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According to the New York Times, and other breaking reports, “Nancy Reagan, an Influential and Protective First Lady dies at 94.” She passed away on Sunday, March 6, 2016 of congestive heart failure at her home in Bel-Air, California. She was 94 years young. Wow! What a long and eventful life. Mrs. Reagan is to be buried next to her beloved husband President Ronald Reagan, who died on June 5, 2004 and is interred at the Reagan Presidential Library in beautiful Simi Valley California.

Nancy Reagan  White House, Dec 1982

Nancy Reagan, White House Dec 1982

As she transitions onward, we extend condolences to the Reagan family, a host of friends, and a profound regard for Mrs. Nancy Reagan, our fashion icon and champion against drug abuse.

Nancy Reagan, A Fashion Icon

The Reagans occupied the White House from 1981-1989. A petit woman with a keen eye for the aesthetics, Mrs. Reagan was also known as a great dresser who loved the color of red. She would become a fashion icon to many women of her time. I can vividly recall my co-worker and kindred spirit, we both loved to wear hats, running up to my desk beaming with joy over having Nancy Reagan in the White House, as stylish hats and dresses were surly coming back!

Tired of only finding fashionable pantsuits in the stores, a big symbol of the women’s lib movement in the 70s which was good, Mrs. Reagan’s feminine sense of style was good news indeed. Sure enough, soon we were able to find fashionable dresses in the department stores again, though we still liked our pantsuits.

And television shows exploded with glamorous, well-dressed women reminiscent of the forties. Only this time, Primetime TV featured a highly independent woman, ready to claim her own space with no apologies. Hence, “Dallas” the popular TV Series, c.1978–1999, with all of its usual human dalliances, became the show to watch back then.

Yet, in retrospect, for me the new Reagan Administration also marks another definitive shift in our great society which, unlike TV’s Dallas, was far from entertaining.

High Crimes in the ‘Hood and Loud Music

One day, seems my quiet world suddenly changed. It was the year of 1981, as I recall. News reports began to escalate of young brothers running up and snatching gold chains off the necks of unsuspecting young women as they waited for the bus. And tension filled the air! Having to keep on the alert, no longer could we read at the bus stop. Things had definitely changed, and for the worse unfortunately.

Soon, someone turns up the volume. And the explosion of a so-called “Rap” music had hit the scene. Young people were playing it as loud as they possibly could in the streets and in their homes. Though an ardent music lover, I hated the discordant sounds passing as music that bounced off the walls of my apartment, which was downright painful.

Thankfully, after praying for peace and harmony in my home, my noisy neighbors soon moved. It was a very nice neighborhood, like folks had real jobs, so things stayed relatively calm.

Yet, depressing news of drug dealers, street gangs and drive-by shootings began to abound in the Black Community that reflected on Primetime TV. Of course, as usual, only Black and Brown folks were spotlighted, while White drug-related crimes and abuses virtually went unreported.

Just Say No: A Powerful Spiritual Command

Around this time, in 1981, Nancy Reagan envisions an anti-drug educational program to prevent illegal or “recreational” drug use, particularly among young people. Part of the government’s War on Drugs, this anti-drug campaign would simply become known as Just Say No, an advertising slogan created by Nancy Reagan, as a First Lady initiative, who obviously knew something about self-direction being an accomplished actress in her previous life.

With Nancy Reagan’s dedication and hard work, both national and international attention was drawn to the ever-increasing drug problem. Of course, the anti-drug campaign also drew the usual unfair criticism. The program’s critics erroneously labeled such efforts as too simplistic, a catch phrase not really addressing the hardcore issues of systemic drug addiction, and so on.

Thankfully, some drug abusers were reportedly helped by Mrs. Reagan’s vigorous efforts, who once said: “If you can save just one child, it’s worth it.”

Sadly today, some thirty-five years later, seems drug abuse in America has reached epidemic proportions across all social realities. Still, there are those who keep trying to help the hopeless as best they can.

I’ve always liked Nancy Reagan’s creative slogan of “Just Say No” to drug abuse. Actually, this is a powerful spiritual command, classically known as self-discipline, which we can deploy on our behalf. Self-discipline (or self-direction) is a great mental tool worth having; particularly in combating toxic anger, drug addiction, or any self-destructive habit within us.

The Importance of Good Government

Today, as we move toward electing a new president, the importance of good government is loudly before us once again! Sadly, the candidates usual pandering to self-interest groups (who often represent blocks of votes) seems to be the norm, except for one perhaps.

If only we can learn that what is good for one, is actually good for all on the level that really matters. Then we can really get things done and make democracy work for all.

Perhaps, one day, We-the-People will realize that democracy works best when we lay aside our smoldering self-interests and actually vote for the good of all. Why not today?

Saying Goodbye to Nancy Reagan

Meanwhile, as we say our goodbyes to Fmr First Lady Nancy Reagan, let us honor her good works against drug abuse, and revive the Just Say No Anti-drug Campaign in her name. I’m sure she will be there in spirit and praying for its success.

Free the mind and think before you vote!

© 2016 by Delores L Adams and The Aunt Jemimah Post. 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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