Together We Thrive
EDITORIAL UPDATE – 12.3.10
Nearly four months ago we blogged about ethics charges raised against Congresswoman Maxine Waters and Congressman Charles Rangel, the much anticipated decision has been finally reached.
Yesterday (12/2) saw Congressman Rangel receive unanimous support and agreement from his colleagues to CENSURE him. Some question…..maybe he should have taken a deal rather than beat a dead horse??? On the other hand, it appears charges against Congresswoman Maxine Waters will more than likely be dismissed, as what was dubious charges to begin with, have been dealt severe blows by attorney’s charged with putting the case against her, summarily dismissed!!! Does the ethics committee dare start over or……perhaps their point has been made? If failure by the United States Treasury to include any minority-owned (African-Americans) banks in the much heralded TARP program and the allegation simply because her husband (Sidney) was part of the bank in question (even though he took a loss on his investment) somehow Congresswoman Waters received benefit is ludicrous!!! Did she use her influence to get Treasury’s attention and finally hold a meeting with bank leaders??? Yes. But is that not what most constituents demand from their political leaders – legitimate access??? Anyway, we’ve got other fish to fry – MOVE ON!!!
Back to Congressman Rangel. After seeing, reading and hearing what I interpreted, at best he should have received a reprimand. Here’s the deal, Political leaders operate in a somewhat different lane than most citizens. They create laws and the give and take of politics can best be defined as a “Fraternity.”
Show, while there is much show……behind the scenes after the public has gone home….there is much back slapping and bartering with all members of Congress. Unfortunately, in delivering the sentence to Censure, its history doesn’t support such sentence, basically because (on a very fine line) even though prosecuting agreed NO CRIME WAS COMMITTED. Again, to maintain perspective you must understand politicians operate in their own world and what may seem obvious to basic folk, through all the spin, smoke and mirror and interpreting their own perspective, Politicians have a way of operating like a magician (or hustler). Bottom-line, based on the charges and evidence a Reprimand more fit Rangel’s action, than Censure. But to his credit in discussing the sentence he received, we live in a very political and volatile environment and some people (TEA PARTY, etc.) want blood and when these very leaders return home for re-election or future political life, you can be rest assured many will tie how they voted on the Rangel issue as to whether they would be viewed favorable or unfavorably (remember how the Blue Dogs got swept out of their office this past election???). Interestingly, we live in a world where what otherwise are basic people somehow lose common sense and habitually VOTE AGAINST THEIR OWN INTEREST, just to prove a point of someone/something they despise. Last nights long awaited Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavalier basketball game featuring LaBron James returning back to Quicken arena for the first time this season is a case in point. Why are the fans mad at LaBron James????? Their action and hatred is comical and should be voiced to the owner, not James!!!! as last time I checked he served out the terms of his contract and had no obligation to remain a Cleveland Cavalier. But that’s the world we live in, Congressman Rangel has been in congress a looooooooong time and in do so, rose to one of the most powerful politicians currently serving. He made no bones about his stance on issues and perhaps his public persona irritated those who are bitter, jealous of those who may abuse their power or “get out of line.” However, you must weigh that against…… those who are his constituents, and who based on the most recent election overwhelmingly support his leadership.
I wholeheartedly agree, If I didn’t file my taxes 1 year, let alone 17, I would be writing this blog in a much smaller rooms with parallel beams resembling a cell!!!! Call it sloppy bookkeeping (yes, one of his key staffer’s responsible for his reporting passed away), arrogance or plain stupidity, I believe his biggest problem was due to the fact he was not only on the committee responsible for legislating tax issues (Ways and Means) but HE WAS THE CHAIRMAN!!!!!!! Simply put, those responsible for dealing his punishment would have been laughed out of politics by not “making a statement.” He should have known better but in fairness……with all the hustling that goes on as well as the tremendous largess politicians receive, I could see how he could think certain rules didn’t apply to him!!!!
Anyway, as an African-American I am not in agreement with those who claim he was set up, or the ethics committee has an agenda against CBC (Congressional Black Caucus) members or other wise targeted. I get the notion of what some are claiming but I can’t fall for the pig in the poke!!!
I stated before, from birth, our parents, our relatives, mentors and anyone else we would listen too, made it very clear……….as you progress through life, racism is here to stay and you must know you will be judged and therefore you must strive to do better, to be cleaner, don’t get caught up in any hustle. In other words, you already must know you will be held to a different standard and in the words of our elders – “DON’T SHAME THE NAME.”
For over a combined 70 years of public service, Congressman Charlie Rangel and Congresswoman Maxine Waters, contrary to the pundits or those motivated to twist the facts, they have been effective during their terms as members of the House of Representative. Thousands have benefited and they have received iconic status from their supporters, yet through their tenure a shadow of doubt has hovered over them. Their service has been applauded from their respective District’s to Washington D.C. but to provide context or our perspective from their most recent news we offer the following.
As the majority of Africans who were part of the development of the United States of America and therefore commonly called Slaves, the end of the Civil War brought much hope. For the first time millions could participate in the promise of America. Institutions were created but more important those Africans and their offspring who were defined as African-American participated in development like never before, even the arena of politics. There was tremendous enthusiasm among African-Americans, that is up until the Rutherford Hayes compromise, which brought the early stages of Jim Crow.
I don’t know about you but growing up in an African-American household a similar chorus could be heard from homes, from neighborhoods and communities beyond……”DON’T SHAME THE NAME.” It was a simple metaphor used typically as young people came to age and went away from home for the first time.
As the political season is heating up once again, many are trying to get a leg up on their opponent or the opposing party. Some call it competition, trickery, deception or whatever. The past month we have seen two prominent African-American politicians officially charged with ethics violation while holding their respective office. We all agree, for the most part you are innocent until proven guilty, or are you???? We have seen with astonishment the small city of Bell, CA (not a suburb but more of an outlet in the greater Los Angeles area) have the majority of its elected officials quit in disgrace, after their hustle was discovered by the populace they swore to serve.
No doubt people, even politicians are set up or some type of allegation presented as to effect or diminish an upcoming election. On the other hand, you would think Congresswoman Maxine Waters of Los Angeles and Congressman Charles Rangel of New York, two prominent and popular elected officials who happen to be African-American had what appears serious charges leveled against them…..WOULD KNOW BETTER!!!!!!
If you leave home “Not to Shame the Name” you expect them to know better or at the very least have a keen understanding and appreciation of history, particular the African-American history to know they are held under a higher level of scrutiny. Many African Americans who have risen in various fields know all too well they must perform at a higher standard, as the legacy of White Supremacy dictates such action.
You look around and see politician after politician enter public office with the alleged sound bite “To Serve” and who are for the most part enter as successful people, yet as their careers wind down they come out millionaires, if not zillionaires. How did that happen???? There are many inferences, the least let’s assume they earned whatever fortunes they were able to accumulate.
Rangel’s and Waters may have been in fact set up, but as our nations celebrates the Presidency of Barack Obama……. we deserve better!!!!!!! We are too experienced of what type of tactic the opposition will use. Yes – others do it and perhaps that’s just how the game is played. Countless leaders get away with these types of charges daily and some cynically have accepted such behavior. We say NO!!!!!!
While the Tea Party, the Right Wing and anybody else whose agenda is to attack the President at any turn, we are convinced he can take care of himself. Don’t take my word for it…..just ask Bill and Hillary Clinton, or even the Cainster.
On a broader scope as African Americans communities have been devastated from the foreclosure crisis, the criminal behavior and even to the higher than average unemployment crisis – many ask themselves why?????? Never in history has African-American communities specifically, been represented by the thousands of African-American elected officials. Yet you once again must ask the question WHY??? Our elected officials collectively are responsible for millions in contracts, employment opportunities and other benefits meant to directly lead to a better life for their constituents, yet you ask yourself Why?? Most are looking directly at President Obama as if some sort of deflection when even before President’s Obama’s rise as our President, our elected officials maintained clout and control over various resources.
So, while many are waiting on President Obama to inject some type of magician strategy to improve their situation – I would ask LOOK TO YOUR LOCAL OFFICIAL, as they have been empowered through their respective offices to SERVE YOU!!!!! Where are the jobs???? Where are the contracts???? Where are the businesses??? Where are the organizations????? Where are the opportunities to improve your community. The system is pretty simple as resources are created and merely distributed down the pipeline to the local level. Or, should the response be whatever benefits meant for EVERYONE is truly distributed to those from their inner circle of supporters, cronies, hustlers and the like OR those they are beholden to, such as the large campaign donors, while the very citizens they are supposed to represent are left in dismay looking while indictment after indictment is presented, which at best tarnishes whatever achievement they worked so hard to develop. Blaming “The Man” or stating entrapment may be a reality but that too is unacceptable. Our communities should not be in the shape they are in!!!!! These allegations and I am sure others will follow opens the lid to what many believe but do not want to accept as for some it is painful, yet we have come to appreciate Government’s primary role is supposed to protect US, not just a few chosen politicians who mustered enough votes to become elected.
Politicians and leaders should take note………….You are held to a higher standard and SHAME ON YOU, if you “Shame the Name” knowing full well what is at stake. You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all of the time.
During the heyday of the Civil Rights struggle, it was the freedom songs which were the drumbeat of the movement, as we entered the ‘70’s music took a more profound symbol and the music transformed to “message music.” Of all the songs I can think of, one comes to mind which speaks of the issue we and politicians are dealing with as penned by the great song writers McFadden and Whitehead and sang by Teddy Pendergrass of Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes – “Wake Up Everybody”
There is a specific chorus we implore ALL POLITICIANS to heed so you are not targeted – legitimate or otherwise as is the case with Congresswoman Maxine Waters and Congressman Charles Rangel.
At 5:27 of the song…….simple lyrics are sang…..
“Politicians…..Stop Lying!!!!! my lord, my lord…… Why don’t go Help The Poor People”