in Defense of Andrew Gillum: Come on Black People

cropped-kendra-bitmoji-2.pngI am 41. I am unwed, & the older I get, the more I am opposed to what appears—in its traditional sense—to be a narrowed, confining arrangement wherein too many folks are lonely, depressed, & unfulfilled; too many married people are unhappy people. Aaaaaaaand, considering America’s marriage is born from a white racist imperialist supremacist capitalist patriarchy—that just opened itself to LGBTQ+ persons—I’m str8 on it. I’m str8 on that system by which people place unreasonable expectations re: one’s morality, truth, & happiness. I’m str8 on that system that tells me, while convincing others, I “belong” to one person. Love is wide. It is dynamic & free, & it don’t require marriage; business does. & so, I ain’t speakin on Andrew & R. Jai’s marriage & whether they married for love, business, or a combination of the two. I’m most interested in the “scandal” re: Andrew’s Miami adventure some six months ago, recently coupled w/his admission to bisexuality, both of which seems to be grounded in nothing more than his being married w/three children.

“He’s married!” folks keep sayin. “He’s got a wife & three children!” So. The. Fuck. What?! Can we consider that the real scandal is the persistent significance placed on the nuclear family towards an American Dream never imagined for Blacks? Can we consider that the real scandal is the heteronormativity that privileges both heterosexual & homosexual marriages? Can we consider that the real scandal is America’s distrust of unmarried, childless politicians—let alone, Black people as we are (in all our splendor)? Can we consider that the real scandal is Black people’s unconscious & conscious nod toward respectability politics (that often shame us)? Can we consider that the real scandal is that the same Christian ideologies folks are using to condemn Andrew come from the same book White men used to enslave, dehumanize, & brainwash Black people? Can we consider—since folks still ogling at Andrew’s supposed drug use—that the real scandal is Ronald Reagan’s “War on Drugs” was a war he began? For real. Are we really questioning Andrew’s humanity, his ethics, & his morality—his purpose & ultimate truth—against white folks’ sense of purpose & truth? I’m just sayin’.

Andrew Gillum CNNPolitics photoHow many of the judgments folks passing on Andrew (& R. Jai) are situated in their own belief system versus in the system w/which White America has brainwashed you? I ain’t tryin to come off as a high-steppin hoteppin Black nationalist. I’m just sayin. What really is the matter w/Andrew’s Miami adventure—which was probably a setup, cause Miami Hispanics don’t ride for Blacks, so—there’s that. Andrew & R. Jai say they got an arrangement, so to whom did he lie, to whom did she lie? & to whom do either of them owe an explanation, especially since marriage is supposed to be a sacred union between the two folks married? & see, that’s another thing: when folks get married, they light weight married to every damn body else who knows their married. Fuck that shit.

& then check out this fuck shit, which explains—if we must have an explanation for every behavior a person communicates to a world that, more often than not, is a hard one to be well in—why Andrew Gillum, albeit considered “sloppy” for a rising politician, who, at 23-years-old, is the youngest elected state official; was Florida’s first Black gubernatorial nominee; and has been rightfully compared to Barack Obama, checked the fuck out <<< cause that’s what I’m calling his behavior:

DeSantis stole the governor’s seat—just as white men have been pilfering from people of color since they stole America from the Natives, DeSantis’ Trump licking ass stole theCarol-Anderson-WHITE-RAGE governor’s seat. But listen: DeSantis ain’t do it alone; & the theft ain’t happen suddenly. It’s the American Dream to keep Blacks from succeeding. So, in addition to stealing our glory, white folks “win” by lying, brainwashing, & killing us—& all of it is dispiriting; all of it is cause for us to occasionally check out, despite what our “absences” do to our reputations. I think the occasional check out is what keeps us from permanently going under. When it falls down, right? Anyway, Carol Anderson calls the hateful shenanigans white folks inflict on us, “white rage,” & it is from that 2016 text of the same name—wherein Anderson chronologically historicizes white folk politicians’ violence toward African American achievement from Reconstruction to Barack Obama’s election that I make my point. I am fully quoting Anderson’s Afterword to her latest edition, “After the Election: Imaging”:

                African Americans consistently opposed Trump with an intensity equaled by no other demographic. Their opposition was long, hard, deep. It was resolute, built upon years of knowing Trump’s history of racial discrimination in housing and employment . . .  (p. 162).

Comprising 13 percent of the electorate, African Americans stood as the firewall between a democracy continuing to evolve and one threatened by the corrosion of a Trump presidency tainted with the ‘drip, drip, drip of scandal,’ ethics violations, foreign intrigue, and authoritarianism. Although the Republicans clearly knew the threat that Trump posed to an American democracy, the party had already zeroed in on the power of the black vote and was clear on where the greater danger lay. . .  (p. 163).

With its coveted twenty-nine Electoral College votes, Marco Rubio’s Florida had for all intents and purposes permanently disfranchised 1.7 million residents because of felony convictions—one of only three states in America to block access to the voting booth even after all elements of the sentence were completed. Yet, in neither of the other two states, Kentucky and Iowa, was electoral punishment of convicted felons as draconian. Indeed, Florida’s efforts to disfranchise African Americans reads like a primer in white rage. During Reconstruction, the Sunshine state first cast a shadow over blacks’ voting rights using felony disfranchisement, Black Codes, and vagrancy laws to undermine African Americans’ citizenship. Later after the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Florida doubled down using an all-white commission with a large contingent on right-wing John Birch Society members to craft a series of statues to keep as many black people as possible away from the polls. Then, after Obama’s election, Governor Rick Scott welded together a series of guidelines that required a fourteen-year waiting period after sentencing requirements were completed before a person could even petition the governor to restore his or her voting rights. The process, by design, is cumbersome, unduly harsh, and not, surprisingly, since Scott’s tenure in office, led to only 8 percent of the requests gaining approval—as compared to 93 percent in Iowa and 86 percent in Kentucky.

Florida’s supposedly race-neutral (but obviously racially targeted) law fell disproportionately on the black community. Twenty-three percent of all age-eligible African Americans in the state, although they had already served their time, were banned from participating in one of the most fundamental rights in a democracy. In Florida, stunningly, felonies are not confined to burglaries and robberies but include offenses such as letting a helium balloon float up in the air, walking through a construction zone, or ‘catching lobsters with tails too short.’ Using the targeted power of the criminal justice system as a tool of voter suppression meant that five times as many registered Democrats as Republicans were disfranchised. And for that, the nation paid dearly. Refusal to honor the voting rights for American citizens allowed Trump to win Florida by more than 100,000 votes” [emphasis mine] (p. 165).

Listen: Anderson outlines only what Florida has done to disfranchise Blacks who have felony convictions. What else?! What else did White folk politicians do to assure their Republican seats?? The people say Andrew Gillum supposedly lost the governor’s seat by less than .5% of the votes. Shouts: YEA RIGHT! Yo! If we ain’t careful, white folks will try to steal our very souls—& clearly, it is only by our spirits Black people are still here fighting toward a revolution that will democratize America. And we know it. Andrew knows it: When Tamron Hall asked him in her exclusive interview how is he still standing. Andrew said, “It’s only by God’s grace that I am still here.” God’s grace: may we offer it to Andrew & each other.

United we stand.

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