To think that Donald Trump will disappear into the night upon the voice of your ballot is a terrible presumption. A neofascist has little regard for the structures of governance, unless it benefits them. In this case, he has been preparing from this moment ever since he became elected as president. The appointment of conservative judges throughout the judicial circuits, acquiring loyalty amongst establishment politicians, and incubating a passionate cult-like base has been curated for a time like now. The claims of voter fraud and corrupt electoral processes have been enlarged in the echo chamber. Millions (71.5 million to be exact) agree with the way the country is being run. In insisting that a projected victory from Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and neoliberalism is all but confirmed, is to deny the inevitability of history. Four years ago we witnessed a shock to our politics. The veneer of democracy broke at the sight of its own reflection. Now, in the present, we may be on the verge of seeing something quite unprecedented in American politics, an attempted coup upon its own structure. It may seem that the laws of this land would prevent such a thing, and sure, by written law, it is so. But what is power without its ability to supersede all that is weakened? What use is acquiring it when one won’t use it to its advantage, when the circumstances all say your back is against the wall? Power erodes morality, and morality sculpts the unpredictability of power. When that morality confuses itself with power however, the material and metaphysical form an unholy union, only satisfied by the consumption of institutions propped up by the souls of the vulnerable. The prospects of power are not restricted to one Donald Trump, for Joe Biden personifies a softer hand, yet a just as sharp blade, held by the hands of the politicians who take the sword of revolution, and: rather than slay, assist the beast with laying waste to the needs of the populous that got them there in the first place: turning their back to the dragon absorbing all parts of what is left of this social experiment while assuring the people that are worth saving, that they will be spared from a meal. But what those liberals-the ones who seek to maintain balance in a system that is on its last leg-fail to comprehend is that they are already in the belly of the beast: above the acid, floating on the carcasses of the fringes who warned them, consuming them like a dog chews a bully stick; because its all the nourishment they have left, as the dragon has burned away all the food, and the sword doesn’t discriminate.
(To hear a reading of this post, please click the video.)
Pic credit: Wikipedia
It becomes a difficult thought to imagine that the actions Black people in the United States take and the experiences they endure can reflect two outcomes, and those end results being simultaneous in priority. In this world of individualism, one’s outer goals seem secondary to a personal goal, merely due to the fact that one does not feel the external up close. I have been reading the history of Black Americans from World War II into the Civil Rights Movement and beyond, and nearly everything that Black Americans faced required a victory on two fronts. There’s the “double victory” campaign during the war that rallied Blacks all around the country to face not just the rise of fascism in Europe, but the fascist environments Blacks had been conditioned to accept in the United States. One can only imagine the sense of prideful dread a Black veteran faced when they came home. To know that you fought for a flag’s right to uphold freedom not just for yourself, but for the marginalized-and to see that very same flag attempt to lynch your being (literally and figuratively) is a wrestling of dualities humans should not have to face. But for Blacks in America, it’s a constant contradiction to fight for a land that never really wanted you to exist in full, but needed your labor to thrive.
When I read the nonviolent forms of protest the civil rights movement championed, I thought about how selfless Black people have been by putting themselves in harms way. They were not just only thinking about their right to equality, but also for the equal rights of others who were not like them. For it was Black people, who were forced to face their realities as slaves under a law of the land that preached liberty and justice for all, to believe the words of the Founding Fathers: even if those fathers contradicted themselves by owning them to build wealth. Stretching the Constitution beyond its limits, if it meant it could truly live up to its name by ways of sacrifice, was a priority if it meant safety, dignity and human rights for all people. Even as the Black Power movement embraced ideological economic philosophy and saw socialist internationalism as a way to unify Black influence worldwide, we have been at the forefront of seeing things in a parallel sense. We do not have the time, nor the privilege, to do the opposite.
Of course, with the dreams of a better world for all of us, come the very personal goals that shape the wider perspective. This year, I have been fortunate to have finished my first year of college while still having a job during a pandemic. I realize the opportunity I have made for myself after what appeared like years of not knowing what I wanted. To get a car again, and to have it paid off, after my old car was repossessed, is an internal victory. And to understand that these supposed material possession are not the definition of my character, bur rather an extension of my desire for happiness: living in a world where Black people are respected as heads of their own classes. Years ago, I began my studies in anti-establishment politics, and how Black people fit in the fray. As the years passed and I began to see Black Americans wrestle with self empowerment through embracing entrepreneurialism and aesthetic empowerment, I saw Black ambition as a desperate attempt to try to maintain what perception of stability our ancestors felt so close to dreaming of. With the Black Lives Matter movement having sparked a national conversation about what it has truly been like for Black people in the United States, I see more Blacks understanding the need for an international front. There is a deeper empathy, philosophical mutualism and intersectionality that is being reciprocated amongst our nuanced social circles. We see the struggles of Palestinians, the fight for indigenous rights in Canada and Standing Rock, the rise of xenophobia against immigrants, and especially the struggles to our African sisters and brothers on the motherland and throughout our diaspora.
The defense mechanism of nativism is slowly being shelved for a wider knowledge on how we, Black Americans, are the most advantaged and privileged class of African peoples in the world, and how we must not let our exceptionalism deter a dream of seeing a one unified African people; even if it means feeling alienated or detached from the mother culture, unable to see eye to eye. It takes personal education to see a double victory with solidarity, and thanks to the abundance of information in this social media age, I believe Black Americans are looking at a true double victory for themselves in the 21st Century, not just here in the United States, but across the world.
March 18th, 2020
Dear Representative Adam Schiff of California’s 28th District,
The uncertain times we face as a nation are leading us to a crisis of which millions of Americans can and will be exposed to CoronaVirus. In combating the effort to hasten its spread, quarantines and lockdowns are starting to become the new normal. In the case of the city of Los Angeles, Mayor Garcetti and Governor Newsom have ordered the shutdown of bars, restaurants and large event venues. Social distancing is a new normal. Yet even with this, due to the lack of preparation our government had in regards to this pandemic, it is certain we are headed for a country wide lockdown. This inevitability has many Americans, in particular the millions such as myself living paycheck to paycheck, terrified at the possibility of falling behind on bills, not having money to provide food for themselves and their families, and to pay rents, mortgages in a city which the cost of living is astronomical.
Being that I live in your district, my location in Hollywood has been advantageous in giving me convenient access to the city. Yet as you should know, to live here if you are an low income worker, requires two (even three jobs) to have the slightest sense of stability, and if you are someone who works in the restaurant service or hospitality industry-you more than likely don’t have a job due to the citywide closings. Before my current position, I worked in restaurants and former coworkers are scared. Their life’s work is being jeopardized. The way they feed their families is being jeopardized. Even worse, some private companies like Marriott have deprived their employees the opportunity to collect unemployment benefits for them, reverting them to zero week schedules to prevent them from being classified from being laid off so they can collect unemployment and health benefits. This is a very scary time for your constituents and citizens alike, and what we would expect from the government-of which our votes elect the representatives that represent US-is that they would immediately give us the relief to provide a sense of normalcy in these abnormal times.
Representative Schiff, perhaps it may appear not many of your constituents need the financial support as this is a higher income earning area of Los Angeles. But know that within the hustle and bustle of West Hollywood, the by-the-thread multi ethnic hard working communities of Echo Park, Little Armenia and Thai Town, the vast Hollywood Hills and Griffith Park that lead over to the suburbs of Burbank and Glendale, and the gusts of the Angeles National Forest providing La Canada, Sunland, Tujunga and Pasadena fresh mountain air, that people such as myself face instability and sink further into the divide of wealthy and the poor. We are the ones who clean the houses, that serve and bartend, that cook and dish wash, that park cars and provide food and delivery services, and assist the many big time major studios that keep Hollywood running. If you will not think about us, please consider those in neighboring districts who make their cross town treks to work in these establishments.
As you stated on your Twitter, $1,000 for every adult is something that while good, is not enough, especially for those lower income earners who live in your district. I for example make 25% less than the average median income of your district which is $65,849. There are those that I know that make far less. I implore you to please support an emergency monthly supplemental income of $2,000 as expressed by Senator Bernie Sanders. In fact I dare say, go further and double that. There needs to be a rent freeze as well for the many Angelenos who dread the due date of rent in less than two weeks, and many of them in situations with slumlords who do not care what tenants situation is. The Federal Reserve has injected $1.5 trillion in short term loans to save the stock market during this health crisis. Surely if we can do something to save private institutions, then we can provide financial security for the citizens that actually run the United States, yet are not thought of in the discussion on how to properly take care of us. We know ourselves as a collective better than any elected politician, and I and so many others are telling you, we need help. And we need it NOW.
This may fall on deaf ears, and the next two weeks are unpredictable as my words may not even make a dent in the establishment politics that have dominated Washington for several years. But to know that someone in your staff, or maybe you, will see the perspective of one of your concerned constituents and vouch for radical reforms to help the helpless. I am young, and my life is not yet revealed, but I know that if I don’t try to make an impact on opinion, I surely will have missed my opportunity to make a change.
Representative Schiff, I certainly hope that you won’t miss your opportunity to make one either.
Antonio E. Herron
Resident of California’s 28th District
For more poems and video readings head over to my Instagram.
I could say their names
over and over again
but here’s a picture of two out of three dead
So you can never forget
Don’t tell me not to put it
Don’t tell me it dehumanizes
This is how I fucking cope
I don’t run from the traumatized
People like us get it
But most of the world doesn’t
Faces of the conscious are gonna see this shit
You’re gonna learn to not love it
As much as I don’t.
Sure take your time
But don’t be coming round for me
Rather remember them the way they deserved
As a family reaching for a dream.
pic credit @lazy.beam on Instagram
this is the only day
where i stand and salute
who were separated
who were raped
who were bred
who were beaten
who were worked
who were starved
of the hunger to be free
but their souls lingered
just so they could find their way
i want my ancestors to know
that it’s hard out here and
chains just got replaced
but i get through each and
Great grandfather. Grandfather. Father. And their son.
Happy Father’s Day to all the great men who look after their children.
I went to the #BernieSanders rally in Pasadena about 2.5 weeks ago. To see a diverse group of people-old and young, all different culture and races-reassures me that we are all aren’t as divided as it appears. Sure, us on the left have different ideas on how to run a government and society, but at our base we want the same human rights: housing, healthcare, education, a living wage. The goal of comfortability as a people not corrupted or robbed by the wealthy and corporations. Where the workers and the people have an equal if not more say in the way the system works for us. Something we actually can say we the American people can believe in. For those of us further left than social democracy and have their qualms about him-I have mine too-your claims are valid. But realize something…unless you decide to start your version of the 2nd American Revolution tomorrow, this is the best you have when it comes to having your voice matter-and no this isn’t supporting “a lesser of two evils” scenario….deep down we know this is the only candidate at this point that would give the true left legitimate access to achieve our goals. This is the warm up. We would be fools to not take advantage. This campaign is the start of the change. The #DNC and the establishment knows this and they without hesitation will sabotage this like they did back in 2016. And if they manage not to….let’s make sure we finish the fight. And that goes beyond next November.
Here are some pics and video clips from that day: