You asked. I'm

You asked. I'm

Every once in a
while those boneheads in the White House run into so much
trouble that they have no other choice but to turn to me for
advice. And so I wasn’t surprised when I
received a call at 3 a.m. the other night from an
anonymous Administration source I’ll call
“Karl.” He was clearly drunk, out of
sorts, and a little sad, I must say. He had one thing on
his mind: A recent poll showing that only 2% of
African-Americans support our president. What, he
begged me to tell him, could the Bush administration
do to win the undying love of African-Americans?

I gave him a few
suggestions, in no particular order of importance:

1. Stop
killing people in other countries for no apparent
This would seem like a slam-dunk, but
apparently it’s not on the table for
discussion, “Karl” said. But if there’s
one thing we AA’s really can’t stand
(and we gays, for that matter), it’s a senseless war
that brings us 2,000 dead girls and boys and no closer
to a peaceful world.

2. Stop
talking to us like we are idiots.
Tell Bush II not
to say you’re “doing all we can”
when you’re doing very little, as even a
fourth-grader can tell you. You’re not a
“compassionate conservative” if
you’re more eager to make sure white folks in your
home state aren’t driven out by too many
dislodged black people (see Mama Bush’s comments)
than to help the evacuees get back on their feet. Also: You
can’t talk to black people like you’re a
redneck cowboy, when we generally hate redneck

3. Stop
padding the wallets of people who are screwing black
Like your big company cronies at Wal
“Screw Your Health Benefits” Mart. Like
the Exxon “$10 Billion in Profits While Americans
Can Barely Fill Their Gas Tanks” Mobil. Like
Condoleezza Rice, whom your boss mentions time and
time again as if I should be proud of her. But you
know, I’m not. She’s a
classical-piano-playing, sensible-suit-wearing,
Russian-speaking House Negress, and as in days of yore,
she’s unlikely to be loved by black people
unless they are strikingly similar to her. (Which
apparently somewhere around 2% are.)

4. Stop lining
the pockets of rich folks while screwing us out of
essential services.
The latest plan to finance your
endless tax cuts for the rich is to cut $50 billion in
spending, including Medicaid, food stamps, and other
key services for low-income African-Americans. Hello!
You know that if you want white people to like you, you give
them money. What’s wrong with that philosophy
when it comes to black folks?

5. Find some
real black people who will tell you the truth, and
listen to them.
For a start, listen to Maxine
Waters and Barack Obama, Phill Wilson and Keith
Boykin, even Kanye West, Aaron McGruder (of
“Boondocks” fame), and the fiercely
intelligent Barbara Smith. They’ll tell you how
your response to AIDS in the United States and the world is
too little, too late, and all gauged to public
relations, instead of actual concern for human life.
And if someone brings up the health issues facing black
women and lesbians to your boss’s face, I would
guarantee it would be a first for the Cracker From

6. Start
praying for real.
I know George says he prays a lot,
but I assume that either (1) he says that to placate
the Christian right or (2) he’s praying for all
the wrong things in the wrong ways. (I’m betting
on door number 2.) How ’bout praying for deeper
knowledge of God’s true will or true compassion
or a semblance of tolerance of diverse ideas or an
understanding of real christian principles—like
“doing unto others” for starters?

When I finished,
I realized that “Karl” had hung up his secure
phone a long time ago, and I was ranting into the dead
air. I wasn’t surprised.

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