Volume 7, Number 1 October 24, 2003
"Republigangs and Demonrats"
by Dr. Ridgely Abdul Muímin Muhammad
In an article published just before the 2000 presidential selections, we mean elections, called "Slaves to two parties", we wrote:
"Here we have an example of the poor slave torn between leaving one slave master that treats him bad to another one who treats him worse. The Democrats promise much but deliver crumbs and the Republicans just whip that head. When the Democrats get in office they tell Black folk that they can not deliver on all of their campaign promises because of the "white backlash" that would take them out of office in the next election. When the Republicans get in office, they say that they donít owe Black folk anything because they did not vote for the Republicans."
So now, what are we to make of the recent election of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Republican, as the governor of California, who was strongly supported by his wife, Maria Shriver, Democrat, of the Kennedy clan? We have tried to explain to the Black farmers that the only difference between the "Republigangs" and "Demonrats" is that one holds a gun in your face while the other points one at your back. Now we have clear evidence that "elephants" and "donkeys" are in bed together. No matter what their seeming differences are in the public, in private they are in bed together.
It has not mattered which party has been in office, the USDA continued to take Black farmersí land and deny them due process at any level. A plan developed in 1962 by the Committee for Economic Development called "An Adaptive Approach for Agriculture" was designed to "Reduce Farm Labor Force by One-third in Five Years." It seems that such plans were continued no matter who was sitting in the White House or who had the majority in the House or Senate. Black farmers were just the weaker set of small farmers targeted by this government for takeover by agricultural conglomerates now understood to be the "merchants of death".
In the meantime the "Demonrats" and "Republigangs" have used their positions of power to split up whatever movement or unity of their Black farmer victims. The Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association (BFAA) was established in 1997 to try to get justice from the USDA. The organization managed to pull many farmers together under one umbrella to fight this beast. BFAA organized a number of rallies and even was "successful" at getting a lawsuit settled in federal court. However, many farmers were denied in the Pigford v. Glickman lawsuit, but efforts to save these Black farmers from losing their land have been sabotaged by first the Democrats who offered a chance for USDA money to one set of farmers, if they could put the "radical" BFAA leadership in check. When all members did not agree, one group split from the main body.
The Republicans then won the White House and the House majority position and hinted to Black farmers that there was some USDA money that could be made available, if they would get rid of the leadership of BFAA that had strong ties to the Democratic party. When all the members could not agree, another group split but maintained the organizational name and became chartered in another state. The aftermath is there are at least three different groups of farmers calling themselves BFAA. So, although the Democrats and Republicans can sleep together, Black farmers are divided over which set of "good" white folk will help them.
What is really sad about all of this is that these "good" white folk never put anything in writing. So Black farmers are stuck with "who said, he said".
Add to this the fact that one farmer in Virginia ,who was not in the lawsuit but was waging his own fight with the USDA for 11 years, finally got a settlement of $6.6 million dollars. Since his victory another set of lawyers are offering Black farmers a chance at going the administrative route to settle their grievances against the USDA. So now the Black farmers are divided on how to pursue another elusive "pot of gold".
What the farmers and new set of lawyers may not know, is that the assistant secretary for civil rights of the USDA, Lou Gallegos, retired right after signing the papers that would grant Mr. Will Warren his $6.6 million settlement. According to an August 3, 2003 article in a Richmond, VA newspaper, The Times-Dispatch, Mr. Gallegos said that he "got the cold shoulder" and "...became nobodyís hero" after making a decision that was "opposed at high levels." He retired on June 30, 2003 at age 64, although he had only been in the position since May of 2001.
Mr. Gallegos paid the price for doing the right thing. We wonder if the new assistant secretary who replaced him will follow the example of Mr. Gallegoes or, instead, learn a lesson in job security based on the consequences of such actions? We also wonder when Black farmers in particular and Black people in general will learn that "Demonrats" and "Republigangs" sleep together.
So as the results have been counted in the California recall election and we look forward to the 2004 presidential elections, remember a sonnet from my "Year 2000 Election" poem, called "The Grinch that stole my vote":
"Two parties, two parties,
We must have two parties.
Let the fools choose,
Cause they always will lose."
"Iíll be back" in 2004 to see what we have learned from this "soap opera" of "politricks". In the mean time we are getting closer to white Americaís Thanksgiving celebration. Families of "Republigangs" and "Demonrats" will be arguing over how to carve up the turkey and who will get the thigh or wing. The "turkeys" should use this time to develop an "Exodus Strategy", instead of betting on which party will get the choice cuts.