*For a man who was born in the Jim Crow south, lived most of his 80 years in South Carolina and has spent the last 27 years as a U.S. Congressman, James Clyburn should have realized one thing: You don’t get what you deserve. You get what you can negotiate or what you demand. And while there are plenty of disappointments one could list about Joe Biden‘s pending presidency, with all his experience in life and politics Clyburn should be the last person voicing disappointments with President-elect Biden’s cabinet picks so far.
Yet in recent interviews, Clyburn claimed Black people are feeling like the middle of a donut – left out – when it comes to cabinet appointments and leadership positions in the pending Biden administration. It’s surprising that Clyburn feels that way after all he did to revive Biden’s dying presidential campaign during the primaries in South Carolina.
When Clyburn endorsed Biden and urged voters in his state to support him they did. During the general election campaign season, the octogenarian risked his health during a pandemic to campaign for Biden, whom he’s known since Biden was a U.S. Senator.
Even though President Donald Trump won South Carolina in the general election it wasn’t for Clyburn’s lack of support for Biden. So the least the future president can do to show gratitude would be to appoint more Black cabinet members and choose more Black young Democrats for leadership roles in his administration. But expecting a politician to do the right thing – just because – is like Nate Robinson expecting to never see another meme of him getting knocked the f*ck out in that boxing match: It’s unrealistic!
The issue becomes what did Clyburn – with all his life experience and political savvy – negotiate or demand of Biden before the votes were tallied? Did he negotiate for Black political appointees and White House positions before the votes were counted? Did he demand Biden create federal funds to incentivize community policing programs to undo what his 1994 Crime Bill tore down in mostly Black households? Or did Clyburn merely hope, wish and pray that Biden would do the right thing?
Although police departments are funded on the local level, Biden’s crime bill was the national catalyst that criminalized Black men and led to mass hiring of law enforcement around the country, and mass incarceration of Black men and women. These are some of the bully, liar, killer cops that commit legalized genocide of Black people today. I want to know if Clyburn demanded that Biden put a stop to what he started decades ago!
This is the same Clyburn who opposes reparations for ADOS/African Descendants of Slaves. How does an old Black man who grew up in the Jim Crow south and witness first-hand the political scheming that mishandles billions of tax-payer dollars not support reparations? If he doesn’t support that how can Black America trust him to support us on any other front with fervor and conviction?
Instead of continuing to beg the same old politicians for reciprocity we should start a new FUBU political party whereby we hand-pick our politicians, create our own political agenda and push it on the local, state-wide and national levels. Let’s ensure our own quid-pro-quo success.
Those who oppose this third-party idea claim doing so would dilute the vote and stifle progress. Only voters who get something in exchange for their support want things to stay the way they are. That’s not Black people. We shouldn’t remain loyal to a system that for 400 years never has been loyal to us. I don’t want to wait another 400 years hoping and wishing for political power and economic wealth. I’m willing to wait just four more years, as long as we start the FUBU party now.
Steffanie Rivers is a freelance journalist living in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex. Email her at [email protected] with your questions, comments and speaking inquiries. Follow her @TCBStef on Twitter and Instagram.