I know a lot of you have tears in your eyes today, but I saw something fly by on Twitter this morning that made me smile. The White House political director, Patrick Gaspard, is from Haiti.
It seems that we can go from arguing about "Negro dialect" to worrying about Haitian patois literally overnight.
I have no idea what the White House response to this catastrophe would be if Patrick Gaspard weren’t in this position, or whether or not the White House’s official statement was materially different from the kind of statement the Bush administration would have made. Something tells me, though, that behind the scenes, this kind of personal connection in our nation’s leadership to the tragedy following yesterday’s massive earthquake that is unfolding in the Caribbean will heighten awareness of this event in areas of the government it may not have touched before.
Radio stations are dedicating their shows to raising awareness and raising relief funds for earthquake victims. Newspapers have devastating photos alongside reports of the carnage that follows in the wake of the 7.0 level tremor. And the news stations will be playing footage, some taped, some live, from the epicenter of the damage for days to come.
Makes the last few days debate over “Negro dialect” and whether or not the skin tone of African American political candidates can make them more palatable to voters seem at first glance to be so trite, so ridiculous.
Until you stop to think about all the dark skinned political refugees with a Haitian patois who have risked life and limb sailing across the ocean on makeshift rafts and small, unseaworthy boats, only to be turned away when their craft hits our shores.
The irony of Hurricane Katrina is that a week before the storm it, nobody really gave a damn about the plight of poor black people in New Orleans or the other lower parts of Louisiana. Kind of the same way nobody gave a damn about the plight of poor black people in Haiti until a earthquake kills tens of thousands overnight.
I have to wonder – do we only become equal when we are bleeding to death?
Maybe I’ve been in the mercenary end of life too long, where taking advantage of a situation is as natural as breathing, but it seems to me that my favorite Negro president could really make a big difference during this tragedy in a way that will go beyond the rescue activities of the next few weeks by signing a Temporary Protected Status order.
I can’t cry today when I know we will turn Haitian refugees and seekers of political asylum away tomorrow at gunpoint.
Personally, I’d have microphone in the face of every Republican and weak kneed Democrat out there, tossing them a couple of powder puff softball questions before backing them into a corner with a loaded question or three or five, all centering around why they won’t try to take it out of the president's behind if he supports TPS. So if you are one of those millions of Obama supporters who has been bored since the election, you now have something to do - call those wastrels who represent you in the House and the Senate all day every day to let them and their staffs know why they've got to give it up this time on Haiti, or turn in their Bibles.
It might seem like an underhanded and/or highly inappropriate thing for Obama to do at a time like this, but our nation was built on and continues to be managed by dirty political tricks, often pulled at highly inappropriate moments, so I would feel no remorse whatsoever. NONE WHATSOEVER. It's not like Obama hasn't been trying - Haitian deportation has slowed to a trickle under the Obama administration, so I can see where the sympathies of this White House lie. This is the kind of thing that can happen when no one is looking in so many areas, which is why we HAVE GOT TO HAVE OUR PRESIDENT'S BACK every damn day.
If I were the progressive ground troops, I would question the very tenets of Christian faith in attacking the nation's Congressman and Senators who will support granting Temporary Protected Status to anybody who waves a white flag for ten minutes in Eastern Europe.
The TPS document is a template, Mr. President. All you have to do is allow Eric Holder to fill in the blank for “country of origin” with the word Haiti and you will do more for this island nation than the next billion dollars we send them.
To Haiti, with love from the Brown Man