The Black Politico

Orlando politics and more -- from a black perspective
Geraldine Thompson takes an odd, sloppy swing at Chief Val Demings

Geraldine Thompson takes an odd, sloppy swing at Chief Val Demings

Geraldine Thompson made a statement about District 10 Candidate Chief Val Demings regarding an excessive force case that happened while Demings was in office over six years ago.

Thompson said she was working with the NAACP on legislation that would require FDLE to investigate uses of police force that results in death or serious bodily harm and then cited a case where a man involved in an altercation with the Orlando police was injured and settled his case.

She then added that incident was on Demings watch. The story started to unfold and the Black Lives Matter movement was thrown in the mix in what appeared to be a sloppy attempt to confuse black voters. But, the man in the case Thompson mentioned is an 84-year old white man.

The case is old and it’s over. Yet, currently we are witness to a sitting police chief that has excused excessive force against black people right here in Orlando.

However, Thompson didn’t call that out. She called-out a former black, female police chief that actually has a stellar record. Being afraid to question and if need be, attack (not physically, of course) the source of the current problem is something our leaders must be able to do effectively. When there are 23 inexcusable, excessive force cases under the current leadership now and a candidate takes a shot at someone who previously led that force instead of the current leader is frankly a cowardly move.

As we celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King this month, we should all take a good look at our strategies against our own people, especially those looking to lead our communities. Not only that, we should take a good look at how we treat each other and that includes what we say to each other and how we say it. During the Democratic debate last Sunday, Bernie Sanders refused to bring into question the past indiscretions of Hillary Clinton’s husband, President Bill Clinton.

Sanders almost emotionally embraced and protected her from the firestorm that is already brewing to use the former President’s affair(s) as a public relations target in an effort to shy people away from voting for her. Sanders’ move was not only classy but it was right. It was also the ethical thing to do. Most of all, he stayed on the issues that Americans want to discuss.
Frankly speaking, here we have two white people, Clinton and Sanders, who refuse to personally destroy each other on the campaign trail. Is it too much to ask for our local candidate to do the same? In the District 10 race, the move made by Thompson was an oddly desperate move to destroy the character of Demings amongst voters in the black community after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi endorsed Demings. What else could it be?

Oddly, the only current thing she linked it to was the Black Lives Matter movement yet the injured man was again, an 84-year old white man. Thompson’s move certainly doesn’t describe the character of Demings. Sure, it wasn’t an affair like Clinton, but the issue surrounding it was simple mudslinging. If this excessive force case meant that much to Thompson then why not lead the charge against the multi-excessive force cases against OPD right now by being just as vocal about these 23 excessive force cases as she is about this one that settled years ago?

The real reason is because she is not running against Chief Mina or any officers. She’s running against Congressional Candidate for District 10, Val Demings. Why is all this important to you and me? It’s important because it shows the character of Thompson. This is not a fight for the people, it’s her own personal fight for the congressional seat, otherwise, her sights would be set on the faulty agenda that holds Central Floridians back; especially black Central Floridians.

This kind of campaigning is what we all should think about when we go to the polls. And, let me be clear. I am not directly defending Chief Demings. I am directly defending YOU.

Those who are in the district need to hear the issues surrounding what will help them, not be witness to a mudslinging contest. It’s understood that no campaign is going to be nice, warm and fuzzy. We get that. However, attack the opposition on the issues because that’s what matters to us.

I don’t know about you but I couldn’t care any less about a settled case that happened years ago. I want to move forward and I would like to know how each person stands on the issues that matter to me and you and our families. Both candidates are running for U.S. Congress and the election will be held on August 30, 2016.

Self Medicating: A broken healthcare system leads to patient power

Last spring, a south Florida man fought against Florida’s marijuana laws and won his argument to be able to treat himself with medical marijuana.

Jesse Teplicki, a severe anorexic, told a south Florida news channel, this case is about medicinal marijuana and that he was going home to celebrate his legal win by, smoking a “fat one,” as he described it, before dinner. Prior to using medical marijuana Teplicki would get sick simply at the sight of food. However, he has found a way to successfully use the marijuana he grows in his own home as treatment for his condition. Even though marijuana is, for the most part, illegal in Florida, Teplicki’s Attorney Michael Minardi was successful in convincing a jury of Teplicki’s peers that Teplicki was within his rights for growing 46 plants in his home for his medical condition. They found no reason to believe he was selling the plant for monetary gain.

This case is also about the right to choose what happens to our bodies on the inside as well as on the outside. As we embark on an election season, many people are fighting for or against a woman’s right to choose what happens with the health of her body and her right to choose whether to have an abortion or not.

Teplicki had no medical records in ten years which clearly means he has not been seen by a “traditional” doctor in a decade yet he has successfully treated a severe condition without the frustration of using health insurance and bouncing from doctor to doctor. According to the Power To the Patient advocacy group, statistics show most people have gone to an average of 6-7 doctors before they actually get a diagnosis. That is an unacceptable way to treat illness. Even though many are suffering with aches, pains, mental conditions, lupus, sickle cell anemia and more, there is a frustrating system patients must go through in America in order to be diagnosed and treated. Being properly treated is even harder.

Frustration is growing amongst patients and Teplicki is a patient who has power, determination and gained even more after his historic legal battle. Most of all, he had a passionate attorney when it comes to medical marijuana. Attorney Michael Minardi told us this lawsuit seems like it happened so long ago, yet, the groundbreaking trial ended this past March and Attorney Minardi is set to battle yet another similar case on August 24th in Osceola county.

Using medical marijuana for some people is not just a recreational move. There are several reasons why people turn and self-medicate and a broken medical system is where it all starts. Going to a primary care doctor with a problem means that you will most likely be sent to a specialist. It may take a while for a patient to get an appointment because being a new patient to an office means completing more paperwork and getting insurance approval. This can prolong the process patients have as they suffer with whatever medical condition they are battling. Meanwhile, the fight for medical cannabis is going on right alongside the right for women to choose and medical marijuana is looking like it could become legal in 2016.

However, some are arguing that the only amendment to the law that is on the ballot is the one proposed by Attorney John Morgan of Morgan and Morgan. Others are trying their hand at proposing an amendment that claims to encompass a plan that legalizes marijuana that is similar to states like Colorado and California however, those amendments are still in the petition phase while Morgan’s amendment will be on the 2016 Presidential ballot.

As for Teplicki, the jurors in his case clearly sided with him agreeing patients who need medical marijuana may use it to treat their illness.
Teplicki plans to file a civil suit however the judge was sure to stand up in court and tell him not to push his luck and to be careful with his actions in the future.Medical cannabis in Florida

An Open Letter to Moms of Black Girls

To every mother of a black girl, this is for you. It also serves as a reminder to myself to continue to nudge my daughter. While the country is focused on the horrible murders of black men, the failed American judicial system and the improper treatment of the first black President of the United States of America, we are still responsible for raising our girls. To do that with power, there are a few things we must consider to be non-negotiable.

First, we must teach our girls about their ancestry. Not only have them sit down with their grandparents and discuss the family history, but go beyond and find their roots. In this, they likely will take pride and be surprised at what royalty from which they extend. Be honest with them about how the world may view them and prove to your girls that populations of people feel negative toward them because, with the right tools, so many fear black girls are destined to be fierce. They are more than entertainers, but entrepreneurs, scientists, scholars and more.
Invest in their education. Find someone or some “thing”, like computer software or books, to teach them proper English, proper Spanish and the latest dialect of Arabic because they are going to need it all. Even if they take it in public school, follow it up and perfect it at home. Save for their education as aggressively as if they are going to Yale without a scholarship. Never let money be the reason they cannot go to an Ivy League college and finish. Prepare them to get accepted and send them. Don’t beg any man to be a part of their lives. If applicable, ask once and let it go. Get your girls the very best healthcare you know how and do it in a timely manner.

Refuse to let doctors make the final decision for their health and always consider surgery to be the last option for any disorder or disease. If they get a chance to travel, access the situation, accept the offer, send them or go with them. Allow them to see as much as they can and be there to explain and translate what they witness. Take them to church, pray with them and study the Bible with them at home as if it is the only thing that matters. Teach them suicide is never an option and make them promise you they will never take their own life. Make sure they understand that mental healthcare is just as important as physical healthcare and to not be ashamed to ask for help should they need it.

Remind them to be compassionate and bless others when they can but to take care of themselves first. Moms, as hard as it may be, we must learn to let go when the time comes. Don’t guilt your babies into staying at home as opposed to experiencing higher education and living their own lives. Listen to them while they talk. Laugh at their jokes and remind them of how beautiful they are on the inside and outside. Monitor their calls, emails and text messages and do everything you possibly can to keep them away from drugs and alcohol. Ask their teachers how they behave in school and who their close friends are in each class. Get political at times and remind them blacks fought and died for their right to vote but not for them to vote only Democrat or only Republican. The way they vote is their own call, not anyone else’s. Don’t just keep them out of the “system” but teach them to stay out of trouble as much as possible, yet to challenge things that are not fair. In other words, if they get in trouble, let it be because they stood for what is right. The law is not always on the side of black girls and being in jail or prison is not where they are destined to end up.
Teach them to never beg a man to love them as the outcome will not be what they dream it will be if they do so. Tell them if they cannot find a job, to create one as we all have the same power to build small and large businesses just as Bill Gates and Donald Trump. Remind them that while they may be afraid at times, believe every single one of God’s promises; don’t pick and choose, but believe it in its entirety and trust Him with every Iota of their being. Remind your daughters to smile and greet other black girls for they are their sisters. Teach them that their body is all they have and to be as careful with it as if it is the largest, most beautiful, most sought after, African diamond in the world.
Help them understand that friends may come and go but to choose each friend wisely. Stick closely to people who share the same basic foundations and beliefs yet be open to knowing those of all faiths and cultures. In the age of social media we attack people more so than ever before. Teach your girls to not be discouraged by cowards who send negative comments from behind their computer screens about them. If they are attacked with harsh words, teach them to fairly check themselves and if it applies, then work in changing that negative feature. If it does not apply, forget about it. Finally, tell them to make sure they do each and every thing here for their own little black girls one day so they can ultimately be the very best that God intended them to be regardless of the harsh world that encompasses them.