The Clubdate Singer Speaks! Chapter 18: Rockin' The RNC!

Disclaimer: The following story is an actual event, as all of the vignettes in the 'Clubdate Singer Speaks' series are. For 8 years, I was a member of one of the top Orchestras in the nation. Though it was an enjoyable time, it was also at times, quite painful. I took to writing initially to assuage my distress, and this is one of those times when the pen (or keyboard) proved to be a healing tool. I have considered publishing this series, and would appreciate your thoughts... 

(Late Summer 2004)  S'up to all... I will dispense with the usual "Gee. I haven't updated this blog in a while..." type stuff, and get to the meat. As many of you know, I had a unique opportunity recently. My Band, the "Manhattan Rhythm Machine" was the House band for the Republican National Convention. here in New York City. It was an incredible experience.

I am sure that it came as a shock to many of my colleagues when I 'came out' at the Convention. It's true. I am a Conservative. In fact, A Black Conservative Futilitarian... With earrings yet...

 For some of you, it might be wise to stop reading here.

Click here to skip the uncomfortable truth, and go to the Convention analysis. The fact is that I agree with Shelby Steele, Larry Elder, John Mcwhorter, Armstrong Williams and Michael Steele .
Black people are living in the post Civil Rights Movement funk, amidst a plethora of social programs brought on by liberal guilt.
This had led to a level of mental and societal decay that is frightening in both scope and long-term implications. Our community sits bloated, lethargic, apathetic, and largely anesthetized by having everything given to us. We show no initiative, have no drive, and in fact are becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. The caricature of the lazy shiftless Negro is fast becoming a reality.

Our priorities, especially those of our youth, are woefully skewed, and we have become the kings and queens of the depreciating asset. (A quick glance at the type of vehicles parked outside any urban housing project will confirm this) In my younger, more cerebral, pseudo-intellectual days, I preferred the writings of Dubois and scorned Booker T. Washington as an Uncle Tom.

This was fashionable at the time. But as I matured, I came to a point where I found that I agreed with Washington more. What changed me? I took look a long look at, and made an honest evaluation of my circumstances. I discovered that what we thought was meant to help us, has in fact crippled us. We have learned the Pavlovian response. Tell us where the free stuff is, so we can go stand in line.

But The Bible says, " If a man doesn't work, he shouldn't eat."

So last year, I took my 7 year old daughter to the  Booker T. Washington National Monument
in Piedmont VA.
  Here is a link to a page from the excellent Booker T. Washington National Monument in Piedmont VA. The monument is the plantation where Washington was born. It is kept the way it was during slavery and shortly thereafter. Shacks, smokehouses, animal pens (with farm animals), and other small drafty and uncomfortable spaces abound (for the other animals). It is easy to get a feel for the difficulty of that life. I took her there so that she could see a little of what slave life was like, and what obstacles Mr. Washington and others had to overcome in order for us to have the opportunity to achieve. Opportunities that we by and large seem to squander routinely, while blaming others for our conditions.

Am I being to hard on my people, I dare say not!
Here are just a few scenarios that I have noticed in my travels:

According to a study done by the census bureau in 2002, only 56% of eligible blacks voted in the 2000 election. For all the talk about black voter disenfranchisement in Florida, hanging, dimpled and other chads, the fact is that 44% of the blacks in this country that could vote, some 11.3 MILLION, simply didn't. This cannot be blamed on George W. Bush or anyone else.

 There is a woman on my street with many children. She has no husband. The children do not have the same father. I know this because I see one of the fathers when he comes to take his kids on the weekend.
She does not work. I know this because when I leave for work in the morning, she is on the stoop. When I come home from work in the evening, she is on the stoop. I have no qualms with her, and do not mean to demean her. My problem is that in my community, she is the rule, not the exception.

 When I was 18, a friend of mine told me that her Mom said that she was due to have a baby. She was not pregnant; her mother was expressing her expectation. You see, in those days, if you were on welfare, and your underage child had a child, your welfare payments doubled. This was because your child now got payments as a parent, and you still got payments for her as a child. My friend was almost 16. So she had a baby. The baby made the fourth generation of that family on welfare. But I digress......

 How was the Convention? Fun actually. Madison Square Garden looked like Stepford. There was a scary sameness to 90% of the women, and 95% of the men. But I had a good time... In fact, if you're interested there are links to the band's performances elsewhere on this blog, & 'you can find 'em if you try' (Sorry, Sly)


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