-->By Gloria Dulan-Wilson
I just read an article posted in THE ROOT, entitled "If Black Voters Don't Show Up for Midterms, 'Shame on Them.'"
While I've been saying the same thing, I think we all need to do more across the country than just criticize. We have to be the facilitators to make sure that they have the means to participate, en masse, in the elections.
Let's get back to some real, old fashioned, Black in the day, grass roots measures to make sure that our people are represented at the polls in massive numbers. When we first began voting, fifty (50) years ago, the responsibility of all our civic and civil rights organizations to hand carry our Black voters to the polls - whether we used vans, buses, or individual vehicles - whatever. It was an act of solidarity in the face of racists who were doing everything they could to block or intimidate them to keep them from voting.
Guess what - we are facing those very same threats today - by use of electronic and social media, TV ads, trickery lies, deceit; bogus ID requirements - our people are the prime targets of voter nullification across the country. It's criminal, but it is also demoralizing and can have a negative affect on the numbers who turn out.
So, it is not enough to admonish our people!! We should have a Get On The Bus - Get Out The Vote movement across the country! We can call it the BLACK VOTER EXPRESS! Or whatever you choose - but you get my drift. Sometimes we're so sophisticated, we overlook the obvious. There's definitely strength in numbers - so instead of criticizing, let's activate and actualize! Let's show that we haven't forgotten what we learned from our ancestors.
NAACP, Urban League, Rainbow Push, National Action Network, 100 Black Men, Men Who Care, all the Sororities and Fraternities, all the Churches, Mosques, and Community Based Organizations can coordinate and carve up their various communities into sectors - from Florida to Washington State; from California to Maine and all across the country, whether we are in the millions, thousands, or just two - We can come together and hand carry our registered Black voters to their respective polls. That way we are guaranteeing that they will show up. We can't afford to leave anything to chance. If you're not an organization, get a neighborhood buddy system or just take your next door neighbor with you - and if you have time, have some coffee or tea later and congratulate yourselves on a job well done.
Churches that have their own vans can work with their congregations - and the vans or buses can either pick up the elderly at their homes, or arrange to have them meet at the church and transport them to their polling places. Let's not make this rocket science. It's quite simple.
GETTING OUT THE VOTE IS GOING TO TAKE ALL OF US - DON'T ASSUME EVERYBODY HAS IT TOGETHER, OR THAT EVERYBODY IS AWARE OF THEIR RIGHTS.
Stay Blessed &
ECLECTICALLY BLACK -
www.gloriadulanwilson.blogspot.com/ECLECTICALLY BLACK NEWS
The following is the article that appeared in THE ROOT -
Two women vote in the presidential election Nov. 4, 2008, in Birmingham, Ala. Mario Tama/Getty Images
What we do know is this year’s midterm Senate races will be tight—what we don’t know is just how tight. Despite constant spinning in the news cycle, most Americans either don’t know a big election is coming up or don’t care. In the last major midterm of 2010, only 41 percent of voters turned out or 91 million ballots counted—just 30 percent of the population. Are you OK with that?
That said: The African-American vote could play a decisive factor in congressional races in some key states, including places we keep hearing about, like Georgia, North Carolina, Louisiana and Arkansas (and in places where you don’t think black folks live but do, like Colorado and Kentucky). Are we really all that into the election (and really into what President Barack Obama is saying about it)? How far could Republican voter-ID and voter-suppression strategies go in keeping polling places as brazenly Caucasian as the cast of Friends?
This week’s installment of The Take turned to Hampton University journalism professor Wayne Dawkins and former GOP congressional candidate Lenny McAllister for context. Dawkins is author of City Son: Andrew W. Cooper’s Impact on Modern-Day Brooklyn, and McAllister is a KDKA and Pittsburgh Cable News network host.
Wayne Dawkins (@waydaw): Based on the campaign messages, the six Senate battlegrounds are unpredictable. The Arkansas, Georgia and North Carolina Senate races are lively.
Lenny McAllister (@lennymcallister): Republicans should take the Senate, but there is not the same wave of conservative passion hitting the airwaves and the campaign trail as there was in 2010. Because of that, there is a small, but distinct, opportunity for the Democrats to barely hold on to the U.S. Senate. The GOP has yet to cast aside the political-bogeyman mantra that the party has with non-Republican voters. Will independents break with the GOP in 2014 the same way they did in 2010? That is the question that will be answered in November. As of now, the answer appears to be no.
WD: Sure, black voter participation is normally down in off-cycles, but that could change this year. Look at what happened in Mississippi last spring. Republican Senate incumbent Thad Cochran was locked in a nasty primary fight with a Tea Party candidate. Cochran asked black voters for their votes, making the case that if he lost, Mississippi would lose experience, influence and bacon. The Tea Party candidate appeared too extreme compared to conservative Cochran.
African-American voters engaged and pulled Cochran over the top. Those voters should remind Cochran that they did him a huge solid. If voters of color care about reformed health care, student loans and consumer protection, they can’t afford to sit out this midterm. Otherwise they shouldn’t whine if they feel oppressed.
LM: The black vote plays a big role in this race, as it does in every race. The question is: Will the black electorate finally “get it”? Namely: 1) The black vote can swing every election; 2) The black vote should demand more from elected officials and candidates on a daily basis—not biannual basis; and 3) The black vote should be a “woo-able” electorate—not a voting bloc that remains in one camp without expectations of progress or results for our communities. With that in mind, I don’t know if the black electorate will come out en masse as it did in 2008 or 2012.
WD: If voters of color are a) not paying attention to the voter-ID stories and b) indifferent about those stories, shame on them. The Supreme Court has already rendered verdicts on three cases—restrictive voter-ID laws were upheld in two states but stricken in one—and the court was about to give its opinion regarding the Texas case. Voters of color came out strong in the 2012 presidential election when there was evidence of voter suppression and rich people trying to buy the election. It was a great moment when people fought the power at polls. That energy needs to return for this November’s midterm congressional elections.
LM: I do not call voter validation a “strategy” to “work for Republicans.” There is a reasonable expectation for voter-validation measures to be in place. The question with that issue is how they are implemented, from time frame to methodologies, to ensure that all eligible Americans have the right to vote.
Charles D. Ellison is a veteran political strategist and regular contributor to The Root. He is also Washington correspondent for the Philadelphia Tribune and chief political correspondent for Uptown magazine. Follow him on Twitter.
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WE HAVE THE CAPACITY AND IT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO ENSURE THAT ALL OUR PEOPLE NOT ONLY HAVE THE RIGHT TO VOTE, BUT EXERCISE THOSE RIGHTS - DESPITE THE THREATS AND INTIMIDATIONS BY RACIST RIGHT WING REPUGLYCONS AND TEA BAGGERS.
IF YOU DO FORM A VOTERS EXPRESS BUS, AND YOU WANT ME TO HIGHLIGHT IT IN MY BLOG, PLEASE EMAIL ME AT firstname.lastname@example.org - PUT "VOTER EXPRESS BUS" IN THE SUBJECT LINE - I WILL BE HAPPY TO FEATURE IT.
Now that you know, what are you going to do about it?
Stay Blessed &