I thought I could get through the month of December without doing any heavy-hitting columns. I wanted to keep things “light” because this is the Christmas season. But the reality is that this is a far different holiday season from any in recent memory. This is a season that lacks good tidings and there is very little comfort and joy. But what this seasons seems to have plenty of is the “bah, humbug” dispositions from so many individuals.
Perhaps because this year has been so rough, what is still true for the season is that we can hear the hark. And the hark this year came in the form of Rev. Al Sharpton. He was the keynote speaker at last Saturday’s Pre-Kwanzaa Festival sponsored by WVON 1690-AM and held at the UIC forum.
Rev. Sharpton is carried on the station as the midday talk show host. I was skeptical about him, when he first came on the air, because I had been influenced by the media’s portrayal of him. But after listening to him for the past couple of years, I, along with a lot of other people, have been converted into supporters. His ability to analyze a situation and hit the nail on the head was even more evident when he spoke before a room filled to capacity. From his never once needing to use a note as he addressed the crowd (for at least 45 minutes) to his “keep it real and call it like he sees it” speech, he brought many in the crowd to their feet more than once.
The crowd was very interesting, too. Because of the university setting, there were more young people in the room than I normally see at such an event. They, too, were applauding and cheering in agreement with Rev. Al – until Sharpton spoke on the subject that hit a little too close to home. When he spoke about why we are the only race to use a notorious pejorative term about ourselves and try to validate it by claiming we do it out of love, the young people in the crowed grew silent. Suddenly, it wasn’t funny when they were on the receiving end.
Rev. Al didn’t stop with critiquing the young. He got on black Chicagoans for having once had the mayoral seat, only to lose it to the son of the man who did us the most harm. He used a wonderful analogy as it applied to Tiger Woods, reminding us that it’s no good to be an airplane if we don’t have a place to land and without an airport, our only option is to crash and burn.
Now for a change of subject: I have, over the past couple of weeks, watched the race for Cook County Board president continue to take center stage. As I paid attention to all the shenanigans going on regarding that race, I have concluded one thing. When it comes to Todd Stroger, the old adage that “no good deed goes unpunished” soon came to mind.
Watching how he has been attacked by so many in the media has led me to use what my granny would call “convoluted black folks logic.” What do I mean by that? Well if so many in the media, including the Better Government Association, have made it their business to dog out the County Board president, then he must be doing something very right in order to elicit so much criticism.
If so many are upset with what he’s doing, then he must be helping black folks; otherwise they wouldn’t care. He must be doing something very right and doing a very good deed in order to reap the punishment of criticism he’s been getting. Because if you believe Daley is doing badly and no one says a word about him, then it’s obvious that Stroger must be doing good in order to generate so much negative press.
And, yes, I know that the half-penny sales tax increase did put many in the collar areas near the border of this county in a catch-22. But is the issue that many have with Stroger really about half a penny or the billions of dollars he controls as part of the Cook County budget?