Noted journalist and TV host Tavis Smiley recently wrote about a fear he developed following a question a student posed at a recent event. The student asked Smiley, “Mr. Smiley, do you believe that given the crisis state of our democracy, we Black folk could ever find ourselves enslaved again?” Smiley wrote a response to the student and his feelings on the current state of America in Time magazine.
In his piece, Smiley referenced the obstructionist Republican controlled congress and its refusal to act on the nomination to fill the vacant Supreme Court seat left by the death of Antonin Scalia. Republican congressional leaders feel that President Barack Obama should not be able to fill the vacancy and that it should be up to the next president. President Obama has put forward the name of respected jurist Merrick Garland but congress has blocked any hearings on his nomination. With Hillary Clinton leading in the polls, it is quite possible that she could be the next president and would possibly be able to fill 2-3 seats because of the advancing age of the current justices. Arizona Sen. John McCain has stated that congress may continue to block any nominations if Clinton wins the presidency.
Because of this Smiley wrote, “I wonder what other Constitutional mandates Congress could just decide to ignore…So, could the Constitution be thwarted and black folk end up enslaved again? Legal scholars, of course, will find the question ludicrous and laughable.” In the article, Smiley states that he told the student “yes,” Blacks could find themselves enslaved again.
Smiley has been highly critical of President Obama, Hillary Clinton and the overall American political process. His comments are shocking to some but for others they expose a growing fear in response to the heated racial and political climate in America today.