The Dallas Examiner
“Maxine Waters is considered by many to be one of the most powerful women in American politics today,” read a statement about the congresswoman upon her anticipated June 29 visit to the yearly Speaking Truth To Power conference.
“She has gained a reputation as a fearless and outspoken advocate for women, children, people of color and the poor,” it continued, yet the official from the 43rd Congressional District of California did not show.
To the disappointment – not to say surprise – to many Friendship-West Baptist Church attendees, Waters decided to stay away due to a legitimate threat upon her life.
She instead skipped scheduled trips to Texas and Alabama, and instead addressed the forum via a recorded message played in the church’s sanctuary. The forum was intended to equip church leaders and community activists to fight for social justice.
“This is very good work,” she remarked. “And but for the fact that I was threatened in a serious way, and did not have the kind of security that I think I needed, starting out of Los Angeles to Friendship West, it was decided that I should not come.”
Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, an author, sociology professor and pastor, made an appearance in her stead while Dr. Frederick Haynes III, senior pastor at Friendship-West, reported on the cause of congresswoman’s cancellation.
“The FBI said a foe down in Austin said he would lynch her if she came to Texas,” he noted.
The Bureau had to act on the threat because its credibility was “elevated,” Dyson later added.
The threat did not diminish Waters’ passion for her role in government. Waters ticked off a litany of issues that she and other Democrat leaders have been hammering on; improved water quality in Flint, Michigan; family separations in the fight over illegal immigration; the purging of voter rolls; the disrespect shown to nations allied with America, homelessness and so on. She also spoke on problems that vex many people of color across the Dallas Fort Worth area.
“I have been working with Pastor Haynes. We’re doing something about payday lending,” the congresswoman specifically declared about the payday loan businesses that can be found in abundance in the Southern Sector and the trend of low-income residents using them to get by financially.
“It is awful. We have these companies that move into our communities, they target us for high interest loans,” she noted.
To illustrate, The Dallas Examiner found one well-known lending business with a storefront on Camp Wisdom Road that provides an online chart depicting an example of a 669.69 percent APR charge for a 14-day term, which the business indicates will translate to a $50.76 finance fee on a $200 “payday single payment loan.”
“They know that many people do not have enough earnings to last them until the next pay day and so they offer these loans to people in the hopes that, not only do they charge high interest rates, if you’re unable to meet a payment, then they double up on you, and on and on and on,” Waters exclaimed.
“But we’ve made some progress working with Mr. [Richard] Cordray, who was at the Consumer [Financial] Protection Bureau here in the government. He’s gone now, and we have more work to do because this administration and this president is trying to destroy the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that’s responsible for the protection of consumers, such as with the payday loan problem that we have.
“This is a president who does not understand the seriousness of the leadership that he should be providing. It’s all about him, and the ability to do business, continuing with his family to make money, but we must keep working in spite of that.”
Dyson supported the congresswoman’s general position, emphasizing with equal fervor the power the African American community – and especially Black women – had in local activism and the larger political sphere.
The doctor also reconfirmed that racism and sexism both were tools the president would combine to rely on when met with challenges to his policies.
“I find it interesting that 46-Minus-One would come for a Black woman,” he said as he referred to Waters, “But LeBron James called him a ‘bum’ and he ain’t said a word.”
He then wondered how that challenged Black men to voice more support of Black women.
“Because, again, he ain’t gonna come for a brother like he will a sister. Which again speaks to that – What? – White male supremacy. So, speak to us as brothers and our responsibility in this space where Black women are doing it for us, and for so long have been doing it for us, so that our men may have a bit of power because of Black women,” Dyson said, asking Black women to “call us out” on what Black men needed to do to further back sisters trying to create positive change.
Dyson discussed that many Trump supporters held a narrow view of The Constitution, rather than a wider perspective; a problem that has been around for more than two centuries regardless of administrations.
“So, literally written into a founding document of the United States of America, is the notion that Black people are untrustworthy citizens, and indigenous people are unworthy citizens, who should be denied every right that White brothers and sisters are heir to.”
Things were doubly worse for slaves, Dyson advanced, as originally a voting citizen had to also be a property owner. Since slaves were considered property, objects rather than people, they could not inherit the right to citizenship at any point.
“So when people think that what’s going on now – especially with Trump – is an aberration, they’re missing the point. It’s the logical extension of White supremacy,” he maintained. “Except now, he’s treating the rest of the nation the way some of them treated us. And it ain’t familiar to them, but it’s familiar to us.
“So threatening Maxine Waters because she has the unabashed gall as an American to stand up and say stuff, whether you agree with her or not about her approach, the fact that she said ‘Round ‘em up. Make these people know that they’re not welcome in America.’”
Dyson expressed that in congresswoman’s plea to address officials such as Sarah Sanders or Scott Pruitt in public, “She’s challenging their own unquestioned superiority as citizens and their legitimacy and validity the way Trump did to Obama.”