I’m saying, something like….
Checks ’n balance slow or just stop
No? That ain’t a BOP!? I'm still working on it.
The only reason I’m feeling this whole Migos and civics mashup idea, is because apparently an understanding of basic U.S. Civics has been lost on generations and generations of people. A rebranding of it with a couple of Offset verses and a nice little twerk beat could bridge the gap, no?
Obviously, aside from a focus in our actual classrooms, I don’t know the solution for getting these important lessons inside of people’s heads. I recently had a discussion with someone who regurgitated to me the standard position that “voting doesn’t matter” — particularly with regards to black people. They continued, “look at Obama, he didn’t do anything for black people”. This is a frequent sentiment expressed not only among a lot of “woke” (a term that needs to be sedated) black folks but also ironically by a LOT of racist white supremacists. Now look how politics makes for strange bedfellows, "Bubba-Hoteps" working as one (I got those double entendres). I’m not going into a long discussion of what Obama did or did not do for the black community. So much of that argument is lost on the fact that a ton of things he did that helped black people, weren’t legislatively written with explicit titles like “BILL #1906: Help Black Folks Law”. Often times, when complicated matters aren’t expressed as overtly or as simple as that, people just don’t realize its impact (see Healthcare). I will tell you he put a lot of initiatives in place, made many black programs priorities, appointed a lot of black federal judges and the most black female judges in history. He also, in areas where he could make decisions that didn’t need approval from the Legislative branch, wrote Executive Orders.
So on that note, let’s go back to “Bad and Boujee and the Three Checks & Balances”. I’ll make this as short as possible. The Legislative Branch consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate (together this is Congress). Then there’s the Judicial Branch (Supreme Court and all those black federal judges). A president (the Executive Branch) can do a lot of things, but major things must get approval through those two other branches I just mentioned. Together with all three, you have the system the founding fathers set up so no one person or group has absolute power. The three branches check each other and within the legislative branch there are representatives from both parties who also somewhat check each other through compromises on proposed laws.
That set up has faired pretty well for this little young western democracy for the most part. However, as the politics have grown more and more divided, that set up is STRUGGLING. Nowadays, ain’t no “working together”. Compromise? What’s that? If you don’t have an overwhelming number of “your team” in Congress voting, unfortunately you can’t get much done at all. Now, enter 2008 and America’s first black president.
After no one showed up in the 2010 midterms (don’t be mad at facts) to help keep the House for Democrats and thusly Obama in what turned out to be one of the highest losses for a party in a House midterm election, that’s when the obstruction of a lot of his policies really started to kick in. It never subsided from there. Bills were blocked. Supreme Court seats blocked. Other legislation stalled. They shut down the government once. They threatened to not pay the nation’s bills twice. Just a ton of shenanigans. They should've gone on and renamed the GOP to Dikembe in that bish.
I brought up these realities to the person, that Dem. voters had not shown up in the subsequent years between presidential elections to give Obama the numbers in Congress to make the type of broad, sweeping changes he was apparently looking for. His response was essentially “See that’s what I’m talking about. First it was ‘we need to vote for a black president’. Then it was ‘we need to vote for the House’. Then it was ‘we need to vote for the Senate’ and still nothing happened.”
But… fam… that’s… how… you… vote… in… this… country.
Yes, you need to vote for the president to represent you, along with your LOCAL congressman and senators (the most important really) to represent you as well. You have to vote for all of them because our government is comprised of three branches. Remember? Bad and Boujee? Checks and balances? Like, you just can’t vote for one part of the governmental puzzle (president) every four years and expect it all to work. That’s literally one piece and almost the least important piece honestly. Trump is only able to do some of what he wants because he has a hand of spades in place: the House, the Senate and a conservative Supreme Court. And even with ALL that, he can’t run a full Boston on you fools due to limitations because of individual states’ rights and some instances of solidarity between the two parties (see the late John McCain and the thumbs down on repealing Obamacare). It's funny how when these systems of checks don't work in our favor we're ready to trash the entire thing, but GRATEFUL for them when they save us from some perceived atrocity. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
It’s a perpetual tug-o-war between two teams. Yes, it’s annoying. Yes, it’s frustrating. Yes, it’s slow af, so slow that you just want to throw your hands up and quit playing. Which, if you know anything about tug-o-war, is a wet dream for the people holding the rope across from you — that you’ll simply quit pulling.
Now as frustrating and draining as pulling this tug-o-war rope every day is and feeling like you’re stuck and not moving at all, what happens when you stop? Even that little bit of progress you thought you had, you lose. You go backwards. You lose ground. And, is that not what’s happened in the last several years? Oh you thought all black folks could just walk in and vote freely? Oh, you thought women had the freedom to choose what to do with their bodies? Oh, you thought we couldn’t steal children and put them in cages? Oh, you thought we weren’t gonna sell semi-automatics to the mentally ill anymore? Man, hold this beer.
Look, I didn’t make the rules. I just know what the reality is. I’m sorry that’s how our form of representative democracy works right now, but that’s how it is. Some people, including the person I had this discussion with, believe the solution is to put our energy into the black community; the economy of the black community; the education of the black community; rebuild “Black Wall Street”. I agree with this wholeheartedly. We should be doing all of those things WHILE ALSO voting in every election so that the nation that we, our children and our grandchildren will inevitably be citizens of, can work for us even if its through tedious incremental progression.
The thinking and energy that created Tulsa’s Black Wall Street are revered in the black community as ideas we must get back to. And we should make that level of self-reliant, wealth building a priority. But also remember what eventually happened to Black Wall Street. You can attempt to be as self-reliant and self-controlled as you wish, but as long as this insular conglomerate exists WITHIN the boundaries of the United States of America, this new black wealth society will ALWAYS be beholden to the laws of THAT U.S. Government. That is an inescapable fact. Black Wall Street amassed a ton of money and success in the early 1900s which is to be praised. But all that prosperity and autonomy, which had taken decades to establish, was completely destroyed in less than two nights. White mobs were allowed to burn and massacre at will and a state government of all white, socially conservative men never held anyone accountable for it. In fact, many in the local government assisted the mob in this destruction.
Being involved and consistently politically engaged is like having someone on the inside. Believe me, it’s important if you want to not only build this new black wealth system but help protect it. It may not save you every single time, but it damn sure is better than having no representation present at all. One can either be a part of the cogs that help scoot our collective government along toward more progressive ideas. Or, one can pretend as if ignoring that 5,000 lb. monster in the room, stashing all your money in your proverbial mattress and buying some weapons is all that’s needed to keep you safe. That monster is STILL there though and ain’t going away. It’s HIS ROOM in fact. I’d at least rather have an understanding of how that monster works and have some rapport with his ass, while ALSO stashing my money. And for the record, being civically informed, engaged and voting is also another method of being armed. We need as much "firepower" as we can get. Not less. But anyway.... *inserts earphones*. "Siri, play 'Walk It, Like I Talk It'."