Letter to the Editor: Facts really do matter by Gardenia Hobbs – Rocky Mount Telegram

The Political Agitator’s response: They don’t want to hear these trues! I am familiar with all of these facts.

E. B. White said “Prejudice is a great time saver. You can form opinions without having to get the facts.”

There are people who live their whole life believing over-generalized stereotypes that supposedly set them apart from a particular group of people. The belief that people of color are not intellectually equipped to assume leadership roles is a longstanding stereotype. The election of a people of color council majority in 2003 and the chatter and expressed perils that followed gives credence to this misconception.

The day these council members were sworn in the crusade began to recapture control. They have been criticized at every turn, for every initiative taken to improve economic opportunities and quality of life. This council majority has been criticized for a lack of transparency, yet more issues have been discussed in an open setting than ever before and citizens have been encouraged to attend Committee of the Whole meetings to get direct information.

It was this council majority that brought to light the fact that the city owed hundreds of millions of dollars as a result of a failed utility venture. It was Councilman Andre Knight who was at the forefront of this fight. It was this council majority that heeded the call of citizens and established new guidelines to accommodate those having problems paying utility charges.

At the seating of this council majority, longstanding inequities existed. Only one person of color was serving on the Planning Board and one on the Board of Adjustments. All other boards and commissions dealing with growth and development had none. Goods and services on the east side were almost none existent and plans were on the drawing board to bulldoze the Douglass Block and Booker T. Washington High School. Preservation of African-American history was not a consideration.

Is this the kind of governing that critics are clamoring to reinstate?

The critics leading the charge spent every waking hour trying to prevent the construction of the Event Center so it is surprising that they would be so aggressively interested in the center’s medical contract. It is also surprising that they are so accusatory of downtown real-estate purchases considering they abandoned the area. It is unlikely such untruths would be on display if these critics had been successful in preventing construction of the Event Center.

Al Kersha said, “No matter what you believe, it doesn’t change the facts.” So true.

Gardenia B. Hobbs

Rocky Mount

Letter to the Editor: Council critics offer nothing by Gardenia Hobbs – The Rocky Mount Telegram

The Political Agitator’s response: The Special Cs do not have to offer anything because they are just that special. They have nothing to offer not even common sense because if they had any they would think before they lie.

In the annals of history, there are many stories about African Americans who dared to take a stand for justice and equality and how they faced character assassination and even death at the hands of those who saw them as a threat to their way of life.

In these same annals there are also stories about betrayal by African Americans who would have been the beneficiaries. Sadly, not much has changed over time. The struggle for justice and equality continues, unwarranted criticisms rage on and betrayal still lurks among us.

Activist Martin Luther King Jr., with his nonviolent approach, and Malcom X, with his straight talk approach, advocated for the same thing and were assassinated for the same reason because they dared to challenge the status quo. The Rev. William J. Barber and Rev. Al Sharpton are demonized not because they mislead their audience but because their truth to power undresses the ills of injustice and inequality in a way that is unsettling for those who fear the loss of power. At this writing I cannot think of one African American activist spared misrepresentation of intent and purpose. Indeed, there are those among us who obviously believe they alone have a monopoly on leadership ability. (Read more)

Letter to the Editor: Racial understanding still elusive by Gardenia Hobbs – Rocky Mount Telegram

The Political Agitator’s response: You did a great job on the HRC. I attended the meetings back then and that is when I 1st met you. We served on the Common Ground Study Circles together as well and I totally agree with your observation. You are ab so lute ly correct, “This town, like so many others in this country, appears to have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo when it comes to bridging the racial divide. We hear a lot of talk about working together but it’s just that, talk. To my knowledge, there appears to be no interest on the part of anyone or any group to pick up the baton and organize a coalition to initiate ongoing frank and honest community dialogue that would promote racial tolerance and understanding that leads to improved race relations.”

Not so long ago it would not have been unreasonable to view racism as a smoldering ember, but today that ember has again been reignited.

The mere mention of the word racism brings on an onslaught of denials and finger-pointing from those who apparently feel they are judge and jury. Racism is ingrained in this country’s fabric at every level and injects itself into everyday decision-making that may or may not spark unconscious biases. No matter how you slice it or dice it, racism is real, it exists and it is not a figment of the imagination.

As a person of color, longevity has exposed me to all kinds of racism. I know it when I see or hear it and I do not need an interpreter. Indeed, my upbringing has served me well. It has been the foundation on which I have persevered even in the worst of times. Over the years, in my effort to rise above talk, I have participated in initiatives intended to help bring about tolerance and understanding of the views and life experiences of others. (Rocky Mount Telegram)

Letter to the Editor: Racism flourishes unabated – Rocky Mount Telegram

Donald Trump is testing the institution of the presidency unlike any of his predecessors.

He disdains the rule of law and tramples norms of presidential behavior. He is ill-informed, self-destructive and brazen in his abusive attacks on the justice system and the press. Indeed, Donald Trump is chewing this country up and spitting it out in little pieces. The fear of not being re-elected has caused congressional Republicans to stand idly by while Trump tells lie after lie, alienates allies and enables racism to flourish unabated.

Donald Trump is a Bernard Manoff and Theodore Bilbo rolled into one. A con artist and a racist. He continues to successfully con his supports, many of whom are low information voters, into believing him in an unconditional and cultish manner. Many of Trump’s tweets and comments shine a spotlight on his racism and his appointment of people like Jeff Sessions, Betsy DeVos, John Kelly and Steven Miller further substantiate it. (Read more)

Letter to the Editor: Obama entered White House scandal-free and left the same way by Gardenia Hobbs – Rocky Mount Telegram

The Watch Dog response: Now twist these trues! What about that part? NO OBAMA DRAMA!

I recently watched the unveiling ceremony of the portraits of former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle that will hang in the National Portrait Gallery and I was reminded of their grace, poise and professionalism during their time of service at the White House. Whatever negatives the Obama haters throw at them, their dignity and commitment remained unchanged. In the face of unyielding opposition President Obama never let anger win the day. The array of programs and entertainment they brought to the White House gave rise to a new cultural era reminiscent of the Kennedy years.

In spite of the fact that President Obama was not respected as president by some, he never resorted to childish tweets or name calling. He realized the country was not an island unto itself and its economic security was intertwined on a global scale. He did not threaten or insult foreign leaders for effect but worked to build stronger coalitions. President Obama was intellectually astute, well read and did not rely on Fox News for verified information. He was not a con artist who engaged in trickery. (Read more)

Letter to the Editor: Patriotism is about the common good for all by Gardenia Hobbs in the Rocky Mount Telegram

The Watch Dog response: Fa bu lous ta stic!

Patriotism is defined as “love for or devotion to one’s country.” True patriots seek to strengthen, confirm and celebrate the “we” in “we the people.” Patriotism goes far beyond the spoken word and one shoe does not fit all. To make a judgment call about one’s patriotism based on whether or not they adhere to the customary ritual of standing when the National Anthem is performed or place their hand over their heart when the Pledge of Allegiance is recited is shallow at best. True patriotism isn’t simply about conforming to a ritual. It’s about coming together for the good of all.

Much criticism as been directed at NFL players of color who protest by kneeling down during the performance of the National Anthem. The fact that many of their critics, including Donald Trump, are contributors to the very issue they are protesting is ignored. Why is it considered to be unpatriotic for NFL players not to stand during the performance of the National Anthenm on one hand and on the other hand it’s OK to enact and support legislation to suppress voting rights that preclude people of color from performing a patriotic duty to vote? Isn’t it a patriotic duty to work toward a common good that will improve, not destroy? (Read more)


This article was posted in the Rocky Mount Telegram titled as “Progress On Racial Equality Front Meets New Challenges In 2016.”


As I pause and reflect on this country’s promise of justice and equality for all I am reminded of the many barriers that have negated the fulfillment of this promise. Are we destined to continue dreaming an impossible dream? Are we destined to continue living in a country where justice and equality will never be on one accord? Indeed, there is much truth in the old adage “the more things change the more they stay the same.”

Legislation has all but put an end to forced racial segregation yet actions and attitudes remain unwavering. Racial stereotyping is just as prevalent today as it was yesterday. In 1964 President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act that abolished the Jim Crow Laws and invoked the commerce clause which outlawed discrimination in public accommodations. Today we are seeing new laws enacted like HB2 that give rise to discrimination anew and religion being used to justify the unjustifiable.

In 1965 the Voting Rights Act was passed to rectify inequities in voting rights. In 2013 the Supreme Court invalidated key parts of this act citing there was no longer a need. After that ruling the restructuring of voting rights went into overtime. Today we are not asked to count marbles in a jar or read parts of the Constitution but the obstacles of acquiring a voter ID and getting to a polling place is just as daunting.

The Brown v. Board of Education decision was handed down on May 17, 1954 and from that day forward opponents started working feverishly to find ways to circumvent the law. Following this decision home schooling increased, church schools, charter schools and academies started opening at an epidemic rate. Today public schools are being robbed of funding and are just as segregated as they were before the Brown v. Board of Education decision.

Affirmative Action was first introduced in the issuance of an Executive Order to create the Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity by President John F. Kennedy in 1961. By Executive Order, President Lyndon B. Johnson developed and enforced this order in 1965. From the outset there was strong opposition. Under the guise of reverse discrimination there has been one lawsuit after another. Today, the Affirmative Action Program has been stripped of its original intent and is but a fading shadow.

In 2009 the Tea Party was formed and from day one its members went after President Obama with a vengeance and gave birth to the slogan “taking our country back.” Tea Party members have depicted President Obama in every racist format possible and engaged in verbal racial confrontations even with African American members of Congress. Instead of rebuke the organization has been embraced as if it were mainstream and candidates seeking elected office have been elated to get its endorsement. To the contrary, when Black Lives Matter organized in 2013 critics wasted no time calling the organization racist and a terrorist group. This comes as no surprise because down through the annals of time when people of color have dared to speak out about injustices or challenges the system they have sometimes paid the ultimate price or have been labeled as trouble makers and radicals. Is it the expectation that people of color should suffer peacefully and accept things as they are without question?

In 1968 George Wallace ran for president on a segregationist platform. Today we have George Wallace in Donald Trump, a man who freely expresses racist views and is a Mister “Cure-all” without a how. It is appalling to hear members of the Republican leadership criticize his racist remarks on one hand and endorse him on the other hand. Obviously, for them, it’s all about winning at any cost and sacrificing self-respect is a price worth paying.

John F. Kennedy said “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” So, as long as minds and attitudes reject change, it is not unreasonable to expect that “the more things change the more they will stay the same”.

Gardenia B. Hobbs, Rocky Mount, NC

America continues to suffer from an addiction to racism – by Gardenia Hobbs

The Political Agitator’s response: Fantastic! As always, proud to be able to say this sister is a dear and close friend.

The sad state of race relations in this country is the headline special on today’s menu, but not many orders are being placed to move beyond talk.

The removal of the Confederate flag from the grounds of the South Carolina State Capitol did indeed right a wrong, but it is not a cure-all for this country’s acute addiction to racism. Confederate flags and monuments are merely symbols. The removal of them does little or nothing to carve out the core of the problem.

Like any addiction, there must first be a desire to seek a cure, coupled with willpower and determination. Unfortunately, none of these ingredients appears to be prevalent in America’ addictive battle with racism. It appears to be more advantageous to serve denial as the main course and discredit the messenger for dessert whenever issues arise that give a racist perception. (Source: Read more)

Reader skeptical of intentions behind those who oppose event center – Rocky Mount Telegram

The Political Agitator response: I know Mrs. Gardenia Hobbs on a personal note. I first met her when I began attending the Rocky Mount Human Relations Commission meeting back in the early 90’s. Later I became the vice chair of N.E.E.D. Inc. and where her husband Mr. William Hobbs served as the treasurer. In 1998 – 99 I served as the appointed chair of the Edgecombe County Democratic Party when now Rev. Roy Gray stepped down and I moved up from the 3rd vice position. I learned a lot from the Hobbs and I was able to be very, very effective with my role as the chair of the Democratic Party because their meetings were before mines so when I had my meetings I was ready. Over the years we joined the Common Ground with Chris Miller now Councilwoman Chris Miller and we kept our group going until the Hobbs had to take care of their mother/mother in law. I have much respect for Mrs. Hobbs and I don’t have to add to or take away from what she had to say.

From Day One, the makeup of the present City Council member majority has been called into question. Most of their major decisions have been viewed as unsound, shortsighted and downright inept by a number of people in this town, that include some of the members of the newly formed Community Council.

Unfortunately, these individuals cannot or will not accept the fact that they are no longer at the controls. So, rather than work collectively with the Council for the good and welfare of all citizens and engage in constructive dialogue, they have found it more advantageous to criticize, to misinform the uninformed.

They conveniently express concern about the state of the city, but the undercurrents tell a different story and frequent references to “the good old days” where exclusion was the norm speak volumes. (Source: Read more)

Republican policies seem bent on dismantling public education by Gardenia Hobbs – Rocky Mount Telegram

The public education system in this country was created for two purposes – to prepare our youth to be successful in a career of choice and to provide knowledge and skills that will make them informed and engaged citizens.

I am sure I am not off-track by saying that the majority of our renowned scholars, doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, everyday people and yes, politicians, received their educational anchors in a public school system. Now, in this era that stresses preparedness in order to be competitive in a global economy, the Republican legislative majorities in this and other states are on a crusade to destroy the very system that gave them the foundation to launch their careers. They have aggressively passed legislation that eliminates equal educational opportunities for all students as well as the principles of social justice. (More)


Today, people are asking “where are the jobs”? What happened to the urgency of creating jobs, rebuilding a faltering economy, getting government out of our lives and smaller government? As of this writing it has been 238 days, 10 hours, 4 minutes and 15 seconds since the U.S. House Republicans took control of the Speaker’s gavel and not one job creating bill has been introduced, no real solutions for rebuilding the economy have been put forth and government has become more, not less, intrusive in our lives. Across the country state lawmakers, including those here in NC, have brushed glossy campaign promises aside to enact social, turn back the clock legislation that neither create jobs nor cast a favorable light on a country in turmoil. There is a “rule or ruin” agenda at play in this country.

After the 2010 elections and the swearing in of legislators, the first order of business in the U.S. House of Representatives was to cast a vote to repeal health care reform. This same script was played out in NC and many other states across the country with Republican legislative majorities. This vote should have sent a clear message to all of us. These legislators don’t give a rap about people with preexisting conditions being denied insurance or those of us who have insurance paying the bill for those who do not. To add insult to injury, members of the U.S. House immediately passed a resolution precluding the disclosure of the names of those legislators enrolled in a Government Health Care Plan. In fact, the majority of these legislators are enrolled in a Government Health Care Plan, but they do not want their constituents to know. Renee’ Ellmers is reported to have stated she enrolled in a Government Health Care Plan because living in Washington, DC is expensive. I guess the expense of coverage for the uninsured being subsidized by those of us who are insured is not a consideration.

We are witnessing states, including NC, passing laws that will suppress voter participation in the form of a “voter ID” requirement, which is nothing more than a modern day poll tax. District lines are being drawn to dilute the minority vote, eliminate the number of minority legislators and ensure Republican rule for the next ten years. Unions are being attacked and stripped of their bargaining privileges, “a woman’s right to choose” is becoming more and more under government control, tax breaks for the rich are being guarded like a bear protecting her cub and the quest to dismantle public education, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security moves onward. “Rule or ruin,” that’s the name of the game.

What we’ve got here is a small group of extremist, the Koch Brothers, Art Pope, Dick Armey, Karl Rove, Grover Norquist and a few others, who have literally bought many of the people we call politicians, including some here in NC, to carry out their extremist agenda. This accounts for the unleashing of robot politicians all over the country who are adhering to an agenda prepared for them and enacting laws written exclusively for them by a free-market organization called ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council). This organization recently held a “pilgrimage” in New Orleans and more than 30 conservative members of the NC legislature attended. House Speaker Thom Tillis was one of eight lawmakers honored as “a legislator of the year.” Yes, it is true, the most controversial and extreme legislation being enacted is being written by ALEC.

What we’ve got here is a bunch of flag flying, Bible carrying, God Bless America hypocrites whose hearts and souls are filled with bigotry and hatred. What we’ve got here is a bunch of hypocrites who profess to be Christians but have no respect, compassion or tolerance for people of color. They are mean spirited, tear down and elude fairness and equality. They flock to churches on Sunday, and in between, but their actions and deeds remain contrary to Christian principles. What we’ve got here is a bunch of hypocrites who want to make women jump through hoops before having an abortion, for whatever the circumstances, but are unwilling to rear any of these babies women may be forced to have. It is doubly hypocritical, after restricting the right to choose, to slash the budgets of programs some women may seek assistance from after giving birth.

In a nut shell, what we’ve got here is a bunch of hypocrites whose “real” objectives are “to get a man of color out of a white house” that was built by Black Slaves and to reincarnate the era of Jim Crow laws. They have preyed on ingrained racism to lure followers and sympathizers who are willing to sacrifice, suffer, remain jobless, encourage companies not to hire and work against their own best interest to achieve “the goal.” It would be wise for those committed to ruling or ruining to revisit this country’s turbulent history as a reminder of what the consequences of acts of suppression can be.

Gardenia B. Hobbs
Rocky Mount, NC

Note: Right on!! Amen and Amen!! As always Gardenia Hobbs tell it like it is. She could not have made it any clearer. Oh, but yes she could because the Republican followers don’t get it. Everybody black, white, brown and/or other be they Democrat or Republican ought to see what is going on as it relates to the Republican leadership. Curmilus Dancy II – The Political Agitator

Hypocrisy rules Republican agendas at state, federal levels by Gardenia Hobbs – Source: Rocky Mount Telegram

Today, people are asking, “Where are the jobs?” What happened to the urgency of creating jobs, rebuilding a faltering economy, getting government out of our lives and smaller government?

As of this writing, it has been 238 days, 10 hours, 4 minutes and 15 seconds since the U.S. House Republicans took control of the speaker’s gavel, and not one job-creating bill has been introduced, no real solutions for rebuilding the economy have been put forth, and government has become more, not less, intrusive in our lives. Across the country, state lawmakers, including those here in North Carolina, have brushed aside promises to enact social, turn-back-the clock legislation that neither creates jobs nor casts a favorable light on a country in turmoil. There is a “rule or ruin” agenda at play in this country. (Read more)

Note: Right on!! Amen and Amen!! As always Gardenia Hobbs tell it like it is. She could not have made it any clearer. Oh, but yes she could because the Republican followers don’t get it. Everybody black, white, brown and/or other be they Democrat or Republican ought to see what is going on as it relates to the Republican leadership. Curmilus Dancy II – The Political Agitator