February 23, 2017 10:00 AM
The following is a guest Op-Ed from LaDawn “LBJ” Jones. She is a former Democratic state representative from South Fulton County, a local attorney, and my frequent sparring partner as a political analyst for 11Alive in Atlanta.
I would like to be the first to congratulate President Trump on his 2020 re-election. My condolences to the United States of America and the Democratic National Committee. This bold prediction comes after my review of the schedule for the DNC Convention in Atlanta. It is clear from the list of meetings that the leadership learned absolutely nothing from Trump’s November win.
After the general pleasantries of registration, general session and budget discussions, the schedule lists a plethora of caucuses and councils that have a glaring missing component. See if you can pick it out: rural council, Native council, disability council, LGBT Caucus, North/South/East/West caucuses, Asian American Pacific Islanders caucus, women’s caucus, black caucus, Hispanic caucus, military council, senior council and youth council.
Excuse me DNC, where does a middle aged white male who lives in an urban community get a chance to discuss his concerns for the country and work on a strategy to address those issues? Asked another way, when is the next Republican committee election? This is what they meant when they said, “Trump spoke to my issues.”
From the looks of the schedule, the DNC folks are either still in shell shock from November 8th or they truly do not get it. Listen, we understand, in comparison it would appear that the group of individuals that need the least amount of strategy is the group that historically has had the most advantages. However, since when did having the least amount of problems to address mean the same as having no problems at all?
It is true, if we reduce our unemployment or fix our healthcare ALL Americans benefit including white Americans. Yet being the incidental beneficiary of policy that was created with everyone else in mind feels pretty crappy. Trust me, I wear a size ten shoe, which apparently is larger than the average woman’s foot. When I shoe shop, I’m annoyed that cute and colorful shoes in my size are an afterthought. I get stuck wearing black pumps all the time. Democrats, stop leaving out women with big feet! I mean white men.
It will take a courageous white man to stand up and say this thought out loud. No choice of words can avoid the guaranteed, “how dare he” followed by a review of indigenous genocide, the middle passage, and John Lewis on the Edmond Pettis Bridge. This should not be a fight about who had it worse and therefore whose issues are more important. Trump is our President; we all have it worse and all our issues are important.
Amazingly, although their input is not sought, we have no problem throwing out the phrase like it’s a four-letter word when we discuss, “THE white man.” Giving them a place to discuss their issues allows Democrats to take the more progressive stance that acknowledges – they are not all the descendants of slave owners or the brothers to cops who use excessive force on black men. Even those who are descendants of slave owners deserve some say so (after they do the pledge that begins, “the confederate flag is not heritage” and the secret dance that goes along with it.)
What are white guy issues? I don’t know. I’m a black woman from the south side of Atlanta who owns lots of black pumps. Have a meeting and find out. Someone is thinking, Congress and State Legislatures across the country are made up of mostly white men. That is true. However, it is those things that make the men on Capitol Hill different from your average middle aged white male that you are missing. You learned and focused in on the other interest groups solutions by making time for them. You must make time for the white guy caucus.
We are seeing the unintended consequences of policies of inclusion. If the DNC cannot think of a way to be inclusive to Caucasian progressives without making the minority groups feel shunned – we are doomed to eight years with the peach colored POTUS. We cannot be the party of inclusion and diversity by excluding white men and their diverse perspective on this country.
The good news is that President Trump will have tons more press conferences over the next four years. We can win back some of his voters. They will not admit it but they are cringing at the same television we are yelling at. Our President will make it so easy that even if we just dangle a black pump dressed up with a little strap and clearance sticker, we can get them back by listening to their concerns at the same level as the other concerns and not as an afterthought. All a woman wants is a cute strap.
If it makes you feel more warm and fuzzy give the white male caucus a cute name like the “historic caucus,” “majorities within minorities caucus,” or simply, “white dudes caucus.” The only other thing we can do to put the final nail in the coffin is to select a DNC chair that does not strike the proper tone and ingenuity to this issue exposed by the Trump campaign. Trump is the gorilla glue holding the Democratic Party together for now. It would be the definition of insanity to think doing the exact same thing again will get you a different result.