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Seems Benjamin Netanyahu’s last-minute “scorched-earth campaign promising” no Palestinian state while he is in office and the race-baiting of Arab-Israeli citizens has worked. But, will he see the truth and help move the Middle East forward or remain mired in fear.

Isaac Herzog, the opposition, is said to have conceded the election though his Zionist Union party will remain an option to Netanyahu’s Likud party.

Sadly, Benjamin Netanyahu’s frantic efforts toward election are liken to the same race-baiting strategy of the hard-line Republicans in Washington D.C. that ultimately leads to nowhere…but, will ‘Bibi’ stay on that path?

As there is a better way, let us hope that Benjamin Netanyahu will now be a partner for peace instead of an agent of fear, and thus advance peace in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, the world is on a spiritual path with a lesson to learn, as Only Love is the answer.

Though American racism is still festering in the U.S., particularly to those politicians who continue deploying race-baiting strategy and sometimes win elections, it likely will not work for Israel indefinitely! Thus, any leader that thinks so is laboring under a false conviction.

Here we know non-violence as a way of change, there the violence is raging.

It’s hard to imagine that Israel, a people who suffered so much during WWII, and by evil people of their own race, could continue to abide the oppression of another people. Of course, fear is the real culprit. Thus, it likely will take a lot more faith and the political will of the people on both sides of the equation to overcome this ancient darkness and turn on the light.

And so, with faith in that which is far greater than the ego’s power, the march toward peace and prosperity continues until true victory is realized in the region!

© Delores L. Adams and The Aunt Jemimah Post 2012-2015. All rights reserved.

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“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”  ~President John Adams, c. 1798

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the 54-mile Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights Marches led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Such began on March 7, 1965 and would become known as “Bloody Sunday” due to the beatings and serious injuries inflicted by Alabama State troopers using billy clubs on the nonviolent, multi-racial marchers.

This soon led to the 1965 Voting Rights Act (VRA) being signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ), who used his political powers to get the bill through Congress.

Since the U. S. Constitution only gives American citizens the right to vote, the States are free to set the operating rules. Which most Segregated States, being die-hard racists, had patently abused! As more extreme rules were set to purposely disenfranchise African Americans, thus denying the moral intent of our U.S. Constitution, the struggle for voting rights arose and ultimately created the 1965 VRA. Sadly, the struggle to vote continues in part.

According to President Obama: “Right now, in 2015, fifty years after Selma, there are laws across this country designed to make it harder for people to vote…the Voting Rights Act, the culmination of so much blood, so much sweat and tears, the product of so much sacrifice in the face of wanton violence, stands weakened.”

As President Obama also said: “We know the march is not yet over.” Yet, this was a very special event! Particularly, for those of us who lived through the turbulent 60s and saw on live television, the Selma Marches that racism brutally tried to stop.

Thus, having President Barack Obama, the first African American president, and a host of others recreate this historic march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge while holding hands with “foot soldiers” John Lewis, now a U.S. Congressman, and Amelia Boynton Robinson, now crossing in a wheelchair, was very significant for all Americans amid the ongoing struggle to end the disease of systemic racism in our beloved country.

It is estimated that 40,000 people attended, mostly African Americans, but not all. Of course, for many, just being there and crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge likely meant more than the actual event. As it was for me years ago, it likely was a pilgrimage, a silent prayer of thanks offered up to the great “foot soldiers,” an honorable phrase coined by Dr. King, who bravely took the blows, endured the pain, and kept marching for us all. Yet, such suffering is never, ever in vain!

Hit by the Reality of the GOP’s Unprecedented Letter to Iran

Yet, little did any of us suspect that behind the pride and pageantry of the widely televised commemoration of the Selma Marches lurked a group of 47 U. S. Senators seeking to usurp the negotiating powers of the United States President and act in its stead, or so it appears.

Thus, that Monday, via national television, the reality of such unprecedented arrogance hit most of us like a ton of bricks, so to speak. Having to set aside my own reflections on the Selma March tribute, soon I began to wonder. Initially, it was unbelievable! Yet, like a lot of Americans, given the sharp comments posted online, it soon was infuriating.

Who would have thought that 47 U.S. Senators would sign a letter stating their emphatic disapproval of the not-yet-known outcome of the ongoing negotiations between the United States, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Russia, China, and Iran regarding Iran’s nuclear program, and then send it to Iran’s leaders!  Who would have thought the wily GOP[1] would take such overt action, but they did!

Reactions to the GOP’s Unprecedented Letter to Iran is Telling

Naturally, the White House was furious as are most concerned Americans. According to many reports from both near and afar, seems the GOP Senators’ letter is failing rapidly…as it must. Thus, many publications across the political spectrum have firmly denounced the letter.

Given our right to petition our government, it is important to note that many Americans are calling for the 47 GOP Senators to be charged with treason. For more information: See Petitions at WhiteHouse.gov re violation of the Logan Act, a 1799 law which forbids unauthorized citizens from negotiating with foreign governments.[2]

In this article titled, European officials Criticize Republican letter to Iran, Secretary of State John Kerry, U.S. Negotiator to these talks, allegedly states the letter: “Risks undermining the confidence that foreign governments in thousands of important agreements commit to.” Yet, Secretary Kerry, being a true patrician, will likely handle the Republican’s unprecedented intrusion with the same dignity and style we all have seen in him over the years.

In his Statement on the Senators’ letter to Iran, issued March 9, Vice President Joe Biden states among other things that: “This letter sends a highly misleading signal to friend and foe alike that our Commander-in-Chief cannot deliver on America’s commitments—a message that is as false as it is dangerous.” We hear you, Vice President Biden, loud and clear!

In this Huffington Post article, ‘I’m Embarrassed’ For Republicans Who Sent Letter To Iran, President Obama allegedly states: “I’m embarrassed for them,” Obama told Vice News. “For them to address a letter to the ayatollah — the supreme leader of Iran, who they claim is our mortal enemy — and their basic argument to them is: don’t deal with our president, because you can’t trust him to follow through on an agreement… That’s close to unprecedented.”

Of course, Iran has also responded. This is very telling given the past warmongering of the Republican Neo-cons who lied about Iraq having “weapons of mass destruction” to justify their war on Iraq, and who may well be behind the GOP’s letter to Iran, or so it appears.

In this article titled “Iran’s leader: Fall of U.S. ‘political ethics’ highlighted by GOP letter,” the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, allegedly states: “Every time we reach a stage where the end of the negotiations is in sight, the tone of the other party, particularly the Americans, becomes harsher, harder and more aggressive.” IRNA, the official news agency, quoted Khamenei as saying, “This is the nature of their tricks and deceptions.”

Warmongering again! Or could the Republicans simply be trying to undermine the Democrats and the Obama Administration so as to gain political support in the 2016 presidential elections? Though good reason dictates that this recent affront to President Obama’s authority is not only unwise, an unprecedented breach of protocol but is also quite dangerous. Then again, who said the GOP’s soulless strategy actually cared about anything except winning!

Insidious Race-baiting, The GOP’s Soulless Strategy

Race-baiting, a popular idiom now part of the American lexicon, is a hateful scheme generally used to arouse the ridicule, prejudice or fears of one racial group regarding another through speech or inference, particularly when deployed as a political tactic.

A recent example of race-baiting was the relentless use of contemptuous cartoons by Charlie Hebdo’s founding publisher in Paris, which, of course, ended tragically. Race-baiting was recently used in a film titled, The Interview that infers the removal of a North Korean leader, which caused a mini cyber stir between the East and the West, so to speak.[3]

In 1980, Ronald Reagan’s first presidential campaign stop was in Philadelphia, Mississippi, former Klan vicinity where the young Voting Rights activists: Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and James Chaney were tragically gunned down by angry whites in 1964. Hardly a Civil Rights advocate, former California governor Ronald Reagan successfully used the classic race-baiting code, “I believe in states rights” [4] to affirm where he was really coming from, and has been a revered hero of the Republican Party since, which continues to divide our nation.

Thus, as if to infer that “white folks” are still in charge, it is no accident that the 47 GOP Senators (mostly all white) issued their unprecedented letter to Iran the day after the Selma March Tributes, or so it seems. Overly assured by years of insidious race-baiting campaigns that proved successful, the GOP Senators knew exactly what they were doing. Of course, being all too familiar with the Republicans’ soulless tactics, African Americans would also know.

Yet, what the wily GOP did not seem to anticipate were the reactions of the other “white folks” in our fair land, who would not only disagree with their unprecedented actions but be outraged. See, Some Republican Senators Surprised by Backlash to Iran letter.[5]

Although many Americans are calling for charges against the erring senators under the Logan Act of 1799, it has only been used once. Then again, perhaps that’s the problem! The unparalleled arrogance of the 47 GOP Senators speaks volumes to the ego’s refusal to respect the law when left unaccountable. Hence, the democratic of rule thumb: no one should be held above the law, including its lawmakers.

Thus, in order to preserve our American democracy let this be the start of something new…real equality for all and a swift accountability of our government officials in times of crisis!

Meanwhile, we can take heart in these immortal words from Sr. Winston Churchill during WWII: “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

© Delores L. Adams and The Aunt Jemimah Post 2012-2015. All rights reserved.

[1] Oft-claiming to be the party of Abraham Lincoln, the GOP (the Grand Old Party) is far from what it once was. Founded by anti-slavery activists in 1854, it allegedly made a dramatic shift in the early 70s to what it is now.

[2] For more information see Petitions at White House.gov : “We Petition the Obama Administration to file charges against the 47 U.S. Senators in violation of The Logan Act in attempting to undermine a nuclear agreement”:

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/file-charges-against-47-us-senators-violation-logan-act-attempting-undermine-nuclear-agreement/NKQnpJS9.

[3] This contentious 2014 Hollywood film titled The Interview, stars Seth Rogen and James Franco.

[4] From the New York Times article: Righting Reagan’s Wrongs? by Bob Herbert, November 13, 2007.

[5] Ref: Some Republican Senators Surprised by Backlash to Iran letter by Sean Sullivan, Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2015/03/12/some-republican-senators-surprised-by-backlash-to-iran-letter/?wpisrc=nl_headlines&wpmm=1 .

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Fear knocked, Faith answered, and no one was there! —Christian Proverb

Recently, I purchased the 1977 television miniseries collection of “Roots: The Saga of an American Family” based on the celebrated book by Alex Haley, and watched all of the episodes back-to-back. Still very compelling, it was like watching ‘Roots’ for the first time.   Today, Root’s artistic excellence still attests to the power of motion pictures and television.

Yet, the haunting fact still remains that most of Hollywood has neither been very fair nor fully considerate of African American life, and other people of color, since its beginning. And, in many respects, continues to this day.

However, so great was this undertaking and its historic impact, it is tempting to feel, at least for the moment, that perhaps ‘Roots’ makes up for all the times that we Africans Americans have been patently ignored, cruelly maligned or simply dismissed by Hollywood’s movie moguls and the choices they made. But, of course, we can’t.

The pain is too deep and the need to see our life stories reflected back to us is too great, which is a basic human need that cannot be denied. Still, we never stopped going to the movies.

Perhaps this is what lies at the heart of the outrage recently expressed by many of our country’s finest African American citizens. Who felt the Academy of Motion Picture, Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) “Oscar snubs”[1] yet again. While other fair-minded Americans deemed the 2015 annual event would be the “whitest Oscars since 1998”[2].

Having received few nominations out of many possibilities, ‘Selma’ for best picture and ‘Glory’ for best song, naturally many of us were disappointed and rightly wondered if Hollywood will ever “fix its diversity problem?”[3]. Well, at least ‘Glory’ won for best song.

‘Roots’ is on Y’all

In the 70s, still there were very few opportunities to see good productions of African American life on television or in the movies. And so, while we joke about it now, whenever a Black person was on television, we would call our friends. Thus, with the first episode of Roots about to be shown on television, we celebrated like many other folks. We threw a Roots Watching party! With food, wine, and our very own reviews, ‘Roots’ proved a memorable event.

Of course, no one could ever have imagined how great this historic production would be, not even its producers. Well, the story of Roots, our story, was lauded worldwide eventually. The local ratings went off the charts, so to speak, and the Roots Miniseries would ultimately receive countless nominations and awards. Naturally, David L. Wolper and the Network executives, who would later admit to being very apprehensive about Roots’ social impact, were not only relived but very, very happy indeed.

The Real Purpose of the Arts

Thus, a big thanks to David Wolper, Stan Margulies, Brandon Stoddard and all the gifted actors who had the moral courage to create ‘Roots’ for television. And, of course, the soaring music of Gerald Fried and Quincy Jones that drove the ‘Roots’ saga continues to inspire us all.

Yet, while Roots reportedly changed the world and the many perceptions about what the African American slaves actually went through, its greatest gift was to African American life itself; which ultimately uplifted us all. Thus forever illustrating the real purpose of the arts, which is to edify the human spirit!

And so, while David Wolper and the others hold a special place in our hearts, Kunta Kinte and Alex Haley would ultimately become our national heroes.

The Importance of Soul Memory

Human memory is very unreliable. Thus, if most of us even try to remember exactly what we wore a week ago, unless it was a uniform, we would have a hard time trying. Yet, there is another kind of memory, I’ve found, that is more real than all the material facts we can muster. This is what I’ve come to think of as soul memory.

Soul memory: It’s that kind of knowing deep within us that resonates with a familiarity way beyond our physical world. Yet, we always seem to know that we know.

For me it has always been through my love of music and dance. Sadly, I did not have the live stories, an African name, or a few key words handed down to me, as did Mr. Haley. But, since my early years, I did have my soul memories.

One Saturday afternoon while setting outside after watching King Solomon’s Mines, images of the proud African dancers featured in this Hollywood film came to mind, and I got up and danced. Soon the neighborhood kids gathered around cheering me on. After that, my playmates would ask me to do the African dance…soul memories, of course!

Seems some cynics went all Sherlock Homes on Alex Haley and his precious stories, which took him some twelve years to research and write in a way that fit human logic. Sadly, those skeptics who sought to validate Mr. Haley’s each and every word, likely missed the message of Kunta Kinte entirely.

Yet, I’ve learned another thing about soul memory, seems those who are open to the truth will know the truth and thus be freed of a lot of bitter illusions.

Hence, why the world and African Americans, in particular, continues to embrace the Haley family’s Kunta Kinte experience as part of their own life experience, and thus have found peace and a greater sense of belonging.

This, of course, is exactly what the “the African” [4] known as Kunta Kinte struggled so hard to preserve as the slavers brutally tried to expunge his native memories. Memories of his Ancestral homeland so that, one day, we all will remember. So that we all can be proud!

See here [5] for a wonderful Alex Haley interview by Tom Brokaw, and other commentaries such as ‘Roots One Year Later’ and Remembering Roots’.

Kunta Kinte and the Roots Legacy

Since the gift of ‘Roots’ entered our world, the African American community has evolved significantly.  From more proudly wearing African cloths and African influenced hairstyles, to exploring and honoring its intrinsic African heritage.

Thus, the Black Family Reunion is probably ‘Roots’ greatest legacy. Which has become an African American tradition that usually includes a proud review of family history.

Yet, the Kunta Kinte and Roots legacy continues. Today, we can be more  proud than ever, as African Americans now control much of their own music and some their own television networks. More Blacks are on national television, creating their own films or television programs, have created their own awards events, run their own businesses, and are leading politicians. And, of course, we now have the first African American president and his lovely family in the White House.

And so, thanks in great part to Alex Haley’s Roots, in many ways we have evolved rather quickly. Yet the world is changing even faster, or so it seems. Still, we are not yet finished, as we must do our part to help others along the way.

Beyond Roots 

Today, there is still much fear in the world both nationally and internationally. Thus a good self-image is always our first line of defense. Nationally, ending police abuse is the new civil rights movement. While globally, seems radical extremists are calling for inclusion and respect, but are going in the wrong direction!

And so, with the same courage and dedication of those who have gone before us, we continue moving forward, stopping only to reach out to those lingering behind.

Thus, lest we not forget the fierce courage of Kunta Kinte, the quiet courage of Alex Haley, and the moral courage of ‘Roots’ producers David L. Wolper, Stan Margulies and ABC executive, Brandon Stoddard, thus we move on and in the right direction!

© Delores L. Adams and The Aunt Jemimah Post 2012-2015. All rights reserved.

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[1] ‘Spike Lee Blasts ‘Selma’ Oscar Snubs’ by Marlow Stern: www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/01/15/spike-lee-blasts-selma-oscar-snubs-you-know-what-f-ck-em.html

[2] ‘This Will Be The Whitest Oscars Since 1998’ by Lauren Duca: www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/15/whitest-oscars_n_6466052.html?utm_hp_ref=entertainment&ir=Entertainment

[3] ‘Can Hollywood Fix Its Diversity Problem?’ by Julie Walker: www.theroot.com/articles/culture/2015/02/can_hollywood_fix_its_diversity_problem.1.html

[4] My Furthest Back Person—’The African’ by Alex Haley, July 16, 1972: http://www.alex-haley.com/alex_haley_my_furthest_back_person_the_african.htm

[5] In 1976, Alex Haley spoke with Tom Brokaw; see other videos: ‘Roots: One Year Later’, ‘Remembering Roots’ and others: http://www.alex-haley.com/alex_haley_video_interviews.htm

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