Shumon Jenkins

The Five Point Program

Secret service opens the door for you and reveals the most powerful being on Earth, the devil. Slim, pale, yet red only in his cheeks. He wears a blue suit, an American button, and a tight tie around his neck. Hair slicked back like the 80s, body filled up with steroids like the 60s, but that smile bright, that smile brand new. You walk in, secret service tells the president to say anything if he needs them, then shuts the door. You both stand in the middle of the Oval Office; the sun glistens off each other’s skin as it meets its peak in the sky. Shining through the window, showing off the new leader of the free world. Oh, and the president. Time and time again, this has happened but this will be different, you tell yourself. For as President Regan Jr. sticks out his hand as a kind gesture, you remember the arrow he holds behind him, forcing you to say,

“All do respect Regan. But…..Fuck. You.”

He snatches his hand back like he didn’t mean it anyway. He then proceeds to make himself a small glass of whiskey and say,

“It’s President Regan Jr, Jay. Please, show me that respect. I could have just let you rot in that prison or worst, continue with the death penalty.”

You laugh without smiling and say, “True. But that wouldn’t stop the war you’re about to have, would it?”

He takes the cup, has a sip, licks his lips, then heads to one of the new couches in the middle of the room and says, “Let’s talk business.”

You follow right behind, sitting on the couch across from him and say, “This isn’t about business, this is about people.”

“What’s the difference?” He rests one leg on top of the other. “Everything is about money, Jay. We live in a beautiful capitalistic nation. Earn for yourself, by yourself.”

“Please,” you say, mirroring his body. “Everything in America was built by those who aren’t considered human. But look at y’all now without us? Terrified.”

He blows air out his nose. “Say what you will, Jay. But you and your people can’t keep this up.”

“My people,” you say, with all the pride in the world. “Have taken abandoned buildings and created homeless and drug shelters. We’ve taken empty and trash filled lots and made houses and apartment complexes. Took liter, mixed it with hemp and made new streets. Used our money to invest in sources of power; solar panels, wind turbines and water engines. Partnered with neighborhood after neighborhood to create a front line of protection. And with that, made our schools serve free food, real vegetables and fruit that comes from greenhouses, made in the same places you abandoned….Regan. Don’t tell me what my people can and cannot do. We know what we can do.”

“Oh really?” He offers a counter. “I know what your people do. Like telling black and brown athletes to stop playing sports? Not until the owners pay for every employees’ living expenses. Or how about when you made an entire football team carry assault rifles into the field, calling it a protest?! Blocking highways for attention, murdering officials who created policies you disagreed with, stealing resources made for specific neighborhoods, burning all of Mississippi to the ground?! Starting riots in Calabasas and Beverly Hills! I’ll tell you what you and your people do, create destruction!”

You do nothing but smirk and say, “What can I say, we’re Americans.”

He smirks back then returns to a frown and says, “Not for much longer. You are going to tell your people to stop. Shutdown the E.L.I. programs, destroy your buildings and tell the rest of your people to give up this antiracist, anti-capitalist utopia. Or else.”

“Or else what?” you bark back, but in a hush tone. “Civil War? Come on Regan. You and I both know you don’t want that. Especially when the world is looking at us. We got African nations on my side. Europe looking at you sideways, like, “this man can’t handle his nigger?” Hell even some European nations are supporting us now. You make the decision of killing millions of black, brown and good amount of white folk?….Well, I don’t think the world or history will look at you fondly.”

The president shakes his head like he has heard all of this before. “So is that your plan? To die for something, you will not see?”

“If that’s God’s mission, so be it. However, it doesn’t have to be this way.”

“Is that so?”

“It is. Give E.L.I. what we are demanding, and we’ll stop.”

“Jay, I’ve already told you we will never su-”

“Demand one! Take and disband all guns in America or give every U.S. citizen a handgun at the ripe age of twenty-five, along with yearly training and mental checking. 

“Demand two! Destroy and rebuild the education system into one that values the education of U.S. citizens on all cultures and histories, highlights America’s shameful mistakes and is based on the growth of knowledge, not tests or grades.”

“Jay, I know the dema-”

“Demand three! All human services such as housing, water, food, power, health, internet and heat be free for everyone regardless of race, sexual orientation or gender. As well as providing a Universal Balanced Income.

“Demand four! Replace all racist and capitalistic laws and policies with anti-racist and anti-capitalistic laws and policies.”

“ENOUGH!”

“And finally! And most importantly, admit and apologize on behalf of America to every person of color, especially black people, to the racism and horrors you have and still commit to this very day!”

He swallows his drink like it was a shot, shoots up and walks back towards his desk. “Get out Jay. I’ve heard enough.”

You do what he says and say, “These are our demands Regan. Nothing more. Nothing less. Either follow them, or watch America fall. The choice however, is no longer yours to make. I’ll escort myself out. Thank you for your time.”

Yet as you prepare to open the door, he yells out, “You’re right Jay. It’s not up to me. It’s not even up to you. It’s up to that little black party you have right? You see, I know what you’re planning. I know you’re planning to have every black, brown and some foolish white folks not pay their taxes in a way to cripple America’s income if I don’t agree. But you see, that plan will only work if all those rich and powerful leaders you trust back you up. Without them, your people will starve, end up powerless and look upon you as their fallen messiah and come running back to me. And let’s just say, it’s going to be really hard to back you when they find out your closest allies want nothing more than your destruction. You can’t even trust the people around you. And you know why? Because you are no savior. You’re just some black boy from some ghetto.”

You take a deep breath, one that can only be heard by you. Turn around, get close, meet him eye to eye and say, “Actually. I’m from Brockton. Nigga.” Then leave the Oval Office.

 


Shumon Jenkins is an African American male from Brockton, Massachusetts, currently working in Boston as an ELA teacher. Over the last few years, he has been writing about the black experience in America and what it has meant for him. He has only been published once before; a poem called “Young Black Male” many years ago for the Journal of Critical Scholarship on Higher Education and Student Affairs. The piece attached is about a young black man trying to save his people. Above all else, Shumon wants nothing more but to be heard.


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