I had a fantastic day in Jackson, MS, with conservative grassroots members of the Convention of States movement. I finally got the opportunity to meet and spend time with Mark Meckler who has built an incredible organization. But I was thoroughly impressed with the dedication of the volunteers who believe in the Article V principle of our Founding Fathers as enshrined in the US Constitution.
Think about it, a black kid, born in 1961, raised in Atlanta, GA, earned the opportunity to be recognized by the Mississippi State Senate, deliver the opening prayer and Pledge of Allegiance for the Mississippi State House, and gave a speech in the second-floor rotunda of the Mississippi State Capitol. To top it all off, I was presented a copy of the Mississippi House of Representatives Resolution Number 45.
What was most gratifying for me was to hear a local black pastor assert that I was a role model and an example for young Black men to follow. There I was in the State Capitol of Mississippi, 58 years after my birth, and it was not about the color of my skin, but the character, drive, and determination instilled in me by my loving parents, Herman “Buck” and Elizabeth “Snooks” West. There I was standing in the State Capitol of Mississippi, the kid from Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward neighborhood — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s neighborhood — the living embodiment of his “I Have A Dream” speech.
From those humble beginnings, I have been able to rise up and show that with faith, family, individual liberty, quality education, and service to this nation, the promise of the American dream can be realized. Yes, Blacks, Whites, and Hispanics joined together to advocate for the restoration of our system of federalism, and support of our US Constitution, in the State Capitol of Mississippi. We were bound together by our common principles, values, and beliefs in this Republic . . . not divided by physical characteristics.
How better to bring witness against the belief in racism than to overcome it with personal responsibility and a refusal to accept the soft bigotry of low expectations. That is what happened in my life in Jackson, Mississippi, on one end of US Interstate 55.
But, to the north, on the other end of I-55 there was a very different scene unfolding. It was a scene that did not celebrate our triumph as a nation but sought to leverage the dark times for selfish gain.
As reported by Fox News:
“Jussie Smollett’s legal team on Thursday criticized the Chicago Police for what the department referred to as the “Empire” actor’s “phony attack.”
Superintendent Eddie Johnson said at a news conference that Smollett orchestrated the incident, in which he claimed he was assaulted by two men in late January, in order to take “advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career.”
In a statement obtained by Fox News, the 36-year-old Smollett’s legal counsel said the nation “witnessed an organized law enforcement spectacle that has no place in the American legal system.”
“The presumption of innocence, a bedrock in the search for justice, was trampled upon at the expense of Mr. Smollett and notably, on the eve of a Mayoral election,” his team continued.
“Mr. Smollett is a young man of impeccable character and integrity who fiercely and solemnly maintains his innocence betrayed by a system that apparently wants to skip due process and proceed directly to sentencing.”
Smollett was charged Wednesday night with felony disorderly conduct and turned himself in at central booking early Thursday. If convicted, he faces up to three years in prison.
A judge set Smollett’s bond for $100,000 later on Thursday. While Smollett is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, the police superintendent implied that Smollett did, in fact, fake the attack.
“This is shameful because it painted this city that we all love and work hard in, in a negative connotation,” Johnson said.
“To insinuate and stage a hate crime of that nature when he knew that as a celebrity he’d get a lot of attention . . . It’s despicable. It makes you wonder what’s going through someone’s mind.”
First of all, I find it very disingenuous to hear folks crowing about due process, that which was denied to Judge — now Justice — Brett Kavanaugh. As well, we can already see how the spin will come about in this case of Jussie Smollett: demonize the Chicago Police Department. How pathetic that the legal defense team for Smollett has castigated the hard investigative work of the Chicago PD as “an organized law enforcement spectacle.” I tend to believe the only spectacle to be witnessed was the immediate response from the usual suspects from the progressive socialist left who seek to divide, not unify.
However, what is most telling is that on the northern end of I-55 there was a black man attempting to revive the most hurtful images from the dark times of the black community in America. Yes, it appears that the evidence mounting against Smollett is damning. Why would anyone, allegedly, stoke racial flames and seek to remind us of the most dangerous symbol of horror, a lynching noose?
What was there to gain from this, alleged, staged incident? Can you imagine what could have been the worst-case scenario to come from this alleged incident? What if people had taken to the streets in riot and protest? What if others had been hurt, even killed, because of this alleged, fake, staged, incident? How would we have categorized this?
I wrote a piece yesterday, “Jussie Smollett and How the Left Rolls.” This alleged incident for which Jussie Smollett has been charged cannot just be swept under a rug, forgotten in the ever-evolving news cycle. Ya know, we are not talking about ol’ blackface Ralph Northam anymore are we? If the Smollett case is dismissed or cast aside, then we can expect more of these tragedies to occur.
There was not a cacophony of media all over the Mississippi State Capitol yesterday. American news outlets tend to underreport triumphs in America, certainly as much as we focus on the tragic. Maybe that is why so many of our young people lose hope? But, as I flew back from Jackson to Dallas, the irony of yesterday struck me, two cities, I-55, one with a history of racism, yet I stood in that building. The other the site of someone trying to drag us back into those terrible times, and for what purpose?At a time when Chicago is suffering from massive violence in its black neighborhoods, a black man sought to create a racially charged atmosphere. A tragedy, indeed. Click To Tweet
We the People should all be appalled at what Jussie Smollett, allegedly, sought to do. There are some who are trying to make him out to be a victim. No, that is not the case, Jussie Smollett deliberately sought to victimize these United States of America. He is not a disturbed individual. He is not mentally incapacitated. At a time when Chicago is suffering from massive violence in its black neighborhoods, a black man sought to create a racially charged atmosphere. We have mistakenly paid too much attention to the despicable, alleged, actions of Smollett, while young black kids are being gunned down, shot, and killed in that city on the northern end of I-55.We have mistakenly paid too much attention to the despicable alleged actions of #JussieSmollett, while young black kids are being gunned down, shot, and killed in Chicago. That's a tragedy. Click To Tweet
Perhaps, just maybe, those young black kids would have been better served to be in the Mississippi State Capitol yesterday to see what can be . . . our better angels. Now, is Mississippi perfect? Heck no, the only perfect place is Heaven. But, yesterday in Jackson, MS, in that State Capitol, it was not about the state flag or the past. It was about the present, where a black kid born in the middle of the American Civil Rights struggle stood, proudly.
During his 22 year career in the United States Army, Lieutenant Colonel West served in several combat zones and received many honors including a Bronze Star, three Meritorious Service Medals, three Army Commendation Medals, one with Valor device, and a Valorous Unit Award.
In November of 2010, Allen was elected to the United States Congress, representing Florida’s 22nd District.
He is a Fox News Contributor, Director of the Booker T. Washington Initiative at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Senior Fellow at the Media Research Center, contributing columnist for Townhall.com, and author of Guardian of the Republic: An American Ronin’s Journey to Family, Faith and Freedom, and, Hold Texas, Hold the Nation: Victory or Death, published October 16, 2018, from Brown Books Publishing Group.