Guest Commentary by Atty. Roy B. Evans
When we think of earthquakes and tsunamis, it’s impossible to not think about he recent acts of nature that devastated and wrecked havoc on the country of Japan and its people.
Thousands dead and missing. Billions of dollars in damage; and what looked for a while like a pending nuclear catastrophe. Shock, disbelief and fear of a future uncertain. We can only pray for their recovery and survival.
However, when I think about earthquakes I can think of no more powerful a earthquake than that which occurred on the night of November 4, 2008 in Washington D.C. with the democratic election of the 44th president of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama.
A magnitude 9.9 earthquake shook the world that night amid shouts of “yes we can” and unbridled hope of a new day in America. A Black man, married to an intelligent Black woman, with Black children. Harvard educated, top of his class, a Constitutional scholar. A church going family man of god with a moral compass and idealistic vision of what America could be.
Many proclaimed it to be Americas “finest moment” and that “we have finally overcome” and still, some said it was proof of the American dream come true.
But, amid all of the jubilation, and before he could even utter “…so help me God,” I could not help but feel the tremors of the pending aftershocks that only an earthquake of this magnitude could cause. As I shared that wonderful euphoric moment with the world, I instinctively turned to my wife and said, “You know, I just can’t help feeling that this is just the beginning of the end. Now I bet that we will get to see the real America and I fear it will be the case of another Black man hanging from a tree.”
We were vacationing in South Carolina at the time and not everyone was as happy as we were that America had elected its first Black president.
It didn’t take long before the tremors and aftershocks began in earnest with, “He’ll take way our guns and trample on our Second Amendment rights.” (The very next day the news reported an unprecedented run on gun stores across the country, which even caused some stores to run out of ammunition.)
Since we were in Charleston, the birthplace of the Civil War, I wondered if Civil War II was about to begin?
In the days that followed the tremors and aftershocks continued and began to get louder. “He’s not one of ‘us.’ He’s a Muslim and grew up in Kenya and studied at a madrasa.” (Thus giving rise to the Birther Movement.)
“He’s a socialist and we need to take ‘our’ country back.” (Thus giving rise to the racist Tea Party movement.) This orchestrated right wing backlash, stoked by the racist far right media, created a “Black man did it” hysteria that even some black folks embraced. (“I ain’t Black. I’m just human.) More aftershocks came in the form of “Obamacare,” “death panels” and, can you say “RESIDENCY”?
Making it clear in their minds that they had a mandate and “we will not budge on tax breaks for the rich,” were even clearer signs of impending doom and destruction. The utter disrespect like, “You lie” and “hell no we won’t,” directed at the most powerful office in the free world was unprecedented.
And most insidious, the notion that, “…we have to take back ‘our’ country and run it based on ‘our’ interpretation of the intent of the founding fathers.”
(Remember Blacks were property with no civil rights back then and some of the founding fathers owned slaves and collectively benefited from a slavery that gave birth to the Constitutional notion that Blacks had no rights that a White man had to honor.–Plessy v. Ferguson)
At every turn tremors of hatred and the aftershocks of unadulterated and unbridled racism followed the President every step and provoked criticism of his every word. He tried hard to appease his enemies and be politically correct by repudiating and denouncing Rev. Jeremiah Wright and throwing people like Louis Butler and Louis Gates under the sacrificial bus.
He delivered on don’t ask, don’t tell corporate bailouts but failed to go after the thieves and criminals who profited from the economic rape of America in order to appease his critics. He tried hard to deliver but it still was not enough to stop the tsunami that was to come.
History should tell us that every great earthquake has a tsunami. We did not heed the warnings. Now the floodgates have broken open making way for a race based right wing political conspiracy and power grab by the rich and powerful elite who profit by continuing to stoke the fires of fear and discontent among the masses. If Barack Obama was the earthquake, Scott Walker was surely the tsunami.
A backlash of unapologetic racist rhetoric propelled by a right wing doctrine of class warfare became the hue and cry. Days of the Constitutional intent that rights apply to everyone and are specifically directed at protecting the minority from the tyranny of the majority, may now be all but over.
Scott Walker did not start the tsunami but he, without care or shame, carried the right wing tidal wave of destruction to the doorsteps of the American people.
Citizens United sealed the deal and has become a major reason for America’s current political meltdown. No more rights for unions to bargain collectively for its workers.
Deliberate reinstatement of draconian Jim Crow era voter ID (Poll Tax) legislation became a priority. Send everybody back to Mexico immigration laws inflamed racist xenophobic passions.
No more middle class. Just tax cuts for the very rich and more poverty for the very poor. We have to realize that the aftershocks and tremors will continue and that our own tsunami has just begun.
Is this the beginning of another Civil War? the gun stores are sold out and there is no ammunition. So what will our weapons be?
Didn’t Malcolm try early on to tell us something about “the ballot or the bullet?” He tried to warn us of impending tsunami but, were we really listening?
I don’t proclaim to be a Constitutional scholar but, I do know that everything I do as an Attorney gets its basis from the fundamental objectives and intent embodied in the document itself. You should take time to read it.
That being said, I personally fear and see on the horizon greater aftershocks and the real possibility of a Constitutional nuclear meltdown in the face of an unprecedented right wing tsunami that will not stop until the Constitution itself is re-written to suit the elitist needs of the rich and powerful.
Thus Barack Obama has got to go in 2012 in order for more Supreme Court justices like Uncle Clarence Thomas and Anthony Scalia to be appointed. Remember, the majority rules.
The aim is to justify, deliberately sacrifice and roll back 150 years of civil rights and social justice struggles of this nation in order to preserve and protect the rights being established by and for a privileged few.
Regardless of your political view of what the President has or has not done, whether he has done enough or not done enough, history will in fact be the only measuring stick we can go by.
So even in our lifetime we may never know. But, if you think Barack Hussein Obama has not been good for America, regardless of whether you are on the left or the right, what then do you think history will say about us after Michelle Bachman, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Donald Trump or Hally Barbour becomes the 45th President of the United States? The aftershocks will continue to haunt us and it’s sad to say that the tsunami has just begun.
–Roy B. Evans is a Milwaukee attorney and community advocate.