by Earlene Williams Hancock – Guest columnist
Someone asked me late last night why he, as an African American, should consider voting… This question was beyond disturbing to me, but let me try to answer it:
1. Voting Rights Act. The Supreme Court recently struck down Section 4 of the Act…which will allow Republican-controlled states to make it harder for minorities to vote. In 2012, as a voting bloc, African Americans exceeded whites in turning out to vote for the first time in history ~ because they were furious that their voting rights were in jeopardy. Many stood in line for 7-8 hours in order to cast their ballots… Many died fighting for our right to vote ~ their sacrifice cannot be in vain!
2. Stand Your Ground. Trayvon Martin might well be alive today, if certain groups like A.L.E.C. (American Legislative Exchange Council) weren’t writing laws for GOP-controlled state legislatures. This law has been adopted by up to 30 states, to-date. We owe it to our young Black men and women to overturn this “license-to-kill” law ~ we can only do that by voting these racist rednecks out of office.
3. Minimum Wage. Who can live on $7.25 an hour? The Republicans would like to get rid of it altogether. If you don’t vote, you’re sending a message that you’re okay with that.
4. Jobs. The unemployment rate for African Americans is in the double-digits ~ not the national rate of 7.4%. Congress…especially the House of Representatives is full of Teabaggers who want to keep paying minorities slave wages. They also have not passed one Jobs Bill! ~ not even Infrastructure to repair roads and bridges that even they have to drive over. Why? Because Barack Obama proposed it.
5. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare. Republicans want to do away with these programs. If you don’t vote them out of office, please explain to me how millions of people, not just minorities, are expected to survive? What Republicans would love to see happen is that we “die quicker”…..
6. Housing. The Housing Crisis disproportionately hurt minority communities. The financial sector, including Predatory Lenders deliberately targeted minorities…yet, I’m not aware any have gone to prison. The “American Dream” of homeownership has been turned into a nightmare. What’s happening now is that investors are buying up foreclosed properties at an unprecedented rate and turning them into rentals. Who do you think will be turned into ‘permanent’ renters? Minorities.
7. Criminal Justice. You already know the system is unjust. You already know that Blacks and Hispanics are disproportionately targeted, jailed, and with far harsher sentences than their white counterparts. The prison system has been, to a large degree, privatized…they profit by the number of people they imprison. If you don’t vote for the Party that will try to change ‘the system’, do you expect it to “self-correct”?
8. War on Women. I’m not a proponent for abortions, but it is not some politician’s right to prevent a woman from making her own decision what to do with her body. The Republicans, throughout this country, are systematically shutting down abortion clinics ~ these clinics, like Planned Parenthood also offer pre-natal care, and general services for women who may not be able to afford a private physician. Who do you think will be disproportionately affected by this? The poor…
And ask yourselves…if Republicans, aka the “Christian Right” are so very concerned about banning abortions…even in the case of rape!…then why aren’t they willing to adopt these babies once they’re born? Why are they taking food out of these babies’ mouths…when they ‘pretend’ life is sacred? Is the life of a 4-year old less sacred than a fetus?
9. The Supreme Court. Again, controlled by Republican judges, who clearly have a racial bias. Google Justices Scalia, Alito, Roberts, Thomas, and Kennedy. They voted to allow corporations to infuse millions of dollars into elections. Who do you think they’re ‘buying off’ to protect their interests? It’s true there are Democratic politicans who are ‘on the take’, but far more Republicans, imo. There also may be one or two vacancies on the court the next two years. The President nominates judges to the court…then it’s sent to the Senate to confirm. Does it not make sense to increase our majority in the Senate to 60 so that these judges, who are more likely to rule in favor of programs that will help all Americans, including minorities, can be quickly confirmed…along with all the other bills that are currently at a standstill? That only happens if you vote.
10. Gun Control. If you’re okay with the slaughter of innocent victims, especially children, throughout this country…not just in Connecticut or Chicago, but everywhere…then don’t vote. The Senate passed a gun control bill which was ‘shot down’ by the Republicans in the House. Why? Because of the National Rifle Association (NRA) buying them off. The NRA claims they’re standing up for their 2nd Amendment Rights. The truth is it’s gun manufacturers who don’t want this legislation passed – they’re in it for the money…period! The more guns they can sell, the richer they become. Whether innocent people continue to be killed is of no consequence to them. If they continue to have the blood of those victims on their hands, they couldn’t care less. Are you okay with that?
11. Racism. It’s on the rise and becoming more and more prevalent and blatant. Electing the first Black President in 2008 was historic; re-electing him in 2012 was even more of a shock to their system. Are you aware that on the night of President Obama’s first inauguration, the Republicans held a secret meeting to come up with an agenda to shut down every single thing he proposed? Their goal, as stated by Mitch McConnell (GOP Senator from Kentucky)…was to make him a one-term President. Even though we gave him a second term last November, they’ve done everything possible to block his entire agenda.
This is why there’s unprecedented gridlock in Washington. Nothing is getting done, because of their hatred of this President. Every racial slur, every death threat he’s received, by extension, is targeted at the entire Black community. Isn’t that reason enough for you to vote?
►►►In 2010, during midterm elections, many of us stayed home. We thought our work was done in 2008. But…by not voting in 2010, it allowed an influx of ignorant, racist Governors, state legislators, Congressmen, and Senators to be voted into office.
I could go on and talk about war and climate change, etc., but I think any of the 11 reasons cited above are more than sufficient reason to exercise your right to vote. Putting all 11 together makes it imperative that sitting out next year’s election is to give permission for continued oppression of the Black and Hispanic communities. I’m not okay with that…I hope and pray you aren’t either…
We have some Democratic politicians who need to be thrown out of office, too…but not now! Our goal now is to vote in and re-elect Democrats throughout this country…for EVERY political office possible. Democrats are far more likely to promote programs that will be beneficial to minorities ~ and we’ve got to undue the damage the GOP has done over the next two years…and for possibly decades to come.
It’s critically important that everyone gets out to VOTE!!!….not just in Presidential elections ~ but every 2 years…for local, county, state, and Federal elections!!! We have to be committed to turning this country around…or we will live to deeply regret it.
Commit to vote ~ it is your right!…while you still have it!
- Morris W. O’Kelly: Nouveau Black Republicans Are Killing Minority Outreach (huffingtonpost.com)
- Cantor said to be ally in efforts to fix Voting Rights Act. But how far is he really willing to go? (dailykos.com)
- Jan Schakowsky: The GOP’S Politics of Subtraction (huffingtonpost.com)
- Senator John Cornyn Argues That High Minority Turnout Is Reason To Support Photo Voter ID (burntorangereport.com)
- What’s the Matter With North Carolina? (slate.com)
- Attorney General Abbott is wrong on voting (star-telegram.com)
- Schakowsky: GOP Practices ‘Politics of Subtraction’ (thedemocraticstrategist.org)
- North Carolina Republicans slammed over ‘suppressive’ voting bill (guardian.co.uk)
- Voting Rights Act: a Last Defense Against Voter Suppression (benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com)
- After Shelby, Voting-Law Changes Come One Town at a Time (pbs.org)