Ain’t No Half Steppin’

Aunt Thomassina, I don’t know how you convinced me to come on this family reunion cruise …

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A boat full of Black folks headed for the Caribbean—hasn’t historically been a good look.

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What can I say? Marronage to mariners, the Tubmans have come a long way.

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And, my, how much farther we still have left to go …


I mean, I can deal with folks engorging themselves into a hypertensive stupor on pigs’ feet and Patti LaBelle pies …

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I’m good with young folks dipping out of the requisite family tree presentation to hunt for Pokémon …


But a Soul Train line of well-fed, well-to-do former Civil Rights and Black Power activists bumbling through the “Wobble” and the “Cha Cha Slide” …

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Is just more than my nerves can handle.

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Alas, it’s true: Black Boomers traded in their Afro picks for Netflix. Their Black righteousness for midlife crises …


And too many became complacent once their limited view of the freedom struggle reached its teleological end …

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A Black man in the White House.


All compounded by the fact that it’s an election year …

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And the Tubmans is one Clinton-loving clan of Negroes.

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Charley, am a Hillary Clinton supporter … Ha, ha, don’t tell me you were Feeling the Bern, nephew.


Alright, everyone, by popular demand …

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Time to hit the dance floor and “Step in the Name of Love”!

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… I’m sorry … I … I gotta—

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I’m right behind you.


Word of warning, Aunt Thom—being that, you know, you’re my favorite relative and all …

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To liberal wingnuts like I, this chat we’re about to have is as serious as Zika …


The type of conversation that ends relationships, cuts right to one’s ideological core, lays bare the “true north” of each interlocutor’s moral compass …

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Sure you’re up for this?

auntthom

Boy, please … But for the love of Mahalia Jackson, can we not relitigate for the 13,000th time HRC’s suitability to hold the highest office?

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Certainly. Let’s look at her VP pick, instead …

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Tim Kaine—former Richmond mayor, a Virginia senator. Social justice crusader who attends a Black church, put his kids through a Black public school …

auntthom


Pretty solid pick.

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Since when did an elected official in a predominantly Black city advocating for civil rights become … noteworthy?


Yeah, that’s like bragging that I learned to cook Chinese food working at Panda Express …

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kiki

Kinda comes with the territory.

damien

Regardless, a Clinton-Kaine White House would extend Obama’s legacy—safeguard the ACA, reinstate DACA, firmly address Middle East turmoil.

kiki

Rather than withdrawing us from the war Congress—thank heavens—wouldn’t officially declare in the first place?

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Kiki, Damien, this is an A-B conversation. Kindly C your way out of—

damien

I think we’re all circumambulating the elephant in the room here …


What about that glass ceiling?

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gigi

Calling HRC the first female president is like calling Darth Vader the first Black Sith.


Sure, you know there’s a heart beating somewhere behind that $10,000 pantsuit …

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gigi

You’re just too wary of the repulsiveness beneath it to lift off her mask.

auntthom

… So, what, you’re all Trump supporters now?

kiki

No, we’re saying that Clinton’s VP pick could be a game-changer for young progressives—particularly black and brown folks and their allies.

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Hillary fundamentally underestimates progressives’ awareness that, regardless of her rhetoric or even the party in power …


The table’s already set: The rich will get richer, downward pressure on wages will persist, the cost of living will continually rise …

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And in the absence of tangible political progress, the election to the common voter becomes much more about identity politics than the issues.

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gigi

So, of course, rather than picking a running mate that would energize our coalition …

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Clinton picks Tim Kaine—the stock Woody Harrelson character …


The lanky kid with lead feet who can’t dunk but gets back on D and won’t hog the ball.

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kiki


… And speaks OK Spanish.

gigi

Black Millennials might just take our ball and go home this election.

auntthom

I certainly hope not—after all our forebears fought, bled, and died for.


♩♪♫♬ Rappers stepping to me / They want to get some / But I’m the Kane so, yo / You know the outcome / Another victory ♩♪♫♬ …

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auntthom

… Or, in the case of Gen Xers, all we rap battled for.

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Awww, yeah … We taking it back—to 1988!

damien

Now that’s my kind of “Kane”! Let’s go kick it!

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And that’s my cue to eyeroll as I look ahead four years.

auntthom


Yeezus 2020?


No, the year Great-great-great-grandaunt Harriet debuts in Andrew Jackson’s place on the future 20 note …

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z_auntthom

Ah, yes, Obama’s token substitute for full-on reparations.

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A token gesture with meaningful psychological implications …

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Perhaps then we’ll disembark to fulfill the dream of our ancestors—forging a more free and equal nation.

z_auntthom

Perhaps the process of leveraging our political and economic currency starts now.

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… W-where are you going?

z_auntthom

To get this DJ to spin some James Brown.

Jackson Brown is the writer and illustrator of the graphic-novel-in-progress The Grand Bargain and of the serial comic Cake and Potatoes, as well as a contributing and advisory editor for Callaloo literary journal. He is endowed with the uncanny ability to, whenever necessary, relinquish his own will for the greater good—except when it comes to dark chocolate, which is never necessary but always good. He lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, daughter, and, when he’s lucky, his mother-in-law.

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