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Anger and angst in America and Compton, too!

Sinking into the morass of anger, hatred

Sinking into the morass of anger, hatred… and still more anger

LOOKING ACROSS AMERICA, I don’t think I’ve ever quite seen the degree of anger we are currently experiencing in this nation. Right now love is in short supply. It’s a HATERS world, right now! This virulent spirit of hate may be the catalyst for the murderous, mean-spirited, surge in police violence against Black Americans. It may be the cause of the vitriol spewed against Mexican immigrants by people like the likes of billionaire Donald Trump.

It most absolutely has that damnable FOX News Network by the tongue. It even shows in their countenance — they even look angry!

Some say the swirling hatred all began with the historic election of Barack H. Obama as the first African American president in American history. I don’t agree that the problem started there — America has always had haters — but I will agree that a Black First Family in the White House was the fuel for the conflagration that we now experience. It erupted in Congress with the Republicans who were determined to see President Obama go down in flames. The Tea Party added its elixir to that; respect for the president plummeted to an all-time low, and it’s been downhill in America ever since.

What must other nations think of the U.S. in 2015? Certainly not “United!”

But the absolute tragedy is this anger — this madness resonates worse in Black America, where if anyone should come together, it should be here! We see it almost daily in our community. The sheer numbers of people in Compton and South L.A., who are harmed by someone who looks like them testifies to that. And it’s not just on the “street.” It’s in the halls of power, too, gurgling among people who are supposed to be intelligent and have the community welfare at heart.

The street gangs battle and it’s something we’ve come to understand as a general disregard for themselves, for things “black”—a wholesale lack of self-esteem. But, what’s the excuse for the educated set, the ones who know better than to fall for the okie-doke by the dominant culture that “White men are like supermen,” and “blonds really do have more fun” — and that Black is nothing short of worthless.

There are too many books on the tremendous contributions by Black culture to the world; Too many examples of Black success in America, today, to sink in that bog.  Bearing this in mind, why has the so-called “educated” leadership (in and out of office) in Compton continued to squabble like petulant children for decades from one mayor to the next; one councilperson to the next; city manager after city manager with irritating gadflies hovering about the mess like dung beetles?

I have continually watched the outgoing leadership deride the new leadership. It is a tired, old narrative that reflects poorly on the City, which has consistently received low grades for its inability to fix the city.

Most of the individuals on both sides of the aisle purport to be Children of God, Christian believers who seek the guidance of God. If that’s true, God isn’t pleased because there’s too much confusion. Evidently, someone’s listing to that other fella; the “author of confusion” as the Word describes him, the one who’s got the nation in a flux.

There are some hypocrites afoot in Compton running here and there kicking up a ruckus, not meaning well, hellbent on stealing (peace) and fostering destruction. If these individuals really wanted to cure Compton’s ills, they might get behind the current leadership for the general good, as some of these same individuals say about the GOP and Tea Party rabble-rousers who refuse to unite behind President Obama for the good of America. Well, the same would seem to apply here. I’m not taking sides, but a united Compton would help expedite the healing.

Perhaps the nation and Compton needs an old-fashioned revival, a deliverance movement to break down the principality that has taken residency among us. But, people would have to first recognize they are errant. That might be a difficult persuasion for the whole country, but many of the contentious element in Compton claim to be on the side of a righteous God—then let Him work! But, that’s a subject for another column.

In November 2014 the city was ranked by a nonpartisan think tank as the most financially distressed city in California. The California Policy Center and Civic Partner, a firm that collects and analyzes municipal financial data, said at the time that Compton was the most financially distressed municipality in California. In 2011, Compton’s general fund had a $40-million deficit because for years officials used the city’s water, sewer and retirement funds when the general fund ran short on cash, the report said. Compton was on the brink of bankruptcy three years ago.

The then city manager G. Harold Duffey disputed the report as a headline grabber. Before he was fired by the city, he said, “The most significant issue is that this sensationalized information out there could impact the city’s creditworthiness. The city council has worked diligently to return the city from this financial black eye. The city is in a much better position than it was years ago.”

A lot of the credit has to go to the current mayor and council. To her credit, Mayor Aja Brown, who has been at the helm two years, has lead the city on a course to recovery from the worst fiscal condition in its 126-year history. Mayor Brown shared plans at the recent State of the City address that on the face points to movement in the right direction. Many declared the information to be lies and deceit. Seems to me, a better response would be to give it a few months and adopt a wait-and-see posture.

After all, Mayor Brown is the current pilot and the city is still at altitude.

Jarrette Fellows, Jr. is Publisher and Editor of Compton Herald. He attended junior and senior high school in Compton, and is an alumnus of California State University, Los Angeles.

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