I was never a political activist until the campaign to elect President Obama. I have voted in every election in my life since I was eligible, but I was not an activist. In the last Presidential election, I began my activism as a foot soldier -- canvassing, attending rallies, working phone banks, hosting events in my home. It was during this activity that I learned about a deficiency among African American voters that must change, or very few of us will get our voices heard and acted upon.
The most important lesson I learned is that voting is just our ticket to the dance. If we then stand around the wall watching everyone else dance, we won't enjoy the event very much. This analogy explains what I think I am hearing from a lot of African American voters and activist leaders -- Tavis Smiley, Cornell West, and others -- who are demanding in a loud voice that the President must "be accountable to the Black voters who elected him." Most of those who are resonding to these clarion calls are the ones who went to the dance and stood around on the wall, and are now complaining that the band didn't play any music they wanted to dance to.
To complete the analogy, we were standing around the wall in 2010 when the Tea Party took to the dance floor and defeated many Democrats that we voted for in 2008. Fully 40% of Black voters who voted in 2008 failed to show up in 2010. We were not engaged activists when it counted. Now our voice is being drowned out by the Tea Party activists, and we are complaining that the Pesident isn't meeting our needs with one arm tied behind his back. We lost the House, and he can't get anything done in the obstructionist Senate without 60 votes.
President Obama is going into the 2012 election fighting with the only tool left to him -- the bully pulpit. If those who supported him -- and are now disappointed -- don't recover and regain a majority in the House, while retaining the majority in the Senate, then this election will be a MAJOR GAME CHANGE.
We can make this a GAME CHANGING ELECTION IN OUR FAVOR, but we must understand how to dance with the one that brought us. It is not too late for each of us to become the activists we need to be.
Step 1. EVERYONE ELIGIBLE MUST VOTE -- for people and policies in our best interests -- IN EVERY ELECTION.
Step 2. We must stay active with letters, emails, petitions, phone calls, and more votes.
Step 3. Demand accountability. We can't demand accountability unless we are in the game at every step. Otherwise all politicians will take our vote and run to whoever has the most money or makes the most noise.
Step 4. Don't wait to be asked to dance. Benefits and campaign promises won't come to us by standing by to wait. We must pay attention and insist on our fair share at every level. WE MUST EXERCISE THE PROCESS.
Step 5. Repeat the first 4 steps over and over until we get what we want.
I cannot repeat often enough -- YOU WON'T LIKE THE ALTERNATIVE!
We can change the game in our favor, or suffer the consequences of inaction.BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS