- The Washington Times - Friday, October 21, 2016

PBS host Tavis Smiley said he came to the startling conclusion recently that black people could become enslaved in America again if the Republican Party gains too much power.

The liberal author was speaking at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, when a student asked him a question that “still haunts” him to this day.

“Mr. Smiley, do you believe that given the crisis state of our democracy, we black folk could ever find ourselves enslaved again?” the student asked.

“My answer? Yes,” Mr. Smiley wrote in an op-ed this week for Time magazine.

“Seven months ago, President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to replace the deceased Justice Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court,” he wrote. “It is his constitutional duty — not just prerogative — to do so. Hours after the president’s announcement, Republicans announced there would be no hearings, no votes, no action whatsoever until after the American people vote on a new president. They have kept their word. Some Republicans are now boldly declaring that they will block Judge Garland even if Hillary Clinton wins, assuming that she re-nominates him.

“In my lifetime, I have never seen Congress so blatantly mock our Constitution,” Mr. Smiley continued. “Republicans have turned this Constitutional issue into a political football and suckered the White House, Democrats in Congress and the news media into playing the game by their rules.

“I wonder what other Constitutional mandates Congress could just decide to ignore. Is it possible that the White House, the opposition party in Congress and the news media could be cowardly complacent, too frozen by fear to actually do anything to stop their overreach? They haven’t in this situation. It’s all ‘politics,’ they say. Sound familiar? That’s exactly what we said when Trump’s campaign was just a joke. He won once. And could win again.”

Mr. Smiley said the notion that the Constitution could be thwarted and black people could end up enslaved again is not as farfetched as it seems.

“With the hair-raising, bone-chilling, spine-breaking, nerve-wracking path we’re on right now, I shudder to think where this democracy could end up one sad day, if we don’t get off this low road and make our way to higher ground soon,” he wrote.

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