by Oscar Blayton
When I first heard that entertainer Ice Cube is supporting Donald Trump in his 2020 re-election bid, I did not believe it.
Cube is supposed to be someone whose lived experiences make him well aware of white supremacy. As a member of the hip-hop group N.W.A., he even co-wrote the lyrics to the 1988 song “F**k Tha Police.”
In addressing criticism after news broke that he is supporting the Republican presidential candidate, Cube said that it would not help us in the end if we did not “engage with both sides of the aisle to fix what I think is an American problem.”
“Taking a cursory glance at the Democratic Party, we see decades of broken promises, advisories to ‘go slow’ And a constant effort to win back moderately conservative voters who place little value on Black folk. ”
Unfortunately for us as Black Americans, the issue is not what side of the aisle we choose, but whether we want to condemn Americans, and particularly people of color, to four more years of a Trump presidency.
I will be the first to admit that the Democratic Party has failed people of color time and time again, but the Republican Party has all but declared war on us. We are now, as we usually find ourselves, stuck with having to choose between the lesser of two evils.
Ice Cube’s criticism of the Democratic Party is not without merit. But we must fight this fight to ultimately win. It has been – and will continue to be – a long hard climb over the rough terrain of white supremacy to reach our goals. And if we politically shoot ourselves in both kneecaps, the climb becomes that more difficult.
Yes, Joe Biden is a tone-deaf white guy who does not get it, despite his assurances that he does, and his campaign is riding his vice presidency under President Obama like a rented mule. But the alternative – another four years of Trump– is much, much worse.
With a Biden presidency, there is a better hope of getting this country back on track of aspiring to be a land of truth, decency and real justice. If we have to suffer through four more years of Donald Trump at the reins of government, we not only will be unable to free the brown children in cages, but the rest of us may very well be in cages.
Brittney Cooper, the brilliant professor of women’s and gender studies and Africana studies at Rutgers University, has raised an alarm over the fact that approximately 17% of young Black men are supportive of Donald Trump and it does not help when someone like Ice Cube is reported to have said, “The Trump administration is the group that is responsive to Black folks’ concerns.”
I have to agree with Brittney Cooper on this point. In what universe has Trump responded to the concerns of Black folk in a meaningful way? Cube has bought into Trump’s Platinum Plan for Black Americans, but a close look at that plan reveals that it is as bogus as Trump University.
It is extremely puzzling how someone who opposes the oppression of people of color can support a blatant racist. The answer is complicated. Ice Cube sees the lack of interest on the part of both political parties towards the well being and security of Black folk as being equally troubling. Taking a cursory glance at the Democratic Party, we see decades of broken promises, advisories to “go slow” and a constant effort to win back moderately conservative voters who place little value on Black folk.
Like Ice Cube, many young Black males have seen Black voters put elected officials into office only to be abandoned like the kid whose date only wanted a ride to the dance so she could flirt with other boys. These young Black men are not abandoning the Democratic Party. They have simply stopped knocking on the door and asking to be let in. But all Black folk must hold tightly to our survival instincts. You do not throw away the problematic and replace it with the lethal.
Yes, the Democratic party is ugly, and Joe Biden is no prize, but we are in a fight for our lives. We must vote like our lives depend upon it because they do. Ice Cube must understand that this is not the time to try to game some dangerously lethal huckster with the hope of getting over.
Oscar H. Blayton is a former Marine Corps combat pilot and human rights activist who practices law in Virginia.