Black Star News, News Report, Frederick Alexander Meade, Posted: Aug 17, 2010
Editor's Note: In a press release this morning, the Freedom Party announced that 45,000 people have signed petitions to place the party on the New York State ballot this fall—or three times the required number of valid signatures.
NEW YORK - In the past two years, an increasing number of African Americans have begun to question whether the election of the the first black president, Barack Obama, has done anything to remedy the abject condition of many within the African-American community.
Expressions of discontent have emerged from prominent members of the African-American family, as longtime civil rights activist Dorothy Wright Tillman, as well as Glen Ford, editor of Black Agenda Report, have openly charged that the Obama Administration has been neglectful in substantively addressing the dire economic state of Black America.
Similar echoes have also surfaced from those within the Congressional Black Caucus. Both Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) have publicly criticized the White House for its perceived inattention to the egregious plight of many of the citizens existing in the largely African-American Congressional districts.
Not only has the Obama Administration been viewed by some as seemingly apathetic toward the deplorable condition of much of the African-American populace, but the Democratic Party has come under similar scrutiny.
New York City, African-American activists, Attorney Alton Maddox Jr. and City Councilmember Charles Barron, have each asserted that for years the Democratic Party has delivered very little in return for the considerable loyalty Americans of African descent have rendered to the institution.
Additionally, Councilman Barron has suggested the Democratic Party not only takes black voters for granted, but that it subsequently represents only a marginally better political option by which this group may realize gain, in relation to the party of the Republicans.
Resultantly, both leaders - along with other local activists - have organized many within the state's numerous African-American communities in forming a third party.
The New York Democratic Freedom Party, as it has so been named, has been developed in attempt to create for African-American citizens, as well as other disenfranchised populations, a platform in which these groups' interests may enjoy centermost attention and the unconditional pursuit of their advancement.
Indeed, the suggestion the Democratic Party essentially renders little more dividends for black Americans than does the Party of the Right, may be supported in an examination of the recent history of the plight of this group, and related interests, within the context of Democratic rule.
It was under a Democratic national administration; approximately one million Rwandans were slaughtered while then-President Bill Clinton refused, for an extended period of time, to acknowledge the mass executions of the Tutsis by Hutu forces as an act of genocide. A procedure which served to thwart aid to these African people.
Clinton also while in office, personally crafted and signed into law a controversial legislative initiative titled the Omnibus Crime Bill. This federal mandate, which expanded the number of prosecutable offenses recognized by the national crime ledger, resulted in the addition of nearly half a million African Americans into the prison system. This dramatic spike occurring from the time Clinton assumed office to only a few years after his reign.
Furthermore, the former President's numerous assurances he would impose equitable immigration practices regarding thousands of Haitians fleeing dictatorial rule after the military overthrow of democratically elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide - as was exercised for white Cubans during the Cuban Revolution - register as additional misdeeds committed against the Democratic Party Faithful.
Such a reality prevails, as Clinton would break this campaign promise, and subsequently redirect the vast majority of these members of the African diaspora back to Haiti, as they attempted to reach North American shores on makeshift rafts.
These doings, and others, such as Clinton's abandoning of noted African-American legal scholar Lani Guinier, - his failed appointee to U.S. Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights unfairly and ferociously attacked by then-White House adversaries - denote an established pattern of political betrayal in regard to his loyal base. An enormously supportive African-American constituency, which largely dubbed the official, "The first black President."
Not only does the public record reflect a considerable history of Democratic political disregard for the African-American community and its interests, as manifested through the actions of former President Bill Clinton, but so too may the annals of time ultimately brand a similar stamp on the legacy of the current administration.
The White House's refusal to send a delegation to the United Nations Conference on Racism, in Geneva, Switzerland stands as just one of a number of transgressions, endured by Americans of African ancestry, emanating from the present Oval office.
President Obama's empty promise to fight for legislation that would have permitted scores of people facing foreclosure - many of whom were African Americans preyed upon by predatory lending institutions - an opportunity to have their mortgage interest rates adjusted in effort to avoid such procedures, serves as a further extension of this phenomenon.
Also, Obama's capping of monies well below what is owed black farmers, as a result of an extended tradition of discrimination imposed upon them by the U.S. Department of Agriculture along with his refusal to directly advocate for the payment of the now pittance they may potentially be awarded, represent even still more instances of party insolence toward its most devoted followers.
Lastly, the White House's widely perceived apprehension toward squarely addressing the desperate state of many of this nation's black citizens may perhaps represent the greatest of Democratic slights experienced by the group.
These undertakings - or lack thereof - on the part of the leadership of the Democratic Party, have essentially been as damaging to the African-American community, as have the long standing Republican efforts to dismantle affirmative action programs as well as those designed to provide aid to the working and profoundly poor; many among these classes consisting of people of African lineage.
Such affronts, leveled by the left, are made even more offensive considering blacks overwhelmingly support Democratic national candidates; as demonstrated by the 96% voter support this group delivered current President Obama during the general election.
In the face of a two party political system, in which neither entity holds any significant measure of deference for a socially ailing African-American body, the construction of a party in which the group may call its own, may serve as the only reasonable approach, by which this population may be afforded any degree of leverage.
The function of a third party, in its greatest capacity, would serve to conceivably eclipse the position of the Democratic Party in its perceived station, as institution of choice, for the socially dispossessed and of those seemingly concerned with the welfare of the masses.
A less speculative and perhaps more pragmatic conception of such a party, would maintain it function - in the short term - to erode a segment of the black Democratic voting base. An evolvement the Democrats can ill afford to experience, as the black vote often serves as the critical force this band relies upon, in securing electoral triumphs over political rivals in highly contested races.
A viable third party would not have to siphon twenty to thirty percent of the black Democratic voting base. Rather a ten to fifteen percent decline in this group's support of the party would function to compromise its political strength in numerous municipalities as well as on the national level.
In politically disarming the Democratic Party, in regard to its African-American voting arsenal, a direct message would then be sent to this institution. The message delivered to this purported liberal body would boldly declare; black Americans have evolved into an electoral entity determined to observe its agenda honored and subsequently pursued by any political institution claiming to represent the interests of the group.
Such a pronouncement would conceivably force the Democratic Party to then reexamine its relationship with the African-American community and its role as political agent in delivering measurable results for the group, thus - for the first time in many years - having to take this population seriously.
In pursuing this course of action, enough members of the African-American public must overcome the fear of perceived social loss the group may sustain in the short run, as the Republican Party would manifestly assume power within some domains presently controlled by its prime opposition.
In overcoming this fear, the African-American public must remain assured, its collective plight essentially experiences little nuance irrespective of the party that assumes office, as the masses have invariably suffered under the rule of all governing bodies.
Furthermore, black Americans must understand this dynamic may only change, when actions are taken on behalf of the group that would ensure its political legitimacy to the extent those institutions vying for power comprehend it will no longer be ignored.
The African-American community has and continues to endure a tumultuous existence, in which its societal aspirations perpetually occupy a state of paradoxical hope, as evidenced by its faith in a political party that has yet to deliver it from its beleaguered condition. If such a phenomenon is to subside, Americans of African descent must evolve into a political institution in which its destiny is crafted by its own architects, who are empowered by its members to channel the currents of political power in the direction of the collective. If such a phenomenon fails to emerge, this group will forever serve as the underappreciated force behind a donkey, cultivating a crop, in which the spoils of its harvest provide measures of sustenance for essentially all others, but itself.
The African-American masses must determine if such a future is permissible, and if deemed unacceptable, move to deny this reality.
In the words of Marcus Garvey, "Up you mighty race!" for the harvest belongs to you.
Black Star News Columnist Frederick Alexander Meade is a journalist providing social and political commentary. His works appear in news-magazines and publications internationally.