“Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?’ And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver. So from that time he sought opportunity to betray Him.”
Maybe you can still feel the wetness of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s lips from when he kissed you on your cheek before selling you out. Maybe you can hear the coins jingling in House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s pockets. If you can’t, it’s probably because you are so accustomed to the sound and feeling of being sold out by the same people you are willing to fight for, you’ve grown numb to the feeling.
It feels like the slave crying on the auction block because he assumed that he was part of Massa’s family. It feels like Timothy Coggins’ family wondering for a quarter century who dragged him behind a truck, stabbed him and left him dead, only to find out that the white population of your town had known for almost 25 years who committed the lynching.
It feels like canvassing for President Bill Clinton and then hearing his wife call you a “superpredator.” It feels like an 8-year old being surrounded by his friends ... until they decide to tie a rope around his neck and hang him from a tree ... in 2017. It feels like Doug Jones being elected by black people in Alabama, then voting with the Republican Party on the continuing resolution.
It feels like spineless disloyalty. It feels like the repeated treachery of someone trading your loyalty for slivers of silver. It feels like black people believing that a white person is their friend. It feels like being a black person believing that the Democratic Party is your friend.
The Democratic Party is not our friend.
My grandmother, who had a “good factory job,” would buy eggs from a local white farmer whom we called the “Egg Man,” and resell them to the people in the neighborhood. I loved that guy, mostly because he gave me a quarter every Saturday and made me laugh hysterically every time he took his dentures out and put them back in.
One day I asked for the Egg Man’s entire name so that I might add him to the list of my nightly prayers. My grandmother told me that the Egg Man was nice, but he was not our friend. When I asked her why she said that, she told me that there were two things that I, as a black boy, could never depend on:
- a paycheck
- white friends
Even though my grandmother never mentioned the Democratic Party, the predictably recurring narrative of the Democrats selling out their black and brown friends has once again repeated itself in the recent government shutdown. It happens so often that it is impossible to ignore, but this most recent case might be the worst because they ran from a fight they could have won. It should be obvious to anyone with a hint of melanin in their skin that the Democratic Party is not our friend.
Every day for an entire month, they looked us in the eyes and told their constituents how they were going to resist the ethnic-cleansing-lite policy of the Republican Party. “Not a dime until we renew the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” they said. “We’ll shut it down if they don’t agree,” they told us. If Congress funded the government, Dems promised that the GOP would have to do it without a single Democratic vote.
They were lying the whole time.
Let’s be clear: A lie is a lie whether it is preplanned or not. If I promise to give you a dollar tomorrow, it does not matter what transpires in the meantime. If I don’t hand you four quarters, I lied.
The reason for the Democratic Party’s betrayal does not matter. Whether they caved because of the mounting prospect of the shutdown being renamed the “Schumer Shutdown,” or because they were bluffing from the beginning, is inconsequential. No one cares why they lied, only that they are habitual liars.
“But the Childhood Health Insurance Plan ... ,” they will tell you. Republicans were already unanimously in favor of CHIP. They were going to fund it anyway!
“But we secured a vote for DACA,” they say.
A vote? A motherfucking vote? How can you stand in front of black, Hispanic and Muslim voters for a year telling them how the Republicans were lying, xenophobic racists, and then turn around and explain to those same voters how you acquiesced because they promised you that they would perhaps think about considering the possibility of allowing a vote on something they vehemently hate?
Democrats are the minority party. They know that Republicans will never vote for DACA unless it comes with funding for a wall, and the only thing Dems could negotiate out of a government shutdown was a vote where the entire world will get to see them lose. (OK, I admit that the entire world probably doesn’t watch CSPAN, but still ... )
But this is how the Democratic Party operates. It is impossible to say whether they remain perpetual losers because of a lack of a plan or because they don’t give a fuck about their nonwhite constituents, but it is telling that their losses somehow always end up costing black and brown people. Always. So much so that I struggle to see how their slick-mouthed equivocation somehow keeps tricking black people into believing that they are on our side.
They are not.
The Democratic Party is better than the Republican Party in the way that manslaughter is slightly better than murder: It might seem like a lesser crime, but the victim can’t really tell the difference. In exchange for the unwavering loyalty of black America, we get to live with the Democratic Party’s arm being shoved so far up our anal cavities that not only are we used to acting as their puppets, but we have become comfortable with it.
Yet there are some people so stuck in their binary thinking that they believe that not voting for Democrats, or withholding our vote from the party until we can get something solid in return, is a crazy idea. They will tell you that voting for a third-party candidate is a losing proposition.
I have a rebuttal to that, but first I will have to switch to all caps, because I am about to yell. To those people I say:
YOU ACT AS IF WE ARE WINNING!
So here we are again, left out in the cold while the Democratic Party gets warm and cozy behind the artifice of solidarity and equality. They are tricksters. They will sit at the table of our last supper and break bread with us, knowing that they have already conspired with the enemy planning our crucifixion. We know they are going to betray us, but we are always surprised when the cock crows.
They get us every time.
They will lock arms with you and claim that they are your “ride or die.” They are always by your side, but if there ever comes a time when you have to stand back-to-back and fight, those white friends will likely disappear. They are always willing to ride. They are never willing to die.
They will suck down Champagne in the VIP section of the club like the Dems did after the special election for Alabama’s Senate seat. White women were shaking their titties, taking shots of Patrón, screaming, “We did it,” balling out like they were in a P. Diddy video, knowing that black women were the ones who paid the bill.
White friends will bounce to the music, singing how they are “down for their niggas.” Black people watch them dance, smile and vote for them, but whenever the Republicans even hint that they are buck, the Democratic Party is never willing to knuck.
Even when the Democratic Caucus controlled the House and the Senate, they didn’t introduce a single piece of legislation addressing extrajudicial police killings. They still haven’t addressed the Supreme Court’s dismantling of the Voting Rights Act. They haven’t used their clout to direct federal dollars to underfunded schools. They disregard HBCUs. They run from affirmative action. They dodge any mention of reparations.
And none of this is to say that the Dems’ duplicity is the fault of the Democratic Party or white people. It is the fault of black people. We have empowered them. No Democrat could win a local, state or national election without the black vote. It is black voters’ fault that we don’t demand anything in return but lip service and bumper stickers. If your employer hired you, paid you every week and never required that you produce any results, how hard would you work?
My grandmother eventually fell out with the Egg Man when he upped his price and started going door-to-door, cutting my grandmother out of the loop. My grandmother, in her infinite pettiness, bought eggs at cost from the supermarket and sold them to her neighbors for a price cheaper than the Egg Man’s, losing money in the process, but neutering the Egg Man. When he came back to our house to cut a deal, she refused.
Until she died, part of my grandmother’s paycheck went to selling those eggs to people in my neighborhood at a loss. She did it for only one reason—again, I will have to switch to all caps to convey her exact sentiment (and I’m paraphrasing here):
FUCK. THAT. WHITE. MAN.
White friends, the Egg Man, Judas Iscariot and the Democratic Party are all the same. Pieces of silver have always been more important to them than black souls.
I am sure that a broad association of betrayal, disloyalty and dishonesty with white people will cause some to dismiss this entire argument. I challenge those people to scan back through this entire diatribe and find the lie. Even though it might sound mean and prejudiced, I assure you that I can’t be racist ...
Some of my best friends are Democrats.