Yeah, I know; Veterans Day 2023 has come and gone. And so has all the over-the-top veteran love. Happens every year. Every commercial, every professional and college sporting event, every news talking head and every politician shares live or recorded or posted words of support for U.S. veterans on Veterans Day. Then afterward… silence. That’s symbolic of the party of supposed patriotism – the GOP. They’ve branded themselves protectors of veterans, but their voting record shows the exact opposite. At the national and state levels, across the country, Democrats, whom Republicans always label as “un-American,” constantly push for better veteran healthcare, efforts to end veteran homelessness, veteran job assistance programs, etc. And every time, their efforts are shot down by Republicans. Don’t believe me. Look it up for yourself. As a nation, we need to decide: Are we gonna keep being all pomp and no circumstance regarding veterans, or are we gonna actually treat them via laws and policies in a way that reflects all the rhetoric?
According to Nov. 2023 Houston/Harris County election stats, only 17% of eligible Black voters voted. That means more than eight out of 10 eligible Black voters didn’t cast a ballot. At a season when white nationalists, who stand opposed to every issue Blackfolk care about and who are in the minority in terms of voting numbers, are using devious measures to block criminal justice reform, gun reform, universal healthcare, student loan forgiveness, etc. on the federal and state levels, our only real protection is controlling local politics. Because the nation’s largest cities are “blue,” including Houston, they avoided much (though not all) of the hyper-conservative, white nationalist policies enacted by the GOP. Protecting cities we control politically is like our last line of defense against anti-democratic, apartheid-style rule in Harris County. With just 20% of eligible Black voters showing up, we can protect this house. If we dared get 30-50% Black voter turnout, we’d win every local and state election. We should be embarrassed about that 17% number. We can do better. We must. And we have a shot at redemption on Dec. 9.
MISSING MS. CHAG
When I joined the Defender family, Ms. Chag was still doing “Chag’s Place” on a weekly basis. As the new kid, Ms. Chag welcomed me immediately with open arms. When she retired, I was one of the folk asked to take over covering events in Houston. And every event I covered, I was guaranteed to have someone come up to me and ask, “Hey, where’s Ms. Chag? I thought this was her beat.” I’m talking years and years after she retired, folk were still expecting and wanting to see the legendary Ms. Chag. Even after she left the Defender, we kept in contact via Facebook. She cheered on my family’s successes and mourned our losses. She often shared notes of support for various articles or editorials I wrote that she really liked. The fact that this living legend was taking the time out of her day to read my words was victory enough. But to also receive her words of praise was just icing on the cake. I could literally feel her infectious energy through her posts. I’m gonna miss that. I’m gonna miss Ms. Chag.