In response to an arrogant question
SUSAN K. SMITH | 5/29/2017, 9:17 a.m.
Crazy Faith Ministries
When the current president was running for office, he appealed to African American voters, and asked, “What the hell do you have to lose?”
He said he had a “New Deal for Black America,” and said he would be the “biggest champion” of and for Black people, and would “rebuild the inner cities.”
The then-candidate said, “You’re living in poverty. Your schools are lousy. You have no jobs. What the hell do you have to lose?”
Well, not surprisingly, African Americans have a lot to lose. The proposed health care bill, which has passed the House, will reportedly push millions of people off the health care plans they were able to get under the Affordable Care Act. Although the White House is saying that its plan will cover pre-existing conditions, the truth of the matter is that states will receive a block grant to cover high-risk patients and will have the option of providing or not providing funds for their coverage. Included in the list of pre-existing conditions before the ACA was asthma, pregnancy, high blood pressure, diabetes, AIDS, acne and cancer.
Thanks to the Justice Department’s Jeff Sessions, if he has his way, the incarceration of people arrested for non-violent drug offenses will again be more of the norm, a practice that has made the United States the leader in incarceration.
Most of the people who have been arrested an imprisoned for drug offenses have been African American men. He is in favor of reigniting the War on Drugs, which has come to be understood as a war on African Americans.
Sessions is also no friend to the cause of fairness in voting, and he feels like America’s police departments have been unfairly treated. The current administration has put Betsy DeVos in charge of the U.S. Department of Education, a woman whose budget is slashing funds for public education and who is working to eliminate college loan forgiveness.
African Americans, it seems, have a lot to lose. The quest to “make America great again” has a goal: to enhance the lives of the very rich. African Americans as a group, largely because of policies made and sanctioned over the years by the United States government, have made it virtually impossible for African Americans to get out of the cycle of poverty. The GOP seems to believe that it is poor people who are the bane of America’s existence and are the cause of America’s economic woes. There is little consideration or interest in how these Republican policies are going to affect literally millions of people.
Trump followers will ultimately be affected by these policies, a reality that may be even more bitter for them to handle than the situations African Americans will face, because the president promised them that he and his policies would make their lives much better.
Not so much. And the sense of betrayal they will feel will be beyond description – but he didn’t ask them what they had to lose. He made them believe that he was their guy that he and “they” were buddies, on the same page, decrying the way they had been treated. He tapped into their anger and their racism and they took the bait, lock, stock and barrel.
They will realize that he used them.
But African Americans were given no such promises, or, for the promises given, there was no widespread belief in the words spoken. Many said, “We’ll wait and see.”
We are seeing.
And, not surprisingly, we have a lot to lose.
Rev. Dr. Susan K Smith is the founder and director of Crazy Faith Ministries and a communications consultant for the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference Inc. She is available for speaking. She can be contacted through firstname.lastname@example.org.