Ronald ‘Moe’ Moten's book, Drinking Muddy Water: The Streets, the Scandals, the Party of Lincoln is a journey through urban America from the beginning of the violent crack cocaine era of the 80's and 90's through his groundbreaking success in violent crime reduction and gang intervention as co-founder of Peaceoholics to the "politricks" and scandals of Washington, D.C. politicians. Readers get an inside look at the life of a street-smart native Washingtonian who came out of prison committed to a life of helping others. He learned nonviolent peacemaking from great civil rights leaders and used those lessons as co-founder of the famed Peaceoholics gang intervention organization.
In spite of the great success of Peaceoholics, including negotiating forty-one peace agreements between violent gangs, self-serving politicians used every form of "Politricks" against Peaceoholics and against Moe as its public face. He reveals the truth about the corrupt officials who defunded Peaceoholics and exploited their own most vulnerable constituents. Finally, he answers two questions, first, how were he and Peaceoholics so successful at helping change the culture of violence among youth in the Nation's Capital? Second, how the hell could a black man in America be a Civil Rights Republican!
The characters in this true urban drama include the author’s brother who was gunned down while Moe was in prison. That event shook him and set him on a course that would result in the most effective model in the nation for reducing street violence and building strong communities. As a “returned citizen” fresh out of prison, Moe worked with Cease Fire Don't Smoke the Brothers before starting Peaceoholics with Jauhar Abraham. The list of remarkable people who inspired and mentored the author is long. It includes Winnie Mandela, John Lewis, Dovey Roundtree, Amelia Robinson Boynton, Dorothy Height, Gwendolyn Webb, and Marion Barry. Some of the most powerful influences on his journey were many less well-known but very wise “old heads” from the Civil Rights Movement who marched alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. and taught him the meaning of “drinking muddy water.”
This lifelong Democrat coined the phrase Civil Rights Republican to describe why he joined the "Party of Lincoln." Ron explains why he switched parties and outlines his strategy for strengthening the Party’s outreach to blacks and other minorities. It is his belief that all African Americans will be better served by “balancing the eagle.” No longer can blacks afford have a significant presence in just one party in a two-party political system. He believes that DC’s one-party Democratic government has let down its citizens with both its overwhelming imperfections and, often just outright corruption.
After reading this book, every citizen of the District of Columbia will understand just how much they are being misled and underserved. "Drinking muddy water" is a concept passed on to Mr. Moten but some old timers in the Civil Rights Movement who marched with Dr. King. They told Ron, "If you are going to finish the work that King began, you better be ready to drink muddy water."
Mr. Moten goes beyond just telling the story of his life and work with Peaceoholics; he provides a blueprint to purify the muddy water the people have been forced to drink for so long. Each chapter is followed by a lesson that Peaceoholics used to teach life skills to the children, youth and the community. Some of the lessons are “Taking the Bait,” “The Power of the Womb,” and “Birds in Their Nests.” Drinking Muddy Water also includes a teaching curriculum on the “Rebuild the Village: Triangle in One Model” that the author and Jauhar Abraham developed and put into practice while at Peaceoholics. This curriculum details the core principles and practices that were so effective in changing the culture of violence in the Nation’s Capital.
Moten’s community activism stretches far back into the 90’s when he made a decision to no longer be a part of DC’s criminal problem, but to participate in creating the solution. Drug dealer turned activist, Moten has had direct contact and countless communications with some of our cities’ most respected and most corrupt politicians. His former organization, Peaceoholics, worked with Mayors Anthony Williams, Marion Barry and Adrian Fenty to create anti-violence strategies to decrease brutality in our city. In addition to brokering forty-one truces between rival gangs, Peaceoholics with Ron as the COO facilitated the employment of over 300 lesser-skilled DC citizens and sent more than 160 at risk DC youth to college.
Drinking Muddy Water salutes, by name, those who work for the good and candidly exposes those who bring down the city through corruption or selfish motives. This is a no-holds-barred, highly documented, and deeply personal work that will create the “ah huh” moment for all who read it. Whether you are looking for a greater understanding of DC’s backroom politics, in search of the truth regarding the rise and fall of the well-known youth organization, or in learning what it means to be a Civil Rights Republican with its rich history of great leaders going back to Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln and stretching through Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to Dr. Ben Carson.
Drinking Muddy Water will not let you down. Moten's efforts will open the eyes of dedicated yet disenfranchised Democrats. He shows the effects of just habitually and automatically supporting a Democratic candidate based only on party affiliation rather than casting a vote for the candidate that has the best long term interest in mind whether for the Nation or the Nation's Capital.
“Whether it is ill-willed Politicians, socioeconomic ills, community or personal ills, the wind is always against us. I will continue, as the prophet writes, ‘to mount up with the wings of eagles.’ I will fight to return balance to the wings of the American eagle, climbing to new heights with those that are willing to soar with me.”