With partisan divisions, intra-party conflict, and the Republican’s failure to agree over who will become the next Speaker of the House, the 118th Congress is off to a rocky start (as of Final Call press time), since taking power on January 3. Although the midterms failed to produce a “red wave,” as anticipated by conservatives, Democrats have maintained their narrow hold over the Senate, while the GOP flipped control of the House of Representatives by nine seats, making political gridlock a certainty for at least the next two years.
Against the backdrop of the second anniversary since the January 6 insurrection, and the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol, the 2022 midterm elections did more than expose the seriousness of the country’s political divide; it also exposed cracks in the façade of American democracy as its mask of civility continues to unravel.
“We are living in the time in which dissatisfaction is 100 percent throughout the world of man and mankind,” said the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, Eternal Leader of the Nation of Islam, on page 101 of His book, “The Fall of America,” published in 1973.
“No one is satisfied though they may be righteous,” Mr. Muhammad wrote. “They are not satisfied because they are living among unrighteousness. So, the whole entire world of the wicked and the righteous is upset due to dissatisfaction.”
“The dissatisfied are gaining everyday more and more among the people whom they hope to bring into the same condition that they are in,” the Messenger continued. “And today, nothing is made so clear to the chief-maker of dissatisfaction.”
Former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, author of the newly released book “Courage Under Fire: Under Siege and Outnumbered 58 to 1 on January 6,” told CBS News in a recent interview that political violence on the scale of that day could happen again and it will take more than erecting barriers to prevent it from recurring.
“I am very concerned that this could happen again,” Chief Sund said during the CBS News interview. “Society as a whole, I think we are so divided. I think politicians on both sides need to start thinking about how words matter and start finding a way to heal this place.”
On January 6, 2021, a day that now lives in infamy, thousands of overwhelmingly White insurrectionists and rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol, rampaging through its halls, vandalizing congressional offices, attacking police officers, and committing other acts of violence such as breaking down doors and smashing windows, as angry mobs, enraged by the results of the 2020 presidential election and after attending former President Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal Rally,” swarmed throughout the building looking for their political opponents and evidence of a “stolen election.”
The unraveling continues
During his address to the annual Nation of Islam Saviours’ Day convention, nearly a year before President Trump’s supporters attacked the Capitol, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, in the spirit of both guidance and warning, shared the wisdom of scripture under the theme: “The Unraveling of a Great Nation,” delivered in Detroit, Michigan, on February 23, 2020.
“There’s a verse in the Qur’an that I was thinking of, it’s in the 16th Surah, the 92nd verse, and it said: ‘Be not like her who unravels her yarn, disintegrating it into pieces, after she has spun it strongly,’” he said during his keynote address. “Her, here, is not talking about a woman as such, but if you see somebody knitting something with a design, and they leave it not secured one stitch, and then the same woman who stitched it strongly starts pulling on the yarn that she has knitted…it comes to pieces. That’s what’s happening to America as we speak,” Minister Farrakhan explained.
“America was not built on a firm foundation, although the weaving was done strongly, the nation called America was doomed from its inception,” the Minister said. “How do you build a nation killing the native people? How do you build a nation, bringing a whole people out of Africa to America to be made slaves? This is your foundation, so for them to lie to you and make you think that America is a land of promise for you, and you believe it, no wonder Jesus said: ‘You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free,’” Minister Farrakhan said.
Within the context of America’s national interests, Dr. Ray Winbush, director of the Institute of Urban Studies at Morgan State University, agreed that Black Americans must become more vigilant and, more than ever, advance an unapologetic agenda beyond that of partisan politics to survive as a people.
While acknowledging that some Blacks and their constituents have advanced as individuals on the local, state, and federal levels through partisan politics, Dr. Winbush told The Final Call that money controls their trajectories as elected officials, often regulating their willingness or ability to serve the masses of those suffering the indignities of ignorance, poverty, and dependence.
“It was the 2022 midterms that killed the so-called Republican wave,” Dr. Winbush said of Black America’s unwavering loyalty to the Democrat Party. “Black folk are always compromising and saying let’s take the lesser of two evils, or let’s settle for something, and I don’t think the Republicans do that.
The Republicans had a White supremacist agenda under Trump, they’re trying to get another White supremacist going under either (Rep. Kevin) McCarthy or whoever is elected Speaker, (but) we usually try to operate under the White gaze, it’s like we’re always thinking are we going to upset White folks, and we have to quit feeling that way, and I’m talking about our elected leaders,” Dr. Winbush noted.
At Final Call presstime, Rep. McCarthy (R-Calif) was finally elected Speaker of the House on Jan. 7 after four days and 15 rounds of voting. There were contentious debates as the far-right wing members of the GOP refused to support Rep. McCarthy, with one congressman seen having to be restrained from confronting another as tempers flared.
According to many political pundits, the number of concessions Rep. McCarthy made to garner votes from the more right-wing members of his caucus could make him a weak and ineffective Speaker. This was the first time voting had to go to even a second round of balloting in 100 years, noted several media outlets.
“Embarrassing,” “clown show,” “disaster,” “division and dysfunction” are just a few of the words observers used to describe what happened in the House of Representatives which was on display before the world.
But the question remains, how is Black America being impacted by the ongoing chaos and confusion of America’s political upheaval?
“Right now, we’re in a state-of-emergency, and you hate to always say the same thing about the state of urban Black America,” Dr. Winbush added. “But it’s remarkably the same as it has been for the past 50 or 60 years. You can mark major changes for Black folk in urban areas with (President) Johnson’s so-called War on Poverty, but then you’ve got to counter-balance it with how the interstate system, under Eisenhower, a couple of presidents before him, destroyed a lot of inner cities,” he said.
“Now, the cost of two or three cruise missiles and drones that are being shipped to Ukraine could change an entire school system in one of these inner cities,” Dr. Winbush said of President Biden’s and the Democrat Party’s spending priorities. “Once again, we settled for another person who really takes our vote for granted, and he seems more interested in saving Ukrainians than anybody else. He had two years, and now it isn’t going to get done because the House now belongs to the Republicans for the next two years,” he said.
A stealth campaign?
Although President Biden defeated former President Donald J. Trump during the 2020 elections, Mr. Trump announced his intention to run for a second term in 2024 on his “Truth Social” media platform a week after the 2022 midterms. In the tradition of Grover Cleveland, who served as both the 22nd and 24th President of the United States, between 1885-1889 and again from 1893-1897, a Republican attempt to hamstring the remainder of Mr. Biden’s first term could very well lay the foundation for Mr. Trump, or another Republican candidate, to win the White House in 2024.
Senator Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) announced in December that she left the Democratic Party and registered as an independent, although she said she will continue to caucus with Senate Democrats. “We make decisions about what’s best for ourselves, our family, and our community,” she said on her YouTube channel. “So, we don’t spend our time thinking is this a Republican idea or is this a Democratic idea, is this liberal or is this conservative, that’s not how Arizonans think,” Senator Sinema said in a two-minute video about changing her party affiliation.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) did not rule out following in Sen. Sinema’s footsteps and changing his party affiliation from Democrat to independent, which clearly would become a game changer considering the Senate’s current 51-49 Democrat majority.
Manchin, often referred to as “King of the Senate” due to his outsized power as the most conservative Democratic senator who can sway outcomes by voting with Republicans, prefaced his comments with this disclaimer: “I have no intention of doing anything right now,” he said in Forbes on December 12.
Nation of Islam Southwest Regional Student Minister Dr. Abdul Haleem Muhammad of Mosque No. 45 in Houston, Texas, told The Final Call that fear, self-hatred, and indecision have undermined the collective advancement of Black people and that these self-defeating mindsets will prove the undoing of the masses. “Our failure to unite around an unapologetically Black agenda places us at the mercy of the unapologetic agendas of special interest groups, the corporatocracy, and the money changers who now dominate the so-called democratic institutions of this constitutional republic,” he said.
“Whether it’s too late or not for Black people, and the world for that matter, it depends on what we do with ‘the knowledge of the time,’ as the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan laid out in episode one of his lecture series, ‘The Time and What Must be Done,’” Student Min. Muhammad said.
“Following right guidance can save the lives of those who take heed of the messages because right guidance, as the country continues to unravel, is a mercy from God.”