Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Bulletproof Part 8: Your Voice, Your Vote

Selma March 1966
        Just like many of you, I'm already tired of the ads on television; hearing President Obama and former governor Romney approve this message, listening the narrator tell me why one or the other is bad for me.  No matter how many times the media tells me we're in the final lap of the election, I still cringe at the sight of these attack ads!  Yeah, I get it, we have to hear where each candidate stands on certain issues, but I truly don't appreciate being bombarded with so many ads!
        At the same time, what I have observed over recent months has got me truly afraid for what America has in store for our future.  The great abolitionist and civil rights activist, Frederick Douglass once said: "America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future."  And from what I've been seeing in the last few months has been nothing but falsehoods and an attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of the People!  But one thing is clear (it's so clear that if you can't see it then you're either blind or ignorant) many of these Conservative politicians have brought to light some "old traditions" that we all knew were still around, but here we are looking at them straight in the face.
        Yeah, I'll admit to you that I do have a bias due to my support of the Democrats and President Obama, but though I can admit that I do have a partisanship what I want to do here is not suffocate you all with pro-Obama propaganda, but to bring back to your consciousness an important right we MUST exercise this year and every year for that matter!
        Even before 2012, I noticed that a lot of my young Black brothas and sistahs have decided that they were not going to participate in the electoral process.  From what I have seen, this has been mainly because of  two reasons:

  1. They have been told, or came to the conclusion that their vote doesn't count
  2. They don't like who's in office or who is running to take that office
        I can understand why many would not be happy with President Obama and I can even more closely understand why anyone wouldn't want to put someone like Mitt Romney in as the leader of our country, but what I don't understand is why anyone would think that their vote doesn't count.
        Why wouldn't you believe that your vote doesn't count?!  Have you taken into consideration our history in this country?!  For instance:
        If your vote doesn't count, why wouldn't they give us the right to vote in the first place?!
        If your vote doesn't count, why would the KKK kill Black men as they went to the polls?!
        If your vote doesn't count, why would a man assassinate a president when he proclaimed that he was going to give the Black man the right to vote?!
        If your vote doesn't count, why would they wait until the early 20th century to give women the right to vote?!
        If your vote doesn't count, why for so many years did evil white supremacists systematically try to take away our vote?!
41st and 42nd Congress of the U.S.
        But alas, for something that doesn't count, history tells a story of people trying so hard to take our vote away.   Probably the most phenomenal piece of history that shows the power of the vote, can be found during the Reconstruction Era where Black men came out in droves!  They voted so many Black men into Congress!--well it's not like the white people were going to do it.  But we haven't had such success since because this white supremacist society made sure of that.  For over one hundred years though, WE FOUGHT BACK!
        The 1960s became the decade in which the blood that had been spilled for so many generations was finally being brought to television screens!  Freedom Summer, murders in Mississippi, church bombings, beatings, police dogs, assassinations, etc.!  Theses occurrences didn't happen because your vote didn't count!
Murdered Civil Rights Workers
        Now coming back to the present.  The economy is not great, Black unemployment is above the national average, American citizens that want to continue their education are DEEP in debt, and there is so much more to list.  I know many of you are not happy with what the president has or has not done, and again, my mission here isn't to get you to vote for President Obama...MY MISSION IS TO GET YOU TO VOTE! To get you to understand the importance of your vote!
        In 2008, they saw what we could do when we came together!  That's why in 2012, they are trying to take away the vote! And let's be honest, it's been the GOP enacting these ridiculous voter suppression laws to prevent the non-exsistant problem of "voter fraud".  Yes, for the sake of saying it, it happens, but it has happened less than 10 times in a 10 year period!  Voter ID laws, preventing early voting, being very strict on the registration drives, which are usually mostly held in the Black and Latino communities, read between the lines!  This is the 1960s, and even before then, all over again!
They're going to have people looking over our shoulders at the polls! They want us to pay for extra IDs that we don't need! They don't want us to vote early to make it so much more inconvenient! They even eliminated Sunday voting in some places!  (I will have links below for you to get involved in fighting and learning about voter suppression.)  And you're telling me that your vote doesn't count?!
        The reason why our ancestors fought so hard to get the vote, the reason many died or were beaten for the vote was because that piece of paper gave us a voice.  With voting rights, we had the chance to have a say in what went on in the government because if we don't speak up for ourselves, who will?  I know, many of us, including me, can't stand how this government works and how corrupt it is, but what I can say is that without participating in the political process, we're just standing by letting the government walk all over us!  I say "Power to the People" often because it's something I sincerely believe in.  But how can the People get the Power when they're letting the structure they want to change walk all over them.  So I propose this: if you don't like President Obama...don't vote for him.  If you don't like Mitt Romney...don't vote for him.  By all means...VOTE! Vote for someone you like, vote for an issue that you feel has your interest at heart! VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!  As W.E.B. Du Bois put it: "With a vote in our hands, we are freemen."
Stokely Carmichael
        (Even those radical figures and organizations we all admire were involved in voting rights.  For instance: Bobby Seale of the Black Panther Party didn't like how things were ran in Oakland, so he ran for mayor! Even Stokely Carmichael was down in Mississippi to register Blacks to vote! He was actually a key figure in creating a new political party that would accept Black Mississipians: The Lowndes County Freedom Organization in Ala., or Lowndes County Black Panther Party, which would inspire young Huey Newton and others in Oakland, Calif.)
        Once again, I understand all the frustration with the government, but that's why you need to take a stand and make a change!  Actually, by you not voting...you're doing exactly what the system wants you to do.  If you haven't noticed, a lot of people don't want you to have a say!  John Boehner, the Speak of the House, even said he "hopes that Blacks and Latinos don't come out to vote."  Do you want to fulfill his wish? I hope not.
        Let's silence those that oppress! Let's stand up and come out in droves on election day! More importantly, let's make Frederick Douglass, Ida B. Wells, W.E.B. Du Bois, Fannie Lou Hamer, Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, Michael Schwerner, and many more, proud!  So I urge all that aren't registered to vote to go out and register! I urge those that are registered to go out and help register voters! And I urge everyone to go out and vote this November because our future TRULY hangs in the balance!  And if you stand on the sidelines and not do anything...you have no right to complain about the issues.  So if you want your voice heard, please go out and vote!  And let's continue the mission to give All Power to the People!


Links about voter suppression and getting involved