THE NATIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS POST—MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR TRIBUTE
By Eleanor Tomczyk (Satirical Columnist)
8:41 p.m. Saturday, January 18, 2020
As the nation prepares to celebrate the birthday of one of our greatest heroes, the Washington Post-Ipsos poll was just released that states 8 out of 10 African Americans (83% of those polled) blame President Trump for the inordinate increase in racism in our country, and 65% say it is a bad time to be Black. Our newspaper wanted to follow up on these jarring statistics in the shadow of the celebration of Martin Luther King’s birthday. We were able to get in touch with quite a few WWMD clubs across the nation to interview them about their reaction to the Post-Ipsos poll. Usually a secretive club (I learned about them just several days ago through a friend of a friend), they were very transparent with me as a reporter because they felt that so much of what Dr. King worked for is being destroyed and all good people need to come out—front and center—and do the right thing. What follows is a conference call interview with one particular club in Virginia. It best encapsulates fears of African-Americans from sea to shining sea during these post-Obama years.
REPORTER: First of all, I want to thank you for doing this interview on such short notice. I understand that you are a group of African-American septuagenarians who meet together on a regular basis to pray for our country. Maxine Reynolds, my research notes indicate that you are the President of this local chapter. Can you give me an overview of what you stand for? For instance, what does WWMD mean?
MAXINE: Yes, I am, and welcome! Good to have you here, my friend. WWMD stands for “What would Martin do?” We started meeting on an informal basis right after President Trump asked the Black community “what do you have to lose by voting for me?” We were so alarmed after 8% of the Black community did vote for him, that those of us who still had our common sense intact said a collective “Oh Shit!” and formed this club. We did so to illuminate what Dr. King lived and died for before the country got consumed by Trump’s hatred. Our fears regarding the damage Trump could do were really underscored when the tikki-torch, Confederate flag waving White Supremacists murdered that sweet young protester, and Trump didn’t disparage them but declared that there were “good people on both sides.”
REPORTER: Why did 8% of African-Americans vote for Trump? Surely they are not that gullible as a race.
BARBARA: Barbara Wakefield speaking. I’m the VP of our local chapter of WWMD. No, we’re the least gullible of America’s people. In fact, given our history, Black folks are very sharp politically. I suspect 8% voted for Trump because they always voted Republican and couldn’t bring themselves to vote as a Democrat (we are not monolithic, you know), or they just downright hated Hilary. You surprised? You think White Republicans are the only ones who can’t stand the Clintons?
MAXINE: As an African-American, I voted for Hilary, but I have to tell you, I held my nose when I did it.
REPORTER: Interesting… how many members in your group? How many nationwide? Are they all in their seventies? Charles, you’re head of the membership drive, can you field my questions?
CHARLES: Sure. In the beginning, the group was made up of those who were part of the Civil Rights Movement and marched with Martin back in the day. We’re the generation that gained the most from Dr. King’s sacrifice and courage. We’re the ones who first got college educations in our families, first to become captains of our industries, and the first group of Black folks that lived better than our parents. As to membership, we had a hard time in the beginning getting people to join. A lot of our folks got lulled to sleep by the election of our first Black president. We were so busy patting ourselves on the back that we swallowed the lie that racism was dead now that a Black man was in the Oval Office. What we didn’t realize was that the racism was just in hiding underneath the veneer of a polite society, and the sight of a Black family in the White House made a large percentage of White America’s blood boil. By the time Trump came along and started his birther nonsense to discredit the legitimacy of President Obama, he whipped the haters into full White Supremacist frothy hysteria.
REPORTER: Of late, I’ve heard that you’ve had a membership surge and most of the new members to the WWMD club have been White. Do you think the birther issue woke them up to the danger of the eroding of Dr. King’s movement?
GEORGE: I can speak to that since I’m White and a new member. First of all, not all White people are racist. That really burns my cookies when people lump all White people together. We are not a monolithic group either. The way I figure it, only about 30% of us adhere to that racist BS. Most of us suffer from the sin of cluelessness. We figure if it hasn’t or isn’t happening to us than other people are fine also. We are clueless as to the daily racial sufferings (especially the micro aggressions) that Black people go through. I can drive by a Confederate flag, and I might not like it but it doesn’t affect me on a visceral level. I might even buy the bullshit that the flag represents my White neighbor’s heritage. On the other hand, my Black friends (notice I have more than one Black friend, thank you very much) tell me they get violently ill when they see that “in your face” marker of White Supremacy because it definitely represents their heritage—one of bondage, brutality, chains, and lynchings. I don’t want my grandchildren to inherit a Trump world and ideology that hurts people. I want them to love all races and be aware of what causes others pain. I joined after the debacle in Charlottesville, the wide-scale voter suppression in the Black communities in 2018, the growing revelations of police brutality, and the awareness of the growing income and educational disparity in the Black community.
MARY ANN: I’m White and a Born-Again Christian. I joined WWMD because I realized much too late that Trump was the leader of a cult and he had sucked out the soul and the brains of so many of my family and friends. The more Trump’s immoral character showed itself, the more my friends and relatives turned a blind eye and started imbibing the hate talk-radio rhetoric of the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Alex Jones. Many of them wear the bracelets WWJD (“What would Jesus do?”), but by the way they worship at the feet of the Liar-in-Chief, the answer is: Jesus would do absolutely nothing in response to Trump’s blatant immorality, and therefore neither will I. When the Christian Trumpers anointed him as the “Chosen One,” I joined WWMD to save my soul and find a place that honored good character, truth, and integrity before it was too late to find it in the public square or at the church altar.
REPORTER: Well, that’s a fascinating twist. Are there other White Christians in the room who can elaborate on that?
AMBER: Yes, I can. My name is Amber. I grew up in Evangelical Christianity. My parents were part of the Jesus Movement, and I thought I could ride out the stupidity of Trump idolatry when it hit our Pentecostal/Charismatic church. I figured the Church would wake up sooner or later and get back to enacting WWJD. But the more I waited, the more I noticed our collective soul and any intelligence we may have had slip-sliding away. I belonged to one of those mega churches who I now suspect support Trump because they lust after his money, the men lust after his fake-tit wife, and the women lust after the fake-tit wife’s glamorous life.
Anyway, I had halfway divorced my parents and had one foot out the door when I heard a woman on a “Christian” radio program who had called in to protest the fact that Michelle Obama had been named the most admired woman in the world for the second time in a row. The woman was apoplectic over what she perceived was a miscarriage of justice. She falsely accused Barack Obama of being a pedophile (in cahoots with the Clintons) and both the Obamas of being money launderers (because how else could they possibly have such nice stuff). The “Christian” prayer warrior proceeded to pray that God the Father would reveal the true identity of Michelle (who she knows for certain is a man whose name is Michael and Michelle secretly has a penis), and that God would further reveal that the Obama children are not theirs but Barack’s best friend (apparently, the kids are on loan to promote the ruse that the Obamas are a heterosexual, loving, Christian family). The woman could not understand how her fake-tit goddess (Melania Trump) could be overlooked by the world for a man in drag (i.e. Michelle Obama) when Melania is so beautiful, classy, and speaks seven languages. It seems the Jesus lover forgot about Melania’s butt-naked pictures that are all over the Internet and that she’s done nothing significant except plagiarize Michelle Obamas speech when she first came on the scene, and express to the world her callousness and disdain when visiting the traumatized children at the border.*
I screamed, “I’M OUT!” and I haven’t looked back.
REPORTER: Unfortunately, I know that conspiracy theory.* It’s been bouncing around Right-wing talk radio for years, and Trump’s base believes it hook, line, and sinker. The racism is mindboggling, but if so-called Christians can’t do what Jesus taught them to do, how can emulating Dr. King help you get beyond the anger and fear these types of conspiracy theories must engender? I mean, Dr. King said that he wanted African-Americans to be judged on their character. Who has demonstrated more outstanding character than the Obamas? Yet, when the haters can’t find any blemish in their character, they make up stuff.
MAXINE: Please… that crap doesn’t have anything to do with Jesus and he ain’t listenin’ to their idiotic prayers. My visceral reaction is to pummel this woman and everyone like her. But if I did that, my heart would turn to stone and I’d become as stupid as that woman. Martin (and Jesus—the God who Martin loved and served) would tell us to not embrace hatred but to love our enemies. So I pray for people like her. It ain’t easy, but I do it anyway.
BARBARA: I think loving the Trump supporters is a tall order. I’m just not there yet. What I can do and am doing to recoup Dr. King’s legacy is that I’m dispensing kindness to each and every person I meet along the way. Whether it’s a genuine smile to a stranger, helping someone in need, writing a note of encouragement or just not returning evil for evil—I know I’ve done something significant to push back the hatred that divides us as a country. Every time I hear of some hateful racist story against my people, I make an extra effort to be kind to those I know and don’t know. Maybe someday I’ll be like Martin and Jesus, for that matter, and learn to look into the darkness, fear not, and see the love emanating from my heart illuminating the dark hearts of the haters. That’s what Martin would do.
INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES ABOUT KINDNESS
“I shall pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer it or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”—Stephen Grellet
“I make mistakes daily, letting generalizations creep into my thoughts and negatively affect my behavior. These mistakes have taught me that the first step to successfully choosing kindness is being more mindful about it, letting go of impatience and intolerance along the way.”—Daniel Lubetzky
“Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.”—Og Mandino
ALL QUOTES COURTESY OF BRAINYQUOTES.COM
*The conspiracy story and the prayer that was spoken is true and the author of this blog vomited her lunch when she heard it. In fact, she’s still vomiting…
Eleanor Tomczyk is an author and a humorist who is an award-winning voice-over performer. In 2011, she created the blog, “How the Hell Did I End Up Here” which features mostly satirical posts that have thousands of readers around the world—although she was recently banned in Pakistan (for real!). Tomczyk’s three books were featured in a recent book festival: “Monsters’ Throwdown,” “Fleeing Oz,” and “The Fetus Chronicles—Podcasts to my Miseducated Self.” Currently in her 70s and living life like it is freakin’ golden, she is a consummate storyteller and much sought-after motivational speaker. If you don’t believe me, just ask her!
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