Consquences for a National Minority Seeking Political Office in America
Recently a former Army comrade of mine sent me a link to a news item regarding a Vermont legislator who happens to be African American, and the consequences she endured running for a legislative position in Vermont. Although I am Mexican American living in Vermont and therefore normally very cognizant of racism here, not to mention observing the stifling political correctness permeating urban areas like the Yuppified city of Burlington, I was not aware of the tragic plight of Kiah Morris and how she paid a fearful price for running for elected state office in Vermont. Winning a legislative seat in Vermont in 2014, she would leave that positon after she and her family were constantly threatened, harassed with racist threats, and ultimately she resigned as a legislator in 2016. After hearing about what she endured in Vermont for being a very sincere political activist, I realized her humiliation is a harbinger of the worst to come for national minority candidates who sought office from even a progressive political position, let alone running for office as an establishment Democrat. And so, white supremacism and xenophobia contributed to ending the first Black woman legislator's pioneering efforts in the state of Vermont.
The Associated Press (AP) wrote this disturbing account of what Ms. Kiah Morris went through:“The harassment escalated into a break-in while the family was home, vandalism and death threats seen by her young son. Even after she announced she wouldn’t seek re-election, despite running unopposed, a group of youths pounded on her windows and doors at night, forcing her and her husband, convalescing after heart surgery, to leave town.”[i]
With this chilling account of how this young woman, her ailing husband and son had to abandon their home in Vermont, the understanding becomes very clear about how racism and bigotry penetrates every state in the union, and Vermont is no exception. The only difference is the Vermont patrician class, the liberals and the media establishment of Vermont are able to repress the actual backwardness of some segments of the Vermont population towards the national minorities who live in the Green Mountain State. Regardless of whether they are African Americans, Hispanics and Latinos or other national minorities born in the United States of America, the antipathy of class and racism towards these Americans is an actual state of affairs in Vermont, no different than in some Southern states. White supremacism knows no state or regional boundaries, as it is part of the American national character and entrenched in the dominant culture that controls the political system of the United States.
However, what happened to the national minority legislator Kiah Morris in Vermont represents even a grimmer bellwether for other parts of the United States. In recent political ads by the Republican Political Action Committee (PAC), PBC reported October 19, 2018t.h “A political action committee said Friday that it won’t pull a widely condemned radio ad that suggests white Democrats will lynch African-Americans if they win in midterm elections in Arkansas next month.
Vernon Robinson with Black Americans for the President’s Agenda said Friday that the group won’t cancel the radio ad running in the Little Rock area in support of Republican U.S. Rep. French Hill. He said the group also won’t pull a similar ad he says is airing in Missouri. The ads in both states are scheduled to run through Friday, Robinson said.”[ii]
I see these ads by the Republicans as part of an orchestrated plan that is an overall strategy which has been seen before in the United States — after the American Civil War, during the Reconstruction Period. There have only been slight lapses to the general racist oppression in America-- for instance, during the Civil Rights Movement of the Sixties decade in the twentieth century. As one of the co-founders of the Republican PAC makes very clear, ““There’s no plan to change the current mix of ads. We have a plan, we’re executing the plan,” Robinson, the PAC’s co-founder and treasurer, told The Associated Press.”[iii]
We should be aware — and beware — of how Americans with their idealism, their yearning for freedom, their instincts for equality — whether that “equality” is for good or ill — should out of desperation give themselves up to an oligarchical family or an unstable and maniacal narcissistic despot who will insure them a morbid stability of the Union at the cost of their souls.