It became clear to me that powerful U.S. leaders cynically used Black power advocates in the United States who were unaware of U.S. policy actions against liberation groups in Africa, to fight as volunteers (mercenaries) on the side of the U.S. and against the very movements that these people, with more information, would have supported. In other words, as a result of our lack of preparation and accurate understanding of our political environment, Black people especially, but in a more general sense, many people, get twisted into supporting U.S. policies that are exactly counter to their values and their interests. At this moment, I vowed that I would never be unprepared or make a policy position without personally obtaining enough reliable information from trusted sources. .. The Ronald Reagan dictum: Trust, but verify, became my watchword. And that's what got me into so much trouble in Washington, D.C.! I trusted that I needed to verify everything I was being sold in a "dog and pony” show. Not only did I question those in authority, as can be seen on the many C-Span and youtube clips, I also attempted to verify for myself everything that they told me!
This is reminiscent of the project that I appointed to myself while I was in the Georgia Legislature. I wanted to write an "op ed” about the Georgia State Flag. In the early 1990s, the State of Georgia was still fighting its "Flag Wars.” The Saint Andrew's Cross, the battle flag of the Confederacy, was emblazoned on our State Flag. This had been done back in the 1950s after the Brown versus Board of Education Supreme Court decision mandated desegregation of Georgia's public schools. I decided to interview the members of the Georgia Legislature who were still around, venerated as the "Noble Old Guard” to whom I must look up. In reality, they were just a bunch of old cigar-chewing White men who had become comfortable with state power and who used that power to benefit themselves and entrench their values. So, for one day, I fancied myself a journalist and marched right up to them one by one and I asked them their feelings about the role they had played in putting the Saint Andrew's Cross on Georgia's state flag. My last question, "Are you a racist?” took them by surprise. One thought about it and told me seriously that he was "a man of the time.” That, to me was a very honest answer. And in my opinion, it was the truth. Denmark Groover was the one who owned up. I liked and respected him after that, even when