My pal Joe Hicks died this week. A minor surgery got complicated and he was gone. I saw him at a dinner just a couple of weeks ago and he looked fine, his usual Joe self, full of energy with lots to add to the discussion at hand — a talk about Black Lives Matter and the War on Cops.
Joe and I were among the freshman class at PJTV, where Joe starred in The Hicks File. The sample above shows him discussing Barack Obama’s dishonest reaction to the arrest of Henry Louis Gates in Cambridge, MA. It was a foretaste of the way Obama would game the black community and work up its anger against the police in order to distract the media and the nation from the failures of his administration on every front, foreign and domestic. Joe saw it plain and called it like it was.
He was a black guy who started out a radical and ended up a conservative, which is testimony to his intellectual honesty and courage. I’m always amused to watch the leftist press — which is pretty much all the big press — laud the courage of, for instance, some athlete who announces he’s gay. What courage it is indeed to suffer the martyrdom of a congratulatory call from the president, a Sports Illustrated cover and interview attention far above your actual contribution to the game you play.
Hey, I hope he enjoys his love life, but that’s not courage. That’s just media crap.
Joe had courage. Because if you’re a black communicator who stands up for what’s right and true, the press will ignore you. And if they can’t ignore you, they’ll crucify you. Even Joe’s obituaries obscure the truth of who he was and what he had to say, as if it were an embarrassment rather than heroism.
On top of all that, he was a good guy. It was a pleasure working with him and a pleasure seeing him whenever we met. In the meetings I attend around town where honest men and women try to see the world truly and discuss its problems honestly, there’s going to be an empty seat at the table from now on.
There are days when I feel about dying the way Noel Coward felt about travel: the wrong people do it. This is one of those days.