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Hillary Clinton evokes ‘collective anesthesia’

JAMES CLINGMAN | 6/22/2015, 10:32 a.m.
In March of 2007, I wrote a column under the headline: “Obama drama.” It began,
James Clingman

(NNPA) – In March of 2007, I wrote a column under the headline: “Obama drama.” It began, “Will the euphoria sweeping through our ranks over the possibility of a Black President eventually dominate our collective psyche? Will it overwhelm us with notions of ‘equality’ and ‘victory,’ and ostensibly cause us to subordinate our primary interests and abandon the pressing issues that negatively impact Black life in America?”

Just when I thought we had learned our political lesson, along comes another one. Our collective anesthesia began in the first week of June, when Hillary Clinton made voter suppression her major theme. She went to Texas and called out Rick Perry, Chris Christie, Scott Walker and Jeb Bush, all of whom she said supported voter suppression laws in their respective states.

Not only did she go into that lion’s den called the state of Texas, she gave her speech at Texas Southern University, a Black college. “So what,” you say? Take your anesthesia mask off for a moment and think about this. In 2007, Black people started inhaling the nitrous oxide and fell into what has now become nearly a seven-year state of political euphoria. Some of us are still laughing from the gas we inhaled.

Now, with Clinton’s foray into the sacred bastion of voting, saying she will fight against voter suppression, while surrounded by smiling Black folks (Or, should I say, grinning Black folks?) on a Black college campus, the fix is in once again. We are being numbed out and dumbed down, and many of us will traipse to the polls and vote for Clinton in 2016 simply because of this one issue. “She’s for voting rights,” many will say, and that will simply be enough for them. Yes, voting is very important, but that one issue must not be used as the panacea for Black political empowerment.

There will be no other issue on the minds of many Black voters since they will have been programmed while under anesthesia. They will demand nothing more of Clinton, or any of the other presidential candidates. They will not make demands around criminal justice; they will not demand some form of reparation for Black people; they will not demand a student loan bailout; and they will not demand a Marshall Plan for America’s urban areas where Blacks reside.

Clinton is already playing the voting card with Black folks because she knows that’s what wins us over. I am sure she will be in Selma next year, lending her shoulder to John Lewis as he weeps, saying, “Don’t worry Black folks; I will protect your right to vote, for real this time.”

She will attend the NAACP National Convention in a staunch show of support for that organization’s fight against voter suppression, even though the NAACP has shown no penchant for outlawing voter suppression in its own ranks. That’s right; there are several open cases of the NAACP allowing and maybe even supporting voter suppression in local branches across the nation, led and promulgated by Gill Ford.