“But somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of the press. Somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for right.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr—“I’ve Been To The Mountain Top,” April 3, 1968
It is my privilege to welcome you to “The Hobbservation Point,” a blog many years in the making that will allow me to deliver my perspectives on the hottest topics in American politics directly to my devoted and soon to be devoted readers— free from censorship by traditional and social media brass that allow all manners of ignorance to inhabit their message boards and timelines, but who are quick to cut, delete, reject, suspend and stifle insightful thoughts from cutting edge writers and artists whose politics or political affiliations differ from their own.
When I write “many years in the making,” please know that such is not hyperbole. Since childhood, I have been an avid reader, writer and news enthusiast. Long before I knew what a Pulitzer Prize was—let alone received a nomination as I have this year and earlier in 2011—way back in fourth grade, I earned a first place plaque and a $50.00 U.S. Savings Bond from the Tallahassee Ebonettes for a Mother’s Day essay that I wrote explaining why my mother was the best in the world. Indeed, whenever social media friends pose questions such as “what was your favorite academic subject(s) as a kid,” mine were plural: history, English, and current events.
By the time that my senior year in high school rolled around, my weeks were incomplete if I had not read the latest Time, Newsweek, National Review , U.S. News & World Report, and the local Tallahassee Democrat and Capital Outlook newspapers. My favorite writers included conservatives William F. Buckley Jr (RIP) and George Will, and on the left, the late William Raspberry (RIP) and Roosevelt Wilson, the Capital Outlook editor and longtime Florida A&M University journalism professor. While my childhood goal always was to become a lawyer (accomplished) and politician (meh), somewhere in the back of my mind, I always knew that my future would include writing if not as a hobby, then as an avocation unto itself.
During my sophomore year at Morehouse College, I was granted a coveted editorial space in the “Maroon Tiger” newspaper, the same one that allowed a young Martin Luther King, Jr. and Lerone Bennett to hone their legendary talents as undergrads. As my politics were decidedly conservative at the time, my very first article was in support of Clarence Thomas, a black conservative who had been nominated by President George H.W. Bush to succeed civil rights legend Thurgood Marshall on the United States Supreme Court.
Invariably, I reasoned that Thomas’ sin was being a black man who readily identified with the core tenets of conservatism that by and large were interwoven into the Republican Party. My position, one fomented by being the son of an Army officer that was raised in the Baptist tradition, was strongly opposed by many of my Morehouse brothers and other friends at the Atlanta University Center whose views were clearly far more progressive than my own at the time. Cognizant that the true purpose of education is to foster intellectual growth through book learning and experiences, I can now look back at some of my articles from the early 90’s and realize that I was both extremely conservative and extremely naïve with respect to the insidious nature of race in politics; it is funny to observe how the 18 year old racial optimist at Morehouse was almost a skeptic by the time I graduated from law school at the University of Florida as one of the more controversial editorial writers on staff of the “Independent Florida Alligator.” For example, at Morehouse, I was known to make comments about ending appeals for death row inmates and instituting an electric couch to electrocute folks more quickly, but at UF Law, I developed into an ardent death penalty opponent once I fully understood how lynching and state sponsored executions have always (and remain) skewed along racial lines.
For these and other reasons, “The Hobbservation Point” comes at a perfect time for me to make a record for my descendants and the descendants of my readers so that they can know how at least one cogent thinking black man viewed the critical issues in the Age of Trump, the 45th President of the United States who often will be referred to on this blog site as “45″ due to my lingering beef with the gross disrespect that then Citizen Trump showed to former President Barack Obama with regards to the “Birther” issue. To our collective chagrin, hardly a week passes when 45 does not take to Twitter to question legitimate reports about his latest gaffe or deliberate deception by calling such “fake news” that is propagated by a “liberal media” that is “still angry that Hillary Clinton lost in a landslide” last November. Millions of his devotees fall in love all over again when he taunts the “Failing New York Times” or “Fake News CNN,” and they are downright giddy to see media outlets like the “alt-right” (read-racist) Breitbart.com or Washington Times gain more access to the Trump administration than the Washington Post.
Trump’s actions are dangerous because he has escalated the war between “their” media and “our media,” a concept that was unfathomable for those of us who remember a time when it was simply just “the news.” Now, to avoid neo-naiveté, even back in the day all was not rosy with the media, as the late civil rights leader Malcolm X once noted, “If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” Verily, Brother Malcom’s words often spring to mind whenever I listen to the likes of 45’s favorite “media” surrogates Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, both college dropouts who have earned fortunes as “journalists” who not only denigrate the Fourth Estate as an institution, but ones who make anti-intellectualism immensely popular among their core listeners. These “journalists,” and others like them of lesser fame, are directly responsible for inculcating a climate that allowed Trump to rise by using a platform of racism, sexism, religious bigotry and jingoism. To men and women of this ilk, even when 45 and his surrogates are caught in lies on tape, these ones still believe that the media airing the lies are “fake” and “anti-American.” As a proud freelance journalist, it will be my privilege to blast 45 and his Republican cronies for the ugliest, uglier, and ugly acts that they attempt over the next few years, while also being willing to give honest praise in the event they get it right on occasion (even a broken clock is right twice a day).
So again, welcome to my new blog, one that will resist ignorance, intolerance and insouciance on a regular basis. Yes, I will continue to write for “The Hill” and “The Grio” and any other outlet that is willing to ensure that I get paid in full. But home base for Ol’ Hobbs will remain right here at “The Hobbservation Point” and I look forward to embarking upon this journey with you all as we seek to make America safe for intellectual discourse again.