Political Dynasties, King Makers, War(s), And The Movement for Black Progress…Face the Powers that Be, And Never Give Up the Struggle For HOPE!!!
THIS ARTICLE IS BEING EDITED...
Throughout North American history there have been king makers—wealthy, powerful men (almost always White)—who have decided who gets to control the joy stick of government. Who gets to be on the inside of power and control the billions upon billions of federal dollars that get spent annually in America and on what federal projects, programs and considerations those dollars are allocated for as well as who we go to war with and for what reasons. Prescott Sheldon Bush (1895 -1972), a U.S. Senator from the state of Connecticut and a Yale graduate like his grandfather was the father of our 41st President (George Bush Sr.) and the grandfather of our 43rd President (George Bush Jr.) was such a man. Actually born in Columbus, Ohio, Prescott Bush would move on to become a well connected Wall Street executive and the author of books on finance. He might have failed at business early in life, but he knew how to interact with the right kind of people and push all the buttons to become wealthy, educated and well healed. He made sure, before he died in 1972, that his children & grandchildren would one day roam the inside hallways of Washington, D.C. and other corridors of power and control the purse strings connected to the billions of dollars we are forced to pay as tax-paying American citizens.
Prescott Bush made sure his son George Sr. (also a Yale graduate) went to all the right schools and hob knobbed with all the right people who would one day make his son the King of America—although he would not live to actually see that day… The end result was his son George Sr. getting a Congressional seat & his grandsons becoming Governor of Florida (Jeb) and Texas (George Bush Jr.). (By the way, did I also mention that George Bush Jr. also went to Yale?) Prescott had created a political dynasty. George Sr. went on to become the head of the notorious CIA during the last year of the Gerald R. Ford Administration) & then Vice President of the U.S. under Ronald Reagan through out most of the 1980’s. Finally George Sr. went on to be a one term President after Reagan. (George Bush Sr. was defeated in 1992 by Bill Clinton.) But low & behold, Father Bush (George Sr.) was not to be outdone. He made sure his son came back with a narrow, although contested, win in the year 2000 Presidential race against Democrat Al Gore. (Gore actually won numerically, but was defeated in the Electoral College.) The Dynasty was sustained & complete. Big Daddy Prescott Bush would sleep quietly in his grave knowing he had set the pace for his son & then grandson to lord over the so-called ``free world’’ as Presidents #41 and #43 of these United States—even though he had never actually witnessed those victories…
A while ago, there was another Dynasty in the making. Joseph Patrick Kennedy Sr. (1888-1969) wanted his son Joseph Patrick Kennedy Jr. (1915-1944) to become President. Joe Kennedy was educated at Harvard University (as was President Kennedy) and graduated in 1912. He went on to serve in many capacities during the Franklin D. Roosevelt Administration including a stint as Ambassador to Great Brittan (1938-1940). He groomed his children, again, by sending them to the best schools. Boot leg whisky and working on Wall Street (some of his practices would later be described as ``insider trading’’) helped build the family fortune up to some $200-$400 Million Dollars by 1957. Tragedy struck the Kennedy clan early. Because of the death of Joseph Jr. in England during WW II , John F. Kennedy, the young Senator from Massachusetts from 1953 to 1960 (he also served in the House of Representatives from Massachusetts from 1947 to 1953) , would actually be the only Kennedy in the Twentieth Century to be elected President of the United States. The ``Kennedy Dynasty’’ was not quite as successful as the Bush Dynasty—at least not in reaching actual success as far as real time served in the highest office in the land—the Presidency. But the Kennedy White House was thought, for years afterwards and even up until this day by some Baby Boomers and others, to represent an almost dreamy Camelot era of fine clothing, good natured humor with reporters and high levels of professionalism and prestige on the world stage. The Kennedy Dynasty, however, was also fraught with family tragedy including the assassination of our beloved President during a motorcade in Dallas, Texas on November 22, 1963. Forty five years later our Nation still hasn’t fully healed from this family tragedy which impacted the entire Nation & much of the world--as so many baby boomers still remember little John John saluting his father’s casket and the sad but ever gracious Jacqueline Kennedy acting with such solemn dignity through all the ceremonies that are attached to losing a sitting head of state in North America...
Robert Kennedy (1925 -1968), the President’s younger brother, soon took up the mantel for his brother & had Presidential ambitions of his own. These ambitions were acted upon in 1967 when he decided to run for the Presidency that year. This Kennedy was a Senator from New York State and had served as Attorney General under his brother. But the Kennedy’s tragic story was to continue as an assassin’s bullets put an end to those ambitions in Los Angeles just after the June 6th California Primary which Robert Kennedy had won handily.
I remember as a child not believing the news of Robert Kennedy’s death. I sat on the front steps of the house next to ours on 49th Street playing jacks by myself when someone came up to me with the newspaper headlines blaring of the murder of R.F.K. I was shocked because his death came on the heels of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4th of the same year (1968). Had our Nation gone mad, I thought... What would this mean? There were already riots in many U.S. cities after the King assassination. It seemed the underpinnings of our Nation were crumbling. This perception of instability was shared by many Americans as they went to the polls that November and elected a Republican ``Law and Order’’ man from California named Richard Nixon.
The Kennedy Dynasty would have to be satisfied with a leading role in the Democratic Party for the family and a Senate seat held by Ted Kennedy (1932 – 2009) for quite some time. (Ted Kennedy was unable to unseat President Jimmy Carter for the Democratic Nomination in 1980.)
Dynasty, it seems, was more than just a tawdry, scandal-ridden TV show produced by Aaron Spelling in the 1980’s. It is a way of political life in America. There seems to be very few people who get to hold high office in North America & there seems to be a selection process through which all these men (and so far it has only been a men’s club) have to go through. It is almost as if they have to belong to some exclusive club fraught with high initiation fees, blood line requirements and educational background checks.
The 1939 Frank Capra film ``Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,’’ explores the concept of King Makers & corruption that has been married to Washington, D.C. politics for almost 20 decades. How do you get to be a King Maker? What is the process? Is being wealthy & well connected enough or do you also have to be a funky old White male to join in this process? Is there any chance that corruption and scandal can be divorced from D.C. politics within our lifetime? Jimmy Stewart played Smith in the film and said ``Things sure happen fast around here. Don’t they’’ when he was taken a back by some events taking place around him as he was about to take office as the junior Senator from a Midwestern state. He said a mouth full. He was (in this fictitious film) appointed Senator through a quirky mishap & some of the powers that be were not pleased with his taking power. He seemed too innocent, bright eyed and bushy tailed for a major position of power in D.C.
Generally speaking, things don’t happen by mistake in D.C. and they do sometimes happen fast--sometimes. President Obama was thought to be a Renegade by some writers when he came into power in January of 2009 on the massive National desire for change in D.C. during the November 2008 election. In most instances he has not & most probably will not deliver on his many promises he made for real, lasting and needed change for our Nation. . . [Maybe we should have made him sign a Progressive Pact that he would carry out specific duties and end the war(s) (for example) at a certain time.] The progressive and liberal wings of the Democratic Party are not pleased at this point in the end of 2009 with many of his appointments and actions. While he has changed the temperament of the White House into something less Right Wing and has been a good international ambassador for the country with a ``message’’ of hope and possible peace, he has done many things that don’t look very forward moving or progressive. Chief among them: he has named three of the most old funky or established White males to major positions of power in his administration (read Dangerous Triangle in Chapter 13); he has not created any new inner-city initiatives to work with corporate America and create summer jobs for youth and thusly stem some of the crime in those areas; he has not even given much lip service to a needed major overhaul of our financial system, military and infrastructure; he has not said one word about military cutbacks in a time when it has been proven that the Pentagon wastes about twenty five cents for every dollar it spends; he has supported the status quo, the existing military & the ``same old war-like White line of hegemony, politics as usual & White power domination in policy initiatives & military actions as his speech in Oslo [when he accepted the Nobel Prize for Peace] proved beyond a reasonable doubt. There are ``just’’ wars he said. There are ``real evil people’’ in the world, he said. The next day he had moved so far to the right in his address in Oslo that even Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin had to fall in line with some sweet words of support for the first African American President of the United States.
I am sure members of the Congressional Black Caucus such as Congresswoman Barbara Lee and progressive members of Congress such as Dennis Kucinich sat in dumb-founded amazement at such a speech. The Major Goliath White media, however, lapped it up. He had effectively picked up his peace prize while not batting an eye about his proposed military build up of an additional 30,000 troops for Afghanistan. Never mind where the money is coming from to effectively stage such a troop increase. (Some experts predict it will cost a million dollars for each trooper due in part to the rough terrain and the lack of basic necessities such as running water and housing.)
Bogged down in trying to get more encompassing health care legislation passed, the President has not created or even given much more than lip service to the business community about creating the thousands of new jobs that are needed for the teeming numbers of unemployed Americans. (The unemployment rate is about 10 % as of December 2009). The Brother obviously needs some help on the innovation and clear and new thinking side of things in his Administration.
Moreover, Mr. Jefferson Smith (in the Capra movie), upon taking a bus tour of D.C. after he was appointed Senator was deeply and profoundly impressed with the words enshrined at the Lincoln Memorial. A child and an older Black man looked on as he took in the site. So many Americans have, once again, been disillusioned with Obama—the President who had reignited our hopes and dreams & gotten people who would never vote—young & old, Black & White—to vote and believe in him--has largely let us down. There is a new face on things, but bracing up the underpinnings of our Nation is a man who represents mostly the same old line of thinking that got us into the economic morass, war(s) and partisanship of the Bush Jr. years. Mr. Smith soon became disillusioned as he found out the work & difficulties involved in doing a seemingly simple thing like starting a national boy’s camp for orphaned and wayward boys in his home state…
I remember a few years ago during a trip to Washington, D.C. that I also was moved by the Lincoln Memorial. How even before Obama came on the scene, I felt our country could move past the economic morass and political partisanship it was stuck in during the Bush (Jr.) years and become something fresh, new & hopeful. Something was needed that would really help the less fortunate and reflect peace and tolerance instead of war profiteering, White world domination and exploitation destruction of so-called Third World or developing countries across the globe. Lincoln reflected aspects of that ``something’’. I had worked so hard for 30 years to move things along in a progressive direction, but it seems things only work quickly in D.C. if you have the deep pockets &, frankly, White skin & connections to make this so. If you want to be a mover & shaker, and you have Black skin, if you are in or out of office, it appears you have to play the game, support the status quo & belly up with the insiders & the fat White money boys. That is if you want to ``make it’’ on the world stage. Who knows what kind of deals President Obama has made with the Wealthy? It certainly seems that there was some kind of an agreement that things would be changed as far as style, but the substance has mostly remained in tact…
I remember going door to door in Philadelphia to generate support for the REPARATIONS movement & I remember running as a write-in candidate for U.S. Senator from P.A. in 2005. I’ve tried so many things to bring the human rights agenda some heat and some light—some truth and some inspiration… Then reality sets in when we see Mr. Obama exclaiming the virtues of war in Oslo and never saying a blessed word about the U.S.’s undermining of peace throughout the world through military intervention and the unscrupulous work of the U.S. intelligence network including the NSA and the CIA (along with the rest of the multi-billion dollar North American intelligence Network). The Right Wing; the War Mongers; the defense contractors like Halliburton, GE and Lockheed Martin; Wealthy Republicans; the Pentagon Brass—they all have a new friend in Mr. Obama who was elected to change things, but who pealed off what little was left of his progressive skin and threw his chips in with the Status Quo in Oslo, Norway... I guess the old adage IS true—you can’t beat City Hall… But I for one look onward & know just like at the actual birth of this country in the 1700’s tyranny can & will be defeated. In all its’ forms, ways and means, tyranny will be defeated... Don’t let yourself be easily disillusioned, fooled & like Denzel Washington said as Malcolm X in Spike Lee’s 1992 film ``hoodwinked, fooled & bamboozled.’’ We as Black people can’t afford it. Keep your eyes on the prize and keep supporting people like Barbara Lee and Dennis Kucinich in Congress. Write them and let them know they are doing a wonderful job in keeping the progressive fires lit, hot, active and alive. Here are their addresses if you want to write them:
Congress Woman Barbara Lee
2444 Rayburn HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone # 202.225.2661
Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich
2445 Rayburn HOB
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone # 202.225.5871
They are some of the REAL progressive thinkers and shapers of our progressive tomorrows along with Former Congress Woman Cynthia McKinney (of Atlanta, Georgia) who ran for President in 2008 under the Green Party banner. To Write Sister McKinney log onto:
Keep moving in the direction of Black Progress—forward each and every day. Keep your eyes on the prize: What is the Prize? The prize is real economic development; social justice, true freedom, equality; prosperity for our people; a coming of economic parity for the poor. Even political dynasties, deal makers; war itself may have to be thrown on the ash heap of history before this is all over. We must be ever vigilant, work hard and never, never give up !! Power to the people!!! Never give up!! Find new ways to take your issues to the powers that be; create your own power base by creating a Black business; organizing with other Black Business Men and Black Business Women to bring greater political leverage to progressive causes in D.C. and around the globe—throughout our Diaspora… If you have a few dollars to give please check out the organizations our company has given to on our web page at www.btganda.com. They need your support, especially in these economically hard times when grants and donations are drying up!!... But never give up and never give in!!