Try as we might, it is increasingly harder to look at the daily shenanigans of President Trump and his team of strange bedfellows as merely “White folks’ troubles.” After all, as the saying goes, when White folks sneeze, Black folks get pneumonia.
But really, how is all this craziness really affecting our lives? Does it help or hurt us in the job market? Is it negatively affecting us in high school graduation rates and university education? Is it really affecting the quality of Black lives one way or the other? The best answer to those questions is probably in the short run, no. The longer the craziness lasts, however, the more in danger Black folks will be. And that’s a fact.
Macropolitics will eventually become local politics. That is the nature of the process. So, what do we do in the meantime? We stay vigilant. We watch, stay well-read, pay attention to the daily newscasts and prepare for the worst while hoping things balance themselves out.
Already, Jeff Sessions (the prevaricator) has rolled back the Obama administration’s investigation of police department abuses and consent decrees, in which designated courts would supervise a contractual agreement between local government police departments and the federal government to ensure the decrease of police brutality and civil rights violations against mainly Black citizens. Sessions tried to invalidate the consent decree in Baltimore, but was stopped by a federal court order. He did get the not-yet-finished agreement in Chicago quashed, and is working on invalidating any other existing arrangements started by the Obama administration. He and Mr. Trump have also pushed hard on getting the mandatory-minimum sentence reductions achieved by the Obama administration overturned, and instead authorized police departments to re-institute stop-and-frisk programs and other ‘tough on crime’ tactics. Trump and Sessions have emphasized that the so-called War on Drugs (which is a War on Black People) is to continue unabated.
The latter means a continuing increase in the high rate of HIV in the Black community. The War on Drugs and the mandatory-minimum sentences for non-violent drug offences is a major contributor to the transmission of AIDS in prisons, and then to the larger community. The latest CDC stats show that: “young Black gay and bisexual men account for more new diagnoses of HIV-AIDS than any other group, and HIV continues to affect African American heterosexual women more than women of any other race or ethnicity in the U.S.”
For its March, 2017 meeting with Mr. Trump, the Congressional Black Caucus produced a 130-page policy document entitled, “We Have a Lot to Lose: Solutions to Advance Black Families in the 21st Century,” to answer the question posed by Mr. Trump on the campaign trail, “What Do you Black People Have to Lose, by Voting for Me?” This is a document all vigilant Black folk should read. It lays out exactly why African Americans cannot just hope for the best with Mr. Trump and his team.
So, where does that leave us viz-a-viz the Russian collusion investigation? Will Mr. Trump be removed from office? Will Mr. Sessions be forced to resign due to perjury in his confirmation hearings? Will Mr. Trump fire Robert Mueller, the Special Counsel who is investigating everybody?