FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Racism in the Secret Service?

My Nicaraguan barber entered the United States when she was nineteen. She’s done very well. She and her husband live in a Spanish styled home in the Oakland Hills. Their children are achievers, and their grandchildren are into soccer. Without prompting from me, during my most recent haircut, she expressed her concern that Obama and his family might be harmed before he completes his term. I heard the same thing from an actor in mid Oct. We were having lunch at the Butterwood restaurant; a former speakeasy discovered during the renovation of Buffalo’s Lafayette Hotel. The hotel’s architect, Louise Bethune is the subject of my spouse, Carla Blank’s book, “Storming The Old Boy’s Citadel.”  In April of 2014, he was a member of the Broadway cast that featured Denzel Washington in a revival of Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin In The Sun.” He voiced the same concern. That Obama might not be protected from those who wish to assassinate him. And then on Oct. 26, 2014, I was sitting in front of a Hispanic novelist, who’d just received an American Book Award. He’s also worried about the safety of the first family.

Of course, it’s impossible to extrapolate from the views of these few, the opinions held by some of those who form the president’s supporters. However, based on some soundings I detected from some black voters on April 19th, 1998, I was the first to suggest in The Baltimore Sun that some blacks saw President Clinton as a black president.

For some, whatever policy accomplishments have been made by this president are done, with the nullification of his presidency by the
completealiSenate’s neo-confederate caucus, and the vitriol that he has received from the media, both from the right and from the left, he will be essentially be a one term president. One morning commentator, whose ratings are in the tank, announced, hysterically, that the president has “failed, horribly,” even though the U.S. economy leaped to 3.5 percent in the third quarter, unemployment is down, the number of those without health insurance is down. The Iraqi army, which MSNBC and CNN “middle east experts” have dismissed as “cowards” is making gains against ISIS.

With the series of security lapses including a couple that crashed a white house event in 2009; the 2011 firing of shots at the Truman balcony, and an intruder who reached the first floor of the white house through the North Portico door in 2014, are the worries of the barber, actor and novelist justified? The most recent incident, which saw two secret service men crash their car into a crime scene, classified as such because a woman tossed a package onto the White House lawn and called it a bomb.

Abraham Bolden, a black secret service man, assigned to President Kennedy, and chosen by the president, said that he was accosted with racial epithets from some of the men who guarded the president. He claims that as a result of his warning of their drinking, womanizing, and their sloppy regard for the president’s safety, he was framed and sent to prison. In his book, The Echo from Dealey Plaza, he describes the scene in a car headed toward Hyannis Port. “The smell of alcohol filled the car, and it seemed to me that several of the agents were slurring their speech and showing other effects of their in-flight drinking. At least three of them were clearly in no condition to respond properly to any emergency that might develop.” Reading this, I was reminded that some of the president’s secret service were involved in drinking and prostitution scandals in 2012,2013. Bolden asserts that the president died because of the failure of the security around him, “a situation that some of us saw coming.”

Bolden quoted some secret service men, who were opposed to Kennedy’s support for Civil Rights, as saying that they would not take a bullet for the president.

One White House intruder, who was in possession of a knife, could have been stopped by the secret service men guarding the president if the dogs had been unleashed. Their explanation was that the dog might have bitten one of them. With this comment are they saying that they wouldn’t take a dog bite for the president?

Maybe this is why some of those who cheered the election of the first black president will be relieved when his term is over.

Ishmael Reed edits Konch. His new book “ The Complete Muhammad Ali”  will be published in July. It’s up for pre-order at Amazon.

 

More articles by:

Ishmael Reed is the author of The Complete Muhammad Ali.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

April 25, 2019
Marc Levy
All My Vexes Are in Texas
Jim Kavanagh
Avoiding Assange
Michael D. Yates
The Road Beckons
Julian Vigo
Notre Dame Shows the Unifying Force of Culture, Grenfell Reveals the Corruption of Government
Ted Rall
Democratic Refusal to Impeach Could Be Disastrous
Tracey Harris
Lessons Learned From the Tiny House Movement
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Human Flourishing (Eudaimonia): an Antidote to Extinction?
Dana Johnson
Buyer Beware: Hovercraft Ruling Deals a Major Blow to Land Conservation in Alaska
Norman Solomon
Joe Biden: Puffery vs. Reality
Jen Marlowe
The Palestine Marathon
Binoy Kampmark
Lethal Bungling: Sri Lanka’s Easter Bombings
Michael Slager
“Where’s Your Plan?” Legalized Bribery and Climate Change
Jesse Jackson
Trump Plunges the US Deeper Into Forgotten Wars
George Wuerthner
BLM Grazing Decision Will Damage the Owyhee Canyonlands Wilderness
April 24, 2019
Susan Babbitt
Disdain and Dignity: An Old (Anti-Imperialist) Story
Adam Jonas Horowitz
Letter to the Emperor
Lawrence Davidson
A Decisive Struggle For Our Future
John Steppling
The Mandate for Israel: Keep the Arabs Down
Victor Grossman
Many Feet
Cira Pascual Marquina
The Commune is the Supreme Expression of Participatory Democracy: a Conversation with Anacaona Marin of El Panal Commune
Binoy Kampmark
Failed States and Militias: General Khalifa Haftar Moves on Tripoli
Dean Baker
Payments to Hospitals Aren’t Going to Hospital Buildings
Alvaro Huerta
Top Ten List in Defense of MEChA
Colin Todhunter
As the 2019 Indian General Election Takes Place, Are the Nation’s Farmers Being Dealt a Knock-Out Blow?
Charlie Gers
Trump’s Transgender Troops Ban is un-American and Inhumane
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Just Another Spring in Progress?
Thomas Knapp
On Obstruction, the Mueller Report is Clintonesque
Elliot Sperber
Every Truck’s a Garbage Truck
April 23, 2019
Peter Bolton
The Monroe Doctrine is Back, and as the Latest US Attack on Cuba Shows, Its Purpose is to Serve the Neoliberal Order
David Schultz
The Mueller Report: Trump Too Inept to Obstruct Justice
Geoff Beckman
Crazy Uncle Joe and the Can’t We All Just Get Along Democrats
Medea Benjamin
Activists Protect DC Venezuelan Embassy from US-supported Coup
Patrick Cockburn
What Revolutionaries in the Middle East Have Learned Since the Arab Spring
Jim Goodman
Don’t Fall for the Hype of Free Trade Agreements
Lance Olsen
Climate and Forests: Land Managers Must Adapt, and Conservationists, Too
William Minter
The Coming Ebola Epidemic
Tony McKenna
Stephen King’s IT: a 2019 Retrospective
David Swanson
Pentagon Claims 1,100 High Schools Bar Recruiters; Peace Activists Offer $1,000 Award If Any Such School Can Be Found
Gary Olson
A Few Comments on the recent PBS Series: Reconstruction: America After the Civil War
April 22, 2019
Melvin Goodman
The NYTs Tries to Rehabilitate Bloody Gina Haspel
Robert Fisk
After ISIS, a Divided Iraq, Wounded and Grief-Stricken
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange as Neuroses
John Laforge
Chernobyl’s Deadly Effects Estimates Vary
Kenneth Surin
Mueller Time? Not for Now
Cesar Chelala
Yemen: The Triumph of Barbarism
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail