The Kenyan Proverb, “When elephants fight, the grass suffers,” is apropos to us, the grassroots. Only in our case, we are fighting over elephants and donkeys, but we are still the ones suffering. We watch the two parties fight every day, and then we take sides and jump in. Who is hurt by that? Certainly not them; it’s always us who are hurt, us who are left behind, and us who are ignored and taken for granted. They get rich while the grassroots suffer.

In follow up to my previous article on voting, I could not help but stay on the political subject a little while longer. After all, the mid-terms are coming up and, as usual, Black pundits are telling us this will be the “most important election of our time,” – again. How many times have you heard that?

I must reemphasize, don’t mistreat your precious vote by giving it away to someone or some issue that is not in your best interests. Don’t be swayed by the talking heads that would have you walk lock-step with one political party or the other and vote a “straight” Democrat or Republican ticket. Protect your vote by being informed and casting it wisely.

The road to political power is paved with hypocrisy – on both sides of the aisle. We can look back and recall many things that have been said relative to a position taken and later that position was switched to the complete opposite side of the argument. One egregious example is the continued insistence by the warmongers to “get to the bottom” of the Benghazi situation. They use the four lives that were lost to justify their ire and outrage against Hillary Clinton. However, the same crowd, led by Chaney, Rumsfeld, and Condoleezza Rice, was responsible for some 5,500 lives lost in that unnecessary war in Iraq. What hypocrites! All life is sacred, but politicians only value the lives of our soldiers when it’s convenient for them and fits their agenda for reelection.

A similar example of hypocrisy is the president’s use of drones that have killed innocent people. Railing against the killing of innocents in Iraq and then killing more innocents in Afghanistan and Pakistan is hypocrisy. How about raising the debt ceiling? Many politicians are for it when their guy is president, but against it when the other guy gets in.

Hypocrisy reigns among the elephants and the donkeys as they fight each other.

The rancor and hate-filled speeches and remarks by party sycophants on so-called television “news” shows are disgusting and hypocritical as well. We have dueling networks, Fox and MSNBC, who make no bones about showing us how much they hate and love President Obama. Fox vilifies Obama and MSNBC holds him up as though he is a god. Both are wrong, of course, but we take sides and suffer even more from their fight.

I am sickened by the shameful acts of various politicians and the parties they blindly support. But even worse is the grassroots crowd and how we relate to so-called leaders who are supposed to be concerned about our well-being and this nation’s future. We eat up anything they and their lap-dog mouthpieces say, and then regurgitate it to our own people as though it’s the Gospel itself – suffering all the more for our lack of inquisitiveness, critical thought, and knowledge.

Here’s the bottom-line: We must stop falling for the hype and being used and abused in the process. While the elephants and donkeys fight, and as we take sides, our children’s futures are going down the drain; our hope of economic empowerment is waning; our status and position in this country are diminishing; our gravitation toward politics and aversion for economic empowerment continue to push us further down the ladder; and as we continue to follow self-aggrandizing mis-leaders we will slowly but surely die, and our children will end up being permanently dependent and at the mercy of those in control of this country.

Let the elephants and donkeys fight, just get out of range and off the field of battle so you will not be trampled under their feet. Notice that while they fight all the time, neither one dies. That’s because one does not want to kill off the other. They just want you to keep watching the fight and keep your mind diverted from the important things, particularly your own wellbeing and your own future.

If you are not convinced to stop enabling the elephants and donkeys by cheering for one or the other, grab your popcorn, keep our ringside seat, and enjoy the fight, but know that only you will suffer in the end.

Jim Clingman, founder of the Greater Cincinnati African American Chamber of Commerce, is the nation’s most prolific writer on economic empowerment for Black people. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati and can be reached through his Web site,


James Clingman

NNPA Columnist