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The Establishment: White, Male-Dominated, and Desperate

What is the enigmatic The Establishment and just who does it represent?

On February 11th, 2016, http://www.npr.org published an article in which they explored a similar question and the answer resulted in The Establishment being ‘The Man’—anotherquestion mark enigma, but if you are the least bit familiar with Blaxploitation movies of the 1970s these movies were always about outsmarting and overcoming ‘The Man’—the powerful, wealthy, exclusive [white] men and women who make up and influence the government.

In the presidential campaign class of 2016, there appears to be a reluctance on behalf of all of the candidates to be associated with The Establishment. None of them want to be seen as status-quo politicians and they want their power and wealth to be as elusive as the plans they’ve presented for how they will make America a more equitable, safer and upwardly mobile nation. Moreover, there appears to be the driving assumption, by all candidates, that they all have a real chance at leading America better than what President Obama has done–after all, if he can be a two-term president, anybody can do it. Ok.

Beyond the fact that the pool of candidates is really lackluster in terms of ideas, plans and charisma, the presidential campaign class of 2016 also appears to be lacking in authenticity and a real zeal to progress America beyond the political rhetoric that is often quite verbose and sometimes quite exclusionary and even biased toward a particular pocket of Americans.

The desire for the outcome of this election to be predicted before The People even have a chance to vote, and why the candidates are really running for president become more and more apparent as they take desperate acts to discredit each other. This race, the most unprofessional and disgraceful I have witnessed in my political life, has been marred in racism, sexism, sexual innuendo and now corruption by one candidate, Cruz, who knows obstruction all too well, and Kasich, another candidate super desperate for presidential power. Neither of them are presidential material, and they totally represent The Establishment.

Kasich and Cruz are planning to obstruct Trump’s path to being the Republican candidate for president. As Donald Trump begins to soar closer the needed 1237 delegate votes, Kasich and Cruz have decided to give up the remaining delegates on the trial to one another in an effort to stop Trump. The media is presenting this as Republican Party behavior, but if The Establishment is a very small, elite, group of wealthy [white] men and women with [political and economic] power, we must expect that what Cruz and Kasich are plotting is something that has the potential to happen in all of the parties, right? After all, what is at stake is the coveted seat of president that all candidates believe they have a chance to fill, especially after President Obama’s term comes to an end.

While Donald Trump is the only candidate whose campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again” reads as the antithesis to anything that President Obama has done to keep America afloat and to help us to soar, I must say that all the candidates in this class present themselves in a manner as to debate that President Obama’s time in office and his administration have been less than superb in terms of moving forward social, economic, and political policies that benefit all Americans—the most vulnerable and even those vying to legally claim ‘American’ as their status and identity.

The Office of President has the transformative power and the ability to change the lives of The People in a fundamental and authentic way. It can provide the transparency, access and approachability that President Obama’s Administration has offered The People from a domestic platform. This office has the ability to include The People in conversations and actions that will allow them to be stewards and partners in shaping the policies that impact their lives. If we look at the presidency from the vantage point of The Establishment, it will forever be the pawn in a continual game of chess that all members of The Establishment play to keep themselves empowered with no regard for democracy and the fact that power should be emitted from the people. It engages in shrewd plots that destroy the sanctity of the political process; and, no one is exempt from its destruction and desperation. If this is how The Establishment regards one another, The People already know how to expect to be continually treated. Desperate times and measures reveal The Establishment behind the curtain. And, no. It isn’t Oz. It’s American politics.

Patsey’s Prayer, Lupita’s Purpose

“No matter where you’re from your dreams are valid.” Lupita Nyong’o, Academy Award Winner, Best Supporting Actress

We will ever know Patsey’s real image, but through the work of Solomon Northup, a Freedman from Saratoga Springs, NY kidnapped in 1841 and forced to endure Louisiana slavery for 12 years, her prayer for a Homegoing was answered by helping Lupita to fulfill her purpose–to teach us lessons in empathy and resilience in the Oscar-winning role of Patsey.  Congratulations Ms. Nyong’o!

Patsey was indeed one of many supporting ladies to endure slavery on America’s soil and she will forever be a class act.

Through Steve McQueen’s direction, John Ridley’s screenplay, Lupita Nyong’o’s portrayal, and Solomon Northup’s words we came to know Patsey as a resilient and compromising woman despite being horribly abused.  She worked hard because work was escapism. She desired greatly because yearning gave her a reason to live beyond the putrid reality of her existence. She endured and I suspect that she never stopped dreaming, even in death.  As we witnessed in

Photo by Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Photo by Kevin Winter / Getty Images

the 86th Annual Academy Awards, Patsey walked across the Oscar stage with a message for each of us that we all represent the question of “what if?”

What if we gave up on our dreams because of some of the rancorous roles in which we have been casted–they don’t always appear to be fair or even humanly just, but those are our parts and we must deliver our lines?

Lupita was Patsey’s vessel so that Patsey’s spirit could soar and infect each of us with the amazing power of empathy andNyongo as Patsey an example of what it means to remain steadfast to a dream. Too often we don’t know another person’s journey, but we must understand that just as we dream, so do others. Solomon Northup wrote that Patsey was the “enslaved victim of lust and hate.” And through it all, Patsey still shines as an artery of love and strength.

While Lupita Nyong’o is classically trained as a thespian from the Yale School of Drama, and while she was cast in this role over more than 1000 other women, she needed Patsey’s love and blessings to do more than act–she needed to become Patsey, and she did indeed. We witnessed Patsey’s spirit on the big screen of Hollywood.  While it took more than 10 years for 12 Years a Slave to be made, this was the moment in which Patsey chose to take Ms. Nyong’o, a Kenyan woman, by the hand in this role so that Patsey’s spirit could be transported back to the Motherland and so that Lupita could be victorious in her acting pursuits. There are no coincidences in life. Patsey’s resurrection as the embodiment of a woman descended nearest to what has long been considered the cradle of

courtesy of BBC-UK

courtesy of BBC-UK

mankind is prophetic to say the least.  And, after more than 170 years, Patsey has finally found her ancestral resting place in the beautiful face of Lupita Nyong’o.  

Dreams do come true. 

Political Lingo: Voting…

Good Morning / Good Afternoon PoliDayReport Readers!plessy

I spoke with some of my peers and friends and you would not believe how many of them told me they had not voted in Tuesday’s elections. While the outcomes that many anticipated for some of the most high-stakes elections were successful, those outcomes still do not excuse those of us that did not vote.

Did you know Black Codes, laws designed to indirectly enslave Black people once the 13th Amendment abolished slavery,  were enforced and directly tied to voting in an act of defiance by Whites against the passing of the 15th Amendment (1870)–the amendment that made it possible for Black males to vote? Did you also know that Black Codes, and the remix, Pig Laws, changed the face and meaning of criminalization in America, a form of criminalization that appears to be tattooed in our penal system today (if you do not own Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow, you must go out and purchase it)?  In this video below Dr. Muhammad, Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, explains the laws better here:

Slavery By Another Name

In modern acts of defiance, we witnessed the shutting down of our government by a small faction of elected officials with a heavy impact on our political and economic outcomes, and even then some people still had the nerve to not invest an insignificant amount of time to commit the significant act of voting.

obamatoddThis morning while getting dressed for work, NBC’s Today Show featured an interview of President Obama by Chief White House Correspondent for NBC News, Chuck Todd, in which President Obama was asked, around the 2:21 mark, regarding Obamacare: “Do you feel like you owe these folks an apology–for misleading them…?” here:

President Obama’s Interview by Chuck Todd

From an effort to provide America’s people with adequate and suitable health care, President Obama now has to answer questions about how he can absolve the skepticism people will have of him and his administration on this issue and on future promises.  And, as a responsible leader President Obama apologizes.

Perhaps the real people who should be sitting on the “hot seat” are those defiant pseudo-citizens that believe they are the only “citizens” entitled to government programs.  I have yet to hear any of the smaller faction offer up an apology for shutting down our government, unnecessarily burdening the people, and not working as hard as advocates to provide for the American people as they have been in stroking their defiant egos and stoking their agendas.

votingPeople, it is time to trim the fat weighing our government down. You have to vote, and you have to vote responsibly. Defiance only ostracizes and leads to the unfair treatment of people.  While some of these Tea Party members and people who identify with the politics of the Tea Party feel that they should have all of the entitlements, there can never be a time in which perceived minority groups take a perimeter approach to the operations of this country.

Let’s vote people.

Political Lingo: Repealed!

Obamacare, really known as the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010 and constitutionally upheld by the Supreme Court in 2012. The Republicans have made numerous attempts to repeal (to remove or reverse a law) this legislation to the tune of tens of millions of dollars. These are the same elected officials that claim our government is squandering money and whining about making our government smaller. They claim to be fiscally conservative, but only when it comes to fighting for special interests.

The important things you need to know about Obamacare are explained to you in a video created by, of course, The White House!

Lastly, did you know that the Eighteenth (18) Amendment was ratified in 1919 and repealed in 1933 by the Twenty First (21) Amendment?

prohibitionAlcohol became a horrible evil in America during the Progressive Era, a period of social activism and political reform. Women claimed their lives and families were being destroyed due to the drunkenness that caused their husbands to be physically abusive and financially irresponsible. Organizations like the Women’s Christian Temperance Movement were major leaders in lobbying for a Prohibition Law.  John D. Rockefeller pledged hundreds of thousands of dollars to support Prohibition as well.

In 1919 the Eighteenth Amendment was passed to ban the manufacture, sale, and transport of alcoholic beverages in the United States and it territories. It did NOT, however, prohibit the purchase or consumption of alcohol.  Since businesses couldn’t sell it, people started making it.  All hail to the bootleggers and moonshine lived to shine even brighter during this time!

By 1933, industries had enough of the [pseudo]sober life, wanted to get in on some of the booze profits, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the sale of beer and wine because of their low alcohol content.  States convened and the Twenty First Amendment was ratified.

I’m sure the alcohol and beverage industries were raising their glasses to drink to that!

Political Lingo: Gerrymander

“(You Gotta) Fight! For your right! (To Party!)!” The Beastie Boys

Those were the words the Beastie Boys sang in 1986 and it was a song that I loved to do my best impression of beat-boxing to. Fast forward to 2013 and it isn’t the right to party that most people are going to have to fight for. It will be the right to VOTE.

During President Obama’s second run for office in 2012, there was a huge voter suppression effort brought on by members of the Tea Party and other constituencies (a group with a common goal / outlook) seeking to ensure that President Obama would be a one-term president. Voter suppression is the act of implementing any obstacles to make it harder for citizens to exercise their right to vote. Some of the obstacles include things like requiring voters to show identification, providing them with misleading information when they show up to polling stations (the places people go to vote), and allowing very long lines to form hoping to deter to voters.  Voter suppression is obviously illegal.  Attorney General Eric Holder compared requiring people to show identification prior to voting, to a poll tax or a sum of money paid that allows a person to vote.  We know that poll taxes were rendered illegal by the Voting Rights Act of 1965 because voting is FREE, but determined groups will always find a way to “fight for their right” to do whatever they feel they should have a right to do.

There is a political and perfectly legal means of determining the outcomes of elections, however. It’s called gerrymandering. The term originated in the Boston Gazette in 1812 along with this political cartoon to poke fun at the intentions of  its namesake Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry to support his political party, The Democrat-Republicans.  Gerrymandering is the act of changing or altering electoral boundaries in order to provide an unfair political gerrymanderingadvantage in an election. For example, in some districts, there may be a majority group of younger or older voters. Or, there may be a majority group of voters of a particular racial or economic group. In the event that candidates want to manipulate the outcome of the election, the boundary lines for these districts will be redrawn so that the groups that vote in favor of the candidate or political party are all placed in the same district. When these groups go to the polls to vote, the candidate is pretty certain to gain a victory because he / she has manipulated the demographic, or characteristics, of the voters.

Gerrymandering almost turns politicians into puppet masters. It may appear that they are able to control the voter, but the only control they truly have is over the unregistered voter.  The more people who are registered and the more people who vote, the harder it is to control district lines. You have to fight! For your right! To VOTE!

Political Lingo: The Filibuster…UPDATED!

It seems lately, every person has something to say about the state of our government. We have not been happy about the shut down, the Affordable Healthcare website has had obvious computer glitches, and tongues are wagging that perhaps Obamacare’s implementation needs to be delayed. Either way, we’ve all voiced our feelings in support of or against Obamcare, we just haven’t spoken about them for a continuous 21 hours!

Say what? On September 24th, 2013 Texas Republican Senator, Ted Cruz, spoke out against Obamacare for a whopping 21 hours! He used his speaking time to obstruct the legislative process and share all of his concerns, dislikes and to deliver a rallying cry to defund and repeal Obamacare. This was a filibuster. Although the Senate may not have been voting on anything at the moment, his actions were those characteristic of a filibuster.

Filibustering is a process deliberately used to sabotage the proceedings of Congress and it derived from a Dutch term meaning “pirate.”

In government, they are used to block votes and to ultimately persuade congressional colleagues’ views on issues. On the flip side, they help to bring attention to the issue of debate. Since 1842, this unlimited debate has been used in our government.

The next time our Congressional members have something to say about particular legislation, let’s just hope they can just get to the point.

UPDATE: Today, November 21, 2013, a major development in our Congress happened in regards to the filibuster! According to www. whitehouse.gov, there is a new filibuster change that has gone into effect that says every person that is nominated to a judicial position, with the exception of the Supreme Court Justices, “can be CONFIRMED with a simple up-or-down vote rather than the 60-vote supermajority that had been required for more than 200 years (www.whitehouse.gov).”  Instead of all of the blocks that President has experienced for all of his nominations due to the old filibuster rule, it looks like more of his selections will finally beging to walk through the doors of government rather than being whisked away by the Congressional sink hole which was the old use of the filibuster.

Finally, did you know there has been 86 filibusters of all of our other presidents combined and for President Obama, a 2-term president that has only served approximately 5 of his years, there have been 82 filibusters!!??  We know his choices have not been blocked due to scandal or qualifications…in the words of President Obama to Congress today, “Enough is enough.”  I agree!

Head on over to www.whitehouse.gov to read more about the importance of this filibuster-rule change.

Political Lingo: The Constitution Part II

This weekend will be historic! Blockbusting! Pensive. That is, of course if you’ve already decided to go see Director Steven McQueen’s Oscar-buzzed film, 12 Years a Slave. Oh yeah! Another movie about slavery is garnering national and international attention, but this time the story is a little bit different.

You see, this story is about a real life American from Saratoga Springs, NY named Solomon Northrup. He was a free man with a family, a wife and children. He was a musician. A fine violinist to be exact and he quickly became a part of America’s slavery parcel as a result of being kidnapped by slave catchers.

This film is not a fictional character named Django fulfilling the wishful thinking of every wronged person getting vigilante justice on the person (s) that wronged him. This film is about what was really allowed to happen under the law, the Constitution of the United States of America.

When the Framers met at the Constitutional Convention in 1787, there were several decisions that needed to be made before the Constitution was ratified or approved:

1. Would small and large states have the same representation in Congress? That answer was settled by the Great Compromise.

2. Would slave-holding states be allowed to count their enslaved population? The answer was yes, but not everybody.

After debate and a consolidation of ideas, James Madison’s Three-Fifths Compromise was adopted by the convention. This compromise meant only 3 of every 5 enslaved persons would be counted as a part of the slave-holders’ populations.

Southern states managed to garner 47 seats in the House of Representatives when the first Congress convened in 1790. The Three-Fifths Comprise was their dream manifested. They controlled the House and ultimately the laws that were made and not made.

Can you imagine honoring a law that counted you as only 3/5 of a human being? Which part of you would have to be left behind? It’s a silly question, but some persons had to consider it.

This entire debate is sounding way too familiar to the currently sitting 113th Congress today. The debate may no longer be states’ representation in Congress with regards to slavery, but we’re still debating states rights with regard to the people…only it’s the next generation hijacking the debate.

The Constitution is an intriguing document that has been used to liberate the individual and our nation. It says so in the Preamble. But, it has also served as a document that has been used to subjugate and enslave.

And once again, and thankfully, the Constitution is a living document that can be changed through amendments. It was through the Thirteenth Amendment that the Three-Fifths Amendment lost its credence and became obsolete.

Political Lingo: Executive Branch

“BO knows this and BO knows that…” and he also knows everything about doing his job and professionally checking his colleagues on behalf of the people. Way to go BO!

In a press conference earlier today to acknowledge the “re-opening” of our government, President Obama was clear and adamant in stating there were “no winners” in an “unnecessary” shutdown to our government. He also characterized the actions of [some members of] Congress as undermining to our economy.

I, like you, have read comments in which people, ignorant of the roles of the branches of government, have rendered that President Obama was responsible for the shutdown because he did nothing to stop it. Since the aforementioned philosophy lacks understanding let’s work to understand the role, duties and responsibilities of the Executive Branch of government together!

Article II of the US Constitution specifically speaks to the Executive Branch and specifically to the Office of the President. In doing so, the Constitution states that a President must be at least 35 years old, have a minimum of 14 years residency in the United States, and be a natural-born citizen (remember those “Birthers’ claims about President Obama?).

The Executive Branch of government includes President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, all 15 Secretaries of the various departments in our government, and various other important offices.  These people work with President Obama in his Cabinet, or advisors, and within this Administration (the people working for the White House during President Obama’s terms as President).

Although the Cabinet is not officially mandated by the Constitution, it remains a viable part of the unwritten Constitution (actions that are followed but are not in the Constitution)—George Washington was the first President to use a Cabinet which included 4 people. President George W. Bush expanded the Cabinet following 9/11 with the Department of Homeland Security.

Department Secretaries

  1. Department of State
    Secretary John Kerry
  2. Department of the Treasury
    Secretary Jack Lew
  3. Department of Defense
    Secretary Chuck Hagel
  4. Department of Justice
    Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr.
  5. Department of the Interior
    Secretary Sally Jewell
  6. Department of Agriculture
    Secretary Thomas J. Vilsack
  7. Department of Commerce
    Secretary Penny Pritzker
  8. Department of Labor
    Secretary Thomas E. Perez
  9. Department of Health and Human Services
    Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
  10. Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Secretary Shaun L.S. Donovan
  11. Department of Transportation
    Secretary Anthony Foxx
  12. Department of Energy
    Secretary Ernest Moniz
  13. Department of Education
    Secretary Arne Duncan
  14. Department of Veterans Affairs
    Secretary Eric K. Shinseki
  15. Department of Homeland Security
    Acting Secretary Rand Beers

Additional Members

  1. White House Chief of Staff
    Denis McDonough
  2. Environmental Protection Agency
    Administrator Gina McCarthy
  3. Office of Management & Budget
    Director Sylvia Burwell
  4. United States Trade Representative
    Ambassador Michael Froman
  5. United States Mission to the United Nations
    Ambassador Samantha Power
  6. Council of Economic Advisers
    Chairman Jason Furman
  7. Small Business Administration
    Acting Administrator Jeanne Hulit

The primary function of the Executive Branch of government is enforcing the law.  Beyond that role, however, the Executive has the following powers:

  • Act as the Commander-In-Chief of the armed forces and the National Guard.
  • Maintain a Cabinet of advisors who the run the various departments mentioned above.
  • Grant pardons in all federal criminal offenses and postpone punishments like executions
  • Negotiate treaties with other countries
  • Appoint ambassadors, Supreme Court Justices, federal court judges, and Cabinet members
  • Deliver State of the Union Addresses to Congress
  • Represent America when dealing with foreign countries

Although many Presidents of the past have used their executive privilege (power that only the President has) to enforce *Executive Orders (actions that have been taken by Presidents to enact immediate action without seeking the approval Congress), it is simply not the duty of the President to make laws or to pass spending bills.

In President Obama’s address today, he sent a rather pertinent and challenging message to the Congressional Republicans: “You don’t like a particular policy or a particular president? Then argue for your position. Go out there and win an election…”

Winning an election? BO knows that!

*The Emancipation Proclamation and DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) are both Executive Orders