In 1964, Martin Luther King Jr. published a book titled Why We Can’t Wait. In the book, he detailed the reasons why African-American people could not just wait out the horrible Jim Crow rules which burdened us as people. The book was very convincing. Soon, President Lyndon Johnson signed civil rights bills that would undo unfair discrimination against African-American people.
Years later, Johnson announced that he would not seek a second full term in the White House. His signing of the Civil Rights Bill brought us Richard Nixon and his Southern Plan, rolling back all of the concessions to African-Americans that we had gained under Johnson.
Fast-forward to 2019. The rising star of the coming presidential election season is Pete Buttigieg, a Harvard grad, Rhodes Scholar, young mayor of South Bend, Ind. and a deeply Christian married man, who seems unable to do any wrong. He is the first Democratic presidential candidate to take the Bill Maher challenge and go on Fox News.
I watched his interview a few Sundays ago on Fox Sunday with Chris Wallace and was mighty impressed by what I saw. Chris Wallace seemed to just gush with hope that Buttigieg would become the Democratic nominee for 2020. When Wallace joined his panel of guest pundits those panelists were just as gushingly complementary of the Indiana Wonder Boy.
I found it readily apparent that these — mostly Republican — people were just chomping at the bit for the Democrats to actually nominate Buttigieg as our standard bearer for 2020. As soon as we are suckered into making Mr. Buttigieg our nominee, these same people will kill him.
He doesn’t stand a chance. Why? Because Pete Buttigieg is gay.
All weekend, I watched an absolutely horribly heinous video of a large group of African-American people attacking an African-American transgender woman who was involved in a minor traffic accident at her South Dallas apartment complex. For two full minutes, Muhlaysia Booker was kicked, punched and stomped by a large group of African-American attackers shouting homophobic slurs.
These people, and many other African-Americans, would never vote for a white homosexual to become president of our country. And remember, it was the huge turnout of African-American voters that propelled Barack Obama’s win in 2008.
And, largely, where do African-Americans learn to hate gay people? In the African-American church. I have attended several African-American churches that deride homosexuals from the pulpit. Herman Murray is the pastor of the huge Full Gospel Holy Temple here in Dallas. I have sat in the pews there and heard him speak about the horrors of homosexuality week after week. Just Google “Herman Murray” and “homosexuality,” and you’ll will find video after video of the preacher directing hatred toward the LGBTQ community.
This hatred is repeated in pulpit after pulpit in churches all over this country. Robert Jeffress, pastor of Dallas’ megachurch First Baptist and Donald Trump’s chosen spiritual advisor, has preached hate-filled sermons constantly from his pulpit. Trump loves it. Last weekend, Trump’s transgender military ban became law.
Where were the protests? Where is the collective outrage? As far as I can tell, there was none. None.
Any campaign strategist can tell you that hate unites much more quickly and much more strongly than love. The people that love to hate gay people will be the biggest, most vocal group to unite against the Democrats if Buttigieg is chosen as the Democratic nominee this time around. Trump will paint the country red if Buttigieg is the nominee.
Oh, but things will change!
Buttigieg is only 37 years old. By the time he is 60, the millennials will have changed politics in this country for good. The country is a-changin’ even now. In 1996, a Gallup poll found that 27 percent of Americans supported gay marriage. In the latest poll, a whopping 67 percent of Americans support same-sex marriage.
So, why does this hatred linger in the African-American and “Christian” communities?
Let me tell you a story of a little boy that shows how quickly minds could be changed about sexuality and perceived sexuality. This child, an African-American, had attended school with a large population of white and Latino youth from second grade until sixth grade.
For his seventh grade school year, he was enrolled in a mostly African-American school. During his entire first year at the school, he was sexually assaulted in the school’s hallways by unseen hands grabbing his behind. These assaults happened all day, every day.
When school convened the next year, the boy had been assigned to a “High Academic Group” of brainiacs. This group of eighth-graders attended the same classes together all day, every day. One day the school principal came to the boy’s class and asked the students to make posters asking fellow students to please use trash cans placed in corridors. Instead of drawing a poster, this guy wrote a play about filthy rats taking over a town and making the town uninhabitable.
His English teacher read the play and showed it to the principal. The principal read it and decided that he wanted the play performed for the entire student body. So, the little playwright’s work was performed by his brainy classmates one day on the stage of the school’s auditorium.
Suddenly the little boy who had been called “punk” and worse the year before became a star. Later that year, he led a band that received rave reviews at the school’s talent show. The next year, he was president of the student council. In 10th grade, he was the only student council member who was not a senior. He skipped his junior year, and by his senior year he was Student Council vice president. He graduated at 16 with scholarship offers everywhere and became the first African-American regularly featured as a newspaper columnist for The University of Texas’ student daily, The Daily Texan.
So, given time, things will change. One day Buttigieg WILL BE PRESIDENT. Things change, people change. Things can change quickly. I know. I really personally know. That little boy in the story above? That was me.
James Dunn is a Dallas native who is a Dallas political activist, advocate for the homeless and political commentator on SoMetro Radio. His first novel, 6130 McShann Road, will be available on Amazon.com by the end of April.