A recent charity baseball game between Liberals and Ultra-Liberals ended in an alarming brawl earlier this week, portending greater fights to come. In the age of Trump, those of us on the left of the political fulcrum have become a bit bat-shit crazy.
In my own life, I've witnessed scores of recently "woke" liberal whites blast other whites for not being woke enough to the reality of ongoing institutional and historic white supremacy. Say what? Who in their right mind after going to liberal arts school doesn't know from the 400-year+ story of oppression, slavery, racial and religious warfare and colonialism? That's crazy talk. What's not crazy is the sudden realization by most liberals that they haven't done jack-shit about it, except complain, go all-organic and subscribe to The Nation.
And so, now that #45 has unlocked the inner activists in us all, it's should not surprise us that tried and true black-and-brown activists who've been fighting on the front lines for years and decades feel a bit miffed by the sudden show of resolve and courage. I'd love to tell you how all this is playing on the hyper-local level in my school's PTA and the school district's Community Education Council, but that's for another post. (Actually the blackface controversy at a "progressive" Park Slope elementary school is rich enough to chomp on.)
The Q has noted how the Independent Democratic Conference has been quite the bone of contention lately around these parts. The Anti-IDC contingent have great points, viewable in condensed form here, or in this other dumbed down thing from the New Kings Democrats. The eight state senators who make up the IDC, of course, have quite a different take on the utility of their unconventional approach to dealmaking. Instead of linking to their propaganda though, (which somewhat unfairly I just did for the anti-IDC), I'd encourage you to follow this much more thorough explanation of how we got here. If you stick around to the end, you might see that it's not as simple as egomaniacs bashing each other. There have been some solid results from the give and take:
So. YOUR State Senator Jesse Hamilton joined the IDC as a Jesse-come-lately. BUT he had his reasons, and he will elucidate them if you ask. However, to my mind, he hasn't done a very good job of explaining to the full electorate what he's been up to and why it's been the right move for this district - for the black and brown residents he represents. So for a moment, I ask that you consider that maybe, just maybe, his heart and even his mind have been in a progressive place even if you see it otherwise.
Where this becomes super thorny is when people start calling Jesse a turncoat or traitor or (worse yet) a Trump Enabler. He could, and probably should, just calmly explain his motivations and tactics. Instead, because the loudest voices calling him out are largely white, he and his surrogates have made a good deal of noise about how these attacks are in fact racist in nature and origin. It must be pointed out that anti-IDC-ers tend to yell loudest about THEIR representatives, most of whom are solidly whitey-white, so if Jesse feels like he's being singled out, well, yeah, in HIS district he is. Cuz he's the man. But there is plenty of venom flying around for the original IDC gangsta Jeff Klein and his galpal Diane Scavino too.
Before you dismiss the racism call out of hand, though, I encourage you to read the below from a Jesse supporter who has a refreshingly honest take on what it feels like to be called a Trumper when your whole life you've been about justice and civil rights. And it begs the question - isn't it better at this point for Democrats to figure out how to discuss the issues without being shrill and combative all the time? It's true that Hamilton has to beat back a primary challenger in Zellnor Myrie. But that's how democracy is SUPPOSED TO WORK! You don't get your gig for life. And if you make intense changes just after winning your last primary and join a different caucus (I'm looking at you Jesse!) it's YOUR responsibility to explain it to us, not ours to simply get where you're coming from. It was either a dumb or gutsy move, but that's what politics is all about sometimes. And btw, there's still time for you to come back Jesse.
Anyway, here's Rev. Karl McCall's take, and it's well worth your time.
Reverend Karl McCall wrote in Amsterdam News...
The Q at Parkside
News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.