2022 Angry White Male Politician of the Year Award

All’s Quiet on the Liberal Front

It’s only the first few weeks of 2022 and already I’m ready to give out he award for angry white man politician of the year award.

Unfortunately, it comes with a few downsides.

The unexpected winner: Joe Biden.

I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore
Give Credit When Credit Is Due — Kudos to Joe for being the first white liberal male president angry about black voting injustice and to the NYT for capturing this pic

How could Sleepy Joe be expected to be in such a rage? Even the liberal media described him as old, tired, won’t make it to a second term. The expectation, set originally by Trump, took hold across the US. Admittedly, his natural speech impediment that he spent his life overcoming, his stutter, doesn’t help and I can’t shake it even though I went through some speech therapy as a child; it gives him a slight bit of a slur that makes it look like cognitive decline from aging is in effect. Even though my mother is almost a decade older than Joe and is very sharp of mind, that impression sticks with me.

But skepticism was the word from allies and reporters after that outrage, that visible anger so well captured. The anti-gerrymandering law called The Freedom to Vote Act is critical in making it illegal to gerrymander. That’s a tall order, and though symbolic, it’s at least symbolism that comes with teeth, even if only filed down wooden dentures.

To say that it’s too late to do anything now in 2022 , to pass the voting laws, and his actions at this point come too late, is wrong-headed and short-sighted, and black leaders shouldn’t turn their back on the rare chance to side with an white man angry for their cause. So few of the ones who express anger do so for them. I can’t recall the name of the symbolic voting rights bill that Obama passed against gerrymandering that tried to lift blacks and minorities up. Or the one Clinton did. But I’m sure Bush, W. Bush and Trump did not have one or propose one that gave equity.

Given this historic outrage by a white for blacks, I would have suspected every black leader in Georgia to show up. Instead, some like Stacy Abrams didn’t show up, citing no reason. Others expressed skepticism, like Julian Castro and Derrick Johnson, head of the NAACP. Other voting rights leaders are “exasperated” by the inaction until now. The last year, or the last two hundred?

But I don’t recall any outrage from LBJ when he signed the last major Voting Rights Acting to aid blacks in 1965. He seemed more “forced” to sign the Civil Rights Bill, if the fictional account in Ava Duvernay’s rendering in Selma is to be believed. (I actually do believe it, whether the scene between MLK and LBJ happened as depicted or symbolic artist license was taken, it expressed the core truth.)

Believe it or not, the Civil Right’s Voting Acting back then was already unnecessary, given the Fifteenth Amendment passed in 1869 which secured their Civil Rights. That Constitutional amendment was unnecessary given that the fourteenth amendment passed in 1866 stated that any “State” cannot deprive any person of “life, liberty, or property” and must give “equal protection” under the law. Yep, that should have done it. Equal protection is equal protection. Period. Very clear. That constitutional amendment made “all rights,” including civil rights, were ensured and protected.

But were even those two amendments necessary, given that the “life, liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” guaranteed to “all” by the Declaration of Independence 91 years before the end of Civil War, a declaration for the world’s first color blind doctrine setting up a humanist secular democracy?

The answer should be no.

The problem doesn’t come with the law and principles our country was founded on. It comes with the interpretation and who is interpreting our inalienable rights given to all. Over and over again, that interpretation falls on the powerful, which happened to be angry white men.

The original “Gag Rule” in Congress was set up by these men to stop discussion on slaves, slavery and any dangerous talk that could lead to freeing black slaves. The same with the filibuster, created to ensure before the Civil War that a majority could overrule a minority and eliminate slavery — that was for a hundred years the express purpose of that rule. Adams, the son, who became president and was only the second president not to own slaves and a principled abolitionist at heart like his father, fought successfully to revoke that “gag” rule. Gagging anyone seems very much like an act of violence, a threat to stop free expression. In fact, he had to remind everyone that it opposed freedom of expression, another core principle, the first Constitutional protection in the Bill of Rights. Somehow, the creators of the Gag Rule forgot this core protection and humanistic value.

It appears that almost no one wanted to discuss the interpretation which they held implicit that these rights belonged to white men only, and that what the liberty and justice for “all” meant to them. Both Adams’ understood the explicit statements made in the declaration and constitution, which didn’t mention color, unfiltered by interpretation. But they were not going to go upstream against the inherent anger of the majority of rich and power slave owners that held humans as property, denying them those rights. Even if by numbers, the rich and power slave owners were statistically a minority. They were a minority that governed in many places and held the guns.

That included Thomas Jefferson who wrote those words. Even he changed the original phrase from “pursuit of property” to “pursuit of Happiness”. Why he changed that basic humanist secular principle from property to happiness we may never know. But we do know he was a large property owner, and his property was over 200 humans, some say over 400. Obviously, the absence of the word “property” would inhibit an future interpretation of property being human slaves. And happiness just sounds better and isn’t as financially costly to give out.

Re-interpretation is what made the 15th amendment be redundant, extra explicit. The angry whites knew they were outnumbered in places like South Carolina, a state 60 percent black in 1865. They would lose all power, especially if successful black politicians like Joseph Rainey understood gerrymandering. Can you imagine what Rainey — as the first black and ex-slave voted to Congress in South Carolina — would do once he got the blacks behind him and redrew the maps, effectively eliminating whites from representation, and unleashing the anger of all those ex-slaves? The whites probably knew.

They sought to strip that power using the greatest tool of a minority has used effectively against a majority to bend them to their will, physical violence. The threats and lynchings started. Jim Crow came shortly after to stop the blacks, quickly overriding the “ensured” legal and civil rights of blacks. Congress had to then had to force a new Civil Rights act again by getting approval from a white man, in 1966 and 69 under acts that gave power yet again to blacks.

But no matter, the weapons, and anger, of whites continued, leading to a massacre in Ocoee, Florida in 1920 directly related to blacks voting and claims of fraud by whites. The claims of cheating and rigged elections continued in the South and Florida in particular, where Jeb Bush made a sweeping voter fraud bill because of the claims in the 2000 election of foul play — 175,010 ballots that were not counted and sheriffs’ blocking the roads to prevent blacks from reaching polling places. Governor Bush looked like he was helping his brother Governor Bush win the White House, as his brother won the election in Florida by 536 votes.

The NAACP sued over disenfranchisement from the alleged road blocking, but Katherine Harris, Jeb’s hit woman and Secretary of State, stripped 700,000 ex-convicts and convicts of the right to vote by pulling a 19th century law out of the hat just before the election, preventing primarily blacks from voting, who voted 10 to 1 in favor of Gore. “Cleaning the roles” is the schtick going on now, post 2020 election, to again combat “voter fraud.” It takes blacks and Latinos off the roles, hence the name The Great Purge.

Gore backed down and conceded defeat. Unlike Trump. Instead, Trump, who has yet to concede defeat in to the 2020 election as of January 2022, even though his claims of fraud is a viewed by many as a real Lost Cause, The Big Lie, used the anger to fight onward. Republicans seized on that anger, as they’ve always done when losing, and created laws to surpass votes and purge roles, like Jeb Bush’s, and created new laws to keep disenfranchising blacks.

Again, a small number of very angry men, probably 700, who stormed the Capitol, got their way it seems. They may not have overturned the election, but their false claims and violent display of aggression and threats was widely displayed as a foreshadowing, one that included the most popular instrument of Lost Cause adherents, the Noose. Their visible violence is interpreted as a first step to a new civil war, amplifying the white power threat to a mythical level: do as we want and don’t prosecute or else worse will come.

In contrast, Jesse Jackson, now ‘elderly’, was arrested in front of the Capitol a half a year later for a deliberately non-violent protest showing support for voter’s rights. The 3.3 million Black Lives Matter protestors who marched peacefully, the largest march in U.S. history, vastly outnumbered and outmatched the insurrections. Little attention is given to the protests of black leaders, like congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee who was also arrest. Instead, politically in DC, where all the money and investigation is on the January 6th Insurrectionists. It takes an angry Biden to remind us why these black leaders marched, for justice and reform.

Scholars and historians may openly debate my claims about the “liberty and justice for all” with their interpretations that no one really meant black slaves. But that is their interpretation. I’m sticking with the explicit language developed by secular humanists like John Locke and Thomas Paine, because that is what they did mean, everyone, “justice for all.”

They can debate my interpretation of the 14th and 15th amendment as not being repetitive, but that again is their interpretation. Explicit language is explicitly clear. The 1964 and 65 Civil and Voting Rights Acts might appear under their literal interpretation as not being redundant in ending Jim Crow laws. Interpretation always seems to be the issue of the actual literal law. We have to have them interpret it for us. I would like to talk to blacks about these ideas. I already know what white scholars think.

Meanwhile, Joe Manchin made his own interpretation as yet another angry white male. He said “Voting is very important. It is a bedrock of democracy. But to break the opportunity for the minority to participate completely, that’s just not who we are.” Interpretation: “to break the opportunity for the minority” refers it seems to blacks. To break them seems like it has something to with violence, and “that’s not who we are”, seems to mean we are not going to bend to blacks looking to pass these voting bills. His explicit remark is deliberately murky, amorphous.

He is right, “that’s not who we are” is perhaps a reference to his fellow senators, 89% per cent of who are white. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Tim Scott are Republican minorities, the other 8 minorities are Democrats, leaving 84 percent of Democratic senators being the white supermajority. No reason to “break” a majority of both parties or one party — 11% or 16% depending on how you count. No reason to bow to them. That’s how the press interpreted his comments. He won’t be voting for anything that smacks of more Civil Rights and Voting laws for blacks.

And, in a way, he’s right. We’ve already had a lot of those laws and amendments and declarations before. They clearly didn’t work, because of interpretation, so why bother with new ones.

Maybe though, one angry white man, this time on the left, can overpower and break them, the supermajority? Let’s not hold our breath. One angry white male liberal does not an insurrection make.

When’s the last time you heard a speech of moral outrage in a sweeping gesture of tone that brings you up to the mountaintop like MLKJ? The rest of the senators still talk calmly, even Joe Manchin, like nothing is wrong, like they are not stirred by fear of a failing democracy, massive peaceful black protests, insurrectionists fed up with the status quo — in short, injustice. And that’s because they’re not.

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Bren Kelly

Bren Kelly

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Engaged in new Ideas and old Inequalities, putting the system back into systemic, born on the 50th Anniversary of Women's Lib Day, still seeking injustices.