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Monday
Aug222011

I Feel Like I've Been Writing A Lot About Maxine Waters Lately

When one thing happens that means there's usually nothing to see here. Two things? A coincidence. But when I was looking at my third "Hey, world! Did you hear that thing Rep. Maxine Waters of California said!" that's a trend, buddy. Over the weekend, Rep. Waters told a crowd that they needed to be fearless in their defense of issues and ideas they hold dear. That they should never allow themselves to be cowed or intimidated. In fact, she said she was afraid of no one, not even the Tea Party, then promptly shouted that "the tea party can go straight to hell."

From The Hill:

“This is a tough game. You can't be intimidated. You can't be frightened. And as far as I'm concerned -- the tea party can go straight to hell,” Waters said, according to Los Angeles television station KABC.

Interesting. Have our Congressional Black Caucus members recently decided to embrace the progressive/liberal wing of the Democratic base and go full bombast for conservative bombast in the war of words? Did Bill Maher's "Donner Party" thing happen and no one told me?

From The Daily Beast:

With a stinging budget defeat behind them and unemployment in the black community soaring to 16 percent, members of the Congressional Black Caucus say they’re done waiting for Barack Obama to fight their battles for them.

Instead, the 43 African-American lawmakers say they’re taking matters into their own hands and will carry the fight to Tea Party Republicans, whom they blame for Obama’s latest lurch to the right.

“The Tea Party discovered something. That is if they organize, if they talk loud enough, if they threaten, if they register to vote and elect a few people, they can take over the Congress of the United States,” said Rep. Maxine Waters. “They called our bluff and we blinked. We should have made them walk the plank.”

Holy crap. They are doing it. They're really doing it. They're going to try to match crazy for crazy.

As WONDERFUL as this all is, there's one (big) problem.

It's not good enough for the CBC to go crazy on its own as the CBC has gone crazy before and NO ONE LISTENED.

Case in point: The recount in 2000 and the authorization of the war in Iraq.

(I had to cite wiki entries on this because that's how little the press cared that it was CBC members who lead the charge on challenging the recount in 2000, or how only four members of the CBC voted for the Iraq War resolution in 2002.)

During both of these events which incredibly altered American society (and for the worst, in my -- and many others -- opinions), the CBC was on the right side of history. They pushed back against the nightmare that was the presidential recount in Florida and they rallied against the war in Iraq. But it's not good enough, sadly, for all the black people in the House of Congress to go crazy. They've pushed forth with righteous anger as the conscious of our political bodies before and got A) no press attention and B) no respect. Unless the CBC can recruit some mainstream, white Democrats with something to lose to go for broke and take the crazy to the crazies Maxine Waters' Great One-Woman-Rebellion of 2011 will be just that.

So who's with them? Who is going to take the heat, stamp their feet, put up their dukes and throw down for what they believe in? The CBC says they're game, but who else is in? Without the support of other progressives, other liberals, other Democrats, other representatives of minority groups, the working class and women, without some white people we're back in 2000, watching CBC members plead for SOMEONE to give a shit about people who were disenfranchised from their right to vote during the Florida recount, looking for the senator who would never come to sign on to their challenge. Without a coalition, we're back to another "oh, look what the CBC is doing again" and nobody in the media caring.

The CBC can't do this alone. Crazy doesn't need a caucus. Crazy needs an army.

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Reader Comments (6)

Crazy may not need an army if Crazy was met by a "Fired Up" President who showed how he really acts in his adopted city of Chicago instead of going all spock like and aquiesicing at every corner because he wants get ish done when no one cares if he does.

The "Donner Party" that is the CBC needs for their former member to become their champion. But that's as likely to happen as the Tea Party reneging on birther claims

August 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNikesha

"The CBC can't do this alone. Crazy doesn't need a caucus. Crazy needs an army."

Isn't that the purpose of the "Rebuid the Dream" movement powered by MoveOn.org and fronted by Van Jones?

August 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSpelmanSnob

I would be "WITH" BUT I am doubtfull this is really a quest to help---ALL blacks. Maxine is suspect in what she responds too!! There have been times it 'felt' she was being paid by the establishment!!

Sincerity coming from the CBC is what I need to follow them, NOT a larger Name recognition tour for CBC memebers that usually "Talk LOUD & Say NOTHING"!!!

Where have they been for the Past 10 yrs???????

August 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLIZ

Your point is well-served, but the idea that we need a white guy to help us is a little too parochial and smacks of classic savior myths. What the CBC really needs is to mobilize and take advantage of the social networking front to get their ideas across. The blogosphere, along with facebook, twitter, and other social networks have become an uncanny tool in spreading awareness about current events in myriad walks of life. The last thing we need to do is settle. We need innovation.

August 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMwatuanghi

@ Mwatuanghi

I think the issue is more that this is a national problem, just like racism is a national problem. And if you don't engage society as a whole to address the bat shit insanity that has taken over our political discourse the problem won't get solved. The CBC doesn't have a problem reaching out to its constituents. They engage with them on a regular basis. The problem are the folks in Ohio and Texas and Minnesota and any other place who sent wingnuts to Washington. If you can't convince them that this is a problem, much like you had to confront the powers that be about how Jim Crow was affecting the lives of American citizens, this will not get solved. It's much like how I'll hear black people have entire panels and symposiums about racism, but there will be almost no white people in the audience. How do you combat racism if you don't dialog with those who don't even realize how they too are affected by it? Who've been told to ignore it or that our fight isn't even real? That goes beyond getting a better social networking strategy. How do you get an audience conditioned to tune you out to tune in?

August 24, 2011 | Registered CommenterDanielle Belton

Well, this is a great question, but the problem is apparent. Too many of us are worried about what white people think. If we tap into the right resources and get the attention of the right people, let alone other people of color in similar situations, our voice can be heard through audiences who will be able to identify with us and mobilize in aim of mutual interests. Even if whites don't listen, the sheer efficiency of our collective voices will cause them to atleast recognize us. Of course, the context in which we approach this avenue will in turn influence how many are receptive to us, but we've got the Civil Rights movement as a clear playbook here.

Let's also note that those who are already conditioned to think certain ways about people of color will never be able to meaningfully communicate or understand the messages we're trying to convey, as their worldview is one that continues the cycle of ignorance and prevents them from acknowledging any inherent flaws or bias in their logic. Wasting our time kowtowing to the already twisted mindsets of such elitists is never going to get us any further than we could've got if we'd focused and campaigned on our own. We also have to question which of our actions are actually us taking the charge and not being reactionary. Adding a white face to our problems just does what it's always done throughout history: push us to the backburner and surrender what little authority and representation we did have in the first place. Of course, we won't necessarily agree on all issues politically and definitely will experience some disagreements, but if we focus on the interests that we share collectively, we can make things happen. Note this is only if we aim realistically first, and don't overshoot our limits.

August 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMwatuanghi

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