Chapter 3. A Condensed History:
When the colonists, early settlers to the new world embarked upon nation building in the New World, one of their most egregious errors was to have encoded into law that citizenship in nascent America was an exclusive right of 'white male landowners'. If you were an owner of land and you happened to be native American, black or female, you were banned from being a citizen in the exclusive all white male landholding and voters club of America.
Even those Americans who were expected to work and as a result, contribute to the tax base, the same individuals were not entitled to any of the protections under the law, in deference to their contribution to the society. Today, many Americans still do not realize that approximately 600,000 citizens in the District of Columbia (mostly blacks) are still forced to pay taxes, although they do not have any official government representatives.
In Washington DC today you have a majority black American district, where the citizens are being denied their right to have official government representatives. The scenario in Washington DC also reminds you of the failure of the government today to ensure the rights of black citizens, just as it has failed to do for the two centuries past. Eleanor Holmes Norton is a delegate who can only vote in Committee - she cannot vote on the floor of the House. DC's shadow senator is merely an observer in the senate, he does not have any actual power either.
And what is the government doing about it? The Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court expressed his personal opinion about it. He said, I believe that it is unfair that the citizens of the District, do not have Congressional Representatives. However, he added that it would be up to Congress to correct this indiscretion. Many individuals, surprisingly former President Richard Nixon, Judge Kenneth Starr and other Conservatives have expressed that this is an American outrage.
During my 6-year stay in Washington DC-metro, I worked with groups like DC Vote that were trying to do something about this outrage. These folks remind me of black civil rights organizations that have had to historically do the job that our officials have been paid to do. And what does our current president have to say about it. Last year he promised to veto a bill that was a few votes short of passing in the Senate, that would have given the people of the District of Columbia a Congressional Representative.
In a compromise bid, headed up by Representative Tom Davis of Virginia, along with delegate Eleanore Holmes Norton, the state of Utah was to be given one more Congressional Representative, in exchange for the citizens of Washington DC receiving an official Congressional Representatives. After years of trying, it appeared that the work of several interest groups in the District were about to pay out.
The fact is that Bush did not did not have to veto the bill, Senator John McCain made sure that the bill was voted down in the Senate, he and another Senator voted it down. Private citizens should not have to raise or fight for these kind of issues (their Constitutional Rights), for that is what we are paying the government officials who are supposed to be representing us to do. They never come through, well, unless you have to be a member of the privileged majority.
The fact that the majority of the citizens of Washington DC are black, explains many of our government officials are having. The fact that the district voters are 3/4 democratic is the other dilemma that our officials are having today. Now in fairness let me add this, that when democrats were were in control of the House and Senate for just over a 20 year stretch, a period in which we even had Presidents from the Democratic Party, the citizens of the district were still unable to secure an official Congressional representative.
I was speaking with someone last year, a black American no less, who was tearing down black civil rights leaders (something that has become very fashionable of late). I asked, how come you never complain about government officials who have failed American citizens on a daily basis, and instead you single out the black civil rights workers who are doing far more to help to lift up America's downtrodden.
Folks, had it not been for the civil rights workers, this country would still be as polarizing as it had been for over a 300-year period. Many of the civil rights workers have worked hard to bring about positive and progressive social change. And again, the people who were being paid to initiate policies that would ensure the rights of all Americans, did nothing.
Some Americans prefer pointing out the moral failures of some black civil rights leaders, and the same individuals at the same time overlook the repeated failings of the representatives in government were put there to serve the interests of all of the people of the United States.
Again, hats off to all of the American civil rights workers who did the jobs that our public officials, federal, state and local, failed to you, you deserve to have those officials passed over to you and your families. Dr. Martin Luther King, El Hajj Malik El Shabazz, H. Rap Brown, Kwame Ture, Roy Innis, Huey Newton ..., William Frederick Douglas, William Edward Burghardt Dubois...Sojourner, Harriet Tubman, Dorothy Height, Mary McLeod Bethune, Angela Davis and millions more, this nation owes you more than a debt of gratitude.
Is is shameful when you consider just how poor many of these individuals were, and how they departed from this earth with no more than a whisper. Perhaps one day we will consider strategically placing statutes in memory of all of those who are departed around the perimeter of the Washington DC Mall. And perhaps someday, we will remove the statues of those celebrated leaders who filled to honor their oaths, and represent the needs of all of the people or to defend the Constitution.
As this nation evolved from its early inception onward, the pernicious stratification of the races evolved right along with it (particularly as more and more conscripted Africans were brought to America (north, central and south) shores by way of the middle passage). Blacks were being brought to the new world in order to labor without being compensated for their labor. In states like South Carolina for example, the population of black slaves exploded, and rivaled the number of whites who were in the state.
If you are ever in Washington DC, just stop by Mt. Vernon for a day, and you will get a birdseye view of what it was like back then. Mt. Vernon is the home of America's first slave President. It sits on the Potomac River. Its massive acreages, buildings, mills, gardens, and farmland is throwback to a period when whites owned everything, however, blacks were forced to make everything work for whites.
The first stop on the tour, appropriately so, is at one of the remaining dark and dank slave quarters. While massa George and his family enjoyed the 'big house', that was built by the slaves, the slaves existed in squalor. In fact George Washington, benefited from his army of about 380 slaves, and in fact he took his black personal slave with him to serve him everywhere that he went.
In addition to Mt. Vernon, at Fredericksburg (his other home), I was able to understand even more what this man was really like. In fact my opinion has changed altogether about this man. The more sanitized version that we were taught about in school, does not in any way reflect this man's true nature. And for those who ask, how can you judge him so harshly. Believe, the word of God will judge both me and George. And I can assure you that my record is far superior from a divine perspective than his was.
After you visit Mt. Vernon, take the 50 mile trip down to Fredericksburg, and visit the slave auction block, just a block or two off of the main drag. There you will witness where he and others purchased their slaves. A rock to mark its place, remains there today. Shame on this man! And shame on America for electing him to be a president.
Just as in modern parlance today, a person who did what he did and owned other people and forced them to work and he kept all of the money was and is referred to as a pimp. Folks, the man lived off of the labor of other people. Both he and his family enjoyed the finest, even ordering his tailormade clothing from the old country, which he later fought to free himself from.
And what did the individuals that he pimped receive for their labor? They received two changes of substandard clothing per year and an allotment of food, food which they raised by the way. I asked the docent, well just how many white folks were there that lived on this vast plantation at any given time? He embarrassingly replied, on average 4 to 8. Folks, make all of the excuses you want for former President George and those like him, however, his actions speak louder than anything that you could say.
However, we all make our individual choices, and he made the choice which came out of his heart. That massive but now condensed plantation had sufficient land, that had it been divided up properly, every individual on that place, all 380 or slaves could have owned a piece of land, and worked to care for their own families, not just for a man who was too lazy to work. And I hear late President Tom Jefferson saying in the background that 'God's Justice Won't Sleep Forever'?
These fellas knew that what they were doing was wrong, they lacked the fortitude or the moral courage to stand up and to do something about it. George's promise to free his slaves upon death, said nothing about his willingness to keep other human beings enslaved during the scores of years that he was alive. Can you believe that these men even prayed, when they constructed the Articles of Incorporation and the Constitution of the United States, knowing that what much of what was written violated in any real sense - the laws of human decency?
Is it any wonder that late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marsall wrote that the American Constitution was flawed from the outset, and it was. The men who wrote it were seriously flawed themselves. Our American founders, some who later became presidents and other government officials were slaveowners, child-molesters, murderers, rapists, kidnappers and landgrabbers, etal.
And they were getting their share of ( ), you fill in the blanks, from America's black female slave population (many of the females were underage girls folks). However, that did not stop these pimpdaddies from engaging in such immoral and reckless behavior. Any flaws by American civil rights workers pale in comparison to what the flawed knuckleheads, many of whom started this country! Can they ever know the pain that they caused for so many people, a pain which has for nearly two centuries since they have been gone.
The Bible, that most of them often referred to, insisted that a man and woman be married in order before they could be sexually involved. Those pimp daddies were not only not married (to those that they raped, had sex with and sired children by), they refused in many instances to permit many of the blacks that they owned to marry. Again, what a bunch of sick people. And that any of them were voted into any kind of official office, said a lot about the heart of too many of the individuals who once who populated this land.
Recently, one of America's major financial institutions, the Wachovia bank, apologized for its participation in the American slave trade. The Wachovia Bank once engaged in financing the purchase of American slaves for America's slavemasters. and underwrote the cost of the vessels and crews that transported slave cargo to America.
The State of Virginia, former home state of the Confederate capitol in Richmond, even apologized for its systemic failure to uphold the rights of American blacks and for the states participation in trafficking human beings. New Jersey will soon follow suit, and God knows that before you know it, even former Senate Leader Trent Lott (of we should have listened to racist senator Strom Thurmond) and the State of Mississippi might apologize. Folks, perhaps there is still hope.
At the cessation of the American Civil War when General Robert Emerald Lee surrendered at Appomatox, however, regardless of President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and General Lee's surrender, America continued to be a bifurcated nation.
Oh and in fairness to George Washington, Thom Jefferson and other American Presidents and officials, America's Arlington National Cemetery, former property and home of defeated General Robert E. Lee, was also segregated. Only white American troops could even be buried there, and black Americans who lived in the 'black Freedomtown', directly behind the Arlington Cemetery (some lived in slave quarters on the plantation) were responsible for maintaining the cemetery
It was the responsibility of blacks to dig the graves where white only could be buried. And why not? If you are segregated in life, you might as well be segregated in death. Blacks had to be buried elsewhere. How in the world the black slaves managed to be buried at Mt. Vernon, approximately 90 of them, we will never know.
The majority of America's domestic policies always had a racial component to them, for that matter much of its foreign policy also has a racial component to it. The domestics policies of race determined where you lived, worked, attended school and voted. The politics of race determined who you could or could not marry (once blacks were permitted to marry. The politics of race determined ones earnings and what role the government, federal, state and local, in terms of constitutional protections a white or non-white citizen would receive.
After many of America's laws were ruled to be unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court, many of its learned practices that had been codified into law remained. Folks, the U.S. Supreme Court eventually found that many of America's laws were unconstitutional, however, a higher court recognized that America itself and its egregious behaviors were unconstitutional from the onset.
Non-white Americans, particularly black Americans, continued to be discriminated against in the areas of housing, transportation, credit, healthcare, civil services, the military, education, voting, employment et al. The earnings of black Americans in 2008 is still only 73% of that of white Americans. And what is the one variable that is responsible for economic disparity? The answer is simple, it is because of one's race.
Reactionary white America's argument is that the reason that blacks have not achieved commensurate success if because they are lazy, shiftless and not as bright as their white counterparts. Ironically, books like 'the Bell Curve' disproved that. Infamous court cases like Duke v. Griggs Power Company proved that racial tests in employment were discriminatory. In other words, blacks were being systemically discriminated in jobs that they did not require one to have a PhD.
In other words in many of the semi-skilled and labor positions that blacks worked in, they were still discriminated against in spite of their high level of productivity. The fact is that certain white collar jobs were reserved for non-whites. And because most blacks, who lacked the capital to start their own businesses, had to rely on white industry, the majority of non-whites, including blacks, had to work at the most menial positions.
The way that education factored in the overall equations had to do with racial politics and the matter of who benefited from American-style racism. Non-whites, including blacks, often attended the worst schools. The striking down of separate but equal education clauses proved that. Why? For long before blacks were permitted to integrate the public schools systems, it was proven that the black schools were receiving the worst textbooks, and not to mention a disproportionate share of public school funds.
When it came to post and secondary education, many blacks were prevented from enrolling outright, and in other instances they were prevented from enrolling as a result of intending inferior public school systems. Today, education is vital in order to find work in America's high technology sectors. And given all of the jobs that have been lost in today's global economy, coupled with the immigration industry in America, many of the unskilled and semi-skilled occupations that were the domain of black Americans have been conscripted.
Foreign nationals and many white Americans are vying for these positions. I spent a fair amount of time visiting and cruising the streets of Baltimore Maryland. Of all of the ghettos that I have visited in Ohio, Louisiana, Chicago, California elsewhere, I experienced in Baltimore's ghetto what I had not sensed anywhere else sofar. There the concrete domiciles that warehoused human beings reminded me of large crypts, of the kind that are in many of America's cemeteries today.
In most of their ghettos it would appear, 1 out of 3 of the neighborhood concrete boxes, were not boarded up, but cemented. In many ghetto towns where there urban blight exists, the city will eventually move in and board up the openings with plywood. In Baltimore, the city comes in and places concrete cinder blocks in the openings, giving the concrete house the appearance of a crypt or burial vault. And where do the kids play. In many of these concrete jungles, you do not see any landscape. In other grass and play areas simply do not exist.
Once a child walks out the door of his porchless domicile, he or she descends down two to three steps onto the sidewalk. If they were to take another step, they would be in the street. The sidewalk is their playground, and I witnessed numerous children playing on that limited space. The tenements in Chicago, that towered 15 and 16 stories into the air had their own understandable problems. The smell of urine in the hallways and drug-dealers in the hallways are just a portion of what residents had to experience each and everyday.
And the high-rise public housing buildings like those in the former Cabrini Green area (remember the former Good Times sitcom?), and the same-style high rise tenement's on the west side of Chicago had their own unique problems. Have I visited the old Cabrini Greens, yes on more than one occasion.
Each of these areas with their unique constructions had something in common, these were places built to warehouse members of America's permanent underclass. In Baltimore it would appear that the citizens who have given into a sense of despair have already been buried alive!.
It is a fact that America had and has sufficient disposable wealth that to eliminate poverty within this nation. And it would not require handouts in order to do so. What is required essentially is a redistribution of wealth and a change of heart by greedy Americans who hoard the wealth of this nation. I suspect that a dose of Democratic Socialism is what America needs.
America's aim ought to be to divide its wealth among all of its citizens, by providing adequate employment with commensurate pay to all of its citizens who are willing and able to work. Most of all Americans need to drop all of the excuses that they employ in order to justify their desire to hoard wealth, while other Americans suffer. In the early church, see Acts chapter 4, the believers divided up their wealth among each other. Zacchaeus offered to give half of what he owned to the poor. However, the Rich Ruler decided that giving all that he had to the poor was too much.
Folks, with his income source, his coffers would have begun to be refilled by week's end. The Rich Ruler reminds me of too many Americans, past and present.
When greed, among many of America's elite, ceases all Americans will have more than adequate housing, food, clothing, and healthcare. America's greedy racists have also mutated into greedy Americans, those who were not greed-driven already. Some Americans boast now that there is nothing wrong with greed, Tony Blankley, editor of the Washington Times being one of them. And unfortunately, a disproportionate majority of America's permanent underclass are the victims of American greed.
Many Americans attribute the health-care problem in America to the failure of Americans to have adequate insurance coverage. The solution that some Americans propose is provide health insurance for all Americans. I would rather see us get to the heart of the problem. The American health problem is not an insurance problem, it is an American greed problem. The same problem that we see in the housing sector, American industry, the pharmaceutical industry, in education and elsewhere.
Let's take healthcare for example. The United States has an adequate number of medical schools and an adequate number of well-trained medical personnel and service providers, from top to bottom. The United States has hospitals and medications, a sufficient number to meet the needs of all Americans. So why is that some Americans do not have adequate health care, particularly America's permanent underclass? The answer is simple, they cannot afford it. Not only can they not afford health care, more and more many Americans can not afford health insurance.
Well, let's back up. If you have the services available, with more than an adequate number of hospitals, physicians, care providers and medicines then what is the problem? The real problem is that the cost of health care is out of reach. And the reason for it is simple, it is because greedy Americans have driven the cost of only health care and while we are on this topic (housing, education and other commodities completely out of reach for the average American.
Those who benefit the most and are in control are the wealthy, they have more money than the average America could have if we were to live 100 of their lifetimes - and yet they keep driving the prices up. Why? To satisfy their greedy board members, and oftentimes they are the members of the board and to continue to line their products. Donald Trump has said before, I have enough money to last me for the rest of my life.
He then goes on to say, however, it is the fun of making money that drives me now. And many other American corporate executives think just like 'the Donald'. If you were paid a staggering salary of 450M a year, just like the CEO at Exxon was paid, wouldn't that be enough? First of all, if one were to accept that kind of payout, what human being in his right mind would accept it? These folks are of the same mindset of the greedy individuals who founded this country in the first place.
They individuals continue to play the game of confiscate, exploit and force other individuals to do the work as they accumulate all of the wealth. Who I ask again that was in his right would accept all of that money, knowing that their employees could barely afford to live? Wouldn't a reasonable person say that to give such a staggering sum to one individual is outrageous. The mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg is worth 5B.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, bless his heart for giving the money back, earns in the 50B a year range, and according to Ralph Nader, Gate's net worth is the equivalent of 100 million Americans. Folks, that represents one third of the nation. In a nation of 300 million, Gates net worth is the equivalent of 1/3 of the people of the United States.
The President of Disney Land extracts $100B per annum by exploiting America's children at Disney parks and when they watch Disney movies. Man, neither kids nor their parents get a break. The WalMart family extracts roughly 60B in profits each year from the WalMart Company, their family owned business. Well let's look at it another way, suppose you kept your 45B or 60B earnings for one year, isn't that enough.
Couldn't you invest all future profits into your country. Who can with good conscience any more money in the future? Who, the average American, that's who. His love of money, and his spirit of greed has turned him or her away from their more sensitive side.
My Point: In this sea of wealth, America' permanent, historically mostly black (but more and more whites are falling into the unable to keep up catchment), are struggling and falling completely out of the system. Some are falling to the streets while some with the same spirit of America's founders, the greed spirit, continue to flourish!
Does this suggest in any way that the necessary changes have been made? This nation began with color-greed, and class conscious-greed is a major factor in American society today. During my 6-year stay in Washington I spent a lot of time learning about our nation's capitol and how big government really operate.
Our government officials we all know are insured up the kazoo. In addition to the perks that most of them receive, they are allowed to receive a certain amount of money for speaking engagements. On top of that most of them have already made deals with the over 300,000 lobbyists' organizations, so that once they leave office, they have very lucrative positions waiting for them.
Many of Washington DC's elected officials receive kickbacks given 'earmarks' and other legislation that they vote for that favor construction, pharmaceutical, insurance, energy, health, transportation...companies. As the nation's citizens get poorer the rich are getting wealthier. The average American CEO earns 200 to 300 times what the rank and file worker earns. And keep in mind each year he collects his multiplied wage again, and again and again.
Even if he or she fails, up front gurantees ensure that many of them will still get their golden parachutes, when the rank and file employees are led out of the door due to downsizing - given the failures of the overpaid CEOs. Go to Washington, or read about all of the lobbyists organizations and independent lobbyists who have offices on 'K' Street in Washington DC. These individuals have the ears of government official to whom they make sizable contributions to their campaigns. The officials take care of them first.
The pursuit of power through class struggle and the ownership of property is alive and well in America. More and more the permanent underclass is burgeoning. Some formerly obnoxious non-whites are beginning to see the light. I have seen more and more Americans going to free clinics in order to obtain services that are being provided by volunteer medical staff - the ones who are not greedy. Like me, most Americans can remember when you could afford to go to a doctor or dentist, and be served.
And when your appointment was over, you simply wrote a check and paid for your services. You didn't need health insurance, health care was affordable. Today, greedy medical corporations and physicians want their slice of the pie, and they are willing to allow the health of individuals in this nation to decline, in spite of the fact that some of them already have more than they will ever need!
Again the housing industry is no different. The average price of a home in American grown exponentially just over the past decade. The median price of a home in the San Francisco Bay region is 600,000, depending on where you live. In San Francisco and cities like Palo Alto, Hillsborough, Burlingame, Atherton, don't ask. And that is just a few cities in Northern California. And what do you get for 600K, perhaps a 1200 square foot crackerbox with minimal land.
And where are the members of the permanent underclass residing? Answer, wherever they can. Some are living under bridges, in cardboard boxes, in city parks, in garages, on the sidewalks, in shelters, and one gentleman, Sweet Wine, was living under the hedges at the public library in one of America's finest cities. Sweet Wine, a brother with a bachelor's degree living underneath hedges with all of his worldly possession stored in a borrowed grocery store shopping cart. God help us!!
(to be corrected and continued)
Peace & Grace?
Rev. C. Solomon