Sunday, November 11, 2012

Ok. The 2012 Presidential Election is over. Now what, Black Folks!?

The recent presidential election was a repeat of 2008 in the Black community. Meaning, emotions ran high. Expectations of the “so-called” first Black president were at an all time high. Debates about politics and race ran its usual emotionally driven course in our homes, on the job and on social networking sites such as face book and twitter. This time around, people actually lost long time friends because of this year’s election. People even deleted long time friends from their face book pages and twitter pages because of political disagreements about this year’s presidential election. I purposefully stayed away from political conversations this year and for the most part four years ago. I do this because when I was a young man in on the campus of Grambling State University back in the early 1990’s, I participated in debates like this all the time. I even wrote about them in the university’s news paper, the Gramblinite, as well as wrote about them in my own campus newsletter/newspaper called ‘In My Opinion’ by Rico Rivers.

My debating about politics continued even after I graduated from college in 1996 and moved back home to Memphis, TN where I would become a regular caller on popular radio talk shows speaking about the politics and the issues that affected my community in Memphis. In 2000, I put my money where my talk was and I ran for a seat on the Memphis City School Board. This is when I learned firsthand that in order to be considered a serious candidate in a political race in Memphis and running in a Black district, honesty, integrity, and the willingness to actually work hard for the people were not it. You need MONEY! You need to be associated with people with money. You need to apart of some organizations like a church or a fraternity/sorority. You need name recognition and with that name, it needs to be a name that is associated with status. I was running in race with a candidate that had more name recognition than me and the incumbent that we both sought to unseat was a long time school board member and a Negro preacher in the district. Needless to say, my ass came in third place. LOL! It was an enlightening experience. I learned that should I ever decide to run for a political office again in a Black district, I will at least have some money to buy commercial time on television and radio as well as to rent billboards across the district in order to get my message across to the people I aim to represent in whatever the office is I am running for at that time. As far as belonging to a church or a fraternity, THAT AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN!

Anyway, on election night, I really did not watch any election coverage on television. I just went about my evening as usual. Of course, I would check out some results every now and then, but nothing more. However, I did get to my computer at work the next morning to read up on the aftermath of the election. I was so surprised to read about others who had won on the night of the election besides President Obama. I read where the advocates behind the legalization of marijuana had won their in push to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in two states. I also read in the same article where the homosexual community had gained the right to marry in two more states. Not far from this article, I read where the Hispanic community had already gotten organized to get with the newly re-elected President to get back to work on the immigration protection law, the Dream Act, which protects Hispanic children who were brought to the US by undocumented parents. Now, I begin clicking pages and sites to look for what Black people won on election night.

While I was clicking to find such an article, I ran across some statistics that showed a breakdown of who voted for the President in the minority community. Let’s see. Asians reportedly voted 71 percent for Obama. Hispanics reported voted 73 percent for Obama. Blacks reported voted an astounding 93 percent for the President. Hmmm, still, I was unable to find any article on the entire World Wide Web that showed anything that black people won election night as a result of Obama being re-elected by them at 93 percent. This could be laughable, but it is too sad to crack a smile at. A lot of Black people fell out with each other at work, at church, in college and de-friended each other on face book and Twitter and don’t have a damn thing to show for it accept for bragging rights over their candidate winning. My question is, “When are Black people going to get it?” These other groups get it. These other groups seem to get what our very own Frederick Douglas said back in the day which was, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”

All WE seem to want from this president and this country are the right to party, the right to laugh, the right to screw, the right to cuss, the right to shop or be overall consumers, the right to be uppity, and the right to pay for what we want but BEG for what we need. This thinking is apparently not the thinking of other special interests groups and racial/ethnic groups in this country. They demand respect. They demand protection under this American flag for their people. They demand funding for their children’s education and they demand that the politicians they vote into office represent their agenda. WE still have not mastered this even on the local levels. When Obama was elected the first time, many in the Black community said, “Give him a chance to get the Bush mess cleaned up before demanding anything from him. “ or “Hey, he is not just the President for Black people. He is the President for all people in this country.” Well, all of the other people made demands on this president during his first term and got what they wanted, while Blacks in this country are still waiting on Jesus to return before demanding something in return for their vote from this current President.

Finally, there are those who decided not to vote in this election. There were those who did not vote in the election four year ago. They have that right. Their decision not to vote did not take away their voice because they are intelligent enough to know that voting is a personal right and not a demand of others. This group of non-voters should not be attacked for exercising their right to not vote. They should not be subject to stupid lines, “If you don’t vote, you don’t have a say.” Or “Your vote is your voice.” How about this one? “If you don’t vote, you have nothing to complain about.” The one that got me the most was, “Hey, our ancestors died for your right to vote.” Really? Name two ancestors. What ancestors are you referring to? All of a sudden, black people who never mention anything about Black ancestry and Black history or anything dealing with Black people, all of a sudden have this connection to our “ancestry” during a political season. These same people don’t give a damn about Blackness and not to mention Black ancestry when it’s not a political season.

Ok. I’m done. I just wanted to share my thoughts on this year’s election and how WE as a community still don’t get it. So, to the Obama fans enjoy your bragging rights. To the non-voters, I understand where you are coming from. You get no criticisms from me. To the gay community, the marijuana advocates, and to other ethnic and racial groups in this country, I hope to be like you all when I grow up. I hope Black people will someday take a page from your playbook of politics and progress to understand what power and progress are really about.

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