Rick Schmidt — Hi there. I am tapping this out in California. My novel ‘Black President’ will be published in Britain later in the year. I am an independent movie producer and when not filming or editing usually write non-fiction between teaching gigs. Sorry to sound like the stereotypical boastful yank that I hope I am not, but I wrote a movie-making book, ‘Feature Filmmaking at Used-Car Prices’, some years ago and it is still selling here and there. It helped Kevin Smith create his ‘Clerks’ and he was nice enough to give me a blurb for the cover (Thanks Kev!). So for awhile I actually got royalties :>). Oh yeah, and my Extreme DV came out in 2004, about making digital video features (the $ way to go — what I use now!)

So, why, a novel?

I was between writing my how-to books and wondered if I could possibly write some fiction. After all, I did make up my own movies! Around 1997 or 1998 I got a concept of following the lives of a black family where one child, secretly an illegitimate son of JFK, grows up in America. I figured there must have been at least one woman JFK seduced who decided to keep her child. At some point in the writing it became obvious that the child should rise to be a candidate for the Presidency. And as I wrote out his childhood experiences I decided to also include the US political climate and timelines, re-write all those poisonous historical moments from the 1960’s on that had clogged my consciousness, the assassinations and secret Ops, presidential plottings, imagining it all from the point of view of the perpetrators. Basically, ‘Black President’ is a distillation of my research of forty years of US history, politics and subterfuge right up to the present. ‘Black President’ concludes in the White House 2012.

There have been so many questionable events in American history over my lifetime, including the assassinations -JFK, Martin Luther King, Jr., and then Bobby Kennedy -which was the last straw for those of us who tried to maintain hope through the 1960’s. I remember walking into my kitchen in Berkeley and hearing the announcement about Bobby’s assassination on the radio. I got a gut ache. That was especially hurtful because he seemed to be representing the needed governmental changes.

As the writing went along I enjoyed creating a new logic that didn’t seem so haywire. How many times do we have to see a diagram of the Kennedy bullet that went sideways, or been told that Oswald fired all those bullets by himself? It felt good to re-write Bobby’s assassination and numerous other dark events, right through to a chapter about the stolen 2000 election and questionable collapse of Building #7. Suddenly I started to sort of own those disturbing moments in history instead of being victimized by them, which is how it had felt.

Around the time I was wrapping up a first draft of what became ‘Black President’, a guy named Barack Obama, who nobody outside of Illinois had ever heard of, was losing a 2000 Democratic run for the U.S. House of Representatives, to four-term incumbent, Bobby Rush, by a two-to-one margin.

He was re-elected to the Illinois Senate again in 2002 and started his historic climb toward the Democratic nomination for the Presidency. So I’m pretty shocked that I somehow imagined all this coming…all pretty mind-boggling from my perspective. Hopefully there will be a new era after Barack gets elected(!). This country has under-performed for so long that we’re all a little dazed, I’m afraid. But we’re now getting hopeful again, that we can come back from the ruin of the last 8 years.

6 Responses to “BLACK PRESIDENT”

  1. Caro Says:

    good article – very interesting

  2. Robin Ramsay Says:

    I haven’t read Mr Schmidt’s book but his comments on this blog ring all manner of bells. Remember the fuss that Hilary Clinton caused with her comment a few weeks ago (I’m writing this on 17 June) that she wouldn’t pull out of the nomination race because ‘We all know Bobby got killed in June’? (Or words to that effect.) She was interpreted as suggesting that Obama might get killed, which I don’t think she intended. But looking at post WW2 American history Obama MIGHT get killed; and why is this not part of the legitimae discourse of American politics? Why is considered somehow tasteless to remember this? In fact, I doubt that anyone will need to kill Obama. Thus far, despite the splendid rhetoric, all we’ve had is….splendid rhetoric. Obama has shown no inclination to tackle the big hot isues of American politics – the Pentagon’s budget and the rich – and has already been along to kiss AIPAC’s butt.
    On the other hand, John Kennedy, prior to election, talked the Cold War talk and then, when elected went off the rails (as far as the military industrial intelligence complex was concerned). So maybe Obama will actually try to do something…. but personally, I wouldn’t hold my breath.
    That a ‘love child’ of JFK’s might rise to become president is a nice and entirely plausible conceit. Like Clinton, JFK seems to have fucked everything (female) that moved, and, given the that this was in the days before the pill, he must have left a number of illegitimate children. One of JFK’s bag-carriers must have had the job of paying-off the pregnant women, though who had this weird duty has not yet surfaced (to my knowledge) in the JFK literature.

  3. Rick Schmidt Says:

    Mr. Ramsay’s comment about the MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX brings up questions about the unseen power of economic interests in US and elsewhere. Since JFK may have been assassinated when he tried to derail the beginning of the Vietnam war, it makes me wonder (and worry) about how Barack, if elected, could personally survive his promise to end the war. We in America may think we’re voting for change, but how naïve is that? Can ANYONE stand up to the MIC? They must be earning billions each month with the current US ‘actions.’ The biggest questions are; Who are they, To what extent do they control the destinies of countries around the world, and, How do we wrestle back control of our lives? They must figure we’ll buy the latest logic: IRAQ WAR + FIGHTING TERRORISM = WE CAN RAISE GAS PRICES THROUGH THE ROOF. And now Bush will probably get oil drilling passed for off the California coast and Alaskan wilderness (they’ve been trying to get this through for years…). Now OUR pain at the pumps, which THEY created, is used against us! Not a pretty picture.

    On another note, thinking about Mr. Ramsay’s comment, that he could imagine JFK fathering a large number of illegitimate kids, focused me on Marilyn Monroe and her supposed affairs with both the President and his brother Bobby. There’s a slew of current websites discussing various scenerios regarding her involvement, especially with Bobby around the time of her death. Black President has a particularly vivid chapter that places them together on her last night. I have to wonder how our complacent 1960’s world would have been shattered if she had admitted to a Kennedy pregnancy at a press conference (she had supposedly threatened to go public on TV). And what affect would proof of their relationship(s) have on the US political scene /now/? In my book, I describe a variety of agencies and mobsters, almost falling over eachother to terminate the sex goddess before she toppled the government. Certainly, FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover wouldn’t have been happy to lose his stranglehold on the Kennedy’s – her public confession would have rendered his secret cache of Kennedy sex tapes and private files worthless. Lately we’ve heard of an unknown Monroe sex film selling for 1.5 million. What next!

  4. Brian Landers Says:

    Whilst I really enjoy all this speculation we have to be careful not to see only what we want to see. To argue that some groups wanted JFK assassinated is not the same as proving there was a conspiracy to assassinate him.

    There have, so far, been 4 presidential assassinations and each one provoked conspiracy theories in which one group claimed that a group to whom they were opposed had plotted the dastardly deed. Judah Benjamin, who had been the Confederate Secretary of State during the Civil War, had to flee to Britain when the war was over to escape accusations that he had plotted Lincoln’s assassination. Those accusations had far less to do with any real conspiracy than with the fact that he was Jewish.

    Lots of anarchists wanted President McKinley killed and when he became the third US President to be assassinated there was talk of a massive anarchist conspiracy. His assassin, Leon Czolgosz, claimed to be an anarchist but his own family thought he was crazy and various anarchist groups refused to let him join because they thought he was a spy. It seems quite likely that he was just a loner who had read about the assassination of the King of Italy and decided to do something similar. Now come to think of it aren’t there parallels with Lee Harvey Oswald?

    Perhaps I will put that in Empires Apart

  5. Robin Ramsay Says:

    Can I resist responding to Mr Landers? No I can’t… is interesting to read about the American assassin avant le Oswald but no lessons need be drawn. We don’t need such lessons because the empirical data on Oswald/Dealey Plaza is crystal clear: he didn’t do it; and couldn’t have done it with the dodgy rifle they claimed he did it with. (Why didn’t they frame him with a better rifle?) And, further, no-one in the American political system believed he did it, either. Oh, the system and its constituent parts pretended to believe he did it for political reasons but not even a majority of the Warren Commission believed he did it. And here endeth (and beginneth) the lesson about the nature of politics: the truth is neither here nor there, just another potential tool for political advantage.
    The central issue of American politics remains the power of the US military and its stranglehold on the US tax dollar. You can tell this is the Big One because this is the one no-one ever mentions, By their omissions shall ye understand politicians.

  6. Brian Landers Says:

    The political power of the US military is one of the lessons that can most clearly be drawn from history. One of the points to be emphasised in Empires Apart is the large number of US presidents from George Washington onwards who made their reputation as soldiers. They didn’t all have identical views on domestic issues, after all it was President/General Eisnhower who warned of the military industrial complex, but their views on international affairs were almost always distinctly imperial. As if to illustrate that point we now have John S McCain III running for President and proudly emphasising the role of his father John S McCain II in commanding the US forces that destroyed the prospects for democracy in the Dominican Republic and stood by – or worse – while thousands were massacred by America’s proxies.

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