When Julian Bond died last week, it could be said that the last of a dying breed of true civil rights leaders is gone. I make no apologies for my stance in saying that most of the so-called black leaders today appointed by others for us to follow are, frankly, are shameful at best. I won’t call them sellouts, but I will say they are bought and paid for to do the bidding of those of the other hue.
Mr. Bond’s praise from every major news outlet for his more than five decades of leadership in the struggle for civil rights is much deserved. He was all the things that were said about him. He was courageous and visionary, a steady hand and a thoughtful strategist, and a tireless and eloquent voice for justice for all who were denied their rights. He was a REAL LEADER that I personally admired and looked up too.
In today’s social and political environment with a black person gunned down and killed with regularity by the police, the shameful display of police/military force upon black communities, and the Hitler-like attitudes of the police. There is no leader doing anything but sending the age-old message to be peaceful and pray. Black people have been begging and marching for equal rights for nearly four-hundred years, and the race as a whole is no closer today than they were then.
A long time ago, I remember reading a statement made by Mr. Bond where he said, there were two types of people. There were those who looked at the evils of this world like war, racism and oppression. He continued by saying, “I’m going to stand on my principles because it’s got to get a lot worse before it gets any better… I’ve got to get to work to see if I can make it at least better. I’m with the second group because if I took the first view I would be allowing too many people to continue to suffer, while I maintaining my ideological purity, refused to do anything to help them.”
I never forgot that lesson and am challenged daily to apply it. It is the reason why I have so little patience for ideologues from the right or the left. They arrogantly dismiss those with whom they disagree and never see the need to engage differing opinions. Because these folk see themselves as bearers of the only truth, they are quick to denounce others, as they say, “with clarity and conviction”. This is why I believe in something called “common sense”.
When I think of Mr. Bond’s legacy I have to agree with the statement released by the Southern Poverty Law Center, “With Julian’s passing, the country has lost one of its most passionate and eloquent voices for the cause of justice. He advocated not just for African Americans, but for every group, indeed every person subject to oppression and discrimination, because he recognized the common humanity in us all.”
The appointed so-called leaders of today sit high on their pinnacle of purity. They surely missed the mark in terms of the reality in which most of us live and the tough and the never-ending challenges facing Black America. Mr. Bond worked within the system and used the system to make life a little bit better for most. Whether in the struggle for human rights, improvements in the quality of life, the provision of security and justice for those who are most vulnerable.
With the passing of this GIANT, I can only say Mr. Bond – you ran a good race. Thank you for the life you lived, the leadership you demonstrated, the victories you won, and especially for the lessons you taught, rest peacefully – Julian Bond. Job Well Done you belong to the ages now, and you will be missed! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…