by Gloria Dulan-Wilson
SO it’s finally here. Primary day in New York City. And all the candidates are lined up for battle. The winners take all - whatever that means. It’s now or never for many of them.
And, while I can’t tell you who to vote for, I can tell you you had better vote as though you are voting for President Barack Obama all over again. Because this is just what this means.
Each and every vote counts. If you don’t vote, the good the President is trying to accomplish will be diminished exponentially.
Think about it. The Republicans are already trying to make this a self-fulfilling prophesy by saying that during the midterm the opposition part gets the majority. This is a psych! A mind game they play and many of us fall into the trap as though it’s the gospel. Nothing could be further from the truth, but they’re counting on the gullibility of the American public, who have become contented with mimicking what they hear on TV rather than standing for themselves, and getting their information first hand.
So now here we are. And there are some pretty important issues coming up that may or may not hamper our ability to emerge victorious from this primary:
1): The new electronic scan voting machines are being introduced in New York City. Many are concerned that it may either cut down on the number of people voting, or it may cause a great number of inaccuracies. (shades of Florida 2000). However, if we use our intelligence, instead of falling prey to negative suggestions, we can learn to use this nuance the way we have other innovations. In other words, don’t let learning something new be the deterrent to getting out to vote.
2): The assumption that because the candidate has been in office a long time, it’s time to bring in someone new. How insipid! Politics is a career like any other position. Politicians are public servants who apply for their positions via the public arena called voting, and they maintain their position via the same way. If they are doing their job correctly, they are returned to their position at the end of the term. It has nothing to do with age, per se, it has more to do with doing the job we sent them there to do. It also has to do with seasoning and seniority. I.e. paying your dues. In doing so you learn the lay of the land, and are able to exercise influence over situations more effectively than the relative new comer.
When I hear someone talking of “new blood”, as though a younger person automatically comes with a set of new concepts that will benefit us all, I cringe. I am not putting down our younger generation, but I am saying that they haven’t necessarily demonstrated their understanding of their role and responsibility in the current society given the amount of work, blood, sweat and tears their predecessors have already sacrificed to provide them with better lives. So, please don’t make age the issue. Look at where they stand when they stand with their people (I.e. us), and whether or not they know they’re Black (yes, I said Black -- remember the name of this blog is ECLECTICALLY BLACK).
3): On the flip side of this statement, however, there are some of our youth I wholeheartedly endorse, including Ms. Latrice Monique Walker, who is running for District Leader in Brooklyn, NY. I’m lifting her name because she has demonstrated her wisdom and involvement far beyond her age. She is one who can be called a continuity between veteran experience and the new breed.
Another area that materially affects our lives has to do with the court system. With Judge Sylvia Ash stepping up from the Court of Appeals tothe Supreme Court, there is evidence that supporting her will not only be a vote for our own self interests, but for fairness and parity for a change. Judge Ash, who has been a constant figure in the community, whether it's about raising funds to help Haitians effected by the earthquake or other nefarious conditions, or at the myriad of community based functions throughout Brooklyn, has ably and effectively served to community; and no doubt will be able to do more if we do the right thing and elevate her to Supreme Court Justice.
I would also like to lift the name of New York City Councilman Al Vann, who passed the baton as District Leader to Robert Cornegy, a young brother who had actually run against him in a bid for his seat on the City Council last year. Rather than deeming him an enemy, Councilman Vann looked at his strengths, sincerity, and experience, and passed the baton on to Mr. Cornegy, who now serves as the district leader, saving a considerable amount of expense and rancor.
Which also addresses another issue about age and length of service. Former Congressman the Rev. Floyd Flake, upon stepping down from Congress to head Allen AME Church in Queens, passed the baton to Gregory Meeks, to serve the balance of his unexpired term. Meeks did so admirably, and upon running for re-election, made it clear that his policies may or may not be the same as Flakes -- I.e., he was no carbon copy -- but that he had the well being of Queens at heart. He has done well in his leadership, thus proving Flake’s choice was a good one.
4): Don’t believe mainstream media’s hostile headline hype. It’s sad that, in this day and age, racism, yellow journalism and character assassination are alive and well and living in Fox News and other racist publications. We are being bombarded with garbage news about Congressman Rangel and others that would have us think that he has suddenly grown two heads and a tail. I’m not saying the Congressman is perfect, but I am saying that the vilification he has suffered is racist and extreme. As you go in to vote, remember that. Remember that the concept is to divide the Black community with innuendo, trickery, lies and deceit. It is to defame the Congressman so that we become confused about who he is in juxtaposition to who we are.
Also remember that the same vilification he is suffering after having taken the helm of the House Ways and Means Committee, the most powerful committee in Congress, is the same thing that happened to Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., his predecessor. The whites know that this is the most powerful position, and they went after him with a vengeance. Also make sure if he is re-elected, that he is reinstated with full honors, roles and responsibility. It appears that the so-called ethics committee only comes into effect when we are in positions of power -- very seldom when Caucasians have “strayed” from the line.
Likewise, when it comes to effectiveness, anyone who doubts the effectiveness of Congressman Edolphus Towns, has not been paying attention to the housing issues, and the greedy attempts to deprive Brooklyn - all of New York for that matter -- of affordable housing. It was Congressman Towns that saved Starett City from being sold to private developers who wanted to turn it into overpriced condominium developments. Because of Towns, Mitchell - Lama legislations have been extended an additional 25 years. Under his watch, legislation to preserve homes that were going under water due to overpriced mortgages have been passed. You need to be very cognizant of who is doing what for you. Fancy words and dog and pony shows don’t ge the job done.
State Senator Velmanette Montgomery, along with Assemblymember Hakeem Jeffries, has been instrumental, likewise, in getting legislation passed to transform overpriced, abandoned condominiums in Brooklyn, into affordable homes. No easy feat when greedy developers were trying to get undeserved breaks from the banks, Washington and other entities. Condominiums built on the foundations of Black neighborhoods that were once thriving in Brooklyn, will once again be returned to the hardworking people who deserve them most. So consider those issues when you go to the polls.
5): Finally, if you don’t get out and vote, you have absolutely no right to complain about anything. They are nickering and diming us to death in New York City, thanks to Bloomberg and his miscreants. We have witnessed rising costs and lower quality in transportation; bogus criteria in school and educational programs; the lack of will when it comes to dealing with the Wall Streeters who have been part and parcel of the recession New York currently faces. I urge you to carefully consider your choices as you vote. Remember, those who sat home in Brooklyn and did not vote for Bill Thompson for mayor - 20% turn out - who are now bearing the brunt of their negligence -- slow to no buses, more and more services closed or reduced in our communities.
Every time you vote, you have to vote as though your lives depend on it. Because it does. Vote as though you’re voting for Obama, because you are. As constituents you are not only participating in the electoral process, but you are signaling that you expect results from them. And then, make sure you get them. Politics is not a spectator sport, it is a participatory, hands on event.
So today, September 14, 2010 is primary day in New York State. It's in your hands, NYC. See you at the polls.
Stay blessed &