Mama Told Him (Not to Come)

To the party, that is.

It’s been a busy day, so I haven’t had time to read or write much, but I made a mental note to check out the feature article in the style section of today’s Washington Post, about former Bush advisor Claude Allen (who was arrested on charges of shoplifting and fraud a little while ago), after a co-worker recommended it to me.

When I sat down and finally read the story, I was immediately reminded of an old seventies song that’s on my iPod (yes, I have an extensive seventies playlist). The reason was some advice his advice his mama gave him early in his career.


Raised by Democrats, Allen shocked his mother, the late Lila Allen, when he told her back in 1982 that he was going to work for Republicans, according to Knight Ridder newspapers.

"Oh please, don’t do that," she said. "You’ll ruin your life."

She was giving voice to a deep belief in the black community, given popular expression by Buddy Watts, the late father of former Republican congressman J.C. Watts. The elder Watts is oft quoted saying, in effect, that blacks becoming Republican makes as much sense as chickens befriending Colonel Sanders.

"Eventually, it’s going to manifest," says Khalfani. "The contradiction is going to manifest itself in some way in your behavior, your mental stability."

It is just a theory, but one that stings.

That passage sent my hands flying to my iPod to search for a song about another boy whose mama advised him against going to a certain crazy party. It wasn’t long before I found Three Dog Night’s "Mama Told Me (Not to Come)." The whole song is ironically appropriate, but the chorus is what the Post article brought to mind.

Mama told me not to come
Mama told me not to come
She said, "That ain’t the way to have fun, son"

It’s a theory that, as the Post writer notes, may sting, but that doesn’t make it any less true. It may well be that there is only so much cognitive dissonance the mind can take before something snaps. And considering that Allen cut his political teeth working for Jesse Helms — who is to this day an apologist for segregation — even as Helms filibustered against a the holiday in honor of Martin Luther King — whom Allens held as a personal hero even as he shared Helms’ belief that King was a member of the communist party — it’s not too far-fetched a theory.

Maybe, just maybe, Claude Allen should’ve listened to his Mama. After all, she told him not to go to that party.

About Terrance

Black. Gay. Father. Buddhist. Vegetarian. Liberal.
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