by Mack Williams
15 July 2016
I. Melissa Harris-Perry
Hats off to BET – which has fumbled the ball on the news side time and time again – for picking up MSNBC’s fumble by hiring the brilliant Melissa Harris-Perry, who will co-anchor coverage at the Republican and Democratic conventions. She should have a lot of topics to discuss next week in Cleveland, not the least of which being Donald Trump’s refusal to address the NAACP convention.
As a long-time NAACP member and officeholder, I realize that the convention is basically a week later than it often is, and there are, in fact, overlapping days with the Republican convention – but it seems to me that if you’re a billionaire able to “self-fund” much of the campaign to date, a quick flight from Cleveland to Cincinnati (site of the NAACP convention) would be an excellent use of time and money.
Donald Trump has claimed he will get 25 percent of the Black vote; to that end, where would he find a better place to speak than at the convention of the oldest, biggest and baddest civil rights organization in the country? Decisions like this might help make his percentage wind up closer to 0.25%. I’m sure Melissa will have something to say about this.
Perhaps Mr. Trump is afraid he might get schooled by some of the NAACP conventioneers about #BlackLivesMatter. At the NAACP, an interracial organization founded by an interracial group of people, we know that all lives matter, and that saying that Black lives matter is not meant to denigrate anyone else.
There’s actually a word missing when “Black Lives Matter” is said, and that word is “also.” We know – and society has shown – that other lives matter; now the goal is to make sure that Black lives are afforded the same respect.
III. How You Doin’?
Big hats off to Wendy Williams, who was big enough to admit she was wrong about the need for the NAACP, HBCUs, and other predominantly African-American institutions that emerged as a result of discrimination – and big enough to have Roland Martin (who called her out on his TV One morning show last week) on as a guest yesterday. Some other public figures, who are loathe to admit error, should take note.
IV. Bernie Sanders
Hats off as well to Sen. Bernie Sanders, who ran a great campaign during the primaries and, similar to the campaign of Rev. Jesse Jackson in 1988, brought issues to the forefront and, ultimately to the platform, that were not being discussed.
Sanders, who endorsed Jackson in 1988, engaged many young people and new voters and made many people of all ages Feel The Bern. But now it’s time…
V. Dancing Without The Stars
If you happen to be looking for a lot of the people who have been the faces of the Republican Party during the last 25-30 years, the place to look will not be at the Republican Convention. Ronald Reagan is dead, so obviously he won’t be there, but his vice-president that followed him as president, George H.W. Bush, is very much alive, and he won’t be there.
Neither will George W. Bush, John McCain or Mitt Romney…which means that four of the last five Republican presidential candidates are skipping the convention. Ohio Gov. John Kasich – and remember, it’s taking place in Cleveland – is staying away, too.
MIA as well will be Senators Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and Lindsey Graham, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former Governors Jeb Bush and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and a host of other Republican officials. What could it be that is keeping them away?
VI. Et Tu, Brute?
When African-American conservative Republican Sen. Tim Scott speaks of racial profiling he has experienced, you know there must be something there. I wonder what they will say to him?
VII. Big Papi
Although I am not one with a vote, I know there is a voters bias against selecting a full time DH as American League MVP. If they could get around that, David Ortiz would have to merit serious consideration if he has a second half like his first.
Big Papi’s season so far has been incredible for anyone, much less a 40-year-old, but even more so in that it is his final season. Is he in the midst of the greatest swan song season in sports? Let’s check it out…
Fellow Red Sox great Ted Williams, at 41, hit .316 with 29 homers and 72 RBI in 113 games. Sandy Koufax ended his Dodger career with a monster season unlike any we’ll ever see again, starting 41 games and completing 27 with a 27-9 record and a 1.73 ERA, striking out 317 batters. But Koufax stepped off the field at age 30, so he really can’t be judged with these other guys. Same with the Detroit Lions’ Calvin “Megatron” Johnson, who had an 88 reception, 1,214 yard season prior to his unexpected retirement, also at age 30.
In the NHL, Mark Messier had a solid season at 43, 18 goals and 25 assists, while Wayne Gretzky finished at 38 with 9 goals and 53 assists. San Antonio Spurs great David Robinson had his weakest season at 37, but walked off his career with a 17 point, 17 rebound game as the Spurs won the NBA championship. Of course, we just witnessed Kobe Bryant’s 60 point final game, but it was at the end of his worst season.
So we are arguably witnessing the best Final season ever. Appreciate it.