Thursday, November 19, 2009

Peaceful and Pacified

There seems to be a world falling apart around us, and I have a feeling that the solutions are not being demanded as much as they should.

Today in the House Financial Services Committee, the members of the Congressional Black Caucus used their caucus power (novel!) to stop the committee vote on a bill that is a major priority of both the Obama administration and House Democratic leadership (Frank + Pelosi). Their objective was to draw attention to the issue most important to their voting constituents.

Dude, where the f*ck is my job?!

I am glad someone [namely the someones elected to do so] finally stood up to the well intentioned, but easily misguided Democratic leadership of the House. In this equation, they are the only variable that can address the realities that Representative Waters and her CBC colleagues brought to the Committee's attention today. The realities that the current recession poses systemic risks to poor and middle class African-Americans.

In no way am I supporting this statement as an undermining of the overall impact our economic recession is having on all communities within the US. The reality however, is that communities that have historically been economically vulnerable are uniquely challenged in surviving the direction we're continuing in. The overall impact of rising costs of living (basic living! why is milk so expensive?!) combined with already limited collective resources, limited economic growth and limited political empowerment can make recovery dangerously limited if not impossible, and harder hitting at the same time.

Essentially, what is our recession is a lot of folks' depression, and a lot of them folks are African-Americans. Today some of their reps finally stood up, and did just that. Repped. Hopefully they will continue to represent, and be received. Hopefully, Barney Frank will recognize the opportunity he has been given to use his policymaking role to stimulate the creation and recirculation of wealth in the areas represented by the dissenting members of his Committee, and for similarly urban and rural poor constituents, through supporting and encouraging community banks. While the financial regulatory landscape for large financial service institutions such as Bank of America, Chase and Goldman Sachs (that's all we got left, right?....hmmmm...) is it's own systemic risk to address, it is time to get to solving the problems among the people, and the systems they are finding the gravest challenges and setbacks in. It's time to invest our collective resources towards our collective needs, and remove the mask that depicts the multi-billion dollar financial industry's political-economic dominance as a collective benefit.

Today, I remembered this portion of a Malcolm X speech. He delivered his "Message To The Grassroots" Address in Detroit, MI., my hometown, and currently the metropolitan area (w/ 1 million + population) suffering from the highest unemployment, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is the portion of his address that sticks out the most to me, especially these days:

"It’s like when you go to the dentist, and the man’s going to take your tooth. You’re going to fight him when he starts pulling. So he squirts some stuff in your jaw called novocaine, to make you think they’re not doing anything to you. So you sit there and ’cause you’ve got all of that novocaine in your jaw, you suffer peacefully. Blood running all down your jaw, and you don’t know what’s happening. ’Cause someone has taught you to suffer —— peacefully." (Message to Grassroots, Malcolm X, October 10, 1963; Detroit, MI)

With this Novocaine running through our systems, we might not feel those systems (economic system, social security system, education and social welfare, etc.) break down until it's too late. **Note, I mean social security and social welfare in the most lower case senses possible. In the broadest sense of the definitions of those two concepts. As broad as the tent of the grandest circus. Not the "tent" of the Republican party. Although, these days it's hard to tell the difference between the circus and the GOP. I wonder, why?

Sarah Palin's a f*cking clown, that's why.


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