By Miguel Lloyd
As the midterm elections are right around the corner, I think we all get a lot more in tune with politics. Well first things first. We should be in tune with politics, not just when its election time, but all the time. If you only watch the politicians when they are campaigning, you are only paying attention when they are NOT working. They are campaigning, out here trying to get you to believe in them long enough to punch their name on the ballot. They are not really getting any WORK done! Geesh…Sorry, that was an early rant.
With that being said, as African Americans, we are the most ignored group of people in America during election season. Why is that? Its simple, we are the only group that votes largely as a “block” for any one party. The Democratic party. Why is that? Well, because they mostly “campaign” on the social issues that are relevant to our day to day lives. Education, government assistance programs, minimum wage advocacy, etc.
Why do “successful” blacks care, even when they enter that higher tax brackets? Even when we excel in our professional lives, we still have family and friends that still need the help that our taxes are funding. No one gets anywhere without some help along the way, not to mention if they don’t have somewhere to turn they are going to be asking YOU for help (lets keep it real up in here). Of course, you will help, but in the grand picture of it all, with your mortgage, car notes and your addiction to Prada, you don’t have much left (OK I’m off subject, that’s a future blog on the demon called “debt”). It is hard to get to a position of wealth while you have to help so many. Doubt me, well the next time your are watching your favorite reality shows with Fantasia, Monica or Keshia Cole, think about this blog. All of you may not be as rich as them, but you’ve got family counting on you like them.
Here’s the thing. The agenda of the Republicans are not all bad, they are just presented that way. The most vocal fringe of the Republican Party are more and more anti-Social agendas and pro business. Here’s a news bulletin. Pro business is not all bad and some of those social programs SHOULD be eliminated. Most of Black American’s don’t have “a dog in that fight” when it comes to business because we haven’t largely seen our lives positively effected by the business world. In large part, we consistently are beneficiaries of the social programs that they want cut, so we perceive that “they” don’t care about us.
On the other side, you have people who even though that are taking advantage of some of those same social programs, from welfare to scholarships, to Social Security, they hang on to the entitlement mindset, that its “ours” anyway. So you have the divide between, people who believe that they have the rights to do anything and people who don’t realize they have rights to do the same. In the middle are instigators on the left and right that play on those desires and fears.
“So you have the divide between, people who believe that they have the rights to do anything and people who don’t realize they have rights to do the same.”
America is a corporation that puts its money where they see the potential for the most return. Quite frankly, they don’t see a great return on in the investment in blacks when it comes to politics. If you think you are not being ignored, turn on BET, TV One, your favorite reality show, Tyler Perry’s programming and any other programs that you love to watch and notice how much you are NOT seeing political ads. Now turn on your local news or Dancing with the Stars and see how you can’t get away from them to save your lives. Both the Democrats and Republicans don’t see a value in marketing to a group that they have already won or lost. In the advertising arena, we call that a NUD (Non Urban Dictate).
It hasn’t always been that way. Prior to 1960, as much as 30% of blacks voted Republican. In this day and age, where Black Republicans are shunned by a lot of us, you may want to do your research. In some areas, they have a point.
Attached is an article written in 1970. It was primarily focusing on the career of this gentlemen, Kevin Phillips a political strategist within the Republican Party. He talked about how, in 1964, although Goldwater was SMOKED by Lyndon Johnson, largely because of his affiliation with southerners that were anti-civil rights, the Southern Strategy was born. A strategy that was centered on solidifying the white vote, by marginalizing the black vote. Don’t believe me? Ask your political scientists friends, or just GOOGLE IT!
Ok, you don’t feel like digging? I’ll help you a bit. Please read the article (don’t forget your dictionary. Journalist were wordsmiths then) and get up to speed. As blacks were encouraged to join the Democratic party (a party saturated with the families of slave owners and enemies of the civil rights movement), strategists like Phillips were trumpeting that move, because he knew that the majority of southern Whites would run from an affiliation with the Blacks. That solidarity has continued until today. A lot of if, not ALL because of perpetual racism (which is the easy argument), but because of ignorance of our past, fear of change, and protection of their own interests.
Of course, it has morphed to the visceral, nonsensical debates about everything from President Obama’s place of birth to his affiliation with Pastors. We have relegated ourselves to perpetuators of fear. That will only change through gaining clarity of thought. Educate yourself, try to understand your “opponents” positions because they are probably not that far from yours, and definitely stand for what you believe in, preferably in that order.
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