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Rep. Major R. Owens Headshot

My Nightmare

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A few nights ago, I had a dream. As a member of Congress, we tend to dream about Congressional things. Committee hearings, floor speeches, preparing to vote in the cloak room. So, I had a dream. A dream about the Republicans. I was at a banquet, where they were celebrating the extension of the Voting Rights Act. Needless to say, there were a plethora of African Americans at this event, and as this whole celebration continued, even more Blacks started to magically appear. We ate, and we ate well, the food was almost like a Harry Potter celebration, with every little delicacy that you could imagine presented gloriously before us.

After the meal was finished, the leftovers were made available to the hungry, and the destitute. It was a culinary manifestation of a very successful Republican “Faith Based and Community Initiative Program” where billions of dollars in small grants are given to grateful organizations that serve the African American and Hispanic communities.

As our evening came to a regrettable end, “God Bless America” was sung by all and a multitude of benedictions were offered by African-American and Hispanic ministers as the theme banner opened up in large black block type:

“REPUBLICAN RULE FOR A THOUSAND YEARS.”

The shock of it all woke me in a cold sweat because this was a nightmare. A gross unreality of reality, an almost surreal event in the recesses of my mind.

And then I saw a headline the next day:

“SENSENBRENNER PLEDGES GOP SUPPORT FOR EXTENSION OF VOTING RIGHTS ACT. REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CHAIRMAN MEHLMAN APOLOGIZES TO NAACP FOR SOUTHERN STRATEGY.”

This was no dream anymore. It’s real and launched. Faith based grants, Voting Rights Act Leadership, and apologies for “strategies.” The Republican political war machine is pushing its blitzkrieg to win African American votes. A significant shift of African-American votes in New York City, Detroit or Philadelphia could turn important blue states into….RED states.

So my thinking was jump-started. Ruminations began about the Democrats and here are some random thoughts:

Perhaps Democrats should apologize for ending welfare without providing work. Apologize for ignoring the high rates of African-American unemployment, and the rapid increase in incarceration rates for African-American males. Maybe Democrats should apologize for their sluggish concern about the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act.

Abraham Lincoln, that’s right REPUBLICAN Abe Lincoln, with public opinion overwhelmingly against him and the risk of losing his bid for reelection ahead; nevertheless, still issued the Emancipation Proclamation. By the same token, no Democratic President has been willing to merely issue an apology for slavery. Republicans are taking advantage of the fact that Democrats are suffering from an apology deficit.

And you wonder why, core loyal voters are slowly…slipping away….

I wrote a rap poem which summarizes my anxieties about this:

APOLOGIES ARE REAL COOL

To apologize
Is real cool
But don't play
The Black agenda
For no eager fool.
Don't rush to play,
Delay thumping your chest,
Push your words
Into the action test:
Jobs right now we need,
Hungry mouths we have to feed,
Lots of ills
But can't buy pills.
Prison terms often repeat
Homeless shelters
Are never neat.
Tax cuts we can't eat,
Iraq war dollars wasted
Spell school repair defeat.
Right now!
Take the action test.
Show us the Bush best.
For any apology
We grant a pat
On the Republican back;
From Democrats
The slavery apology
We desperately lack.
To apologize
Is real cool
But don't play
The Black agenda
For no eager fool.

Let us pray that the legendary John Brown will rise from his grave and sound his bugle loudly to assist DNC Chairman Howard Dean in mobilizing an effective Democratic counterattack.