There is most certainly no doubt that the Presidency of Barack Hussein Obama has been the most contentious and aggravating period that this nation has ever seen. Never before have we seen a President so embattled by his opponents who publicly stated that they would resist each effort and legislative measure that he put forth, even if his actions were aimed at uplifting the nation out of whatever crisis it was presently facing.
Let’s face facts, the criticism that President Obama has been at times maddening for his supporters and grossly unfair as even a blind man could see that it was emanating from one of the most grotesque forms of racial hatred that the world has ever seen. Even I laughed at angered whites’ contention that Obama had in fact increased racial animosity in America during his Presidential term; I found this assertion to be hilarious because it was at least partially true in the following manner. The fact that an African-American man was occupying the Oval Office increased what may have been insignificant levels of always present racial bias and animosity to a frenetic state within American whites who have been unable to find a space of psychological comfort during the Obama Presidency.
And to his credit, this regal, diplomatic, slow to anger President has taken all of the abuse and insults that a significant portion of white America has aimed at not only himself, but also his wife and children, as if it never occurred.
Although I am certain that he would never admit to this, there has to be some part of Obama that wants to exact some form of revenge upon his boisterous critics that would allow him to ride off into the sunset with a smile upon his face, if he did not have such feelings, he would not be of the human race.
It was this desire for some form of revenge upon what appears to be a nation of disrespectful whites and the fact that President Obama has been commuting unfair sentences at a historic rate — our President has granted clemency to more individuals during his time in the oval office than were issued over the past half-century — that the perfect revenge occurred to me. If President Obama REALLY wants to psychologically devastate whites, the path to such is relatively simple, commute the sentence of former Black Liberation Army member Assata Shakur.
When one considers the words of White House counsel Neil Eggleston that “I expect the president will continue to grant clemency in a historic and inspiring fashion” there is an opportunity that this could occur.
Unbeknownst to the vast majority of African-Americans and to the chagrin of American law enforcement agencies, Cuban President Fidel Castro granted former Black Panther Party for Self-Defense and Black Liberation Army leader Assata Shakur political asylum over thirty-years ago, she has been in Cuba ever since. To Castro’s credit, he has offered similar protection to many African-American political activists such as: Robert F. Williams, Huey P. Newton, William Lee Brent and Eldridge Cleaver. Despite the derisive statements that have been habitually propagated to the American public about the Cuban “dictator”, he has been steadfastly committed to offering refuge to African-Americans who were obviously being unjustly persecuted by the American judicial system. From American politicians and law enforcement officials perspective, the Cuban leader’s granting of a safe haven for African-American activists being persecuted for no other reason than their resistance to white world supremacy serves as a permanent inexcusable blemish on his, and his nation’s, record.
Make no mistake about it; the pursuit of Assata Shakur undoubtedly displays the indomitable will of American law enforcement officials and agencies at Federal, State, and local levels. I am certain that you are wondering why the United States Government has placed a sixty-seven year old grandmother on the FBI’s Most Wanted List.
The answer to the above question revolves around a shootout between members of the Black Liberation Army and the New Jersey State Highway Patrol on May 2, 1973. Although there are conflicting stories regarding what occurred during the altercation, there are several things that are factual and therefore unchanging. Facts state that a New Jersey State Trooper stopped a vehicle carrying three members of the Black Liberation Army, Assata Shakur was a passenger in this vehicle and wanted by law enforcement agencies for her determination to secure the liberation and salvation of her people, a dedication that led to her assuming a prominent role in the Black Power movement. Law enforcement agencies alleged that Assata was “the mother hen who kept them all shooting.” Evidence gathered from not only the scene, but also the hospital that Shakur was taken to after being shot by a New Jersey State Trooper, definitively prove several things: (a) she had not fired a weapon that night, (b) she had been shot while sitting in the vehicle that she was traveling in, (c) she was shot with her hands up, and (d) she was partially paralyzed along one side of her body as a result of nerve damage caused by the trooper’s bullets. However, little of that mattered as the State of New Jersey decided that Assata Shakur must pay for the murder of a New Jersey state trooper.
Further aggravating American law enforcement agencies is not only the swell of support Assata Shakur received while she stood trial for the aforementioned incident, but also her subsequent escape from a maximum security facility after a murder conviction. Making matters worse for law enforcement officials was the reality that they were never able to re-capture Assata during the five years between her harrowing prison escape and her unceremonious arrival in Cuba.
This failure has served as a consistent irritant to Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies. The greatest indicator that American law enforcement agencies, as well as this nation’s elected officials, are still riled by Assata Shakur’s escape has been their repeated attempts to recapture Shakur. For example,
- In 1998, the United States House of Representatives passed Concurrent Resolution 254 that requested that the Cuban Castro-led Government expeditiously return Assata Shakur to America. The measure passed with a 371 (yea) – 0 (Nay) vote.
- In the same year, the United States Senate passed the same piece of legislation, Concurrent Resolution 254, by a unanimous vote.
- In 2005, the United States Department of Justice entered the fray in a major way when they increased an already hefty award for Assata Shakurs capture to $1,000,000.00
- In 2013, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, that was headed by the tyrannical J. Edgar Hoover and his Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) when the pursuit of Shakur began, not only placed Assata on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist List, but also raised the bounty on her head to $2,000,000.00. The FBI now characterizes Shakur as a ‘domestic terrorist.’
I was not surprised at former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s attempts to not only set a political tone and tenor that he hopes would lead to the capture of Assata Shakur, but also the immoral manner in which he attempts to hold the future of American/Cuban relations hostage. Christie went so far as to send a letter to President Obama demanding that Assata Shakurs return by the Cuban government must be a pre-requisite to any diplomatic relations. Put simply, if the Cuban government does not surrender a 67 year old Assata Shakur, it will continue in its current status as a rogue nation being greatly affected by U.S. economic embargoes.
Christie writes to President Obama, “I do not share your view that restoring diplomatic relations without a clear commitment from the Cuban government of the steps they will take to reverse decades of human rights violations will result in a better and more just Cuba for its people…there is an opportunity for Cuba and its government to show the American people it is serious about change…I urge you to demand the immediate return of Chesimard (Assata Shakur) before any further consideration of restoration of diplomatic relations with the Cuban government.”
Put simply, Governor Christie, and those that he represents are publicly pledging their continued commitment to capturing Assata Shakur ‘by any means necessary.’ Unfortunately for Christie, he fails to realize that the capture and incarceration of Assata Shakur will be resisted by politicized African-Americans for reasons that are too numerous to be listed here.
However, the irony of the self-righteous manner that white elected officials and law enforcement officers will go to exact revenge upon those they feel have done them wrong is most certainly not accessible to all American protesters. One only needs to examine the voluminous intolerance that protesters repeatedly experience during their peaceful protests of the murders of Black people in American streets for verification of the inconsistent application of theoretical principles such as freedom of speech that this nation hangs its hat upon. Unfortunately for American law enforcement agencies, their credibility has been compromised to the point that even law abiding citizens have begun to view their actions as little more than political ploys designed to curb dissent.
So at this moment, I think that it is imperative that our community uses every means available to encourage President Obama to strike a significant blow for the African-American community by commuting or doing everything in his power to liberate Assata Shakur. Trust me when I say this, it would be a reasonable response to the horrific treatment that whites have unleashed on President Obama throughout his entire tenure in the White House. When one considers that revenge is a dish best served cold, I believe that forty-three years is a sufficient period to allow a dish to cool.
©Manhood, Race and Culture, 2016