In light of this in the course of the past week, I pulled out a little ditty I had dashed off (and never posted) one hot midnight, in the waning days of August and September, 2004. Such shame the Kerry/Edwards campaign foisted upon itself. The week that Reid apologises for "tone" and for ''naming'' Republicans, that campaign roamed into my mind again.
Tell us again about the mob, the Gaming Commission and the bombs ...? Not that we ever bought that whopper.
Then I caught Kerry on This Week with Stephanopoulos. Kerry needs to retire and find a hobby.
Later came Hillary, C-Span delivered her to me, and her lecturing speech at the Woodrow Wilson Center at Princeton. She skipped advising us about the plantation (and she knows what, I wonder), but she did cover Iran (danger), Israel (we are loyal forever), Sharon (man of peace) and that the Palestinians must prove... something, a lot no doubt.
Time to post my ditty...
Bark, meow, Mother may I bark and may my friend meow?
But let us know if you don't like us and then we won't... sorry to be asking, did we interrupt, we can speak more softly, really we can... Let us show you! We aim to please!... We are the politically correct warriors! WARRIOR! We are yelling...
Did the tree fall in the empty forest? Did anyone hear, or care? Are we the tree or the forest, is it a sprint or marathon? What is it? Tell us so we can figure it out...
We learned things in school, we love school. They taught us to read. We love books. We travel. We try not to look around, we might see or hear... or learn. Better we do not.
Field worker in cotton trailer.
Dog Bog Road, Coahoma County,
I am sure, very sure we registered voters... oh I am sorry, you say we should have registered some Republican voters?, oh so sorry we will get right on it! Please, always tell us the rules of the road...maybe McCain can call us... why don't we hear from him? He used to like us...? What happened?
Some say we used to win, did we? We must have been ba-a-ad asses, don't want to be that, you need your space, we understand. "Understand", that is what liberals do -- bad word! slap wrist, BUT! we are courageous to say it! We stand up for ourselves! We do. We are 3 feet tall and reaching for the door knob. We step aside for you. You have your needs. We are here for you. We understand. We do that well.
Cotton Choppers. Sherard Plantation.
Sherard, Mississippi, 1992.
You are the biggest baddie that ever was... we crown you, we are prostrate before you. You are the Father and the Mother. Holy Ghost too! Did Ratzinger say we could say that? Or speak in Mass? Can we take communion? Does anyone know? We heard the Catholics are mad?....
We don't know, we need to be told.
Dancing Saturday night at
Margaret's Blue Diamond Club.
Clarksdale, Mississippi, 1991.
Should we register some Republicans in Cincinnati? Would that help?, we'll do it!... or I know, Miami!, yes we will, we will find deaf elderly Cubans who still believe in anti communism and know nothing. Ones that are still mad over Elian, believe he was a jesus from the sea!
Yes, right away sir. Please send us a list. We know how to register people, it is FUN, so collegiate, it is the work left to liberals.. oh! Bad Word! But we are courageous to SAY it, yes we are... . Oh sure they vote, why not, we registered them!... we say we are happy happy happy that Kerry is the candidate.
Plantation shack in cotton field.
Mississippi Delta 1990.
Yes, he is elect-able! Based on what, you ask?... oh the others, they were -- unacceptable. And, maybe, what did they say?, they told us someone was angry. Oh! I am sure not us. No, that is not like us... we are never intemperate. That left electable. It was based on a math, oh no, myth, it says MYTH, it says here, based on a mythical equation.
OK, not math, sure, we know about math. We learned in school. After Civics Class, so important. Then we signed up for PoliSci, yes we did, so important... Oh now? Now, we are pre-law. Yes, foundation of democracy. Rule of Law, and we know things. It says here,
DO YOU WANT ANTI-ABORTION JUDGES? VOTE FOR DEMOCRATS. hmmm I don't think the Catholics want us to say that...
uh, OK, the cheat sheet says, ''it's about the Supreme Court''. How did we forget. We have an entire list of Talking Points: it says ''Supreme Court'' 20 times over. See, we know it is important. Civics class. We learned it.
Downtown on July 4.
Sledge, Mississippi, 1992.
And Kerry says: send me. Or did Bill tell us that. No, Bill told us: Fall in love then fall in line. Or was that pillow talk with Monica. Oh maybe it was. We are confused. He wants this, trust us. We register voters. Our civic Duty. We know about government. They taught us in school. We value school, we fight for education. The environment. Wait, there is... that list we talk from... oh, it too says, Fall in Love then Fall in line. uh, I think we did that, but did we fall in love... ?
River baptism, Moon Lake.
Coahoma County, Mississippi, 1989.
That's it! We love the Supreme Court! Of course we do!
Wait it says, in the tinier print: Suck it up sucka! My, such language. Not liberal... oh you say we tell ourselves that about Losing.. Oh yes, well, then fine. We are fine with that...It must be Civic Duty.
Our Civic Duty.
....and the Republicans laugh laugh laugh laugh all the way to the seats of power.
= = = = = = = = = =
Shortly after the 2004 loss I heard Kennedy say, with some anger it seemed, that only 43% of eligible blacks are registered to vote in Mississippi. There had been many statements from Democrats, up to and including Kerry (who waffled, he said Zell told him his speeches were good to go in the South, in interview with CNN/Judy Woodruff), that they ''did not need the South to win''. The Democratic ticket did not carry Edwards' home district in North Carolina, as it happens. Fools, and worse.
Abandoned plantation shack.
Mississippi Delta, 1989.
From Manning Marable:
By late August 1964, four project volunteers had been killed, four others critically wounded, 80 physically beaten, and one thousand arrested. During the Freedom Summer, 37 black churches were firebombed and burned, and thirty black-owned homes and businesses were destroyed.
However, the Freedom Summer highlighted the struggle for voting rights and social justice for blacks in the Deep South as never before. Within the next year, pushed by the Johnson Administration, Congress passed the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The effects of its passage and implementation across the South, and especially in Mississippi, were dramatic.
In August 1965, only 6.7 percent of Mississippi blacks were registered to vote. By August 1967, 59.8 percent of Mississippiâ€™s African Americans were registered, the highest percentage of black registered voters anywhere in the region.
The tragic aftermath of Freedom Summer in Mississippi today is found in the disturbing disfranchisement of African-American voters in that state, due to unfair election restrictions. In Mississippi, residents convicted of a felony lose their right to vote for the remainder of their lives.
By 2000, about one-third of the stateâ€™s black male voters were ineligible from voting. A similar situation exists in many other states.
Until several years ago, both the NAACP and the Congressional Black Caucus were slow to recognize the serious erosion of black voting power due to these restrictions on ex-prisoners.
Shelby, Mississippi, 1990.
All photographs are by Ken Light from a series, Delta Time, taken along Hwy 61:
I have often wondered why as we enter the 21st Century that their plight has been ignored, their freedom from want and their voices go unheard and unanswered.
I think back to those days as I watched my parent's T.V., 13 years old and drawn by the fears of the missing Civil Rights workers and what I saw. I think of the hopes that I held in my heart. Surely, America wouldn't turn her eyes from places such as the Mississippi Delta.