The Political Landscape for August… or This, That, and the Other.

Who’s not running for president may be the better question?

Why such a long title, because there is a large number of Republicans running for their party’s nomination for president. When John Kasich of Ohio jumped in, followed by the Virginia guy,  I believe this concluded the complete list of those individuals who the press thought might run. Wait until the debate starts, you talk about a seventeen ring circus. The one thing they all can agree on is that President Obama is the Anti-Christ. It’s fun listening to their rhetoric and squabbles. Jeb Bush has already stated his words were taken out of context two, three, four times? I’m sorry, I’ve lost count. Yeah, it’s funny all right until you start remembering the 2008 presidential campaign with John McCain and Sarah Palin race against the Chicago Community Organizer and his VP nominee. Remember the Republican gun-toting darling who could see Russian from her back yard or was it the front. One of her famous lines was “you can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.” One may start to get chills running up your spine when you think what kind of country would this be had those two gems won. That’s when you realize that the crowd of 2015 is not so funny. They all have the same MO, dangerous rhetoric and idiotic plans for this country. No sense in listing them here, you heard the same things from that party since 2008.

My guess is they think they see Hillary Clinton’s blood in the water. The latest, more troubling news about classified information mixed in with private emails. They can almost taste the negative advertising dollars backers will be willing to contribute to their campaigns. I would agree, it has not been as good as kickoff as she envisioned the last few months, according to the polls. But never fear, barring an out and out monumental failure, she will be the Democratic Nominee. Then folks you can hold on to your hats. In fact, you may want to turn them upside down where you may be able to catch some of the millions of dollars that are going to be spent on the 2016 presidential election. As for the Republicans and their supporters, they are not through trying to buy this country. And the Democrats? Once again that is going to be interesting. How will they defend themselves, and Barack Obama record? And we the public where we vote or not (and you should), we are going to curse the day that the Supreme Court opened up the PAC money spigots. Just as we did during the last Presidential Election in 2012. We got tired of those commercials, robocalls, newscast, and a mailbox full of political ads.

This is so tragic, unreal and solvable.

How many more people have to die before police departments around the country realize the game has changed? What looked like a Hunting Season on people of color is no longer an untrained or psychotic law enforcer’s playground. Perpetrators should be charged, tried and sentenced just like the criminals they are.

There should be a timeline placed on the days a local PD (Police Dept.) has to report the early findings of these type deaths to the Attorney General’s office. All witnesses names, the tapes, and footage should be included in the package. In other words there need to be strict guidelines for forwarding info on these type cases.

We also need to be proactive about the role and conduct of Police Officers on the street. First the Federal Government should develop a Recurring Training Course for all Police Personnel, including county and state troopers, etc. I know you can’t eradicate racism during a few hours or fourteen days to a four-week course. However, you can develop a course that teaches policeman how to do their job on a day to day basis in almost any kind of situation. A stress test and psychological exam should also be a part of that course curriculum. Finally, it should be mandatory to any Police Department in the US of A who want assistance from the Federal Government. That would be access to any federal funds, armory, or technical assistance. Some wouldn’t sign up, but that same kind of information, as noted previously, could be demanded by the Attorney General on a case by case basis.

With that assistant federal inducement, you would be surprised at how many Local PD’s would sign up. No, I am not advocating outfitting a small Army similar to the armory Ferguson, MO and others have. Certain kind of armor should be reserved for the Natural Guard.

My uneducated guess is that 95.5% of all policemen want to finish their shift and return home to love ones. It’s just a job and a career and if they can help people while doing their job, they are better policemen and people for it. They are not all racist or burnt out from street duty. “To Protect and Serve” should be a national motto where all American citizens know that they are talking about them too.

No Child left behind Overhaul?

Let’s see, wasn’t that a G Dubya (Geo. Bush) program patterned after some module in Texas? Did you really expect it to work? Remember we had educators from across the country along with other experts in the field warning us that it was not going to work. Some went as far as calling it a sham and reuse. Most just felt it was a disservice to our youth. The only result would be the have local educational boards set up curriculums that would be geared toward passing the standardize high school test. And that is exactly what happened.

How do they plan on correcting or overhauling it? Is it more smoke and mirrors? The Senate version of the bill leaves it up to the States to select which schools are failing and what if anything should be done about it. Civil Rights groups fear a return to the local districts ignoring the needs of schools that are predominantly attended by children of color.   Five Democratic senators offered an amendment that would have corrected this flaw. The amendment failed to pass. The GOP House bill is even worse. I think we all can agree that this time we better get it right. American children of all colors are falling behind the international norm every day.

NBA Players doing the right thing

Much respect to the Players Awards Show on BET. It was so nice for its Producers/Directors to point out NBA Players who head or are associated with specific charity foundations give back to their community. If you noticed during the season and playoffs, short videos were shown pointing out various players doing just that. One should immediately realize they don’t really have to do that.

Michael Jordan, one of the greatest basketball players of all time stayed away from political issues as it was the plague. Being involved with his people concerns of poverty, lack of education, etc. was considered political issues during that time. In fact today, they are still used as code words by many white businessmen. Not sure where it came from but somebody in Mike’s camp felt it would jeopardize his marketability. They were overly cautious to a fault.

Stay tuned political observers    

By the way, can anybody name a Republican Politician that actually gives back to a disadvantaged community? We are not talking about giving to your church, Mitt Romney backers. Yet they have no problem in telling poor people to stand on their own two feet and get a job. All while voting to snatch programs that assist people to do just that. Nor do they want to fund an infrastructure jobs bill as proposed by President Obama. It makes you wonder how long the majority of the American voting public is going to tolerate politicians who actually work and vote against American concerns on behalf of lobbyist. We may find out during our National Election of 2016. Will it be more of the same or a vision and a political platform that actually serves everyone in the American Public?

NFL Season has officially begun     

I never thought I would agree with Commissioner Rodger Goodell on this Tom Brady-Patriots issue of deflated footballs. You have to admit, no matter which side you fall on, he knew or didn’t know; much less order the deflation of the game footballs, Goodell got this one right. Despite, the appearance of a buyout by owner Bob Kraft by submitting to the fine and loss of draft choices and their close friendship, Goodell made the call for the entire league. Can you believe they even floated the idea that one should not make Brady mad? This upholding of the suspension was right in line with the Commissioner previous behavior when his authority is challenged. His actions toward this and other matters involving protecting the NFL Shield has always been, I am commissioner and you (Bob Kraft-Tom Brady) are not. Next time maybe, the arrogant Brady will give the league’s investigators his cell phone, and anything else they want. I was almost certain that Goodell would reduce if not downright eliminate the punishment. Not because of any evidence supporting the QB’s innocence, but because the commissioner and Bob Kraft, the owner was tight.

And for the record, especially for the Bay Area sportswriters, every time there is a game on the 49ers schedule, I am positive the team will show up and play the game. And…they will play to win. Whether or not they win hasn’t been decided and will not be until the end of the games. Sportswriters, retired players, and analyst shut the hell up and let them play the games. Some players and coaches of last year’s team are no longer there. New coach, new team, new season, let’s all wait and see how it turns out. For me, if they look better at playing the game than they did last year, they might be on to something. Go Niners’.

Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

Codis Hampton II                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Follow Hamp at https://twitter.com/#!/HampTwo   

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Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment

European Tourist, Black Churches and Race

A few weeks ago a friend and business colleague of mine posted pictures on his Facebook site of European tourist standing in line to enter black churches. My colleague was enjoying a vacation in New York while sending back photos of interest. The churches, doubling as tourist attractions are located in New York City (NYC). My mind, being what it is, first thought was…this a wonderful idea. As long as church members didn’t mind, why not accommodate the visitors?

Obviously, I wasn’t the only one who had not heard of this practice. By the time I saw his post, my vacationing friend had dozens of comments. They ranged from surprised, befuddlement, and suspicion with most in agreement to let the visitors see and learn.

It immediately sent me into research mode. Well…how long has this been going on you ask? If you are not familiar or heard of the practice, it seems to have caught a few national journalist attentions in 2012. The actual practice began in early 1980 and has become part of NYC Tour Company’s itinerary. Some of which are selling tickets at charges up to $55 per person, and providing most participating churches a cut of the profit. Plus you can be sure each church goes through their donation process to take advantage of all these visitors.  Naturally it brings about several questions, problems, and issues. What are the pros and cons? What do the church members think? How about the Pastor and Deacons? What do they think about this practice? Do the financial gains outweigh members or church officials concerns? Oh yes…there is that word again, finance. In other words is everybody concerned getting their fair share of the cash flow?

After taking a look at the NYC European tourist history and current practice, for me, there is a deeper issue. It is centered on how we as a people are portrayed in today’s media. Better yet, how much time should we give in an attempt to balance out the tendency of our white owned-managed national and local media? Those tendencies are targeted to an overwhelming majority of white readers or electronic viewers.  It reminding me of another recent headline, that went something like, is it the black folks responsibility to educate white people about race issues?

And…taking into account the past Memorial Day, it brought back another old memory for me. Back in the sixties, I took a Greyhound bus ride home from a US Army post (Fort Carson, Colorado). I could have taken a plane, but the bus ride wasn’t a long trip to Milwaukee. I was just getting out of basic training and wanted to save a little bit more spending money.  After all, I was looking forward to a little R&R with assorted partying on the side.

Anybody who has been on a bus knows that it stopped at every little nook and cranny town and corner bus terminal on its way to Chicago ending up in Milwaukee. One of our stops was in some little godforsaken spot south of the boonies. I got out and went into the little bit larger than a bathroom sized terminal to get a candy bar. We had already been told by the bus driver that lunch could be bought further on up the road.

The moment I walked into the little outlet, all eyes were on me including somebody’s dog that started barking. Since I was still a little groggy from just waking up, it finally dawns on me what was going on. I was a dark black man in a full US Army dress uniform, shining metal coat buttons, and spit-shined shoes. Keeping in mind I was also the only black person on the bus and certainly in the little bus stop.

As I made my way to the vending machine, one little blond hair girl was staring so long, I could actually see the fear in her eyes. I walked forward toward the machine which was to the right of the ticket window. She began to back up, feeling for her mother’s leg who was transacting business at the ticket agent’s window.  Her eyes were wide and fixed on me. I smiled and waved to no avail. For a second, she reacted in kind but evidently thought better of it and decided to take the cautious route. The girl let out a low whimper and turned to grab onto her mother’s leg. The mother was temporarily startled by her daughters’ action. With an annoyed facial expression, while attempting to reassure her daughter, the mother turned around to see what or who caused such a reaction. By then I must have been about six feet away from them. She placed her arm around her daughter and called out her name advising the youngster to “settle down and be quiet.”  Looking directly at me, she immediately understood what had almost set off her little girl. She smiled at me and admonished her daughter telling her “that soldier is not going to bother you.” Still fondling her daughters head pressed against her leg she returned to transacting her business with the ticket agent. I bought three candy bars and gave the little girl one of them. Her mother immediately took the candy out of her daughter’s hand and saying “you can have this later.” She nodded to me with a smile and turned back to taking care of her ticket window transaction.

As I settled in my seat, I remember thinking, I was probably the first black person that little girl had ever seen up close and personal. That was why I made the conscious effort of offering her the candy bar. I wanted to reassure her, as did her mother, there was nothing to fear from me.

Back in the early sixties while traveling as a soldier, there were similar incidents. Believe it or not, most odd reactions and staring came from adults rather than kids. At the time, a soldier must be in a full dress uniform when traveling to get a servicemen ticket rate. My family use to tease me. They wondered why the only time they saw me in uniform was when I arrived or was leaving home. I avoided wearing it during my R&R times because…sooner or later somebody in the hood would always want to challenge a uniformed soldier to a fist-fight. Sometimes all they needed was to hear you were in the military. They always wanted to test your toughness. I don’t know, I guess it was just a street thing.

As for the stares and the little girls’ reaction, remember this was the early sixties. Besides Amos and Andy, several appearances by Nat King Cole or Sammy Davis Jr. on the Ed Sullivan Show, blacks on TV were null and void. Where else would white folks come in contact with black people? Not in those small towns and rural areas.

Too much you say. Again, why should we act as educators on race issues? I say, because like it or not, we are ambassadors for our race when we are out and about in public. And frankly, it doesn’t matter if we are in mixed or non-mixed company. Remember Chris Rock’s rant, “I love black people but I hate (you know the word).”  We, as do all races, including white people always represent our race-ethnicity in dealing with the public on a daily basis. Why because, every time someone begins talking about an incident they observed, were involved in, or heard about they always mention the person’s race. If they don’t, somebody listening to the story will ask…was they black, white, Hispanic, Asian, etc., etc. It’s because we, especially in this country are obsessed with race.  I don’t necessary like it either…but somethings are out of our control. People are going to look at people through a racial microscope, good or bad. We are just trying to project who people of color really are, not somebody’s twisted imagination of who they think we are.

Just as some of you hate reading these race issue articles, I hate writing them. But then, I am compelled, no…not forced, I enjoy acting as a counterpart to the Bill O’Reilly’s, Sarah Palin’s, Rush Limbaugh’s of the world? Add an occasional slip of the tongue by some politician, entire political parties that thrive on creating a hostile “we against them” environment. Or attacks on our voting rights by Republican Governors, there is no shortage of voices needed to combat these forces.  These people need to be checked, rebuffed and corrected every time they voice an ignorant opinion. We all need to be involved and aware at all times.

We ought not to display our talents to others as if we are in a zoo, but rather on stage. When someone wants to see us at prayer, play, or exercising our abilities in the Arts, we should accommodate them. We should be glad to education those who have a natural inclination to see who we really are in our natural habitat, so to speak.  Anytime that black folks can have a real teachable moment or event that contradicts stereotypes, we should take advantage.

We are a people born with special qualities that some may not possess. That does not mean we are better than any other race. What it does mean is we are and should be responsible caretakers of our heritage and customs. These are very special traits that should be passed on to our young. Our children, who are smarter than we were at their age will have the same responsibility. They will pass it on to their children. If the History of Race in America has taught us anything, it’s that we can never become complacent. That just the way it is my people.

Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

Codis Hampton II

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Our Parent Company and sponsor is CHIIA Group, online at https://hcofa.net/

Copyright 2011 Codis Hampton II, all rights reserved. A bi-weekly blog for your enjoyment