| We all have priorities.
Some of us share the priorities of others.
At one level, I want to see a return of U.S. troops -- immediately. I want to see an end to sectarian violence in Iraq. At home, the fight for social justice and equality is reflected in my anger and frustration about the way Black Americans have been pushed aside, literally (think of the hundreds who drowned in the waters of Lake Pontchartrain) and figuratively (or think of the representation of Black Americans by Imus or Michael Richards and others).
Last week, while the Democrats tried to compensate Bush on the war budget and Bush, nonetheless, exercised his veto power, I happened to catch a broadcast featuring the author of a new biography on the Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice.
Whenever I hear Condi Rice's name, I see a Black woman shopping at Farragamo for some very expensive shoes while Black Americans are wading shoeless through foul and contaminated water. Rice is prioritizing which shoe to try on while other folks are trying to find which way to turn in water up to their necks! I would think that the latter image speaks more to the reality of Black everyday life in the U.S. -- wading in waters up to our necks. But that's just the problem. Such images need to linger in our minds; they need to become the first think we consider in the morning and the last thing at night. To prioritize such images, however, requires on the part of this nation empathy and vision.
Some of us have learned to pay attention to the little things that happen in the corners of this country. Voter suppression happens; there are consequences we have actually experienced (Bush has had a free ticket to the White House), but we do not see the people who have been turned away. We do not see the people who, when released from prison, are no longer allowed to vote. We do not see the residents in New Orleans or those scattered throughout the country struggling to stay above water -- still.
So last week, Marcus Marby, a Newsweek's Chief of Correspondents, appeared on Rachel Maddow's (Air America) Show to discuss his new book entitled "Twice as Good: Condoleezza Rice and Her Path to Power." Please, this is not a book review. I don't think I am quite up the task of reading "Twice as Good." But while Black America suffers from this 35-40 year backlash, I am intrigued by a Black American woman who was born in Birmingham, Ala., and who grew up with Jim Crow and the Civil Rights Movement, but who professes a loyalty to George W. Bush. No, we are not all monolithic. But her priorities -- do you think she ever once considered saying to George "Hey, let's get down there in New Orleans, the 9th Ward, and give these people what they need. They have been through enough!"
No, because George W. Bush is the priority in her life. This is what frightens many Black Americans. Condi Rice tends to Bush's interests -- and his interests, his priorities are not concerned with Black, brown, yellow, poor, and working-class people. She is the same Condi Rice who spoke about dead Lebanese civilians as "part of the birth pangs of the Middle East," according to Marby. It is the same Rice who supported and cheered on the war in Iraq and who properly does not look at photos or footage of Iraqi citizens dead and dying.
According to Marby, Rice has "deep respect for his [Bush's] values and his vision." She has a "personal affection for him." He trusts her because she shares his values and visions -- why, a marriage!
Neither Bush nor Rice shares in the values and visions of most African Americans who have yet to experience equality and justice. To share the values and visions of African Americans -- to have deep affection for heritage and ancestors, particularly if you are African American, is troublesome for most White Americans.
Condi Rice has prioritized Bush's values and visions as her own, and, as a result, she is not in step with 85 percent of African Americans who oppose the war in Iraq. She is not troubled by the creepy creation of Vanilla cities across this nation and the exodus and migration of Black, brown, poor, and working-class people on the highways and in the shelters. While she is proud to be a Republican, according to Marby, the average Republican farmer, Wal-Mart clerk, secretary, and factory worker is losing his or her job to corporate outsourcing and others are going bankrupt for lack of health insurance.
But these matters are not on Rice's priority list because they are not on Bush's list of things to fret about!
| Voices/Dr. Jean Daniels
We all have priorities