, as your time is drawing near. Please take the opportunity to correct the system to restore freedom to vote, run for office and serve our communities. Pardon the 68 million men and women before you go. Make this the memory and incredible feat that will go down in history as the greatest commitment of the man with the funny name-who was questioned about his ability to serve, because of his color and his birth certificate. Show the people we are all created equal even if we fall down. Demonstrate that when allowed, we are able to get back up and run a race in pursuit of the dreams of our fathers-and the dreams we label American.

Please, before you go, pardon, using the same language that Ford used to grant a pardon to Nixon, all debt paid federal offenders.

Sincerely,

Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr.

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Letter: Pardon the 68 Million (Jesse Jackson Jr.)

Jesse Jackson Jr.   Facebook 2016

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Merry Christmas everyone . Last night I had a dream, just like Martin Luther King Junior, that President Barack Obama became known as the greatest Christian president ever.

This Thanksgiving, and through the Christmas season, the season we celebrate the birth of the forgiver of men, Jesus of Nazareth, President Barack Obama has been given one of the rarest opportunities on earth. For eight years, Republicans and conservatives have told us the Barack Obama is not a Christian. For eight years Barack Obama has convinced us that he is a Christian. Between now and the time he leaves office, he has the opportunity to prove that he is the greatest Christian president ever. The unilateral power to forgive men and women who have already paid their debt to society for the mistakes that they made in their past vests solely with him in Article 2 section 2 Clause 1 of the United States Constitution. There are 68 million people in this country who have a federal, state, or local criminal record. While there is debate as to whether or not the president of the United States can extend the forgiveness power to state and local offenders, there is no debate that the president of the United States has the power to forgive all federal offenses. My argument of course is not for men and women, who are in jail, and who must do their time because they committed a federal crime. In this area President Obama has distinguished himself by granting clemency to low level offenders.

My argument is for men and women who have done their time and owe, nothing else to the American people, and deserve a new life, a life very different than the one they are living as felons and this is not possible without a full pardon. There are tens of millions of people who have paid their debt to society and have never been forgiven. They remain American felons for the rest of their lives until granted A full pardon by the president of the United States under article 2 section 2 Clause 1 of the Constitution.

That’s more people than Abraham Lincoln freed with the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. That’s more people, than lived around the Sea of Galilee 2000 years ago. President Barack Obama, has the power to be remembered as our countries greatest Christian President, simply by extending forgiveness to our fathers, our sons our mothers and our daughters, husbands and wives who have already paid their debt to the American People.

In the introduction to his book “The Pardon Power” Jeffrey Crouch begins, “at 11:05 AM on Sunday morning, September 8, 1974, a grim President Gerald Ford faced a single video camera and 13 members of the White House press corps. From the oval office, he read the following statement:

Now, therefore, I, Gerald R. Ford, President of the United States, pursuant to the pardon power conferred upon me by article 2, section 2, of the constitution, have granted and by these presents to grant a full, free, and absolute pardon unto Richard Nixon for all offenses against the United States which he, Richard Nixon, has committed or may have committed or taken part in during the period from July [sic-January] 20, 1969 through August 9, 1974.

President Ford then signed proclamation 4311 granting a full pardon to former President Richard Nixon for any federal offenses he may have committed as President of the United States. A month earlier, Nixon had resigned from the presidency in disgrace to avoid being impeached for his role in the Watergate scandal. The tape of the Nixon pardon – which was not carried live – was broadcast to the nation later that day.

After signing the pardon, President Ford walked out of the White House without answering a single question from reporters, climbed into a limousine, and road to Burning Tree Country Club, for an afternoon of golf. Upon Fords departure, reporters on hand we’re given copies of for documents: Fords pardon proclamation, his statement, and the opinion from the attorney general William Saxby that reaffirm Nixon’s ownership of his presidential materials, and the “Nixon – Sampson agreement” spelling out the logistics of access to the former presidents records, Crouch writes.

Pardoning Nixon was President Fords first act of presidential clemency, and it was unique. No American president has ever been pardoned. In contrast to most presidential pardons, Nixon’s was issued before he had been convicted of, or even charged with, a crime, and his offenses were not specified in the language of the pardon. Also, President Ford chose not to follow the department of justice is regulations regarding pardon applications, and unusual decision in a clemency case, Crouch says.

The Nixon pardon effectively ended the Watergate investigation, but the scandals collateral effects were felt for years. Watergate was largely [if not solely] to blame for Republicans losing in drove during the 1974 midterm elections, and the scandal frustrated fords campaign to win election to the presidency in 1976. One of Watergate key consequences, the independent counsel statute, provided presidents with political cover to make other most controversial pardons since the Civil War; George HW Bush is pardon of former defense secretary Casper Weinberger and other Iran Contra figures, and Bill Clinton is conditional clemency offered to members of FALN, A Puerto Rican national screwed, as well as his “last-minute” pardons of fugitive financier Mark rich and others. President George Bush’s decision to commute to prison sentence a vice President Richard Cheney’s former Chief of Staff, I.Louis “Scooter”Libby, has joined this exclusive list. By the end of Bushes term in office, there were others, but none of his post-Libby clemency decisions as of the writing of this writing in November 2008 have earn anywhere near the attention of the Libby commutation, Crouch says.

In 1866 the Ex parte Garland Court, described the extremely flexible clemency power. Here, the majority opinion by Justice Steven Feld, noted that the pardon power granted by the Constitution, “thus conferred is unlimited with the [impeachment] exceptions stated. It extends to every offense known to the law, and maybe exercised at anytime after its commission, either before legal proceedings are taken, or during the pendency, or after conviction and judgment. This power of the president is not subject to legislative control. Congress can either limit the effect of his pardon, nor exclude from its exercise in a class of offenders. The benign prerogative of mercy reposed in him cannot be feathered buy any legislative restrictions.

Crouch says, according to Garland, the pardon power may be used at any time after a crime is committed, whether before, during, or after legal proceedings, conviction, and judgment. The timing of a presidential pardon mentioned in Garland has been reaffirmed in subsequent cases. Jeffrey Crouch mentions another, more controversial passage from Ex parte Garland which suggests an extraordinary wide ranging affect:

A Pardon reaches both the punishment prescribed for the offense and the guilt of the offender; and when the party is full, it releases the punishment and blots out of existence the guilt, so that in the eye of the law the offender is as innocent as if he never committed the offense. If granted before conviction, it prevents any penalties and disabilities consequent upon conviction from attaching; if granted after conviction, it removes the penalties and disabilities, and restores him to all his civil rights; it makes him, as it were, a new man, and gives him a new credit incapacity. There is only one limitation to its operation: it does not restore offices forfeited, or property or interest vested in others in consequence of the conviction and judgment.

There is seemingly one small fact that my life and personal experience cannot ignore. While in federal prison I got thrown in the hole for filling out pardon applications for men, who could not read or write. I did not fill out one for myself.

Donald Trump has now promised that he will not pursue Hillary Clinton, if we can trust him, and she does not need a pardon, if granted, Hillary Clinton, like Richard Nixon, will not have to serve a single day in prison. For the men and women that I met along the journey of my life, who have served their time, the guilt, the shame, and the blame should be removed from their lives and elevated to a national security concern, the Nixon language should be extended to them too.

I have heard, recently that the federal courts have said that the president of the United States must issue these full pardons one at a time and not in mass. This is new in the age of Obama. President Lincoln issued mass pardon for Confederates at the conclusion of the Civil War. And Gerald ford issued a pardon to Robert E Lee quietly, without fanfare, posthumously. In the age of supercomputers, super printers, and auto signatures, and merging software, that should not be a problem for a modern administration. This process for the lives of these men and women, should not cost the government more than the paper it’s printed on. Hear the prayers of these families Mr. President, turn the printers on!

President elect Donald Trump has promised that he will repeal Obamacare. If this happens, and with control of both houses of Congress and the Supreme Court, Obamacare will no longer be the Obama legacy.

However, President elect Donald Trump, The Supreme Court, nor the Congress can repeal forgiveness! And it is forgiveness that has the power to make President Barack Obama the greatest Christian president ever.

By the way, Christian legacies stand the test of time and they’re the only ones that last anyway.

Once this is done, Mr. President, get in your limousine, without answering any questions, and go play a round of golf.

Jackson Copyright 2016

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