The other day, Joe Walsh, the ousted former Tea Party/deadbeat dad congressman from Chicagoland’s North Shore area tweeted: Obama doesn’t understand or even like America. Every day he creates chaos and dependency. What does it say about us that we elected him?
I want to look at this for a few reasons. One being that it was really off-the-cuff. There was no before or after. It came roughly an hour after one tweet dismissing the idea of Romney running in 2016 as “silly” (I won’t object). A few beats later, he was referring to Illinois’ state leadership as dictatorial (I won’t raise an objection here, either). Nothing in between, tweet-wise, except for this explosion. But that’s what we’ve come to expect from ol’ Joe Walsh. Explosions. Like when he blew up at constituents and called them lazy while running for reelection.
Recall that this election was against Tammy Duckworth, a veteran who lost appendages in wartime. And yet, he asked what she did for her country. As Doge would say: SUCH INCREDIBLE. WOW. MANY BRAIN. But really, what did Joe Walsh ever do for his country?
But maybe that’s the question. Barack Obama long ago talked about the need to cross the divide of the “two countries.” It’s apparent that some don’t want to cross that divide – that some need that divide and want to continue to keep us outside of mutuality and solidarity. Walsh is one such man. For even though we come from the same town, the America that I and Obama met here and the one that Walsh knows best are two worlds apart.
Joe Walsh’s world is for entitled, wealthy white people. It’s a fantasyland with dangerous impact on the real world. His America is where black people are responsible for the messes that White Supremacy has befallen on them and where some White dude who has never been Black nor even studied Black history and Black thought gets to tell Black people how to live by co-opting a speech from a Black man that he is incapable of getting.
You see, in Joe Walsh’s America, he can produce a radio show centered on a racist response to the fifty year anniversary of the March on Washington based on Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and still be on the air half a year later. Do you wanna hear some of his fine lines of high rhetoric? No? #sorrynotsorry
I have a dream that all black boys and girls will grow up with a father.
I have a dream that young black men will stop shooting other young black men.
I have a dream that all young black men will say “no” to gangs and to drugs…
I have a dream that today’s black leadership will quit blaming racism and “the system” for what ails black America.
I have a dream that black America will take responsibility for improving their own lives.
What is with every white man thinking he can be eloquent and proverbial like King? Is this a thing like when I was younger and every thirteen-year-old thought they could someday soar like Michael Jordan? I didn’t include Walsh’s whole thing because I love you all and nobody has the heart medication for that, but would you like to hear my response to Joe Walsh’s America’s patriotic song? It may not be as dynamic and moving, though. So, ahem *clears throat*:
I have a dream that clueless white men will stop talking shit about shit they don’t understand.
I have a dream that White men will stop blaming black and brown people for problems caused by White Supremacy.
I have a dream that White America will hold itself responsible for centuries of continued and systematic neglect, erasure, redlining, thievery, marginalization, impoverishment,
When ALL the white politicians who refused to pay child support would stop crying about negligent fathers!
Amen. Amen. Amen!
In fact, let’s erase a few of these racist myths off the bud. Black fathers are not absent anymore than other racial groups of fathers. PolicyMic reports on an extensive CDC report:
The study found that 70% of black dads said they bathed, diapered or dressed those kids every day, compared with 60% of white fathers and 45% of Latino and that 35% of black fathers who lived with their young children said they read to them daily, compared with 30% of white dads and 22% of Latino dads.
Indeed, even when black fathers are not living at home with their children 67% see them once a month compared to 59% of white dads and 32% of Hispanic fathers.
Black-on-black crime is a myth made to derail the conversation on why it is that black communities are bereft of living wage jobs and infrastructure and marginalized from mainstream economy, dependent on underground economies. If you want to talk about the violence within the black communities, you must start at the roots – the violence committed upon the black communities – reaching from ripping from the motherland for the transcontinental slave trade to ripping from mother’s arms in the national slave trade to the virtual slavery of share cropping and Jim/Jane Crow, to the regular violence of Klans rallies, lynch mobs, to intentional poverty. These are the works of Joe Walsh’s America.
Yes, a number of Black and Latino youth join gangs. I would like for people like Joe Walsh to understand that the roots of youth gangs were to protect from roving white youth looking to cause trouble and harm to Black and Latino (and before that, Italian and Irish) youth. So even the origins of gangs are because of Joe Walsh’s America. As far as drugs go, Black and Latino youth and adults use at the same frequency throughout demographics as White and Asian counterparts. Black youth are not more likely to smoke, toke, shoot up, smoke, whatever, than your kids, Joe Walsh. They are, however, several times more likely to be arrested and incarcerated for it. In liberal Democratic-controlled Chicago, the rates are 15 black people arrested for marijuana use verse every one for white arrests.
King himself – one of those black leaders that Joe Walsh mocks – laid out a case for reparations shortly before he died:
At the very same time that America refused to give the Negro any land, through an act of Congress our government was giving away millions of acres of land in the West and the Midwest, which meant that it was willing to undergird its white peasants from Europe with an economic floor.
But not only did they give the land, they built land grant colleges with government money to teach them how to farm. Not only that, they provided county agents to further their expertise in farming. Not only that, they provided low interest rates in order that they could mechanize their farms.
Not only that, today many of these people are receiving millions of dollars in federal subsidies not to farm, and they are the very people telling the black man that he ought to lift himself by his own bootstraps. And this is what we are faced with, and this is the reality. Now, when we come to Washington in this campaign, we are coming to get our check.
Decades before Ta-Nehisi Coates expanded on the case for reparations.
This is another side of America, of course. A view that people in Joe Walsh’s America can only view down with in contempt of and pretend to wonder why they’re not just like him even as he’ll count his blessings. For if Joe Walsh’s White Supremacy America were to be equal to Black Americans, who would take the fall? And while President Obama doesn’t always side with Black America, he at least has some experiences in it – he at least has a clue what it means to raise Black girls in an age and space that seems to resent their existence. He spent time going door to door in a part of Chicago unfamiliar to Walsh’s America. And yet, Barack Obama has to represent all of America, and so that means Joe Walsh’s America too.
No, he’s not coming after your America, Joe Walsh. I’m pretty sure he wishes he could. But his existence, the very being of a guy you say doesn’t understand you – I think he does understand you and I think he knows that you’re afraid of him.
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