To: Tom Perez, chair Democratic Party Committee
Thanks for choosing Milwaukee as the site for the 2020 Democratic Party convention. The selection confirms that Milwaukee is indeed a city in the upper-echelon of American politics; a multicultural metropolis that is ready to take its place on the national stage with a compelling history and diversity that few other cities can match.
You probably didn’t know that this “great city by a great lake” was also a station on the Underground Railroad, and one county away from the site of a major abolitionist movement. That’s an appropriate connection because there are high hopes that next year’s convention will be the catalyst for a presidential campaign that will lead to the “liberation” of America from the grip of a racist, narcissist, would-be-emperor who has this country on the brink of a second civil war.
While my personal preference for the DNC nomination is Cory Booker, there are several candidates who can lead this country back from the abyss this current administration represents and restore to the office of the presidency the dignity and prestige maintained by Barack Obama.
I’m sure the important role Milwaukee played in the Democratic Party sweep of statewide offices last November was a major factor in your decision to select our fair city. The fact that an independent carried the state in the primary two years ago, and a Republican won in the general did not escape you. Wisconsin could be critical to the party’s hope of recapturing Trump’s “Out House” next year.
And obviously, the Black vote is an important rung on that ladder.
We provided the muscle behind the last election, just as we did in 2008 and 2012. Hillary Clinton didn’t energize us two years ago and as a result, the orange blob crept under the back door at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
And as for 2020? Well, that’s up to you.
Just being the party of “no” will probably not be enough. Just acknowledging the plight of your most loyal voters won’t cut it either. Providing us with a meaningless platform that we all know will never be actuated will not motivate the masses, particularly if the party implodes in an attempt to placate the left and center, the young vs. the old (white men), the steak and potato Americans from the grits and gravy crowd.
So, allow me to offer a suggestion, one that will not only energize the African American vote, but to rebrand the Democratic Party. Entertain my suggestion sir, and I’ll guarantee the largest Black voter turnout in history while providing a roadmap to the White House.
Simply put, come up with a comprehensive plan to address the myriad issues currently making Milwaukee a “Twilight Zone” for the city’s largest ethnic population, and we’ll all see “Happy Days” in our future.
I am, like most folks, elated that the convention is coming to town, but likewise I don’t carry any real hope that the lives of the Black proletariat will change much no matter who becomes the 46th president. You and I know the system is not set up that way.
Obama was the most dynamic and successful president in my lifetime, but I also recognize that the percentage of poor actually increased under his watch, and the fact that the Black Milwaukee male unemployment rate essentially remained the same speaks volumes about the “system.”
Even though most of us didn’t realize it, we continued to sing the blues into the new millennium, even if we did so to a hip-hop beat.
That’s because for all the symbolism, there was little substance.
And with Trump now trying to erase Obama’s imprint and to restore Jim Crow, not all the hot sauce in the world can cover up the fact we’re being forced to make chitterlings the primary meat on our menu…again.
Yes, Milwaukee is one of the cleanest cities in America (according to some who don’t travel through the hood on a daily basis). But hidden beneath the (so-called) litter free sidewalks is Jim Crow manufactured dirt that is hidden from the public view of everyone save for those Ralph Ellison referred to as America’s “invisible people.”
And while it is true that 15 minutes west of our city is a historic site of the abolitionists northern most headquarters, today that is a community where Black Milwaukeeans are not wanted; profiled from the time they enter the city limits until they are escorted back.
Waukesha County is one of the most segregated communities in the state, just as Milwaukee is the most segregated city in the country.
Indeed sir, Milwaukee leads the nation in seven negative social indicators, and has been called the worst city for African American’s in the United State of America.
Among that list are the highest Black male incarceration, infant mortality poverty rates; widest income gap and lowest fourth and eighth grade reading proficiency rates.
My proposal is that you focus all the resources of your party—the brain trust, your billion-dollar war chest and your ties to corporate America—to resolve these myriad problems in conjunction with local policymakers who might finally be embarrassed enough to take their heads out of the sand.
Follow the example of Richard Nixon and be at the vanguard of an “affirmative action” plan to right the wrongs, equalize the playing field; to take “us” out of “Just-us.”
I have always contended that most African Americans chose our politicians based on their ability to articulate versus solve problems.
Yep, no matter how much education we acquire, we still fall for the okie doke, or the placebo of false promises and symbolic gestures.
It’s time to stop providing voters with bucket lists and instead put into action programs and policies that will move America forward. And since the country is standing on Black America’s shoulders, remove the burden and give us a hand up.
I’m not seeking miracles. I know you’re not medically gifted enough to cut out the cancer of racism, or to change the attitudes of those who subscribe to the false god of White Supremacy and privilege.
But you can come up with a Marshall Plan, restore affirmative action if not provide reparations, and allow all children to partake of the quality educations shared by your children.
I suspect that the focus of the next presidential election will be around getting rid of Trump, versus creating a new political paradigm that will move all Americans forward.
That might be enough. But it’s only treading water; skating uphill. We deserve more than that. Our loyalty over the last-half century should be rewarded with something more than political rhetoric.
There are rumblings that some groups are planning protests during the convention. They hope to peel back the scabs and show the world the open wounds of Black Milwaukee. Remember, Milwaukee is still considered a suburb of Chicago—and I hope you remember what happened in 1968.
Of course, it’s up to you. I’ve attended a couple of conventions in the past and learned first-hand how the host cities have hidden their problems before the cameras could set up. In Atlanta, they went so far as to relocate the homeless, and reportedly give them free alcohol, until after the convention.
I hope that’s not the case next year, for if it is, there’s a good possibility the Trumpster will return to his throne (the one in the presidential bathroom) and we’ll move a step closer to anarchy.
Atlanta or Chicago?
It’s up to you.