Georgia Governor Candidate Blasts Republican Secessionists; Blacks and the Pledge of Allegiance

There’s been a rash of politicians-mainly Southern, always Republican-who have made comments to the effect that their states should secede from the United States. Given that these statements are being made a time when we have an African American President, the symbolism of this rhetoric is extremely disturbing.

General David Poythress is a Democratic candidate for Governor of Georgia. He has this to say about politicians who would “cut and run from America”:

This is some text from the clip:

For years, Georgia’s 8th Grade students read in their history books about our state’s decision to secede from the United States back in 1861. Today, our students need only look at a daily newspaper to see that talk of secession isn’t just a thing of the past. In fact, four of the six Republican candidates said they would support Georgia seceding from the United States of America. This is outrageous.

This is absolutely disgraceful—it’s a slap in the face to every patriotic American, to anybody who has served under the American flag and to those brave Georgians who have fought and died for our country in Iraq…

What really offends me the most, is that none of these Republican secession candidates ever wore, for a single day, the uniform of our country, carried a weapon, or heard a shot fired in anger. Not ONE ever put their life on the line to protect our freedoms and liberty.

But they recklessly call for secession from America. They would in effect, ban the American flag and end the pledge of allegiance. They would say to the world that when they don’t get their way, they quit.

That’s just childish. That’s cowardice, not leadership… Real leadership means we work toward common sense solutions to protect American values, not just quit our country because we don’t agree with other Americans… United We Stand. Divided We Fall… Know this: when I’m the Governor of Georgia, I won’t cut and run from America… When I say the Pledge of Allegiance, I mean it.

I don’t know much else about the General, and let me make it clear, I am not promoting his candidacy. But this is an important and timely message, and I felt strongly that I should help to spread it.

In a related note: earlier this week, I attended a Juneteenth celebration that was held at the main library here in Washington, DC. During the event, one of the speakers asked everyone to rise and say the Pledge of Allegiance.

Most of the people in the almost all-African American audience stood and said the pledge. But there was a bunch of people who did not.

I was troubled by this. Yes, this country has committed its share of offenses. Certainly, slavery and Jim Crow are evils that will forever stain the American legacy.

But darn it, this is our country too. During the Civil War, some 200,000 African Americans served in the Union forces. Many of them died in the cause of our freedom, a freedom that all black Americans enjoy today… and that many black Americans, sadly and unfortunately, squander.

My uncle served in World War II. He was a part of General Patton’s black tank unit. He took pride in showing me a Nazi swastika that he captured from German soldiers. And I took pride in hearing of his accomplishments.

Bottom line, we fought for this country, we built this country, we ARE this country. America is us.

I am proud to say the Pledge of Allegiance. Not necessarily for the America that is, but for the America that I want and am willing to work hard to create. I pledge that I will make America a better place, not just for me, or my family, but for the world community.

And that’s something we should all stand for.

PS: I don’t mean to imply that folks who don’t say the Pledge of Allegiance are unpatriotic or other wise “bad.” What I am saying is, I hope that people won’t see our nation’s horrible race history as a block to saying the Pledge. I’m not saying that we should turn our back on the past, but rather, turn our faces forward to the future, and pledge to the country we want to create, not the one we had before or even the one we have now.

I want to give a hat tip to the folks at Indigo Journal for turning me on to this story.

Separate Goodbyes: Segregated Proms in the South

There’s a lot of buzz on the ‘net about a story in The New York Times Magazine titled A Prom Divided. The article is about the continuing practice in the South of having separate high school proms for blacks students and white students.

The article is accompanied by a compelling photo/audio slide show.

It’s definitely worth a read.

The Times article also talks about the documentary, “Prom Night in Mississippi,” which will be shown on HBO in July. The documentary is about actor Morgan Freeman’s offer to pay for a first-of-its-kind integrated prom at Charleston High School in Mississippi, which is his home state. This is an excerpt from the documentary:

Some thoughts on all of this are provided by the blogs Stuff White People Do and Abagond.

Huge Coal Ash Spill Cleanup Brings Concerns Of Environmental Racism: More “Dumping in Dixie”

What is Environmental Racism? Here’s a description from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Environmental racism refers to intentional or unintentional racial discrimination in the enforcement of environmental rules and regulations, the intentional or unintentional targeting of minority communities for the siting of polluting industries, or the exclusion of minority groups from public and private boards, commissions, and regulatory bodies.

Since the term “environmental racism” was coined, researchers have investigated why minorities are more likely than whites to reside in areas where there is more pollution.

Some social scientists suggest that the historical processes of suburbanization and decentralization are examples of white privilege that have contributed to contemporary patterns of environmental racism.

In the United States, the wealth of a community is not nearly as good a predictor of hazardous waste locations as the ethnic background of the residents, suggesting that the selection of sites for hazardous waste disposal involves racism. These minority communities may be easier targets for environmental racism because they are less likely to organize and protest than their middle or upper class white counterparts. This lack of protest could be due to fear of losing their jobs, thereby jeopardizing their economic survival.

In brief, environmental racism is the idea that black communities, because of their economic or political vulnerabilities, are targeted for the placement of noxious facilities, locally unwanted land uses, and environmental hazards.

The main victims of environmental racism have been poor black areas in the South. The ground breaking book Dumping in Dixie by Dr. Robert D. Bullard was one of the first to provide details on this disturbing phenomenon.

Bullard’s book was written in 1990. Fast forward to 2009, and it doesn’t look like things have changed at all. In December of last year, there was a huge spill of toxic coal ash around Kingston, Tennessee. The clean-up effort – you guessed it – seems to include a lot of dumping in Dixie.

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Political Miscellany 7/9/08

The NAACP will hold its 99th Annual Convention on July 12-17 in Cincinnati. The theme of the Convention is “Power, Justice, Freedom, Vote.” More than 8,000 NAACP members, delegates and visitors are expected to attend.

Although there are many who doubt the relevance and effectiveness of the NAACP, it still has enough pull to attract two prominent guests: Sen Barack Obama will speak to the convention on July 14, and Sen John McCain will speak on July 16. More information on the Convention is here; but be aware that some of the information at that link is outdated (as of July 8, it incorrectly showed that Obama will speak on July 17… it’s hard to understand why nobody’s updated that web page yet).

Two black Democrats are big-time dark horses in their races for political office-pun intended.

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Political Miscellany 6/20/08

The Hill reported plans by Barack Obama to meet with his fellow Congressional Black Caucus members on Thursday (6/19). Relations within the CBC are said to be strained due to the hotly contested presidential primary. Many members of the CBC backed Sen Hillary Clinton, even though black voters overwhelmingly supported Obama.

Obama previously met privately with a group of religious leaders, including megachurch pastor Bishop T.D. Jakes, and Rev Franklin Graham, head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. The meeting was held to solicit their input on national and world issues, and not necessarily to get their endorsements.

About 30 people were at the meeting. In addition to Jakes, three other prominent members of the black church were present: the Rev. Stephen Thurston, head of the National Baptist Convention of America, Inc., a historically black denomination; the Rev. T. Dewitt Smith, president of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc., which was home to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders; and Bishop Phillip Robert Cousin Sr., an A.M.E. clergyman and former NAACP board member.

Other reported attendees were conservative Catholic constitutional lawyer Doug Kmiec; evangelical author Max Lucado of San Antonio; Cameron Strang, founder of Relevant Media, which is aimed at young Christians; the Rev. Luis Cortes of Esperanza USA; and Paul Corts, president of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities.

As they say, politics makes strange bedfellows. Consider the case of Sen Barack Obama and Georgia congressman John Barrow.

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