Friday, August 3, 2007

Skeptical Black Bloggers a Challenge for Electing Democratic President

Those of us who want to end the 43-term white male monopoly of the US presidency in 2008 have a real challenge before us. For example, some of the most influential Black progressive bloggers don't believe that electing a non-white male president is going to do any good. For example, Field Negro of the Field Negro AfroSpear blog says:

You have been poor from Carter to Reagan to Bush to Clinton, and back to Bush again. Do you really think it matters who is in the white house in 2008? "But field what if Obama wins?" Yeah what about it? It will make you feel good about having someone that looks like you running the country, and it will make white folks feel good about America (we have come so far we elected a black man to the White House). But I watch Oprah's black ass on T.V. and the last time I checked, I don't have any of her money.

If Obama being President can't make your quality of life as a black person better, it won't make a damn bit of difference to you or me or any other person of color. Sorry, just electing a black person as President so that I can say; "The President is black just like me", doesn't mean sh** to me. "Yeah but field, what about the little black children who will see Obama and say; "one day I too can be President." If the little black children have to actually see a black President before they can think they can become President, then we have a bigger problem than I thought. But I seriously digress. Field Negro

It's hard to disagree successfully with Field Negro and Exodus Mentality (below) among others who share this view, because it is true that even under the first Black president, Bill Clinton, the "war against drugs" and the "get tough on crime" policies dramatically increased the number of Black men AND women in jail for low-level drug crimes, among other things.

In an article entitled, "The Impotence of Voting," Exodus Mentality says:
Bob Hebert is being intellectually dishonest. How dare he pretend that Black folks, despite the fact that we have never received any truly significant benefits from years of diligent voting, need a lesson on the importance of voting. What we really need is an in-depth study on the impotence of voting. Somebody needs to figure out why, despite years of voting, essentially for one party, Black folks are still in dire straights.

We need to understand that Senator Clinton has been in a position of power in this country since 1992, in large part due to the loyalty of Black voters, and for her to come up now and pretend like she cares for us offends me. I absolutely agree with her assertion that if white women had black women's problems there would be a national state of emergency. But she can say that with a smile (peep that Cheshire Cat grin, I am not making this up) because she isn't a Black woman.

She knows what to say to make you cheer, but she hasn't followed through in 15 years. If she really cared about sisters with AIDS, she would be making that hot fire statement on the floor of the Senate at least once a month. That ain't happening and it won't ever happen, even if you elect her "Supreme Ruler Of The World".

The threat of Presidential Supreme Court Appointees is often brought up to goad Black people into coming out to vote this year's Democratic ticket. Anyone who understands the Supreme Court knows that once a Justice is confirmed, he or she is there for life. No longer subject to anyone's censure in any meaningful fashion is supposed to allow them to be arbiters of justice, people of good conscience with no impediment to it's exercise.

They don't owe anything to anyone, should be above influence, yada, yada, yada. That's been played out on more than one occasion and is actually being played out right now. There are only 2 current justices who were appointed by a Democrat. So theoretically the vote against our interest should have been 7-2. It was 5-4, with one Justice waffling against the majority's assertion of some Constitutional color-blindness standard.

I see logical fallacies in that interpretation but it's not the same thing as saying that Blacks have no rights that a white man need recognize. It's disingenuous to pretend that these two situations are analogous. If you disagree with this most recent decision that's understandable, although I could make an argument that it's not a problem for us and really no big deal. On its face, it does appear to be a step back from the gains of the Civil Rights movement. But a lesson for Blacks folks on the importance of voting?

Blacks as a group were the only group to significantly increase our percentage of voters in 2000 and 2004. We got out the vote in 2000 and 2004, and even I went out there, as cynical as I am, and stood in line to make sure Bush didn't win. For Bob Hebert or anyone else to insinuate otherwise is just another smack in the face. Those elections were blatantly stolen and the people that Black people voted for basically left us hanging (pun intended) yet again.

I have to give props, on this one occasion, to the entire CBC for their symbolic stance in 2000. Usually, I would be quite dismissive of such tomfoolery when you know you are basically powerless to effect any change, but I was actually struck (and utterly shocked) by the unity and solidarity expressed by those Black people on that day. I think they, too, were outraged that the Black vote had been attacked and blatantly infringed to win the presidency for Bush.

Of course for most, the outrage didn't last and they went right back to going along to get along, the political reality of re-election aspirations. To this day, despite regaining a majority in Congress due in large part to increased Black voting, no one in power wants to know the truth about what happened in those two contested presidential elections.

No one that we voted into office is standing up on a daily basis and promoting our interests in the corridors of power. No one is commenting on all those ills that are debilitating African Americans in the urban centers across America. The plan proceeds apace; all the voting in the world doesn't seem to make a difference. Exodus Mentality

To win the support of Black bloggers with large online followings, Democratic candidates are going to have to convince these bloggers that voting won't be "impotent," a virtual waste of time.

The good news is that, in spite of being convinced that voting will not change what is fundamentally wrong for Blacks in America, the Field Negros and Exodus Mentalities of the Black blogging world HAVE VOTED in past election, even while retaining doubts that it will do any good. Perhaps the best we can hope for is that they will strongly encourage their readers to do the same, acknowledging that voting is mostly futile while encouraging all of us to vote, to achieve what little can be accomplished, in the hopes that it might make the difference between life and death.

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