by Richard Rowe|
The Leadership Circle
(email to: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Which party truly deserves our vote? If black college enrollment (black male students) is in fact dropping, if blacks remain over represented in prison, on death row, in unemployment lines, in homeless shelters, on assorted bar charts of misery indices, does our party loyalty really, really matter after all of these years of party loyalty? We should always vote, but we must stop the inexplicable logic of our lopsidedly disproportionate support for the Democrats. We must end the Democratic Party's political emasculation of our precious vote and the Republican Party's dimwitted competition for our affection and our vote with their paltry and insulting microtokens.
We are still a people without a clear political and economic agenda and, unfortunately, the white Democratic and Republican Parties know it. Outside of government friendliness for private wealth building, a few jobs or seats in the mayor's/governor's/president's skyboxes, what specifically do we want? At a minimum, one would think/hope that with all of the black elected officials (BEOs), historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), and their political science/business departments and black political caucuses/organizations, we would be able to construct a specific agenda with specific non-negotiable demands.
Moreover, we should be able to articulate to both parties, and the entire world for that matter, our political, economic, social and educational goals that will optimize group progress going forward. The mechanisms for holding elected officials accountable must start somewhere, and our HCBU's -with all of their history, expertise, resources and "community" connections must start the process.
So, let's do something different this time around in all state/national elections and future elections. We should vote, but let's not waste our vote. Let's write in our candidates. If you ever get stuck with which write-in candidate to choose, I suggest we write in Nelson Mandela's name. Anyone who endured 27 years of all the pernicious elements of racism is deserving of our vote. Writing in Mr. Mandela's name will send a clear message to both parties that our vote is both precious and sacred and can no longer be taken for granted by either party-even if it means not voting for either party.
In addition let's formulate and produce a political/economic agenda that spells out specifically not only what we want short-term (1-4 years), but more importantly, what we also want over the long-term (5-10 years). This agenda will not only be presented to both political parties for their review and response, but it will also force our own crop of black elected officials to draft and support policies that are critical for group rather than self advancement. If done right, it would at least hold our (black) elected officials accountable to our specific issues and interest.
Finally, let's form a black political party to force/encourage allegiance to black interest. The formation of a black political party should be seen as both a cultural and plural imperative. It is really the only way to go and will take a lot of courage, self/group respect and self/group confidence, which we are currently lacking.
To those individuals who might conclude that this is political suicide, I would counter that the black vote and black political power has already received the death penalty for committing the crime of unrealized potential. For the sake of our political and economic future, which direction will we take? Will we continue to vote for the party that promotes "non-economic liberalism," or the party that offers distracting illusions about black economic empowerment? Let's stop wasting our precious votes. Again, the choice is ours to make.