Archive for April, 2010

Alienation

Posted in Black Interests, Latino Interests with tags on April 29, 2010 by Gary Johnson

By Raynard Jackson

My position on illegal immigration is very public—I DO NOT SUPPORT AMNESTY under any circumstances.  So, with the new illegal immigration bill signed into law in Arizona and the volume of phone calls seeking my opinion, I have decided to share my thoughts on this issue.

But this time, I want to try a different approach.  Those who are interested in my detailed views on illegal immigration can go to my website and read some of my previous columns of this subject.  In this column, I will pose a series of questions and make some observations that will, hopefully stimulate a more reasoned debate on this issue.

As written in previous columns, how can the NAACP (supposedly the premier civil rights organization in the U.S.) support amnesty for over 30 million people and yet complain to Obama about the high unemployment rate in the Black community?  So, their solution is to increase the pool of unskilled workers who will compete with citizens of this country for a limited number of unskilled jobs!

Why is Al Sharpton sticking his nose into the business of Arizona?  He is threatening to organize boycotts, yada, yada, yada!.  I wish he would devote the same level of energy to the racist “wet foot, dry foot” policy that is in affect in Miami, Florida.  This insane policy allows any Cuban who gets at least one foot on U.S. shore to stay, but if a Haitian does the same thing, he is immediately returned to his country.  Where is Al Sharpton on this issue?  Oh, I forgot, there is no camera crew there to cover this story.

If we can strip away all the emotion on both sides, I think it will become very clear why Americans are not in a mood to forgive criminals for coming into our country and be told what their rights are.  Let’s establish the fact that they broke the law—regardless of their reasons, they are lawbreakers!  If I rob someone because I have no money to feed my family, I have still violated the law and deserve to be punished.  Me having a good reason is not enough to absolve me of the crime committed.

Please, my amnesty supporters, tell me why an illegal (they are NOT undocumented, they are ILLEGAL) person should get in-state tuition for college, but a U.S. citizen can’t get the same benefit?  Why should illegals be able to get free health care and there is none for U.S. citizens?  Americans receive more immigrants annually than the sum total of all other countries combined.  We are very much pro immigration, not illegal immigration.

My pro amnesty friends want us to forgive illegals, but these same people won’t spend the same energy restoring voting rights to felons who have been released from prison.  They have paid their dues to society, but still carry the brand of being a felon.  Are you kidding me?  You want me to get upset over how we treat those who broke into our country, but overlook those who served their time and still can’t get a break?  In the immortal words of Chad “Ocho Cinco” Johnson, “Child please!”

When I go to foreign countries, if I don’t speak the language, then I am out of luck.  But, yet California prints their election ballots in over 200 languages.  We are enabling foreigners not to assimilate.  If you are or want to be an American, then you must speak English.

I guarantee that none of my pro amnesty friends know who Robert Krentz was.  Well, he was the Arizona rancher that was murdered by an illegal a couple weeks ago.  He is the reason the bill in Arizona was passed.  But his death has been lost in all the emotion of the debate.  No one is talking about the impact that illegals who are committing crimes are having on U.S. families.

When will we focus on the rights of Americans to be safe more than the non-existent rights of those who are illegal?  Rights are earned with responsible behavior.  Would someone please tell me what are the responsibilities that illegals have to America?  You never hear illegals talking about their responsibilities, only what their rights are.

This attitude is what is grating on Americans.  The only right illegals have is the right to leave the country.  Obama has the right, er, obligation to enforce the existing laws of the land.  If we don’t step up enforcement of existing laws and punish employers that hire illegals, then Obama and the Democrats will only continue to fuel this alienation!

Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-public relations/government affairs firm.  He is also a contributing editor for ExcellStyle Magazine (www.excellstyle.com).

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The John Rivera Story

Posted in Black Interests, Latino Interests with tags , , , , , on April 28, 2010 by Gary Johnson

John Rivera

John V. Rivera is a new millennium renaissance man, a father, broadcast engineer, inventor, author, photographer, educator, chef, and President of JonJen Creations, LLC. His career in television began at NBC in 1981 at a time when the broadcast industry landscape began to change dramatically with the advent and development of new digital technologies.  Rivera held several positions at NBC over his 22 years with the company, including but not limited to: technical maintenance and repair, Studio Camera Operator for key productions (NBC Nightly News, The Today Show, Saturday Night Live, the Olympics), Senior Videotape Engineer, Editor, Video Engineer, and Technical Director.

Rivera was constantly challenged to learn, design, and implement new technologies. His ability to adapt and envision new ways of doing things kept John on the cutting edge. Along with his engineering duties, Rivera became involved in NBC Diversity Initiatives. He served as the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians (NABET) first chairperson of the Diversity Council.

It became clear to Rivera that while NBC was growing in the technical areas it was failing to grow and cultivate a culturally diverse, technically skilled workforce. As Chairperson of the Diversity Council, John developed diversity building initiatives presenting several actions to senior management and external organizations including The NAACP, EEOC, and the United States Congress.  Rivera was also responsible for representing employees who came to the Council for help.

Before resigning from NBC in 2002, Rivera filed multiple federal discrimination law suits against NBC and the General Electric Corporation. After defeating summary judgment and clearing all the cases for trial, all the law suites were settled out of court thus removing many of the old discriminatory policies that existed in broadcasting for more than 50 years.

In September of 2002, Rivera relocated to Florida, and became a rescue diver, inventor, student, author, and ultimately an educator. Picking up where he left off 20 years earlier at Boston College, Rivera studied criminal justice and law, all the while refining his inventions and taking them through the patent process.

Rivera is the President and CEO of Sebastian Charter Junior High School in Sebastian, Florida.  The Junior High School is an “A” Plus ranked school, housed in portable trailers with no permanent structure for the last 10 years.  To remedy this situation John has developed and produced a Latin Festival to raise funds to aid in the construction of a permanent building.

Today Rivera has launched a line of cooking devices designed with his cultural heritage in mind. For generations, the preparation of tostones, a twice-fried green plantain and a staple in Latin households, have been prepared in a tedious process one tostone at a time.  Rivera’s Tostonera is the first plantain press that can produce several tostones and plantain cups at the same time. Rivera wrote a cookbook, “The Pleasures of Plantains: Plantain Cuisine” and also took culinary classes under the tutelage of executive chef Dario Marquez to accompany his invention. After years of preparation the Rivera’s Tostonera is poised to be a must have in every Caribbean kitchen.

The Original Trio™ – Executive Chef is a restaurant quality Tostonera. This model is a double-sided press constructed on high density FDA approved plastic. The unit is solid and durable. This unit has been restaurant tested and performed excellently under extreme conditions and high volume. The hinge is made of stainless steel and is rust resistant. It is dishwasher safe. Rivera’s Tostoneras™ are the only tostoneras in the world that press three distinct shapes: chips, cups, and slices. Perfect for any restaurant or experienced chef.

To learn more about the Tostonera click here to visit the official  Riveras Tostonera web site and buy your Tostonera NOW while supplies last.  You can also purchase John Rivera’s Cookbook, “The Pleasure of Plantains.”

The Bridge: The Esteem of Self

Posted in Black Interests, The Bridge - Darryl James with tags , on April 23, 2010 by Gary Johnson

By Darryl James

For many of the stupid Americans who look down on impoverished African Americans, they claim that people are “choosing” to do worse than anyone else. Such a thought is simpleminded and evil, but popular nonetheless.

Some of those stupid Americans compare Blacks to whites who are born with the privilege of America’s legacy to the former slave owners, or to other Blacks who are also born with a certain privilege.

Some of those stupid Americans compare impoverished African Americans to other immigrants.

But African Americans have a different history.

Even Sydney Poitier acknowledges that his self esteem had already been established by the time he encountered Jim Crow in Miami.

For the African in the United States, the self esteem is under attack from the beginning of life, especially for the African American male.

Some manage to wade their way through the worst of circumstances, but the constant thread in any of the Black rags to riches stories is a person or people who delivered self esteem.

And the thing that is a similar thread throughout most of the world where whites came to dominate while subjugating African descendants is the system of class.

“There was this whole race/class thing in the Bahamas,” wrote Poitier in his book “The Measure of a Man,” “and among Blacks, the class thing was prevalent and vigorously administered. If you were really poor, you were without leverage and powerless, and that was the majority of the people. Also there was a class of Blacks who felt they were above you. They mimicked the colonial value system and saw themselves at the top of the Black community.”

But in the Caribbean, particularly in nations such as the Bahamas, Blacks are the majority, and so even amongst the racism and classism, there is a sense of self that is very different from the United States.

Poitier said that his self esteem was shielded from complete destruction by “the fact that I was a member of the Black community that was indeed the majority of people in the country.  And when that kid got to Florida and Florida said ‘let’s sit this kid down and explain to him what the rules are,’ it was too late.”

Still, there’s something Poitier referred to as the “Poverty Syndrome,” which he was subjected to just as the impoverished anywhere else.

“You can’t have been subjected to poverty at one time and ever live free of it again,” he explained. “It can be subdued, but external circumstances can bring it right out of its dormant state.”

The thing is that in America, the African descendant is bombarded with negative images of himself and negative perceptions of his entire experience.

I remember as a child reading a poster that went something like this: “What if white people were held captive and beaten for four hundred years and shown a Black Jesus with nappy hair?”  Well, of course the result would be a poor self image and poor self esteem that would be hard to shake, even after some decades of relative ease.

That’s why I fight so hard and rage so viscerally against Black myths. I know the destruction they can wreak.  For example, Black boys who hear that there are more Black men in prison than in college can either choose to be the exception to the rule or simply to follow the rule—the choice will be made depending upon the circumstances they are subjected to and the image of self as well as the esteem of self already acquired.

Many American morons believe that making such choices comes easy and is open to all individuals.  But these are fools who have no idea how some children are bombarded with negativity to the point where the image of self is twisted and the self esteem is destroyed.

Back to my childhood–I realized that on the south side of Chicago, where most of the Blacks lived, there were different opportunities and different lifestyles from those found on the north side of the city, where whites lived. And, because I knew what they had, my determination was to have some of it for myself.

But I also knew that some of the kids in school with me knew nothing more than the depressed conditions in which they lived. They weren’t shown other worlds and they weren’t reading with the fervor I was, so they didn’t even get to imagine themselves in other worlds.

And finally, I knew that because I had good grades, I was being exposed to much more than some of the kids with average or poor grades, creating a mental segregation, which affected self esteem.  Same conditions of poverty, but different exposure made the world of difference.

At the end of the day, even our conversations with the people in our families were different. I had most of the people in my world telling me what a great man I could become and even showing me great men who looked like me, while some other kids had most of the people in their worlds telling them what pieces of crap they were and showing them other crappy people who looked like them.

A child’s mind is so easy to shape and mold.

Some kids were pushed into sports and fighting and street crimes.

I was pushed into books and lofty goals and dreams.

And this is the reason why I want to beat the snot out of people’s noses who suggest that opportunities are open and available for everyone and that when people fail to take advantage of opportunities they are simply “choosing” not to be successful.

Those are evil ignoramuses who have no idea how human nature works. No one simply makes a choice to fail, because we all want to succeed and to have the trappings of success. The choices we believe we have for ourselves are determined by the concept of self.

I am reminded of two such ignoramuses—one large and one small.

The first one, the large one is Bill Cosby, who laid the blame for everything bad at the feet of the “lower economic people,” as if they made a conscious choice to be impoverished and to become failures.

Recently, on Meet the Press to promote his new book, “Come On People,” Cosby again indicted the “lower economic people” for making poor choices, even after admitting that there is systematic racism. Come on Cosby.

The second one–the small one–is a so-called Reverend named Jesse Lee Peterson, who runs an inane radio show designed to press his lips firmly against the ass of white America. This Black-hating moron insisted that only Black people have an “Affirmative Action” mentality, in which they expect the government to take care of them when they “choose” to be lazy.

Petersen is too much of a white loving coon to realize that many whites, including the retarded president are the result of Affirmative Action. So are the airlines who received billions in corporate welfare.

This dead-brained coward also claimed that the homeless were also “mostly Black people” who are on drugs and alcohol and “choosing” to seek government support so that they don’t have to work.

I point out these two examples, because when people are bombarded with these kinds of messages, without many positive messages, the esteem of self can be diminished. Even the most tktk would be diminished if facing roadblocks and told repeatedly that they were downtrodden because of a “choice” they made.

None of us are islands. We are all connected and the sum total of the things which we are exposed to. And those things we are exposed to can easily affect our self esteem, which will determine how far we are able to go in life.

So, the next time you find yourself looking down on someone who you think has simply made bad choices, ask yourself, what if they simply have poor self esteem?

Darryl James is an award-winning author of the powerful new anthology “Notes From The Edge.” Now, listen to Darryl live on BlogTalkRadio.com/DarrylJames every Monday from 7-9pm, PST. View previous installments of this column at http://www.bridgecolumn.proboards36.com. Reach James at djames@theblackgendergap.com..

We Remember Dorothy Height

Posted in Black America, Black Interests, Gary A. Johnson with tags , , on April 20, 2010 by Gary Johnson

By Gary A. Johnson

April 20, 2010

Civil rights pioneer Dr. Dorothy Height, died Tuesday at age 98, at Howard University Hospital.  Height, who had been Chair and President of the National Council of Negro Women, a group she led from 1957 to 1988, when she became the group’s chair and president emerita.  She also worked in the 1960’s alongside other civil rights icons including Rev. Martin Luther King, Benjamin Hooks, A. Phillip Randolph, and John Lewis.

President Obama called her the Godmother of the Civil Rights movement.  Height’s years of service span from President Roosevelt to the Obama administration.  She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994 by President Clinton and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004.

Beyond these tremendous accolades, if one looks deeper, millions of women can link their success to Dorothy Height.  I spent most of my life surrounded by successful women who have Dorothy Height to thank as their inspiration.  I bet the number of women mentored by Dr. Height is in the thousands.  Name a woman of any color who exemplifies the class stature and dignity of Dorothy Height?

Her passing leaves a tremendous void in the area of quiet dignity and strength.  To learn more about Dr. Height and the National Council for Negro Women visit their official web site at:  http://www.ncnw.org.

Gary Johnson is the Founder & Publisher of Black Men In America.com a popular online magazine on the Internet and the Black Men In America.com Blog. Gary is also the author of the new book“25 Things That Really Matter In Life.”

A Mixed Bag: Devil, Angel and Mayor!

Posted in Black America, Black Interests, Guest Columnists with tags , , , , on April 20, 2010 by Gary Johnson

By Harold Bell

In the month of April I watched three friends of Kids In Trouble, Inc., and Inside Sports profiled on local and national television.  First there was former boxer Derrick Holmes and singing phenom Stacy Lattisaw stories aired on Fox TV 5 News.  On Sunday April 25th Dateline NBC spotlighted Mayor Dave Bing and how he plans to save his “Dead On Arrival” adopted hometown of Detroit.

All three stories are the spiritual rewards of people reaching out to help others.  In the 70s and 80s Dave, Stacy and Derrick were all affiliated with Kids In Trouble and Inside Sports.  One was a kid in trouble, and the other two were just reaching out and back to help kids in trouble.

Back in the day (any time before the 90’s) a do-wop vocalist group out of Washington, DC calling themselves The Clovers released a classic titled “Devil or Angel,” which inspired the title for this story.

The interviews on Fox 5 television with Derrik and Stacy brought a smile to my face and memories of days gone by.  The Dateline story on Dave Bing made me a proud mentor and friend.  In the 70s and 80s Derrik and Stacy were at the top of their games and professions and Dave was an NBA All-Star.

Inside Sports was the #1 sports talk show in DC and Kids In Trouble, Inc., was the #1 community based youth advocate group.  The two programs were the first to encouraged pro athletes, entertainers and radio and television personalities to get involved to help improve the plight of inner-city children.

Celebrity tennis and golf tournaments and fashion shows sponsored by Kids In Trouble, Inc., and Inside Sports evolved from the two programs.  Derrik and Stacey were two of the program’s fashion show models and Dave reached back to take several kids in trouble to his basketball camp in the Pocono mountains in Pennsylvania.  All three were the faces of hope for Kids In Trouble.

Other personalities and participants included Red Auerbach, Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, Sonny Hill Adrian Dantley, Sam Jones, Austin Carr, Adrian Branch, Len Bias (NBA), Roy Jefferson, Freddy Scott, Tim Baylor, Doug Williams (NFL), Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard (Boxing), Johnny Gantt (Boxing), Robert Hooks (Actor), Martin Wyatt, Fred Thomas, Paul Berry, Maureen Bunyan, Jim Vance (TV Media), Donnie Simpson (Radio), John Thompson (Georgetown U.) and the list goes on and on.

WETA television producer Jacqueline Toldt  produced “Washington in the 70s” during Black History Month 2010.  The show was misleading in that it had nothing to do with Black History.  In fact, it appears that she made every effort to exclude Black History.

Ms. Toldt must have had her head in the sand.  The content of the show proved she knows nothing about “Washington in the 70s.”  Anyone living in DC during that era (black or white) was aware that the Nation’s Capitol was known all over the world as “Chocolate City.” It was never mentioned during the hour long program.  The impact and contributions made by the above personalities were never cited.

How could you be in DC during the 70s and not know that WOL Radio was the flagship station with WHUR running a close second with “The Quiet Storm” radio show host Melvin Lindsey? WHFS FM in Bethesda, Maryland was not even on the radar screen.

How could you not know that Kids In Trouble was making a difference all over the city with Washington Redskin players Larry Brown, Roy Jefferson, Harold McLinton and Ted Vactor? Warner Wolf (TV 9) and Harold Bell ruled on air sports talk in the 70s!

It looks like the only qualification to be an Executive Producer at WETA is to have a driver’s license!  She is further proof we must keep our own history.

In the 70s, Derrik Holmes and Sugar Ray Leonard were the darlings of amateur boxing in the DC area.  Derrik was a champion right out of the box.  He won the Junior division of the Golden Gloves in 1969 his first year on the boxing scene for the Kentland Boxing program.  He then moved from Kentland to the Palmer Park, Maryland program.

His success led his friend and now boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard to join him on the team.  Ray’s brother Roger Leonard was also a member of a program that was considered one of the best in the country.  Derrik and Roger were considered the best boxers on the team during that era, but Ray was coming on fast.

According to boyhood friend Irvin Millard the workouts between Sugar Ray Leonard and Derrik Holmes were toe-to-toe knock down and drag out classics.  There were many times Derrick gave better than he received.  There was little or no animosity or jealousy among the fighters during this era.  They were just two great competitors who were close friends in and out of the ring.

Derrick was riding high after winning a Gold Medal at a pre-Olympic tournament in Montreal in 1975, but his life would never be the same after the 1976 Olympic trials.  He would make a bad decision that would turn his world upside down.

The name Charles Mooney an Olympic hopeful will forever be etched in the mind of Derrik Holmes.  Derrik would lose a controversial decision to Mooney leading up to the U. S. Olympic Games in 1976.

The devastating lost to Mooney still haunts Derrik today some 34 years later.  He keeps the photo that shows Mooney looking like the loser that he was but miss guided officials gave him the decision anyway.

One bad decision would lead to another.  The next bad decision by Derrik was of his own doing and would cost him 23 years of his life in jail.  He turned to drugs after losing to Mooney and the drugs would become his sparring partner, trainer, friend and his biggest opponent.

In the meantime Derrik along with Ray got involved with Kids In Trouble and Inside Sports via celebrity fashion shows.

The lost to Mooney was nothing compared to watching his close friend and sparring partner Sugar Ray Leonard go on to win a Gold Medal at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal.  Sugar Ray’s boxing success would lead him into the boxing Hall of Fame and Derrik’s boxing failure would lead him to jail.

Sugar Ray Leonard had his own problems after his fairy tale win in Montreal.  On his return to his home in Palmer Park newspaper headlines screamed and read “Sugar Ray Leonard has baby out of wedlock with high school sweetheart.”  Ray hid in his home for weeks and refused to come out until I went over and coaxed him out.

Derrik’s problems led him to drugs and he became a kid in trouble.  He had a flair and confident air about him and he took pride in being one of the fashion show’s top dressers.  In 1983, all hell broke loose when I heard he had been arrested and charged with attempted murder and armed robbery in Clinton, Maryland.  I called his friend and promoter Nat Williams and he confirmed the story.  I felt responsible because I never saw it coming.

He was found guilty in 1984 and he would spend the next 23 years in jail, 5 of those years would be served in the Maryland Penitentiary in Baltimore, MD and 18 years in the Maryland Correctional Center in Hagerstown, MD.  Baltimore and Hagerstown are in the top ten of the worst penal institutions in America.  He has really been to hell and back.

The sentence never made sense to me.  I have seen some first degree murder convictions and the accused were never given half the sentence Derrik was given for attempted murder.  This is known as Just Us and Justice in America’s judicial system.  Money buys Justice and a court appointed attorney buys jail time for Just Us.

Black men in America make up over half of the inmate population and we are only 13% of the entire population!  America has the highest prison population in the world and black men are the backbone and foundation of the penal system.

Derrik wants to try to save kids in trouble by giving advice and teaching lessons in the Game Called Life using boxing as a vehicle.  He does not want children to experience the hard knocks that await them in the criminal justice system.  He has already been there and done that.  There are not many of us who could survive 23 years in two of the toughest prisons in America.  His story can save lives.

He believes by going up stream to fish the children out he will save and catch more children than having to wait to fish them out at the river’s end.  Derrik says, “We must be more about prevention instead waiting around and re-acting after the fact.”

Long before Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Hudson and Rihanna there was Stacy Lattisaw.  She was a star at the tender age of 10 and at the age 12 she had signed a recording contract.

She was never a kid in trouble thanks to her two parents (Jerome and Saundra Lattisaw) who had her back.  Jerome and I grew up together in a housing project in Northeast DC called Parkside.  Stacy’s success never carried her far away from the NE community her father grew up in just to the other side of the railroad tracks by choice.

Jerome and Saundra are the prototype parents who are missing from our homes today, parents who have their children’s best interest at heart.  Stacy has found peace of mind in the spiritual sounds of gospel music.  Stacy’s first big hit was “Let Me Be Your Angel” and she has been that and more.

Dave Bing grew up in a tough Northeast DC neighborhood and barely escaped the pitfalls (drugs and jail) of many of his friends.  Today he is the Mayor of a city in crisis but he thinks he can make a difference and bring a dying city back to life.  His task can best be described in basketball terms, he is driving to the basket and there is Bill Russell on one side and Wilt Chamberlain on the other!  Don’t count Dave Bing out.  He has always found a way out of no way.

Dave, Stacy and Derrik are role models in the Game Called Life.  They are reaching back to help others in their own way—each with the style of a champion.

Republicans and Adult-ery

Posted in Black Interests, Politics with tags , on April 15, 2010 by Gary Johnson

By Raynard Jackson

Now that I have everyone’s attention, let’s talk about the one way the Republicans can negate the momentum they have gained heading into the fall elections. 

Political analysts all agree that this fall’s elections will be a referendum on the Obama administration and the Democratic controlled Congress.  If the elections were held today, in all likelihood, the Democrats would be handily defeated in both the house and the senate (not enough to take the majority in either house).  

The American people are going to hold the Democrats responsible for the health care bill that passed, the growing budget deficits, and the increasing government involvement in our lives (banks, auto industry, etc.). 

As a political strategist, I don’t share the same enthusiasm that my fellow Republicans are feeling.  I think the party is peaking too soon.  One measure political operatives use to gage electoral prospects is what we call the “enthusiasm” factor.  The thinking is that if your base of supporters are emotionally excited about your candidacy, they will show up on Election Day and will contribute money to your campaign.  There is no way Republicans will be able to sustain this level of enthusiasm through the November election.

But, I see a more ominous sign for the Republican Party—the lack of adults.  You have the Tea Party folks spewing out all kinds of vile, hateful, and incendiary language and there are no “adults” within the party to stand up forcefully and say, ENOUGH! 

The stars are so aligned in the Republican’s favor that all they have to do is simply shut up and let the Democrats destroy their own electoral chances.    But, Republicans have created a Frankenstein monster (Tea Party) that they can no longer control.  The so-called leaders within the party are terrified of challenging these groups for fear of alienating them.  Where are the adults? 

The American people are with the Republican Party on the issues—less government, lower taxes, and national security.  The party’s rhetoric and lack of a vision are going to keep the party from taking control of either body of Congress.  

The American people divorced themselves from the Republican Congress in the elections of 2006 and 2008 for committing political adultery—not being faithful to true Republican principles (and notice that I didn’t say conservative principles). 

A true Republican doesn’t need to use racially tinged language.  A true Republican isn’t afraid to embrace a presidential initiative from the opposing party if it is in synch with Republican principles.  A true Republican will share his vision for America with the people in the market place of ideas.  

Where are the adults in the Republican Party who will demand that the rhetoric be toned down?  Where are the adults in the party who will embrace a Democratic president who is espousing a Republican principle?  Where are the adults who will challenge the party to take our message to every community in the country?  

If we are truly the “big tent” party, why does the tent look so small?  If we believe we can “save” our country, when will we share and take our vision to the American people?

In 2006 and 2008, the American people filed for divorce because the Republican Party was caught in the very act of adultery.  We cheated on our vows to control spending, shrink the size of government, and to lower taxes. 

We need the adults in the party to tell the American people why they should trust us to govern again.  We know what Republicans are against, but what are they for?  How would a Republican vision make my life better?  

Americans want more than just a bumper sticker campaign—party of Lincoln, lower taxes, smaller government, etc.  What is the vision and what is the call to action?  Americans will no longer vote for a marriage of convenience; they want a marriage based on a commitment to a specific vision. 

If true adult leaders emerge within the Republican Party and take a principled stand for party values, this is the type of adult-ery the voters will accept. 

Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-public relations/government affairs firm.  He is also a contributing editor for ExcellStyle Magazine (www.excellstyle.com).

Tea-ed Off

Posted in Politics with tags , , on April 3, 2010 by Gary Johnson

By Raynard Jackson

With so much news coverage surrounding the heated rhetoric coming from the tea party, I thought it would be instructive to dissect their anger to see if we can come away with some understanding of their issues.

But let’s be clear on something.  Tea party members are aligned with the Republican Party—no matter what both sides say.  Name me one tea partier that is supporting a Democrat or the president’s agenda.  This is part of the perception problem each group is having—the public doesn’t distinguish one from the other.  Furthermore, both group’s rhetoric is so similar so as to make the public think they are Siamese twins.

Tea party members use hostile rhetoric such as:  “We want our country back, Obama’s trampling on the constitution, he’s a socialist, he’s destroying America, and he’s taking away our freedom.”  Let’s deal with each of these concerns one at a time.

When they say, “We want our country back,” Who is the “we?”  Are they referring to white people, since that is what their group is comprised of?  And, “take our country back” from whom?  The only group that can make that demand with any sense of entitlement would be the Native Americans, since they were here first!

“Obama’s trampling on the Constitution.”  I assume they are saying that Obama is in direct violation of the Constitution, thus breaking the law.  If that be the case, when will someone file articles of impeachment to remove him from office?  Members of Congress are sworn to uphold the Constitution; therefore, if Obama is “trampling on the Constitution,” they are bound by duty to impeach him.

“He’s a socialist.”  Most of these tea partiers couldn’t define socialism if you paid them.  So, let me help them.  Simply put, socialism is a system where the state (U.S. government) owns or controls the means of production.  Over the past two years the government has intervened in the private sector (bailing out the banks, the auto industry, home owners on the verge of losing their homes) in a manner that is not consistent with capitalism.  So, if Obama is a “socialist,” what does that make George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, since these bailouts started under them?  I don’t remember seeing signs of Bush with a Hitler mustache or in blackface.  Where was your anger then?

“He’s destroying America.”  Do you really think any president or member of Congress would actually set out to destroy our country?  This is not even worth discussing.  I fail to see the connection between a person with a different point of view and them “trying to destroy our country.”

“He’s taking away our freedom.”  I have a simple question for my tea party friends.  Name me one freedom that Obama or the Democrats have taken from you.  If your freedom was so important to you, where was your voice when Bush and both parties in Congress passed and reauthorized the Patriot Act (2001 & 2006, respectively)?  That bill actually did take away your freedom!  The official title of the law is, the USA PATRIOT ACT (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001).  The bill was passed in response to 9/11.

Despite what all the pundits and strategists say, tea partiers cannot help the Republicans in November, but they can hurt them.  They will never vote for a Democrat, but yet they are pulling the Republican Party too far to the right.  The more the Republicans become indistinguishable from the tea partier, the more they will alienate the independent voter, thereby giving the Democrats continued control of the House and the Senate.

The only way the Republicans can take advantage of this favorable political climate is to tone down the heated rhetoric and to lay out a clear vision for where they want to take the country.  A bumper sticker campaign will not give them victory this time. No more, “we’re the party of lower taxes, less government, more individual freedom, yada, yada, yada.”

What taxes would you lower and how will you pay for it?  What government agencies would you shrink?  What individual freedoms would you increase?

The American people want answers and solutions to the problems facing this country.  You may not like what Obama is doing, but he’s got the numbers in Congress and he won the election.  So, stop complaining and win elections.

But, if the tea partiers continue this vitriolic rhetoric and this hate-filled anger, the American people are going to be tea-ed off and their movement will be the only thing that will be bagged!

Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-public relations/government affairs firm.  He is also a contributing editor for ExcellStyle Magazine (www.excellstyle.com).

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