Yeah, sure, it’s yet another post about Ron Paul. (Perhaps you’ve heard of him?)
But today’s post by Ta-Nehisi Coates is so much more than that. It’s about the complex emotions that surround his participation in the (Insert Disputed Number Here) Man March and Louis Farrakhan in his youth. It’s about movements, and the frustration of not being heard, and the lure of following the wrong people – even when you know they’re the wrong people.
I don’t know how to describe the feeling of walking from my apartment at 14th and Euclid, down 16th street, and seeing black women, of all ages, come out on the street and cheer. I can’t explain the historical and personal force of that. It defied everything they said we were, and, during the Crack Era, so much of what we come to believe.I think about that moment and I get warm–and then I think about Farrakhan and I go cold. The limitations of the man who’d orchestrated one of the great moments of my life were evident as soon as he took the stage and offered a bizarre treatise on numerology. The limitations became even more apparent in the coming months, as Farrakhan used the prominence he’d gained to launch a world tour in which he was feted by Sani Abacha and the slave-traders of the Sudan.During Farrakhan’s heights in the 80s and 90s, national commenters generally looked on in horror. They simply could not understand how an obvious bigot could capture the imagination of so many people. Surely there were “good” Civil Rights leaders out there, waging the good fight against discrimination. But what they pundits never got was that Farrakhan promised something more–improvement, minus the need to beg from white people. Farrakhan promised improvement through self-reliance–an old tradition stretching back to our very dawn. To our minds, the political leaders of black America had fled the field.
It is deeply personal and achingly human, while still being insightful and having the will to take a firm stance. Of everything I have read about Paul over the past month, this stands head and shoulders above the field.
I cannot recommend it enough.