.By Charlene Muhammad CHARLENEM
Americans cast their votes for a new president Nov. 8, but regardless of the choice for new leader of America, Inc., can a nation wracked by division, bitter division, be put back together in the election’s aftermath? Where would the country start, given the race-baiting, hatred, dissatisfaction of voters and lack of trust in Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald J. Trump? Voter suppression at the polls, the Ku Klux Klan’s official newspaper touted front page support for Mr. Trump, while a Black church was set ablaze allegedly by Trump supporters.
On the other hand, Ms. Clinton remained unpopular, with Americans skeptical of her and her alleged connections to corrupt Washington insider practices. Neither presidential contender inspired much confidence nor vision for a united future.
“Reuniting is up to the people of the United States,” said Cynthia McKinney, a former U.S. congresswoman and presidential candidate.
But how can Americans unite with such different views and different allegiances?
Vitriol between and against the candidates alongside volatile rhetoric fed violence during Trump rallies and some threats of more violence in post-election American society.
The obvious answer coming out of Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan’s major address, “If Satan Cast Out Satan, His House is Divided Against Himself; How Then Will His Kingdom Stand?” is the divided house cannot stand. It is doomed to fall.
“I want to say to my friends who are with Mrs. Clinton, and some other of my friends who were with Bernie Sanders, and others of my friends who are with Mr. Trump: We are not going to lose any friendship over White people that want to continue to rule us,” he said in a message delivered from Mosque Maryam in Chicago.
“The ‘bigger picture’ is the Black masses of America and the American people whose lives are at stake,” he said. “Now, the scripture is being fulfilled wherein it prophesies that in these days, meaning the end of the wicked world of Satan: Rulers are against rulers, kings against kings, nations against nations. In the days of the prophets, there were no heads of government who were given the name ‘president;’ rulers were referred to as rulers and as kings of the people. The prediction of the prophets who wrote our future before we lived is now coming to pass.”
“America is now being torn to pieces politically as Pharaoh’s political party was in the days when Jehovah went after the freedom of the children of Israel. Egypt was plagued with drought, great hailstorms, rain and fire–according to the Psalms of David, ‘running sideby- side, fire and water.’ These plagues now are visiting America from Almighty God Allah,” said Min. Farrakhan.
Forever fractured America?
The FBI has opened a civil rights investigation into the Nov. 1 arson and vandalism of a Black church in Mississippi, where “Vote Trump” was spray-painted on an outside wall.
The fire blackened the sanctuary’s pews, pulpit and walls, but the shell of the church is still standing.
Fire Chief Ruben Brown Sr. Estimated that the church was 80 percent destroyed. He says authorities are offering an $11,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever did it.
Ms. McKinney is thinking about change since witnessing Mr. Trump ruin the Republican Party’s structure and support base.
“I don’t know how long that’s going to last, but it’s not an accident for us to watch, as a result of Trump’s wrecking ball, all of the slime has slithered over to the Democratic Party. And so now you’ve got the very people that Democrats fought are now supporting the Democratic nominee,” Ms. McKinney observed.
“This tells me a lot, because I know how I was treated, and when I tried to do something that went against the establishment, then I was cast aside, castigated, you name it. It happened to me; had stalkers, the whole bit,” she told The Final Call.
America is confronted with how to behave with a political system in flux, said Ms. McKinney. One of the wings of the same political bird with two wings has now been totally devastated, she stated.
According to NBC 2016 Election tracking reports, the U.S. Justice Department planned as of Nov. 3 to send election monitors to four North Carolina counties “including one that’s being sued for allegedly removing thousands of voters from the rolls.”
The NAACP filed a lawsuit on Oct. 31 alleging that Cumberland, Moore, and Beaufort counties have illegally removed thousands of North Carolina voters from the rolls, the vast majority, around 3,000, in Cumberland County, nbcnews.comindicated. And Salon.com reported, “New federal lawsuits were filed in five different states on Oct. 31, alleging that thousands of Black voters are illegally being purged from voter registration lists by Republican officials and threatened with intimidation by the campaign of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.”
After the first full weekend of in-person early voting ended on Oct. 30, reported Politico, Black “turnout failed to meet expectations–or historic precedent–leaving top Democrats and activists fuming or worried that Clinton’s campaign isn’t living up to the hype in Florida.”
“What I say is that we the people do not have any stake whatsoever in the continued survival of this bird. This bird has been bad for all of us,” Ms. McKinney stated. “Now we have an opportunity to debilitate the other wing of the bird. That means that instead of voting for Hillary as many are being told to do, and then fight her, you vote against Hillary,” she told The Final Call.
“Stage two is then us being able to come together and rebuild a political system in the United States that is more reflective of all of us,” said Ms. McKinney.
Black survival bigger than voting, elections only
Black survival depends on Black awareness, Black struggle, and Black unity, political, civil rights and spiritual leaders said.
Instead of depending on false promises from political parties that have already failed on their promises, Min. Farrakhan called on Blacks to take control of the organs of power to make their communities decent places to live.
The organs of power are education, politics, economics and the boards that make the decisions for the communities, he said, adding that Black politicians are controlled from the outside, so Blacks must finance their own politicians and hold them accountable.
“Walk your community and see who owns the stores. You’ve got predators in the Black community. Immigrants build their hope of the American dream on the Black nightmare,” he said.
“I think we’ve lived long enough to understand that notwithstanding your partisan feud, whether you’re Peace and Freedom or Black Panther, Democrat, Republican, Green, whatever, at the end of the day, you gotta realize that you’re Black,” said Robert Farrell, former Los Angeles City Councilman and Freedom Rider.
He said it’s not about the specififics of Blacks in the parties, but it’s about how they deal with Black people period. It’s about younger people, Millennials, and getting police accountability front and center, and addressing the failed criminal justice system, Mr. Farrell said. Young America has put things on a different level, he said.
“We’re talking survival, and it cuts across lines, and I realize there will be people who will have the conversations where the differences are there. I think that there will be a number of people … that’s going to be part of it in saying wake up Black people,” Mr. Farrell told The Final Call.
Whether it’s health care, economics, housing, immigration reform, education, Blacks need to stay focused on their own self-empowerment and healing in the midst of all this madness, said Kevin Powell, activist, public speaker, and author of 12 books, including “The Education of Kevin Powell: A Boy’s Journey into Manhood.”
To him, Black self-empowerment must be holistic and include six areas consistently: spiritually, politically (voting and organizing in communities where they live), culturally (like who are they, do they love themselves, know their history), fifinancially, physical health, and mental wellness.
“Regardless of who is president or who runs the American government, racism and all forms of oppression and discrimination are not disappearing any time soon. We’ve got to be clear about this, and know our work continues no matter what, to help ourselves in education, health care, housing, economics, all of it,” Mr. Powell said.
He added, “No matter who is elected president for the next four years we’ve got to have our own vision, our own plan of action. Nothing beats that. When we look at our history, be it Harriet Tubman or Booker T. Washington, Marcus Garvey or Mary McLeod Bethune, or Ella Baker or The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, what they all had in common was vision, organization, a plan of action, empowerment tools for our people. That is what we need to be doing, remixed for these times. We have no other choice.”
Been there, done that
Blacks must unite and chart their path of expectations from the new president’s cabinet and programs, Mr. Farrell offered. That’s despite polls and promises.
“Notwithstanding whether it’s a Trump victory or a Clinton victory, we still are faced with challenges as Black people that at a particular point transcends all that traditional consideration of a party outlook,” Mr. Farrell said.
“If we can’t do it at this point in the 21st Century, when will we ever do it? And if we don’t start doing it after the election of 2016, we don’t have a chance as we move forward to look at well, what will happen after 2020? And what’ll happen after 2024 as we move forward,” he continued.
He thinks across the board, across the country, Black people are awakened to the point that this may be a different pattern of discussion after the 2016 election. He feels Blacks will begin to view themselves as they really are in society.
“Post-Obama means that notwithstanding the success of our brother in being there for eight years, ‘Been there. Done that. Obama gone,’ ” he said. “Is there going to be some legacy that is ours that we can hold on to in a tangible way, or is this going to be, by cynical, pretty much what it was just before Obama got elected?” he wondered.
“In a way I’m optimistic for post-election to be a time of turmoil, dynamic, positive, creative turmoil in our community where we really do pull together to say where do we go from here, and I think that for the first time in many, many, many years there’s a real sense that the ‘we’ is going to be all-encompassing, everybody coming together under a tent with all of our national and regional and local leaders pretty much coalescing around a common core of values and concerns,” Mr. Farrell said.
(James G. Muhammad and Final Call staffers contributed to this report.)