“Enough! That’s enough!” When we had talked too much nonsense or were not making sense, that’s what my father would say. “Enough!” And right now I’ve had it, and if you’re honest with yourself, I hope that you have too. I’m talking about this Republican rubbish from the Republican presidential candidate and those party members who, for some ill-fated reason, feel compelled to continue to throw their support behind him.
He has broken all of the rules from politics to correctness, social graces to just plain civility, and still there are Blacks, Hispanics/Latinos, Muslims, women, veterans, disabled and all the others who are undecided and/or actually supporting him.
The question is how did we get here? Or is it that we never left? The blatant display of total disregard for others, lack of interest in others’ quality of life and absence of empathy and compassion for those not as privileged as himself or the rich is his choice. But for those who fall within those circumstances, it’s baffling that they can somehow rationalize why they should vote for him.
Clearly, Black people should recognize the lies, the classism that spills over into the racist territory and impacts their lives specifically. He didn’t rent to Blacks and was sued for housing discrimination.
Most importantly, however, is the lack of interest from our millennials, who are so disillusioned about the importance of voting. I get it. However, for them to think it’s OK not to vote is criminal.
Do they not get the value of the vote? Do they know why Malcolm X said, “The Ballot or the Bullet?” “Do they not care? Do they not connect the dots? Three things: 1.) Your no vote is a vote. 2.) Your vote does count. 3.) You owe those whose shoulders you stand on to vote (the Blacks and others who marched, were beaten with billy clubs, attacked by dogs, spat on, hosed down, lynched, tortured, thrown at with glass, fruit, eggs, etc., for the right to vote.) Do you not understand that by not voting you lose your voice to speak? You better talk to some of the incarcerated, who wish that they could vote.
Having a voice in who the decision makers are regarding your quality of life is one of the most invaluable aspects of why you vote. Ideally, we select candidates who best represent our interests. That’s why big corporations hire lobbyists to push their interests by influencing the elected officials to see it their way.
Just Voting is Not Enough
Your vote is key in keeping the balance. It’s important in leveling the playing field. However, it’s not enough that you go vote, but more importantly that you stay actively involved with the political process — meaning that you must continue to participate by staying aware of what your elected representatives are doing. How are they voting, what they vote on, and who they support. You need to stay involved. And if your representative (president, senator, congressperson, etc.,) does not follow through on what they promised during the campaign, confront them. Let them know that they have veered off course, demand an explanation. Make sure your friends and colleagues of the same mindset know as well. All of you have to call, petition, write, email, do what you must to confront them and have them know that they need to listen and heed to your demands or they can look forward to not being re-elected. You have the power.
Yes, “POWER to the PEOPLE,” is real. It’s not an empty slogan or tagline lacking substance. It is, on the other hand, a statement of political value if embraced and understood by those who hold the power. Politicians love their offices, the sense of power, so they want to stay in their positions. And they can if you want them to. So let’s look at Anita Alvarez for example. She just got too big for her britches, and so full of herself. She didn’t listen. And . . .
My generation understood the Power of the People and moved legislation using that power. We also understood that contrary to popular belief that the “revolution will not be televised,” as Gil Scott Heron said regardless of modern technology, that the act of revolution still requires people, whether they are fighting in combat or as the puppet master behind the drones. Revolution involves people.
And to my millennials and all the others who have dismissed the value of their voice/vote, I say this: Only time will reveal the reality that you deny today as we quickly approach the dawning of your life that will be revealed to you based on the choices that you make today.
And as you live facing the choices that others have made for you, whether it’s a future of free college tuition, or being drafted to war, test tube designer babies, or one of artificial intelligence running the world, or total destruction of the planet due to failed attention given to climate change, clearly you will begin to recognize the power of choice.