The Price of a Soul in Politics


I was recently alerted to a political campaign attack ad that, upon viewing, transported me back about 100 years or more.  I’d never seen a political ad so blatantly vicious, racist, sexist and hurtful.  It would be difficult to describe my reaction.  In short, I was speechless.  And those that know me well know that that is indeed a rare occurrence.

See article and video here.

The video is so outlandish, it’s hard to describe with words.  A recently registered PAC by the name of Turn Right, USA produced a video mocking California 36th Congressional District candidate Janice Hahn’s efforts to recruit former gang members to clean up the streets of Los Angeles by reforming other gang members.  Janice Hahn is a Democrat.  Using a strategy designed to motivate Republican voters, the video uses almost every available stereotype known in America.  It depicts a model (supposedly Hahn), in a bikini, dancing on a pole, bending over and shaking her butt with dollar bills on it.  Two Black men, sporting AK47’s amongst other things, rap/sing out to the dancing “Hahn”: “Give us your money B&*#%$ so we can shoot up the streets!”

The video then goes COMPLETELY over the top, showing a close up of Hahn with shining red eyes, which harkens to a comment made recently by Tea Party Express Founder and Chairman Mark Williams:

Each of us must vow to recognize that the letter “D” after a politician’s name is a metaphorical Mark of the Beast, inasmuch as that party is now a wholly owned subsidiary of the domestic enemy, and that to repair and make again effective the Republican Party we must each do our part to take control of that party, not step away from it.

Check out Champions’ Blog post “Teamwork Makes The Nightmare End” for more on this.

Then, to top it all off, the ad ends by morphing from the edited image of Hahn to one of an AK47 spraying bullets at some imaginary target.  In light of the Gabrielle Giffords incident, and especially considering the environment many suspect was created by Sarah Palin’s use of maps with gun targets on Democratic politicians prior to it, this video goes beyond ignorant to stunningly malicious.

For his part, the Republican candidate for the C-36 seat, Craig Huey, himself a Tea Party member, denounced the video, insisted his campaign had nothing to do with it, and demanded that Turn Right USA remove the video, which they promptly refused to do.

To get the full measure of what I’m describing, you really have to watch the video.  Once I watched it, it took a while for me to even process what I saw.  My first reaction was anger and disappointment, but I couldn’t figure out why.  Then it hit me….

It occurred to me that being upset with Turn Right USA was a waste of time.  It also occurred to me that being upset with Huey, and/or figuring out to what extent he was involved would be equally frustrating and unfruitful.  What DID anger me, however, and what caused me the most pain, was the fact that the two Black men in the video ACTUALLY AGREED to be part of it!  I mean…REALLY??

I can only imagine money as the motivator for these two men to agree to being portrayed this way in 2011.  (But I sure can hear the motivators of 1911, 1811 and 1711 whispering in the background).  Many of us know what it’s like when money is tight and we have to sacrifice to put food on the table.  But who reading this would sell their soul, pride and dignity for some money??  How much does it cost to buy a man’s soul?  Is it more than it cost in 1911?  1811?  1711?  How can these men, under ANY circumstance at this point, look their sons or daughters in the eye?  Or any other family member?  Or member of their community?  How long will it take them to spend the money that put them in the middle of this time warp to the American Nightmare?  And once it’s spent, where will they be then??

As a father of two beautiful Black women-to-be, I know in my heart of hearts that I will NEVER give up my soul that way.  There isn’t enough money in the world to cause me to be unable to look them in the eye, and DEMONSTRATE what a strong, proud, AMERICAN man looks like.  I OWE them that.  I OWE them my soul, because it’s their existence that’s brought me closer to God in the first place, and to the true understanding of my connection to Him and to my fellow man.  It’s their existence, and the existence of those who’ve come before me, that define me as a man, and charge me to uphold my dignity and guard my soul.

I watched the video again, and couldn’t help but remember the character of “Baines” in the movie X, describing us as lost in the wilderness.  It pains me to no end that a movie character could describe Black men such as these so accurately.  To the Brothers in the video…you are LOST.  And your being lost HAS BEEN TELEVISED.  Come back to the American Revolution…throw that money back in Turn Right’s face, look your sons and daughters in the eye again…and reclaim your souls….

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2 Responses to "The Price of a Soul in Politics"

  • Willie Nabors says:

    Money can be a justification for so many things nowadays; prostitution comes in all forms.

  • Eugena Holman says:

    Steve and the rest of my Beloved Nkosi Nation.

    I don’t know what to say about that. I watched the video and I never heard a word of what was supposed to be the message in that mess. I was too outraged by the participation of the characters/puppets that would allow themselves to be exploited in such a ludicrous manner. This is social misconduct at the basic but most dangerous level. Some might even find the humor that “those folks” see in this production but NOT THIS NKOSI QUEEN! But I ask you my beloved family, WHAT ARE YOU WILLING TO DO TO COMBAT THIS OUTRAGEOUS DISPLAY OF DISRESPECT?

    The next time you see a young man walking with no belt and pants down around his knees will you just shake your head or will you shake his hand and introduce yourself to make his acquaintance and ask him to see his potential so he would feel worthy of a belt?

    When you see a young lady walking the streets looking for a “good time dime” will you give her a look of contempt or will you lend her YOUR EYES so she can see potential within.

    These things cost nothing to share. You don’t have to be courageous just love our community enough to say something. I do it all the time. I was told I should mind my business but I tell you the truth, to me it’s all relative and my business. I just have to choose how best to handle it.

    As the mother of ALL BLACK CHILDREN TO GROW UP EVENTUALLY, Like my Brother Steve, I know in my heart of hearts that I will NEVER give up my soul either. No dollar amount can purchase it.

    Thank you Steve for this powerful look into your heart.

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