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“BLACK VOTES MATTER!”

 

“…There’s no such thing as a vote that doesn’t matter.  …And after we have achieved historic turnout in 2008 and 2012, especially in the African-American community, I will consider it a personal insult, an insult to my legacy, if this community lets down its guard and fails to activate itself in this election.  …My name may not be on the ballot, but our progress is on the ballot.  Tolerance is on the ballot.  Democracy is on the ballot.  Justice is on the ballot.  Good schools are on the ballot.  Ending mass incarceration -- that's on the ballot right now!...”   -President Barack Obama speaking to the Congressional Black Caucus in 2016-

 

On November 12, 2017, Alabama Blacks heeded President Obama’s advice and voted in numbers greater than when President Obama was on the ballot!  In the Deep South, where no Democrat had been elected Senator since 1992, Blacks joined with progressive others to defeat the infamous Roy Moore who was backed by POTUS 45.   POTUS 45 went so far as to place “Robo” calls for Moore.  In a bellicose fashion, he chanted, “Go get them, Roy!”  At the same time, the outsider from Breitbart News came to town and criticized “outsiders” for interfering in the Alabama election.

Refusing to be deterred, Blacks conjured up memories of what transpired on "Bloody Sunday" (March 7, 1965) when their elders marched from Selma-to-Montgomery and were brutalized at the Edmund Pettus Bridge.  Realizing their sacred duty to vote as well as what the election of Moore portended, Blacks decided to “protect their house” in Alabama, to draw a line in the sand for the beast that was unleashed on America November 9, 2016.

Had Blacks stayed home as opposed to voting in record numbers, this country would have been faced with whether a newly elected Alabama Senator should be seated given the heinous accusations against him.  If Moore were to be seated, then there would have been one more critical vote to support POTUS 45’s inane antics and related agenda.   For example, Republicans control the Senate 51 to 49.  50 votes are required to confirm a POTUS 45 Supreme Court nominee.  A single vote could impact whether a tax bill is passed –one that permits major corporations to pay fewer taxes than individuals.  As was the case in Alabama, other recent elections have demonstrated that Black Votes Matter.

Notwithstanding an array of shenanigans that could have elected Mary Norwood as the first White Mayor of Atlanta in decades, Black folks refused to have a modern “Sherman-like March to the Sea.”  Part of what was at stake was the continued possibility of Blacks sharing significantly in the wealth of a rapidly growing and transformed Atlanta.  Fortunately, Blacks rallied to elect Keisha Lance Bottoms by a very slim margin as the Mayor of our “Most Beloved Civil Rights City.”

Had Hillary Clinton done due diligence in terms of cultivating the Black vote in Pennsylvania and Michigan, we have good reason to believe that she would have become the first woman to serve as President of the United States.  By way of contrast in Alabama, MoveOn.org sent 93,000 text messages for Doug Jones, BlackPac spent $450,000, and the DNC did 1.3 million telephone calls as well as 325,000 door knocks to help get out the Black vote.  https://www.politico.com/story/2017/12/12/alabama-senate-democrats-jones-293496

At this time it is critically important for Blacks to have a widespread understanding of and make effective use of the power embedded in their ballots.  The Black vote will continue to be a pivotal part of the coalition to oppose, for example, the block of White women who were key to electing POTUS 45 and voted largely for Roy Moore.  The watershed Alabama Senate race demonstrated clearly how much Black Votes Matter, that they can transform ruby red states into royal blue.  Therefore, with renewed fervor, politicians are planning to cultivate Black voters.

Given the tremendous significance of the Black vote, as Malcolm X stated in his 1964 “Ballot or Bullet” speech, “…We must understand the politics of our community and we must know what politics are supposed to produce. We must know what part politics play in our lives. And until we become politically mature, we will always be misled, led astray, or deceived or maneuvered into supporting someone politically who doesn't have the good of our community at heart…” 

Gone must be the day when outsiders annually visit Black communities and, for a few trinkets, secure their votes.  Elected Black officials as well as others must be in a constant state of educating their constituents about the political matters of major importance in order that, as Malcolm X stated, you “…control your own, the politics of your community, the economy of your community, and all of the society in which you live should be under your control…”   

Now is the time for Blacks to not simply be a key voting block for electing other people’s candidates, but also the time for significantly more Blacks to be the candidates for positions at all levels.  Black communities must also share equally in the disbursement of public resources, especially the fiscal resources allocated for things such as affordable housing, affordable higher education, high quality public schools, and public safety.  In short, Blacks’ political power must be used in a concerted fashion to disperse tax dollars in ways that positively impact their communities. 

If Blacks make effective use of their political power, then future Roy Moore(s) might also defiantly come to vote riding on their high horses, but they too will ride out, phylogenetically speaking, on their Equus africanus asinus.

 

Jack L. Daniel,

Co-Founder, Freed Panther Society

Pittsburgh Urban Media Contributor

 

December 18, 2017

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