- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 28, 2006

OK, boys and girls. It’s time for Big Mama to dig into her trunk labeled “Old School Discipline.” The one that holds the lye soap, hickory switches, Jim Crow’s eulogy and that long-worn coat of armor emboldened with the mantra “Sticks and Stones.”

Big Mama, like many a voter, has grown weary marching to and fro — from Maryland to Old Virginny — where grown men and their political concubines are trying to derail the race for the U.S. Senate with purplish talk about race.

“It’s a low-down dirty shame,” Big Mama said. “All this back and ahead about who’s Jewish and who used the ‘N’ word. When they used it. How many times somebody used it. A body don’t need to hear that mess. Folks wanna know about them revenuers who take the grocery money. They wanna know about whether those lawmakin’ folk in Washington are gonna cut the fatback out those laws so people can get jobs building more roads. And schooling. Hmph! Teachers spend more time pushin’ paper back and forth with them high-and-mighty folks in Washington, children ain’t hardly learning how to read a book, let alone write about what they read.”

Big Mama pointed out that in Virginia, instead of the media relaying a true-blue analysis of where Sen. George Allen and challenger James Webb stand on issues, members of the press and the bloggers are acting like they had ADD, hopping from one accusation of ethnic insensitivity to another.

Mr. Allen used the “N” word when talking about black folk, Big Mama said, adding that there is no way to possibly defend talk like that. He even did it as a fully grown man, “when talking to a fella about eating turtles.”

As for Mr. Webb, the people of Missouri, where Mr. Webb was born, know more about eating turtles than, say, the people of Maryland, where terrapins are held in the highest regard. As Big Mama told me the other day, “That George Allen don’t know nothin’ ‘bout parboilin’ no turtle. Heck, he’s even afraid of staring down a buck in the dark of the woods, and ‘til recently could no more teach a’ ordinary fella how to remove a turtle’s plastron than eyeball the difference between a macaca and a macaco, them furry things the youngin’s take to in the zoo.”

Big Mama said the Democrats, who have taken her votes and the votes of her ancestors for granted, are always trying to pick a fight when she leaves the room and then make nice when she hears them scuffling and has to return. (She reminded me that her trunk holds several hickory switches, including three special ones that she died with the purplish juice of the blueberry; it’s her Democrats-only switch.)

Now she is preparing to head to Maryland to chat with Democrat Ben Cardin. She said he never really cottoned to black folk, and was smiling and slapping backs on Wednesday with that “boy he beat” in the primary last month. “They was all there on Wednesday, at that college (University of Maryland) that hurt po’ Thurgood Marshall’s feelings back in the day. That new boy (Sen. Barack Obama) was there, too. And that li’l gal from Ballmer, Barbara somebody. They the ones tryin’ to make Michael Steele look like some kinda Uncle Tom, somebody who says, ‘Yassa Boss, Yassa, Mr. George [Bush], I’m with you every step of the way.’

“But just because he is a ‘publican don’t mean he ain’t got a mind of his own. Michael’s momma didn’t rear no fool. You tell him to jump, he don’t say how high. Uh-uh. You tell that boy to jump and he come right back at you, and politely so. ‘Excuse me, but who are you speaking to?’ Michael Steele ain’t nobody’s step or fetch it man.”

Maryland Democrats certainly are behaving badly. “I ain’t never seen that Cardin guy smile so hard,” Big Mama said. “Reminds me of that vexing cat in ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ the story I read to any youngin’ sittin’ still long enough to listen. Teaches them that how things look ain’t always what they really are.”

I queried about Kweisi Mfume, who is black, endorsing Mr. Cardin, a senior member of the House Jewish caucus. “Did he?” Big Mama asked me.

Mr. Cardin beat Mr. Mfume — but barely. The 18,500-vote differential is not large enough to convincingly say Marylanders want Ben Cardin in the Senate. Indeed, it explains why Mr. Mfume said Mr. Cardin would make a “good” senator out of one side of his mouth, then disparaged his Democratic colleague out of the other. “The Democratic ticket of four nominees for statewide office … still looks like the Democratic ticket for state office in 1956.”

Black people, Big Mama said, need to develop a “boardin’ house reach” when it comes to politics. “They need to take what’s rightly theirs, not wait for somebody to pass the black-eyed peas. Hmph. Keep waitin’ for white folk, any folk, to give you somethin’ you deserve, somethin’ you earned, and somebody else’ll grab it.”

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