September 03, 2004

People died so that we can have the right to vote.

If I had a dime for every time that someone has told me that I “MUST” vote due to the fact that people died to secure this freedom for me, I could retire in a few years. I think that such rhetoric is very superficial and limiting. I think that it is a vestige of the old civil rights movement and era, hence, the reason why most of the elders in the movement always seem to preach this dictate.

Looking back upon the struggle for universal suffrage inclusive of black folks, has got black people fixed on the superficial literal meaning of certain phenomenon. The voting issue is similar to the issue of integration. Taking a superficial approach to the goal of integration, it implies that there is an intrinsic healing benefit for blacks to be mixed with whites, as if whites are our salvation. In reality, the true issue was access to equal funding, facilities, instruction and so on and so for. If we could have have the funding and facilities, we would not have needed integration. Thus, it was not sitting next to white folks that was the true goal, as the term implies. separate was considered inherently unequal and thus integration became the solution to unequal access.

Instead of saying that people must vote, because of the struggle and sacrifices of the past, we should be more current and less limiting. What should be said is that every individual should exercise a strategic political strategy, the operative term being exercise. The exercising of that strategy my very well manifest as the right to vote for the candidate of your choice, or not to vote at all. What one should preach is the avoidance of apathy in regards to voting or not voting, if they want to promote change within the existing frame work. Apathy does not simply manifest in people not bothering to vote, it also manifest via people simply going through the motions of voting, with no strategy.

Think about it this way. There was once slavery. Since we were emancipated, we know have the right to work for pay. However, should we then not exercise our right at collective bargaining via the ability to strike our places of employment..for better wages, treatment and conditions? I think that the tactics of Unions, though much of this nations history, is a good analogy for a strategy for getting the Democratic Party to come to the bargaining table with blacks for concessions. Such requires the willingness to take steps back to take bigger steps forward...first and foremost.

Working folk often had a situation were owners and management were not treating them fairly. The companies would use them and take them for granted because they knew they were in need of employment and income. However, the workers also realized that the companies needed them to make a profit as much as the worker needed the owner to make a living. Thus, workers took a couragous step back collectively, hurting themselves in the short run, by having work stoppages or strikes. The owners then could not get the product out and began loosing money, their primary motivation for being in business. Thus, the owners eventually went to the bargaining table to give in to many of the workers demands.

The same principle and strategy holds true for blacks and the Democratic Party. It may be time to have a vote stoppage, to force the party to come and bargain with black people over our interest and needs. This can never happen if leaders keep preaching that everyone must vote. The exploited workers of the early and mid part of the 1900’s could have never improved their condition and pay the degree that happened if they did not form work stoppages and thus exercise leverage against owners and management. Yes, in the short run, they paid a tremendous sacrifice, they went without pay. However, in the long run, they won their concessions.

This strategy would never work upon the republicans, because they do not need us currently to profit or remain or come into power. The democrates do however. You always should attack at the weakest point, not the strongest. Thus, people advocating a republican strategy for blacks are either ignorant or being disengenuous inorder to hide their selfish motives.

How can the Democratic Party profit without the black vote? How can democrats stay in power without the black vote? They need us as much as we need them, but we are refusing to use our power of leverage, by invoking the choice of vote stoppage, due to this idea that everyone must vote…for somebody…anybody. That is simply a limiting strategy that will always keep black folks marginalized politically.


At 5:41 PM, Blogger peggy said...

I'm not black - and I'm not a Republican nor a Democrat.

But I vote every election, because I feel damn lucky to have the ability to vote.

People across the world today are denied this freedom.

So - I may not be wild about any of the candidates. But I'll have a preference somewhere.

I vote because I never in my lifetime wish to take this privilege for granted.

At 9:13 PM, Blogger Noah TA said...

What seems to escape you is that choosing not the vote can only manifest if one has the right to vote. Thus, the right to vote is a package deal that gives citizens...CHOICE. Voting is not the ONLY CHOICE. Besides, all your drama about having the right to vote is passe...the majority of nations in this world give people such a right.

You are like a women who is so happy simply to have a man...that she will SETTLE for ANY. A strong and confident person does not settle...they work to get what they want and if what they want is not among the current options...then they wait.

At 3:00 AM, Blogger Noah TA said...

Everyone seems to have an EMOTIONAL reason why people should ALWAYS vote. However, these same people always seem to lack a LOGICAL reason why NOT voting, as a political strategy, is a bad idea.

At 10:32 AM, Blogger Faheem said...

If Black men and women realize that we actually vote to prevent things from happening to us and our people maybe they will wake up. The motivating factor for Black folk to vote in a presidential election has always been if elected so and so will do this or that; which is harmful to our people. We never vote because of promises being made by a presidential candidate that will be beneficial to our community. Everything of good that Black men and women have received in this nation has come by way of civil unrest and until we return to that and making ourselves ungovernable we should not expect anything from Presidential candidates or the President. Simply put; Black folk vote and as a preventive measure hoping to curtail anything the presidential hopeful or incumbent President would do that is detrimental to our community.

At 8:36 PM, Blogger Scott said...

Elaborate on your stragegy. When up to 30% of black males will lose thier right to vote. Please explain how more not voting is going to empower us ?

At 5:23 AM, Blogger Noah TA said...

Scott, you are playing the Devils advocate...or are simply being ignorant. Obviously there are millions of black people voting. They would be the ones who could boycott or use vote stoppage as leverage. Many blacks already do not vote...due to apathy...obviously that is not the population group that would count in the calculation.

You have "selective intelligence" Scott. You only seem to invoke your ability at logic and reason when you see a reward to your choosen belief ideology. When information threatens thats then turn off your ability to reason...thus asking asnine rhetorical you just demonstrated.

At 8:44 AM, Blogger NmagiNATE said...

[[[ Everything of good that Black men and women have received in this nation has come by way of civil unrest... ]]]

This is the uncomfortable TRUTH that too many want to evade. People who invoke the notion that "People died for us to have a right to vote, etc." ought to also recognize the fact it is even more sacrilegious to pretend that they were (the ones that went on before us) the only one's who have to make such a great sacrifice.

If anything we spit right in their faces by presuming "We Have Overcome" and all we have to do is preserve what their efforts produce. This is the laziness and cowardice of our generation. "Drunk With The Wine Of The World..." I say... Too intoxicated with the comforts of this life to fight the battles still to be fought. Those that our forebears hardly even began to fight.

Yes, some one mentioned Stockholm Syndrome... That would be about right for this condition. Yes, because most of the physical abuse is over some of us (too many of us) think its okay to be "in love" with our captors, pretending as if this new stage signs some real change in him.

Well... more to the point and on the topic, MLK said (in his "I Have A Dream" speech) that "WE WILL NOT BE SATISFIED" until we have the right to vote - in the South - and we have something/someone to vote for - in the North.

Obviously, according to that elder 'who died for us to have the right to vote', just exercising that right was not enough for it to be meaningful.

At 3:09 PM, Blogger Marco said...

You know who behaves like that? the mafiosi in the south of Italy.
They are very similar to you in that they are not people but "meridionali", same as you are not people but "blacks".
They don't care about the comunity or nation as a whole, they just care to exchange the only thing that they have (their being meridionali) for some tangible things, like jobs for the ones who are otherwise unemployable, who will elect the unelectable and so it is the rotten that will sustain rotten till everything will be rotten and that's time to slash and burn, then leave for other places who are so stupid to believe this integration BS.


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