Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum is probably having one of the best week’s of his life, and has managed to make a lot of new fans in the process – myself included.
This week, the 39-year-old politician showed the country he was ’bout that life, when he somehow managed to become Florida’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate despite being the only “non millionaire” on the ballot and being dismissed as a fourth place long shot.
THEN when President Trump attacked him on Twitter, in a bid to make the opposing GOP candidate look good, Gillum clapped back at him so fast, social media immediately broke out in applause (and with several cackles).
“Not only did Congressman Ron DeSantis easily win the Republican Primary, but his opponent in November is his biggest dream….a failed Socialist Mayor named Andrew Gillum who has allowed crime & many other problems to flourish in his city,” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning. “This is not what Florida wants or needs!”
Not only did Congressman Ron DeSantis easily win the Republican Primary, but his opponent in November is his biggest dream….a failed Socialist Mayor named Andrew Gillum who has allowed crime & many other problems to flourish in his city. This is not what Florida wants or needs!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 29, 2018
— Andrew Gillum (@AndrewGillum) August 29, 2018
Wait… did this man really just respond to the sitting President of the United States with, “Come @ me bro!”
Why yes, yes he did. In one tweet, he just made Black Twitter stand up and take notice.
To be honest, despite the best efforts of Corey Booker and a few others, the last time a Black politician really made me this excited was dare I say it – Obama.
Not surprisingly, I’m not the only one who has made the same speculation.
Like Barack, Andrew has come on the scene – seemingly out of nowhere – and made weary liberals once again hopeful. While that promise of hope is a platform Obama built his legacy on, in the case of Gillum, there’s a little something extra that our beloved #44 was arguably missing: Hutzpah (Yiddish for shameless confidence)
While Obama was always a self-confessed moderate who sought to find compromises that would appeal to both sides (a lovely personal trait that unfortunately emboldened the GOP to bully him all eight years he was in office), Gillum has already made it clear that he is NOT the one to be played with.
And if you come for him, he will find out where you live.
This was made glaringly clear on Wednesday, after Gillum’s Trump loving Republican opponent, Ron DeSantis made an appearance on Fox News. First DeSantis gave aa slew of backhanded compliments calling Gillum “an articulate spokesman,” but then telling the viewing audience, “The last thing we need to do is to monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting the state.”
Now this isn’t the first time a white politician has made reference to a monkey in the same sentence as a Black opponent. Republicans have been calling both Barack and Michelle Obama apes for the better part of a decade with memes and cartoon depictions to bring the point home.
At first it seemed Mayor Gillum would pull a “When they go low, we go high” approach and brush off the comments.
Like I said, Andrew Gillum is Woke Obama 2.0: The Post Wakanda edition. Not only did he not brush it off, he went right to the scene of the crime, appeared on Fox News that very same day, and nicely told all those people to put some RESPECT on his name.
“It’s very clear that Mr. DeSantis is taking a page directly from the campaign manual of Donald Trump,” Gillum said while speaking to Fox host Shepard Smith.
And when asked if he thought the comment was intended to be racist or really just a figure of speech, he answered, “In the handbook of Donald Trump, they no longer do whistle calls. They are now using full bullhorns.”
Which for those who aren’t well versed, is political speak for, “Ya’ll know exactly what the hell that fool meant by calling me a monkey!”
I’m almost ashamed by how amused I am by this man’s approach. Mostly because all his responses sound like different variations of those testy, “Per our last email…” correspondences you send to annoying coworkers who you know better than to cuss out in plain English. If you have the lexicon skills, you can find a million technically cordial ways to tell them to kiss your ass.
That’s basically how Gillum is approaching everybody associated with Trump and it’s a petty Black journalist’s wet dream.
Due to his strong Obama streak (one that I would like to think lives inside all of us), Gillum may tow the line, but is always able to keep it cute while calling out BS.
“I’m not going to get down in the gutter with DeSantis and Trump,” he continued graciously. “I’m going to try to stay high and talk about what the North Star and future is for the state of Florida and people of this state. I think that’s what people want. They are just so sick of this divisive, derisive politics that have been coming out of Washington and have now infiltrated the politics of this state.”
An outspoken, politely confrontational, yet unabashedly left-leaning politician, who can be as “articulate” as white folks want us to be (without pulling punches) is EXACTLY what Florida and this entire country as a whole needs more of right now.
If Gillum continues on this track and makes history by becoming the state’s first Black governor, a lot of us will be cheering him on.
This week’s shocking political upset in the Sunshine State drives home the point that while demoralizing, Trump’s reign of terror isn’t something we need to surrender to just yet. There appears to be a whole new crop of super vocal, young and hungry activists running for office this year with the intention of bringing some common sense and basic human decency back into politics.
It’s worth noting that a lot of them are being endorsed and supported by Senator Bernie Sanders (good looking out Uncle Bernie!)
If you’re really as sick of this administration as you say you are, then PLEASE make it a point to show up and show OUT in November by voting in midterms.
Follow writer Blue Telusma on Instagram at @bluecentric