When I approach most black people and ask them to either register to vote or encourage them to go to the polls and cast their vote, I am often met with the all too familiar phrase of “Why should I vote? My vote won’t count.” This used to upset me because I had to give different reasons over the years as to why voting is important.
This task became even more difficult after the mess in Florida during the 2000 presidential elections. Recently, I learned a full proof method for dealing with black voter apathy. I just answer a question with a question such as; if our vote does not count then why are both political parties banging on the doors of small and mega size black churches? Why have upwards of almost a billion dollars in the last four years been spent on travel, T.V., internet, and on public relations firms all in the name of the black voter?
Could it be that the politicians recognize, whether they say it or not, that employment, affordable health care, access to a quality education, poverty, home ownership, crime, and the war in Iraq are issues that effect us also? I would have to say yes, they do and so should we.
Just because we were knocked down a little during the 2000 election and counted out in 2004 we still got up, we didn’t get knocked the heck out. So now, let’s fight back with our vote November 7. The statistics show that our unemployment rate is twice that of whites. Many black students may not attend college because our elected officials have not placed controls over the ever rising tuition costs while funding like the Pell Grant has not increased, and Blacks still lag behind when it comes to home ownership, and small business opportunities, all because we don’t vote therefore we lack any real political power and leverage.
While we are making statements like, I am not political, we are being eaten alive by politics at church, work and home. Our children are finding it hard to compete in this world because they are being politically out smarted at black colleges by white parents who gobble up the minority scholarships for their kids by using the race card and I don’t blame them because tuition is too high and they are just using politics to survive y’all.
We should not allow the Republicans or the Democrats to act as if they are the leaders of our community when they are just civil servants that we elect and should follow the will of the people, but when you do not vote you give them permission to run amuck and totally ignore you and your community.
How can we look into the face of a little black child and tell them that they can be anything they want to be, including president of the United States, yet we are not exercising our right to vote. Young people are looking for a new direction not the same ole old fashion direction. They understand politics better than we do, but just like early childhood education, if you do not teach them to read by the third grade, once they get older you could lose them to the world for good. This same theory applies when it comes to voting.
I believe U.S. Congressman Elijah Cummings said it best when he stated, “If we sleep through the election revolution on November 7th we will wake up in a nightmare”.
And now, I digress.