Bruce Dixon is co-chair of the Georgia Green Party and managing editor of Black Agenda Report radio magazine. This is an edited form of a column previously posted in October 2016.
Malcolm X has been dead now a half century, dead for more years than he was ever alive. But since at least one of the tricks and traps deployed to fool, frustrate and neutralize our grandparents’ right to vote hasn’t changed much we might want to listen carefully to what Malcolm’s words in the aftermath of the 1964 presidential election.
“If Johnson had been running all by himself, he would not have been acceptable to anyone. The only thing that made him acceptable to the world was that the shrewd capitalists, the shrewd imperialists, knew that the only way people would run toward the fox would be if you showed them a wolf. So they created a ghastly alternative. And it had the whole world — including people who call themselves Marxists — hoping that Johnson would beat Goldwater.”
Like today’s Donald Trump, Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater was a truly reprehensible and frightening figure, who had opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that banned racial discrimination in public accommodations, and who favored the use of nuclear weapons to defoliate the Vietnamese countryside. Also like Donald Trump, Goldwater never really stood a chance of winning the election. Goldwater the wolf was buried beneath a Johnson landslide, carrying only 6 out of the 50 states. Republican officeholders are running away from Donald Trump not because he’s a racist bufoon but because he’s expected to lose states Republicans are accustomed to winning.
The fox, Lyndon Baines Johnson went on to start a war in Indochina that killed three million Vietnamese alone. LBJ defoliated the Vietnamese countryside with millions of tons of Agent Orange instead of nukes, causing hundreds of thousands of hideous and gruesome birth defects that continue to this day.
The Green Party is the only peace party, the only party that stands for people and planet over profit, and our only opportunity to vote our hopes, not our fears. It’s time to choose.
We vote Green and build Green, we can consign the political conundrum Malcolm X eloquently described a half century ago to the garbage can of history