Michael Dobson newspaper

By Michael Dobson



As I ponder our nation’s future on this January 19, the eve of the inauguration, it was just a few weeks ago,  we all mockingly and excitedly celebrated the New Year … all of us with our versions of how awful 2020 was… naively expected 2020 to flicker away at midnight as if turning off a light. That was until we all in utter disbelief witnessed January 6, 2021.


Biden talks to a homeless man outside of Georgetown AMC

The last 10 months has been difficult to write about, not to mention the last four years. There is no poetic or lyrical waxing one can employ to describe it. We have all seen death either touching us directly  or nearby. Relationships (romantic and otherwise) have fractured, sometimes splitting families,  as the daily fear we find ourselves gripped with… has in some ways outwardly and subconsciously taken their toll… affecting us in ways many don’t recognize or understand. For many years, psychologist will try to understand the lasting psychological impact of covid 19,  as the number of  Americans who live in a state of clinical depression are at record levels. Then there is the increased drug use, liquor sales, subsequent alcoholism, and other abuses.. domestic and otherwise resulting from covid 19.  Being forever the  optimist and perhaps a bit pollyannaish, I thought that the evil of Covid 19 would produce unity … as the virus  brings everyone to the same place no matter wealth, poverty or station in life. I was wrong.  Instead, the isolation, fear, death and anxiety, increased alcohol and drug use … proved fertile grounds for those eager to widen division and feed radical ideas for personal gain.

Everything feels disjointed and out of place, as two days before a historic inauguration we celebrate Dr King as we have done before, but doing so 82 years after his January 15, 1939 birth , 52 years after his death and 14 days after a mob overtook our nation’s capital seeking a  race war. Musician and songwriter David Burns asks the right question when he ask.. well, how did I get here… watching the days go by. For many of us, January which rolls into February Black History month, is a time overshadowed by Dr Kings legacy… one of peace and unity. America digesting and adhering to that legacy is more important this year than ever before, because rather than being that Shiny City on a Hill… our President leaves behind him a burning Sodom and Gomorrah.

Our outgoing president exploited racial division as a political tool. Being black in America, there is no rest. I’ve been black for over 6 decades in America. Leaders who are also statesmen have been integral to racial healing in America whenever that ugliness just underneath the surface raises its head. That statesman never showed up in our white house.  I’ve known from my youth that my blackness demands a reaction either outwardly expressed or of subconscious note ( felt)  by those we come in contact with. Everyone’s not a racist and everything is not about race, but racists and racism exist.  In this black writer’s life, there have been occasional signs of racial progress… baby steps toward the equality absent of discrimination that Dr King died for. However, the structural and systemic nature of our oppression sustains it as a part of America’s fabric. The agitation of race and its dialogue, not unlike that of a washing machines agitator…   has often allowed us to make progress toward cleaning ourselves of that stain,  if only momentarily… to take a  deeper look for better  understanding. That is when we move forward together positively… in small measure. In those instances, we have incrementally moved beyond hate, but never completely eliminating its undercurrent… which maintains a deep reservoir in America as a country that has not ever addressed its original sin of slavery, theft of human labor and theft of land… not to mention the rapes and murder perpetrated by our nation’s founders. We’ve come a long way, but still have far to go.

Today, the world has seen the downward spiral of our great nation, as it saw a white mob of domestic terrorist organized and provoked by our President … storm our nation’s capital.. trample upon and trespassed within the buildings and offices themselves, destroying and brazenly stealing property for the world to see … while seeking to hang the Vice President of the United States and harm others… to then promise a race war. That is what the world saw.  It also showed the tinderbox we live in and how easily we can lose our democracy... especially if we have an immoral leader who wants to be king.The only way to lessen the significance is the thought that perhaps this was not the revolution, because it was televised… much of it.

Yes, it is a striking time indeed. Before 2017, we had 8 years of a truly African American President with a mother born in Kansas and a father born in Kenya. And while our nation is on the verge of having its first female and woman of color Vice President, the ugly and the racist has diminished that celebration. I’d planned to attend.  Those who don’t like what America has always said it would be ….. a melting pot that welcomes all… and allow all to prosper,  have looked into the future and realized that America will have them in the racial minority by 2040, and has reacted  to that fact. It is in reflex of a notion dispelled by history, by any anthropologist, or science itself… that is the idea that one race is superior to the other… and is entitled to have the trappings of superiority; and that absent it, the “others” have taken what belongs to them… the superior. The idea of racial superiority is perhaps human kind’s largest lie. That is the misguided belief… not based on any aspect of humanity, truth, fact or science….in search of someone in power to validate it. They found that person in our outgoing president… a provocateur of violence and discord spurred on by lies.

Let’s  be clear about whose leaving. On January 20, 2021 America has an outgoing President whose campaign kickoff in 2015 was a  hateful diatribe  whereby he promised as a key agenda item…the getting rid of Mexicans… saying  they are murderers, rapist and thieves… telegraphing a view on immigration shared by white nationalist. He was not alone, as David Duke and various white nationalist organizations had been waiting for someone like him.  David Duke and the  KKK’s support is well known. During the 2016 election, every major newspaper in America endorsed Hilary Clinton, with no major newspaper endorsing Trump except for one… “The Crusader”,  which is the KKK’s most prominent publication. In the latter endorsement by the Crusader, one of the reasons it said it was doing so was because  “America became great because it is a White and Christian republic”.  Our outgoing president had already told us what he thought of blacks. He did that with his birther movement… putting him on the radar screen with the white nationalist. Many Americans voted for him, therefore, this is who a large minority of us are.

But as a nation, we rise out of the rubble, to collectively continue moving forward …celebrating MLK birthday and holiday when only recently armed racist over took our nation’s capital  for the purpose of killing federal leaders, and starting a race war or another civil war… then said our president sent them. Equally disturbing is that an alarming number of members of congress are willing to back the same domestic terrorist and to even use their support of the group as a means to fundraise.  It’s all surreal and something you thought only existed in third world countries. But yes… this is now America. This is us.  I ask, are we Rome burning in real time or surreal time as elected officials sell their souls while discarding the peace and tranquility of the nation… solely to win over a very devoted base of voters who exist in an alternative universe of conspiracies and untruths purposefully fed to them by the President himself and others  …  as carnival barkers and propagandist. What they knew is what was described by columnist Charles Blow in his column “ The Lowest White Man”…. that there is and always will be a group of whites who view minority progress, growth  and access as a threat to their perceived superiority… as a thing that shouldn’t be.

Our nation sigh in relief for our  46th President.  Joe Biden is the right man for this moment in history. God and the universe is always there and in the end, our friend. Mr Biden is a man who knows what it is to be selfish and overly ambitious as a part of his growth. He’s learned from it with the help of his Catholic faith. He is a president who understands the political process, inner workings of congress and our world…. with longstanding relationships with leaders across all lines. He has served as a congressman, U.S .Senator ( leading the most substantive of committees), and Vice President of the United States where he was  often dispatched as Americas representative with our foreign leaders.  He has been forever humbled first by losing a wife and daughter, killed by a drunk driver shortly before taking his seat in congress as a freshman. He has been a single father and a grieving husband… relying on siblings as his support system during a difficult time. He has lost a young son with a bright future to cancer… a son that the world could see he loved deeply. He watched and helped as a father can with a son struggling with substance abuse… to never walk away from his son… even when politics sought to make a disease many families struggle with a political liability. To the latter, when crass politics made that turn, he expressed his undying love for his son and the need for privacy he extends to competitors specific to family members as a matter of humanity. He … being a white man from a certain generation and culture served with the nation’s first American America president, a man 16 years his junior. They  were also men of different styles who saw each other as the others mentor… developing a deep friendship, where Joe Biden got to see a different America through the eyes of a black man… a black family… a black world far removed from the white suburbs of his upbringing. Joe Biden’s humility born out of catastrophic incidents of his life mentioned above, including near death from brain surgery, has provided (as if directed by God) this man with great humility, with the skillset and temperament needed to heal this nation. He will start his presidency with a theme of “Unity”.. .. a word and goal missing in America for 4 years.  The goal of unity in America is one I share while acknowledging how illusive it can be. Yes indeed. Joe Biden is the right man. He enters the presidency with a global pandemic ravaging our nation, an economy cratering, violent unrest to name a few. He also enters a nation in which the U.S, House of Representatives has impeached the President for the 2nd time, with the Senate taking up the same for its Senate trial… when the current Senate leader Mitch McConnell has taken to the senate floor to state that the Mob was Fed Lies and was provoked by the President… signaling his support for impeachment. I pray for unity, calm and safety as we seek to return to that place Ronald Reagan once described...as we finally can say it’s a New Year. It’s a New Year  as #45 removes his hate, division  and himself out of the house my enslaved ancestors built.  Don’t let the door hit you….


Michael Dobson is a third generation Floridian, longtime Tallahassee lobbyist, president/CEO of the Dream Foundation, Inc. and founder of Dobson, Craig and Associates. Reach him at Michael@dobsonandcraig.com. 

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