Abdul At Large
Pushing Political Purity
A few years ago, I was having a conversation with then Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels. We were chatting about politics, and he made a very salient point that’s stuck with me. He said, “Abdul in politics, purity tests are only good for Nazis and suicide bombers.” Truer words were never spoken, especially when you look what attempts to pass for political discourse in this country. Hell, skip that, right here in Indiana.
The most recent example that comes to mind took place at last week’s Women’s March in downtown Indianapolis. On the far, make that fringe left, there were two speakers at the Women’s March at the Statehouse from the Black Lives Matters Movement. In case you need a refresher, that’s the organization that usually goes off the chain when a white police officer shoots and kills an unarmed black man, however, if an armed black man shoots and kills an unarmed black man, then that just becomes another day at the office. But I digress.
During the Women’s March, two members of the local group, Indy 10/Black Lives matter members Kyra Harvey and Leah Humphrey addressed the crowd. What started out as the usual rhetoric, turned into an Oswald Bates skit from the old “In Living Color” television show. I tried to paraphrase it but my brain is incapable of stringing together such incoherent, babbling nonsense, but the folks who write the blog Black Indy Live had no such trouble. They wrote the two women, “addressed systematic white supremacy enabled by the “traditional” feminist movement, apathy to Black Women’s social causes, and also called Hillary Clinton a “violent and racist candidate” while distancing themselves from the Democratic Party.” Did you get all that?
A colleague of mine, IUPUI Professor and attorney Sheila Kennedy, who attended the march, took issue with what Harvey and Humphrey had to say, and in a column wrote that she didn’t see how such rhetoric was helpful to the overall cause and people from all ethnic backgrounds needed to work together and not alienate each other. You know the adage, “politics is about addition, not subtraction.” And Kennedy committed the cardinal sin by closing with the famous quote from Ben Franklin, “we must hang together or hang separately.”
And that was the point where the dragon stood up on the shore and the beast came out of the sea with ten horns and seven heads. Kennedy's message was totally lost, like most things, on the BLM crowd and their extremist allies, and by their reaction she may as well have shown up in a white sheet with fried chicken and watermelon in one hand and a bottle of Old English 800 malt liquor in the other.
Kennedy was basically accused of embodying “white supremacy and privilege” because she not only referred to a founding father who they labelled “a racist and by using the term hang” she may as well have been the grand architect of the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Medgar Evers, Nat Turner, MC Hammer’s musical career and the cancellation of the New Odd Couple show back in the 1980s with Demond Wilson and Ron Glass. The social media reaction read like an early, bad Spike Lee film. I’d reprint some of it, but I am doing dry January and retyping it would only make me drink.
Those people would not find a stronger ally for the cause than Kennedy. Her experience, political, governmental and educational would be invaluable for their cause. Frankly, I would think the fact that Kennedy and I don’t agree on a lot would be reason enough that they would welcome her into the club. But that’s the problem with ideological purists; if you’re not with them 125 percent of the time, then you’re against them.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought the point of political movements were for people of like minds, but perhaps different backgrounds, to come together and achieve shared objectives. They may not always agree, but the 80-percent of the time you’re together should outweigh the 20-percent of the time that you disagree. (Remembe Ronald Reagan) But when you’re dealing with zealots whether it’s the local Black Lives Matters chapter or Hoosiers for Life, there’s no reasoning with these people. Which I guess in a way does distinguish them from Nazis and suicide bombers, because you can actually negotiate with Nazis and you can shoot suicide bombers.