Constitution and Contract: Is the Spirit of Barbara Jordan Dead in Progressive Politics?

Many people consider US democracy to be incomplete due to the racial issues that still exist in contemporary American society, which is associated with a quite pessimistic perspective regarding progressive politics and the future of the nation. For instance, Coates (2014) believes that the damage caused by the unjust trends of the past is irremediable so that race-related issues will persist into future generations. However, many Americans have a positive and more fruitful attitude towards the matter, which can help the country recover and build a truly democratic society. Barbara Jordan can be regarded as one of those people who have made a tremendous contribution to reaching this goal and making the political arena an effective platform for accomplishing change.

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The debate on race is still ongoing, and some believe that American society has not made any progress in this respect since the middle of the 20th century. For instance, Coates (2014) enumerates all the challenges African Americans have to face these days and claims that inequality is perpetuated by existing economic and social trends. African Americans earn less and have more limited educational opportunities, which creates a vicious circle. At the same time, this population often has to pay higher interest rates and frequently receives lower-quality healthcare services.

Coates (2014) also calls for repatriation that would heal the nation in many ways saying that this compensation “would mean a revolution of the American consciousness, a reconciling of our self-image as the great democratizer with the facts of our history.” The author insists that African Americans should be given what they deserve, which resonates with the ideas of a renowned activist, Malcolm X. The latter believed that the government had to pay for the wealth the nation managed to accumulate, and Malcolm X also claimed, “if we are part of America, then part of what she is worth belongs to us” (as cited in Tsai, 2014, p. 228). Both authors argue that the American society cannot ignore the modern kind of segregation anymore, and African Americans have to consolidate their effort and make the US government develop and enact legislation that would ensure equal access to resources.

Nevertheless, many Americans have a different view of race-related issues and the future of the nation. Barbara Jordan, for instance, stressed that she never wanted to be the first Black congresswoman. She stated, “I am neither a black politician nor a female politician… Just a politician. A professional politician” (Broyles, 2019). She tried to be an effective leader who could address the needs of African Americans. She also collaborated with Democrats and Republicans in order to gain support and develop bills that would be beneficial for African Americans. Jordan and many other activists, politicians, and American citizens try to remain focused on the future rather than the past. They want to use any opportunity to create a society where true democratic values reign.

Clearly, many privileged White people have almost limitless opportunities, but millions of White people have a very modest income. Martin Luther King, Jr. was also among those who believed in political struggle and its possible impact on US society (Behnken, 2017). His activism and the political journey of Jordan, as well as the efforts of contemporary politicians, have contributed significantly to the development of a community that is not torn into two races.

Barbara Jordan and Ta-Nehisi Coates represent two sides of the dichotomic race-related agenda in the US political arena. Jordan’s views are associated with the focus on long-term benefits and the ability to seize opportunities to develop an equal society where all groups have equal access to resources. Coates is a representative of the camp where all belief in the benefit of repatriations and the immediate provision of resources to African Americans. Nevertheless, it seems that both agendas should be put to the fore to come up with golden-mean solutions. Those who collaborate and move forward instead of thinking of past injustice and wrongs will be able to achieve their goals and make their lives better.

References

Behnken, B. D. (2017). The quest for racial change: African American intellectuals and the Black liberal tradition. In D. Behnken, G. D. Smithers, & S. Wendt (Eds.), Black intellectual thought in modern America: A historical perspective (pp. 80-106). Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi.

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Broyles, W. (2019). The making of Barbara Jordan. Texas Monthly. Web.

Coates, T. N. (2014). The case for reparations. The Atlantic. Web.

Tsai, R. L. (2014). America’s forgotten constitutions. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

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StudyCorgi. "Constitution and Contract: Is the Spirit of Barbara Jordan Dead in Progressive Politics?" August 9, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/constitution-and-contract-is-the-spirit-of-barbara-jordan-dead-in-progressive-politics/.

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StudyCorgi. 2021. "Constitution and Contract: Is the Spirit of Barbara Jordan Dead in Progressive Politics?" August 9, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/constitution-and-contract-is-the-spirit-of-barbara-jordan-dead-in-progressive-politics/.

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