As the Democratic National Convention rolls out its latest episode of the long-running “The Clinton Show”.
It is threatened, as are all old programs, by an audience that has grown beyond the show’s characters.
Starring in this drama is Hillary Clinton (once known as Hillary Rodham Clinton), who plays the role of a compassionate neo-liberal, one who cares for kids, rainbows and puppies.
Her co-star, former President Bill Clinton, is now one of the show’s producers, who warms up the crowd by telling eye-watering tales of the Greatest Mother in American (or perhaps, human) history.
As I’ve written elsewhere, Bill Clinton is the greatest pure politician of his generation, who performed electoral miracles to grasp the gold ring. Now, he returns to pass the ring to his spouse.
Yes, Hillary Clinton is brilliant; who can question that?
But, so was Bill — and that brilliance didn’t inure to the benefit of Blacks. Indeed, quite the contrary.
Yes, Hillary is a great mom, apparently. So are millions of women across America.
The question isn’t how good a mom she is to her own child.
The question is, what does she care about the children of the poor, the impoverished, those in American ghettoes and barrios?
The answer is, not much.
They, it seems, are other people’s children.
They are but dispensable, disposable cannon fodder in the neoliberal War on Crime that the Clintons polished to high gloss – represented, perhaps best by Hillary’s feral response to tougher, meaner jail sentences imposed on Black and Latina children back in the ‘90s.
The image and tone of a young Hillary is as chilling as ice. Her message then? I quote: “They are not just gangs of kids anymore. They are often the kinds of kids that are called ‘super-predators’. No conscience, no empathy. We can talk about why they ended up that way, but first we have to bring them to heel.”
Don’t believe me — look it up. Google it. Listen.
She was speaking of a cornerstone of Clinton’s neoliberal ideology: the 1994 Crime Bill, the virtual engine of the mass incarceration boom that ravaged Black and Brown communities for decades.
Yes, Hillary is smart. But she took an article published in the Weekly Standard by a discredited scholar (John Dilulio) and turned it into a public policy of state repression.
Was that smart? Or simply cruel?
A vote for Clinton is a reward for decades of such repression — not for liberation.
Our revered ancestor, Frederick Douglass, taught us powerful lessons, among them: “Power concedes nothing without demand.”
Ask yourself what Black politicians have demanded?
Another lesson: “Without struggle, there is no progress.”
We must struggle against Clintonism and Trumpism, for both are toxic to Black life.
The choice between Wolfman and the Bride of Frankenstein is but the choice between two monsters. Let us fight for a world where Black Lives truly matter.