I started thinking about who lives in my inner city Philly neighborhood. Then I thought about my inner city Atlanta neighborhood–and Houston and Memphis and Dallas and St. Louis and all the places I lived. I also thought about men I worked with to organize their workplaces and communities.
Then I thought about other Black men in the churches I’ve worshiped in. That made me think about the “inner city men” who not only work, but pay the tithes and father their kids, and go to their kids’ ball games, plays, and dance recitals. The men who vote and often hold two shitty jobs, neither of which pays a damn.
I think about West Philly and how the earliest trolleys are the most full.
Who does Ryan and Priebus think plows their streets, cleans the sidewalks, patches the potholes, digs the building foundations, drives the trucks and drives the nails?
Who cares for the sick, cleans up the mentally ill when they get to the psych wards, drives the buses and fixes the buses and drives the cabs 12 hours a day?
Who mops the hospital floors and inserts the catheters and takes your orders and carries your bags and loads the planes and trains, answers all your 911 calls when your coiffed ass is screaming, runs what factories are left, and takes care of the parks and cemeteries?
And you, Paul Ryan and Reince Priebus, don’t even see them because your kinda people never saw them or even me because we work, really work, not play work and we’re darker–some of us– than you.
We are things to be ordered around. You toss us your keys. You cut our wages and our retirement and when we get old or hurt, you wanna throw us away like a mule that can’t pull the plow any more.
And then you brag about your family values and how much better you are than the rest of us and how holy you are. If you ever came across Jesus or a prophet, you wouldn’t see them either.
Yet, you think you should run this country.
Photo source: Photo by Mallory Benedict/PBS NewsHour on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)