Kenneth L. Hardin: My priorities are in order

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 4, 2022

This country celebrated an important milestone last week. As we turned the calendar and rolled into a new month, I celebrated an equally important one also.

After popping bottles and throwing confetti into the air last week at the important achievement, no one can accuse this country of having its priorities mixed up.  This auspicious 3-year-old event had nothing to do with an Olympic sports victory for our nation, a political win that would heal the country’s racial divide, or us celebrating taking out a brutal dictator to liberate a foreign nation.  No, it’s much deeper than all of those, and defines the consciousness and soul of these United States.

During the last week of August 2019, the Popeye’s fast food chain introduced the now famous chicken sandwich to the world, and people in this Country lost their collective minds.  The sandwich was such a hit, they sold completely out across the nation in less than two weeks.  Over 203 million yard bird sandwiches were sold in the first four months.  TV newscasts and social media pages were filled with long lines of domestic fowl aficionados who impatiently waited hours for their chance to taste the beast between a bun.  Fistfights broke out in lines, employees were assaulted and some restaurants were damaged as people lost control trying to satisfy this different kind of high.  I don’t typically jump on bandwagon trends whether its sports, fashion or the latest internet sensation. I had my first and only sandwich back in February. It was tasty enough, but I can’t see myself committing simple assault or standing in line for several hours to scratch that itch.  As I watched the idiocy surrounding the months-long nonsense, I imagined what if all those people who waited in line for hours would do the same on Election Day?  I don’t quite understand how people, especially Black people, will forgo participating in something that can change the trajectory of their lives, but will spend hours, without hesitation, in line for something that is temporarily fulfilling with no measurable long-term impact on their future.

I’m celebrating that I didn’t go to jail the entire month of August.  The last time I was there, I only spent an hour. Doing that hard time was still an emotionally traumatic experience for me. It was social media jail and I’m a repeat offender of violating its community standards.  It wasn’t so much as jail as it was a virtual holding cell, but I was there long enough to earn my teardrop emoji face tattoo that represents the less than hard knock life I lead. My crime was sharing my honest opinion about the former Racist in Chief.  It’s hard out here in these mean print and online streets for an opinion writer, so I knew it wouldn’t be long before I caught a one hour bid. One positive thing I’ve learned from both the Popeye’s chicken debacle and my time behind bars is to place emphasis and focus on things I can actually control and impact. I’ve never found an intellectual discussion that I wasn’t willing to lace on a pair of metaphorical boxing gloves and go a few rounds. My opponents typically come to the bout intellectually unarmed. The fights usually end with a first round TKO. This always leads to low blows being thrown by my outmatched opponent. The mistake that’s typically made is to believe the glasses, suspenders, tailored suits and bow ties mean I’m unwilling to get down in the mud. I’ve learned and now have my priorities in order. I no longer engage in public discussions with folks centered around race, religious doctrine or political affiliations.

If anyone’s curious about what I wrote that was heinous enough to ruffle the frilly underpants and injure the fragile sensibilities of the social media Po-Po, here it is, “I share this with as much contempt as humanly possible for all those who supported the Racist in Chief that temporarily occupied the White House. This also goes to all his cult-like supporters who serve as nothing more than a repository for his detestable behavior. Your banal trash existence was made worse by the ridiculous manner in which you showed blind allegiance to a man who hates you and does nothing to improve your condition. The media and so many others outside his base of like-minded cretins in political leadership roles are complicit because you’ve done nothing to put an immediate end to his treasonous and seditious behavior.” I told y’all I could get muddy.

I realized it does my mental and emotional well-being little good to devote a single ounce of cognitive energy debating anyone who doesn’t believe in the freedoms and democracy this country offers. But, I won’t ever be totally silent.

Kenneth L. (Kenny) Hardin is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists. Reach him at