Books

BOOK REVIEW: ‘Rise Up: Confronting a Country at the Crossroads’ by Rev. Al Sharpton

c.2020, Hanover Square Press
288 pages
$27.99

You’re beat down.

Tired, ready to rest, just plain done. So much racism, so many politicians doing so many things. You’re wiped, laid low with no more go, and you’re not sure you have the energy for more of this. But there’s hope for the hopeless, a lift for the fallen, and in “Rise Up” by the Rev. Al Sharpton, there’s reason to keep on.

We are being tested.

It’s happening now, Sharpton says, in a way that we’ve never seen. We’re poked by haters every day, prodded by evildoers. The nation is at a “crossroads” and work is being done to “make America great” but not for everybody. This has to change.

Democracy, says Sharpton, is not perfect but it really is the best of all political practices. To make it work now, we need and “deserve” strong leadership that isn’t racist or homophobic, misogynistic, or against immigration or voter’s rights. It’s what we must have to preserve democracy – and yet, he says, in the last four years, we’ve gone from a transformational leader who embraced diversity to one that’s transactional and does not. The former allowed a cultural shift that many in the Black community enjoyed. With the latter, we seem to have backtracked.

That came as no surprise to Sharpton: he’s known Donald Trump for decades, has met with him numerous times on various projects. He knows him as just a guy from Queens, a dealmaker, just another politician Sharpton’s acquainted with. He’s known a lot of politicians: King, Obama, Mandela, Clinton. Shirley Chisolm, whom he sweetly calls “Mrs. C.” He’s known celebrities, too: James Brown was like a father to Sharpton. Aretha Franklin was a friend.

Moving forward, he says, we must ask white allies to step aside and make room for Black leaders in issues where Black lives are most affected. Black activists shouldn’t ignore the fight for LGBTQ rights because they, too, are human rights — as are issues of climate change. And as for staying “woke,” remember that waking up means getting up, too …

Let’s start here: Rev. Al Sharpton doesn’t have very much good to say about Donald Trump. If you’re familiar with Sharpton, you already knew this was coming, but “Rise Up” offers some background that happened between the two, and they’re great stories.

That’s a lot of what you’ll get inside this book, in fact: stories, and they mix in with Sharpton’s observations and thoughts so well that it’s easy to be lulled into the telling. No worries: like any good preacher does, he happily yanks your attention back to the pulpit, to racism, voter’s rights, and politics. True to what you’d expect, Sharpton isn’t shy, and he’ll make readers who are Black, white, and brown think, hard, about today’s issues.

Don’t be surprised to see a somewhat gentler version of Rev. Sharpton in this book — gentler, but no less fierce. Don’t be surprised if this book sparks conversation and action. Now go: you’ve got time, read it before the election, and “Rise Up” won’t let you down.

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One Comment

  1. Sharpton needed to shut up a long time ago. He doesn’t keep hope alive. He keeps hate alive until white is not a patriarchal conservation majority which they hate more than anything.–the whole lot of them. Trump did not start this racial divide we are experiencing. Obama started this with his Zimmerman speech with Black Lives Matter waiting in the wing, maybe the West Wing, to emerged the same month and protest as often as possible to stir the American conscience away from common sense to mass media stupid. What I thought was demand for police justice became about ‘systemic racism’ being put in the minds of people across the ‘white’ board. The use of ‘white privilege’, ‘white supremacy’ constantly thrown up to support this second Civil Rights movement coup eating at the heart of America denigrating a President who has brought us peace abroad for the first time in 30 years while facing hate-mudslinging out-of- line citizens and Biden, the white devil’s advocate for black people. Everything we have seen and has been said is a shame. Trump is attached for blurting things out but there is truth behind much of it . This has been a shameful grab for the White House to continue the agenda of this movement. The BREATHE Act was put into the hands of Muslim congress women who call for a ‘push against the oppressor’ and calling for taking money from the Department of Justice. What a nightmare. I lived 26 miles east of the San Bernardino shooting of 2015. Trump was absolutely right to put a ban on Muslim immigration. There is something wrong with countries giving themselves over to the ideology of religious law that believes it should rule the land. Look what Obama did in Egypt. It backfired. Sharpton calls him xenophobic. Why? Sharpton, Obama, Jeremiah Wright and anyone connected to them want to literally change the face of humanity in this country to anything but white. They want to get in the White House and spend tax payers dollars for programs. Obama-care ACA costs one billion a year and Trump wanted to fix it. He was made fun of by Biden for mentioning the Stock Market when our lives are tied to it. Our National Debt is tied to Social Security and Kamala Harris talked of reducing retirement back to 60–anything to increase their voting base. Obama did not grown up on the mainland. His first contact was on Chicago’s Southside, which yes, is a picture of despair. Kamala Harris went to middle and high school in Canada., not saying the Pledge of Allegiance everyday. They are not the heartland of this nation. If we overburden our government, it will fall. There must be a balance. Democratic Socialism is not that answer. Trump did not negotiate with Mother Nature to rain down 10,000 lightening strikes on the Northern California forests though Biden wants to make him out for being an arsonist. These liberal progressives have used the climate and “Green” since the sixties to draw in young people and make them think they can and must save the planet when we need the people of the world to stop burning their forest. Trump did not cause the deaths of 200,000 ‘bodies’ that Harris so crudely threw out to the public. People of New York are still suffering from 9/11 disease and are dying of cancer. Doctor’s early on were scrambling for answers and were learning NOT to use ventilators in early April. The only possible thing that could have been different would have been to stop people coming from England who had continued to allow travel to come to them from Europe. As doctors learned of blood thinner and steroid use and to use nasal oxygen delivery systems, and finally Remdesivir, that’s about it. The fact is that in mid-January China had asked the WHO not to call this a Pandemic. Even if Trump knew, as it said, he waited until it was announced. Everything flowed from the end of January and doctors and scientists didn’t know what they were dealing with. Why on earth would we blame a leader of a country who couldn’t know more than them? And, especially, Al Sharpton and Biden.
    If we find ourselves in Obama-land Phase II, we may never recover. We can recover from climate changes in the next four years. That too is a scare tactic. The use of any fossil fuel already has companies in the private sector continually working on alternative energy. The climate will not die. America will. I am not against black. I am against hate and what these people are doing who cling to slavery and Jim Crow and disparity so that we cannot heal these new generations coming up. They would instead like to turn the tables with Obama’s ‘Critical Race Theory’. Give me a break. They are black-racist but take every opportunity to pin that word on Trump. They We have been experiencing Democratic meanness. They want their social revolution and they mean to have it. They are not telling the truth about slavery that lasted 225, or 227 years if you include Texas not know the war was over. Slaves built the economy for the southern wealthy. They did not ‘build this nation’ as they are being told. Irish immigrants suffered and died from the very beginning of indentureship in Virginia where most died before being ‘free’. English immigrants were captured and taken to North Africa as slaves before the first use of the word appeared in a Virginia court document in 1645.
    So many untruths and resentments come to bear on a society. This is my truth: I will not stand down and stand back. I will not go quietly into the night. I will not go without a fight. – The I hope the pen is mightier than the sword, for I too, have had enough. My mother has the blood of the first ’20. odd negros’. They were not enslaved. They were indentured to pay the man back who gave provisions to the ship they left them in 1619.

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