The Hope Hicks subpoena story was big news last week but it has already evaporated into the ether of the 24 hour news cycle. But if she was sitting her narrow hips in a D.C. jail it would be the lead story on every newscast in the world. Or, in the alternative, she would have already testified and given Congress every morsel and crumb of information that they wanted from her- and THAT would have been the lead story on every newscast in the world.
But none of that happened because the Democratic leadership just didn’t know what to do with themselves- again- when faced with flagrant corruption and obstruction. So the news cycle moved on to Trump acting an ass- again- during a foreign visit; telling lies, calling names, undermining allies and disgracing the nation. It is fair to question whether that is even news anymore.
Despite its early expiration date on major news outlets, I cannot shake this story. It haunts me for one overriding reason: I keep imagining what would have happened if Hope Hicks were a black woman. And nothing against our beloved Princess Meghan Markle, but I do not mean THAT kind of black woman. I mean black like the talented yet perpetually semi-famous actress Meagan Good. For those who don’t know, Ms. Good is every bit as glorious in her blackness as Ms. Hicks is in her whiteness.
Both Ms. Hicks and Ms. Good are undeniably beautiful women and for the most part enjoy the same privileges and immunities reserved for women of that class. But here is where the differences arise: If Meagan Good found herself subpoenaed by the United States government and then found herself publicly pondering her “options” she would quickly find herself hand-cuffed in the back of one of those unmarked federal cop cars.
Next, she would find herself pondering her “options” from inside the aforementioned jail cell. The gobsmacked confusion of the white folks who run Congress would burn off like morning dew under a hot sun if Ms. Good demonstrated the flagrant contempt of congress that Ms. Hicks has. You can bet your last money that Congress would suddenly recall that they have a Sargent-At-Arms and what that job entails. They would quickly remember that they can direct that Sargent-At-Arms to arrest and jail people for failure to comply with a subpoena. And if Ms. Good did not already know that information before pondering her “options” she sure as hell would learn it the hard way- the way that only hand-cuffs can teach a person.
But there are no hand-cuffs or police cars in Ms. Hicks’ future- not publicly anyway. Her Platinum White Rewards Member card was publicly flashed in the sympathetic and supportive New York Times feature story by Maggie Haberman mere hours after news of her subpoena broke. Binding federal law not withstanding, Ms. Haberman eloquently explained that Hope might be making the “personal choice” not to bother herself with complying. That position is as lawless as it is ridiculous. Yet, her “choice” was publicly validated by the most influential newspaper in the world- regardless of what the barely-literate idiot in the White House thinks.
What gets printed in the New York Times matters and the New York Times made the point as clearly as it can be made: There are separate and unequal standards of justice applied in America. Congressional Democratic party leadership adheres to them just like Republicans do. Worse still, Republicans SET the double standards as they please and Democrats just follow them- even if their surrender comes with some whiny and pithy comments of protest.
The truth is Hope Hicks should be in jail for even suggesting that she might defy Congress but it is not even a topic of discussion amongst those with the power to do it. That sour reality hits nobody harder than it hits black people in America. And we are watching closely. And we have grown quite weary of it. An unfortunate reality is that weary black folks tend to tune out politics altogether. In short: If black folks are turned off, we don’t turn out. But if you turn us on, we will put you on. Call it the Obama Affect.
Black folks found ourselves in the company of legions of white folks who were even more pissed off than we were about Hope and her “options.” Evidently Haberman’s piece hit a nerve with white folks who took this embarrassing airing of the American double standard personally. Seeing the Times lay out a special set of rules for a woman like Hope- who could be promoted from marginal fashion model to executive assistant at a clothing line to the Communications Director for the President- set many rational Americans off. Perhaps they didn’t realize before just how thoroughly corrupt our governing systems are and how race and “class” impact outcomes in all areas of life. Apparently, the boiling hostility that many white folks feel for Donald Trump finally made them see a truth in plain sight that black folks have never had the privilege of looking away from: While Hope Hicks gets to stay home Meagan Good would be requesting release on bail. In the history of America has a black woman EVER enjoyed a career assent like Hope Hicks has? I’ll save you the trouble of a Google search and tell you the answer is not just no, it’s HELL NO.
It was an amazing irony that in the very week that Haberman’s opened-mouthed kiss to Ms. Hicks was published, the Times also did a story on the deepening frustration of black voters. Someone over there noticed how the glacial pace and perpetual uncertainty of Democrats’ impeachment initiative against Donald Trump was falling flat in Philadelphia, Detroit, Cleveland and Milwaukee- cities where high turnout is key to Democratic victory in 2020. Apparently they did not make the connection between these pieces so I will explain it in “urban” plain language: Kissing Hope Hicks’ ass is the same as giving Donald Trump a pass. It’s two sides of the same worthless wooden nickel. It is what we see daily but so many of our white counterparts barely notice and rarely acknowledge.
The upshot of the story was that for months black voters have been peppering their congressional reps with the question that matters to them the most: Why hasn’t Donald Trump been impeached yet? Perhaps it is an overstatement to say that holding Trump accountable for his plethora of impeachable offenses “matters to them the most.” What is manifestly self-evident is that it matters to black voters a lot more than it does to white voters- or at least to the ones who answer polls.
The searing angst of black voters is nearly as under-covered as climate change. And just like with climate change it appears that the crisis will not be recognized until it is too late to correct course. The editorial decision to amplify that angst is an unfortunately rare choice- typically set aside in favor of the 879th story about the disaffected, disconnected and disappointed “white working class voter” – the one who lies about voting for President Obama but then fell into a Brokeback Mountain relationship with Donald Trump. No matter how much he hurts them, they just don’t know to quit him. But that is their problem to solve. Black folks just want to see Hope Hicks get the same treatment Meagan Good would get. If not, 2020 could be another nightmare.