Author Topic: SITTING OUT THE ELECTIONS?  (Read 6273 times)

Offline Reginald Hudlin

  • Landlord
  • Honorary Wakandan
  • *****
  • Posts: 9864
    • View Profile
SITTING OUT THE ELECTIONS?
« on: October 17, 2010, 07:34:44 pm »
from my friend DAVID EVANS:

Reggie,

I’m hearing that some black folk are threatening to stay home on election day because the Obama Administration hasn’t delivered on its promises in its two-year existence.   What good purpose will staying home serve, what has the administration done to deserve this abandonment, and what will such inaction mean for African Americans?  Were things so much better during the previous administration that we should return thereto?

This is comparable to civil rights leaders of the 1950s saying that because the 1954 U. S. Supreme Court decision, Brown vs. Board of Education, didn’t end Jim Crow segregation overnight, they should abandon litigation through the courts and acquiesce to the status quo ante.  We must remember that in the 1950s, the status quo was “separate but equal” racial segregation laws established by the Court’s 1896, Plessy vs. Ferguson decision.

These are tough economic times, but little that is worthy and significant happens instantaneously and without struggle.  Before the ideals of Brown vs. Board were significantly realized there was the Emmett Till lynching, Ms. Rosa Parks’ arrest, the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Little Rock Crisis, the Greensboro Sit-Ins, James Meredith at Ole Miss, the Birmingham Church Bombing, the murders of Schwerner, Goodman and Chaney, “Bloody Sunday” at the Pettus Bridge in Selma, the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., race riots, etc., etc.  This was two decades in which jobs were lost, homes were lost, and lives were lost, but we are a more principled nation because some committed citizens sacrificed and stayed the course.



Best regards,



Dave

Offline Emperorjones

  • Honorary Wakandan
  • *****
  • Posts: 6453
    • View Profile
Re: SITTING OUT THE ELECTIONS?
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2010, 02:32:16 am »
I understand this tired argument, the Civil Rights struggles which my post-Civil Rights generation and the one(s) that have come after don't have a real visceral connection to, are trotted out again and again whenever the Democrats get their ass in a sling. And what's the end result? If anything, little change around the margins, but the structural obstructions/impediments to reform and real change remain unchanged. Those struggles weren't fought to keep the Democrats in office, and they are not as synonmous with the current Democratic party, or hell, even the Democratic party of that period, as conventional wisdom thinks. But the Democrats will keep playing on that emotional appeal again and again because they know, or they think, we don't have another home or can't envision stepping outside their tent for some electoral relief. And so far, they have been right. But it galls me that they spend a lot of time distancing themselves from blacks, seeking the great white independent middle or the Reagan Democrats, but only to realize when that fails again and again or falls short, they run back to us to save them, only to put us back on the shelf once the election is through.

I've debated whether I should sit out myself, as an act of protest. Though the Democrats have done a lot of things, they've lost the message war to the GOP so I can understand why some people might think Congress/President Obama has done absolutely nothing to help them out during these tough times. Also, the Democrats are just as beholden to big business as the GOP, but the GOP has masterfully turned themselves into the party of the little guy, or rather the little white guy, or as the media might say, the 'average' or 'hardworking' or 'working' Americans against Big Government/Big Business/Big Everything. But the Democrats largely have themselves to blame by allowing themselves to be outflanked and for actually being the party of Big Government/Big Business, etc. (The dirty and not-so-secret secret is that the GOP has been the party of Big Government/Big Business too, but since the Democrats have never been able to effectively call it like it was, they get away with tarring the Democrats and have been doing it for 30 something years. It's become almost a truism about the Big Government, tax-and-spend liberals, so much so that liberal is a dirty word, even among many Democratic politicians.)

Also the Democrats have been pretty craven-as usual-when it comes to standing up to the GOP and defining a clear agenda/vision for where they want to take the country. Only now, with the fire on them, do they start to come out but I think its too little and too late for a good number of them. If they are running away from what they've done, turning their back on one another, it doesn't inspire me with much confidence that they can provide the leadership we need. Of course I think the GOP would be worse, but I wonder by how many levels of degree. Under the GOP or Democrats a lot of these problems haven't been solved. Just under Dems they talk to us nicer-sometimes-and throw a few more bones, but we delude ourselves that the possibilities for change are greater, only to wind up disappointed. With the GOP, we know what we are dealing with, so we don't expect much, and sometimes are more willing to fight against their agenda, instead of being lulled to sleep under the Democrats. So, I have to wonder, which is better, being alert or being asleep? We often find ourselves with this greater/less evil debate every election. I'm getting tired of voting for evil period, little, quasi, or otherwise.

That being said, I will probably vote anyway, though if there are Green Party people on the ticket, I'll likely vote for them. Maybe one day progressive blacks will see it as a viable alternative at least in local or state elections.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2010, 02:39:48 am by Emperorjones »

Offline Reginald Hudlin

  • Landlord
  • Honorary Wakandan
  • *****
  • Posts: 9864
    • View Profile
Re: SITTING OUT THE ELECTIONS?
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2010, 03:31:04 am »
There's no doubt Obama and the Democrats have not done enough for their core constituents, Black Americans.  Although Obama has done a lot policy-wise that will benefit all poor people, including African Americans, he's delivered a lot more lectures than he has pats on the back.  Doing a good job is not enough.  Ask Adrian Fenty.

Offline Emperorjones

  • Honorary Wakandan
  • *****
  • Posts: 6453
    • View Profile
Re: SITTING OUT THE ELECTIONS?
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2010, 04:02:59 pm »
That's true, but can we say its doing a good job if the people you think you've helped, or actually helped, don't even know they've been helped? I mean, communication is part of the job, and the Democrats have failed at this miserably. Yeah, I'm talking about the President on down. I think he must have believed the hype that he was a great communicator and just his presence alone was enough. For some blacks and progressives it is, but for many others it isn't, especially if the policies are unknown, watered down, or their effects won't be felt for years, which is what I think is the case for much of the president's agenda has been for the first two years.

He's been too scared of angering white swing voters, many of whom he will never be able to bridge the 'empathy gap' because he isn't one of them. For blacks, he knows he has them in his pocket so he can talk down to them when he needs to, tell them straight up I'm not going to target anything to you even though your problems are worse on average than other groups, despite the fact you are my most loyal constituency. It's too much business as usual with the Obama administration and that doesn't fire me up at all. So, I'm supposed to be hyped about two more years of the same?

If Obama, with the Dems behind him, had come in with a real change agenda and had been actually willing to risk being a one-term president to effect deep structural change I think he would have more support. He did the inside game, he's tried the soft cell and his opponents still call him the most radical president ever and I think some believe that in part because of his skin color and his name. He was damned if you do, damned if you don't. In that situation, you might as well do. Show them you've got some fire, that you can take a punch but throw one too. When it comes down to it, do I feel that Obama and the Dems have my back? No, so it's got me seriously contemplating why should I keep having theirs?

Perhaps blacks need to revolt against the Dems, to punish them to get some results. I've been thinking along these lines since 2000 when I thought it would've been a great opportunity to make the Green Party a national party if perhaps enough progressives had voted for Nader. We need alternative voices. I know some might shout me down and say it would give the election to the Republicans, but I believe short term loss is necessary for long term gain. In 1964, the general political consensus was that the hard right were kooks and Goldwater's presidential campaign was a disaster. They regrouped and 20 years later, you got Reagan and a major shift rightward in the political consensus. When Obama was elected, there was just the mere chance of another shift, but I felt it was overblown media speculation because Reagan's rise came on the back of a more cohesive ideology. There had been a lot of policy ideas and think tanks, etc. that had sprouted up between Goldwater and Reagan, and you had movements like the Moral Majority, etc. that laid the groundwork.

Even though Bill Clinton didn't turn back the rightward tilt, he accomodated it and tried to find a "Third Way" and at least there was a policy framework for the New Democrat stuff, and it was even replicated across the seas, with Tony Blair and other leaders. But with the 2006 and 2008 Democrats, there was nothing. No real policy framework, no policy ideas, it was a disparate mess of often conflicting ideologies and agendas with the Democratic name as a band-aid. They rode in on a wave of voter anger and they didn't do enough to seize or control the moment, they didn't have any real strong policy ideas in my opinion, any vision that could perhaps turn back the rightward direction of the country, even though Bush had discredited it in large part. And there was even talk that the GOP was on the way to extinction. But yet, they found a way to turn that voter anger in their favor, and because the Democrats didn't make good on their promises in a bold fashion, nor did they seem particularly willing to defend what they had accomplished, it made them look weak and incompetent.

So the potential was there for a resurgence of liberalism (call it new liberalism, like Blair's "New Labour") but the liberals were too afraid to seize it. And they allowed the GOP and Tea Party to define them. I think there is a lot we can learn from the Tea Party. They've taken the GOP by the balls mainly by risking going outside the party and supporting candidates who speak to their concerns. Now the GOP is sort of forced to follow their lead because all the energy is with the Tea Party people this election cycle and probably in 2012. This is what I had hoped blacks or progressives could use the Green Party for, but too many of us remain wedded to the Democrats to ever truly wield our voting power.
« Last Edit: October 18, 2010, 04:18:14 pm by Emperorjones »

Offline Hypestyle

  • Honorary Wakandan
  • *****
  • Posts: 5821
  • Intellectual Conqueror
    • View Profile
    • Hypestyle's Homebase
Re: SITTING OUT THE ELECTIONS?
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2010, 11:36:50 am »
philosophically I may consider myself a progressive independent, but pragmatically I tend to vote for Democrats.. I think if the game of financing weren't such an impediment for alternative-parties, there could be more 'serious' discussion on progressive platform topics.. that said, I feel that sitting out this election-- any election-- is not a good look, it give the opposition the nod by default.. I wanted the legislation passed during Obama's tenure so far to be even sharper than it was, but I know that the neo-cons getting control of at least one Congressional body means "even less" can get done until 2012..
PS-- ban exit polls during elections..
Be Kind to Someone Today.

Offline Battle

  • Honorary Wakandan
  • *****
  • Posts: 8796
  • M.A.X. Commander
    • View Profile
Re: SITTING OUT THE ELECTIONS?
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2010, 11:40:18 am »
>>>Hypestyle





Agreed.

Offline Curtis Metcalf

  • Moderator
  • Honorary Wakandan
  • *****
  • Posts: 4490
  • One never knows, do one?
    • View Profile
Re: SITTING OUT THE ELECTIONS?
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2010, 03:37:45 pm »
Decisions are made by those who show up.
If we can't be bothered to show up, we deserve what we get.
(IOW, what Hypestyle said.)
"Seek first to understand, then to be understood."
"Be hard on systems, but soft on people."

Offline voodoochild

  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 504
    • View Profile
Re: SITTING OUT THE ELECTIONS?
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2010, 10:48:47 am »
That's true, but can we say its doing a good job if the people you think you've helped, or actually helped, don't even know they've been helped? I mean, communication is part of the job, and the Democrats have failed at this miserably. Yeah, I'm talking about the President on down. I think he must have believed the hype that he was a great communicator and just his presence alone was enough. For some blacks and progressives it is, but for many others it isn't, especially if the policies are unknown, watered down, or their effects won't be felt for years, which is what I think is the case for much of the president's agenda has been for the first two years.

Positive change takes time.  You and I can take a pair of sledgehammers and destroy a house in a matter of hours.  It takes months to rebuild what we destroyed.  Bush and co. did a lot of damage to this country and it's going to take years to repair that damage.
Obama's message is clear, it's just that this country's collective IQ has been lowered by the steady stream of easily digestible, emotionally manipulative soundbites.

He's been too scared of angering white swing voters, many of whom he will never be able to bridge the 'empathy gap' because he isn't one of them. For blacks, he knows he has them in his pocket so he can talk down to them when he needs to, tell them straight up I'm not going to target anything to you even though your problems are worse on average than other groups, despite the fact you are my most loyal constituency. It's too much business as usual with the Obama administration and that doesn't fire me up at all. So, I'm supposed to be hyped about two more years of the same?

There's a political reality the first Black president has to deal with.  No, he can't anger white swing voters because at the end of the day, he's still a Black man.  He's gotta play it safe down the middle if he wants another term where, hopefully, he can make even greater policy changes.
I don't understand this whole "talk down" thing.  What does that mean?  When has Obama ever talked down to Black folks?  The thing a lot of Black folks seem to not understand is that Obama is the the president of the entire  U.S., not just Black America.  He's working on fixing problems created by the last administration.  If you're not hyped about two more years of the same, what's the alternative?  Palin? Romney? Gingrich?  That really what you want?

If Obama, with the Dems behind him, had come in with a real change agenda and had been actually willing to risk being a one-term president to effect deep structural change I think he would have more support. He did the inside game, he's tried the soft cell and his opponents still call him the most radical president ever and I think some believe that in part because of his skin color and his name. He was damned if you do, damned if you don't. In that situation, you might as well do. Show them you've got some fire, that you can take a punch but throw one too. When it comes down to it, do I feel that Obama and the Dems have my back? No, so it's got me seriously contemplating why should I keep having theirs?

What one term president in modern times was able to make deep structural change in four years?  Particularly coming into the two wars, high deficit/unemployment, housing bubble, etc.

Perhaps blacks need to revolt against the Dems, to punish them to get some results. I've been thinking along these lines since 2000 when I thought it would've been a great opportunity to make the Green Party a national party if perhaps enough progressives had voted for Nader. We need alternative voices. I know some might shout me down and say it would give the election to the Republicans, but I believe short term loss is necessary for long term gain. In 1964, the general political consensus was that the hard right were kooks and Goldwater's presidential campaign was a disaster. They regrouped and 20 years later, you got Reagan and a major shift rightward in the political consensus. When Obama was elected, there was just the mere chance of another shift, but I felt it was overblown media speculation because Reagan's rise came on the back of a more cohesive ideology. There had been a lot of policy ideas and think tanks, etc. that had sprouted up between Goldwater and Reagan, and you had movements like the Moral Majority, etc. that laid the groundwork.

Again, what's the alternative?  You ready to repeat the Reagan/Bush 1 & 2 years just to "make a point"?  Ask yourself who's really gonna lose in that scenario?  Here's my issue with Nader.  All he ever seems to do is come around every four years to make a run at the big seat and ends up bleeding off valuable votes from the Dems.  What does he do in the interim?  Are the Greens trying to build their party's strength during the "off season"?  Maybe get some senators or a few governors elected instead of shooting for the main prize?  The Dems may not be great, but they're sure as hell better than the GOP.

Even though Bill Clinton didn't turn back the rightward tilt, he accomodated it and tried to find a "Third Way" and at least there was a policy framework for the New Democrat stuff, and it was even replicated across the seas, with Tony Blair and other leaders. But with the 2006 and 2008 Democrats, there was nothing. No real policy framework, no policy ideas, it was a disparate mess of often conflicting ideologies and agendas with the Democratic name as a band-aid. They rode in on a wave of voter anger and they didn't do enough to seize or control the moment, they didn't have any real strong policy ideas in my opinion, any vision that could perhaps turn back the rightward direction of the country, even though Bush had discredited it in large part. And there was even talk that the GOP was on the way to extinction. But yet, they found a way to turn that voter anger in their favor, and because the Democrats didn't make good on their promises in a bold fashion, nor did they seem particularly willing to defend what they had accomplished, it made them look weak and incompetent.

I'm not so sure about your analysis of 06 and 08 because you don't factor in the corporate controlled media's overwhelming influence.  The Dems come off weak imo partially because the other side is so loud and omnipresent.  Look, they've got juggernauts like Limbaugh, Oreilly, Hannity, Beck, etc ruling the corporate controlled airwaves.  Add the collective psychological damage caused by 9-11 and the Right's willing to misuse that event for their own needs to that equation and you get weak looking Dems.

So the potential was there for a resurgence of liberalism (call it new liberalism, like Blair's "New Labour") but the liberals were too afraid to seize it. And they allowed the GOP and Tea Party to define them. I think there is a lot we can learn from the Tea Party. They've taken the GOP by the balls mainly by risking going outside the party and supporting candidates who speak to their concerns. Now the GOP is sort of forced to follow their lead because all the energy is with the Tea Party people this election cycle and probably in 2012. This is what I had hoped blacks or progressives could use the Green Party for, but too many of us remain wedded to the Democrats to ever truly wield our voting power.
The tea party is going to be the final nail in the GOP's casket.  They are gutting that party so that even the more reasonable Republicans have to kowtow to the nuts they've given voice to.  They seem strong because they make great news and help fill the 24 hour news cycle, but the reality is that the majority of the tea baggers are far too extreme for mainstream America.

Offline Emperorjones

  • Honorary Wakandan
  • *****
  • Posts: 6453
    • View Profile
Re: SITTING OUT THE ELECTIONS?
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2010, 06:08:12 pm »
^
1. I'm far more skeptical than you about positive change and our nation's ability to enact the structural reforms that I feel are necessary to really create an egalitarian society. This is larger than Bush. Blaming everything on Bush is one of the fictions of the Democrats. Some of these issues go back decades.

2. Of course I understand that President Obama walks a tightrope, but that indicates to me that he will spend all of his time balancing on that rope and not be willing to risk falling off it if necessary sometimes. When have any of these 'teachable moments' about race during his first two years taught anyone anything? I think Obama has talked down to black people when he talks to black audiences one way and white audiences, non-black audiences another. When he demands of black audiences to be responsible, stop watching TV, etc, what that does is play into this stereotype of general irresponsibility from black people that the media has been pushing for decades now. It also plays into the idea that Obama is 'exceptional', that he 'isn't like the rest of them'. I'm so sick of hearing this Obama is the president of all America crap. Aren't African Americans American? If the President can have a 'special relationship' with blacks which gives him the license to scold them and tell them to do better then it should work both ways and African Americans, his most loyal voting bloc, should be able to demand something of him, beyond the standard paen to the Civil Rights Movement. However, we get that rising tide lifts all boats crap, another dodge because he doesn't want to target anything to blacks out of fear, which I think is legitimate to some extent, that it will anger whites. But even if he does nothing, some whites will feel he is putting blacks over them anyway, so why sit on his hands? I mean, if you've got two kids, one with the cold and one with pneumonia, you don't give them both the same Robotussin. You apply different medicines based on the different affliction.  

3. I said be willing to risk a second term to enact a stronger change agenda. I wanted the President to be willing to put more on the line, and if he had been a bit more fearless perhaps it would arouse more excitement from his base, dampen the general anger out there, some of which is now animating the Tea Party, and make a second term a stronger possibility. Conversely, with Clinton and Bush II, you saw both men largely squander their second terms, and even with Reagan his nearly got devoured by Iran-Contra. I can't say there's been major structural change in many one or two-term presidencies, particularly in the modern times. You've got Truman and LBJ, but both of them had over four years, though technically they were one-term presidents.

4. Yeah, I want to make point. Here is an area where I think the Tea Party is doing the right thing. They don't like what they are getting out of Washington and they are organizing and challenging the status quo. I know that its not a grassroots movement, I know that there is a lot of big corporate dollars going into it, and that they pretty much have one network firmly in their pocket and others who give them a lot of coverage, free advertising, but for some of the average Tea Party supporters, its a movement they feel that is speaking to them and for them. How many of us can say that about the Democrats? When you've had some prominent blacks say for years that the Democratic party takes us for granted, yet some turn right back around and say support these guys, because they are unwilling to challenge the Democrats, it is dispiriting and I can understand why a lot of people don't vote. I'm tired of black folks being used as pinata. Perhaps it would be a short term loss, for a longer term gain. As it stands now, the Democrats don't respect us and as long as we continue to cave in they won't respect us. Of course I don't think having the GOP in control would be great, as I've already said. However, I don't think we've been having a high time with the Democrats in control either. So far, we've been screwed either way. So, I argue that we make a new way, something we've been forced to do throughout our time in this country. It wouldn't be easy, but at least we wouldn't be beholden to the Democrats, and they wouldn't take us for granted so easily and all the time because they would have to really work for our vote instead of trotting out musty old stories about Selma. Granted, I agree that the Green Party could or should be doing a better job of seriously becoming a viable alternative.  If not them, something else, a New Progressive Party or something. We've to rock the boat. The strategy of working within the Democratic party has not worked for the black masses. It's helped some blacks, to be sure, but I think some of the black party officials have come to put the success of the party over that of the community or tied them together, and chose the party's interest when the community and the goal's of the party conflict.

5. I'm not discounting any of the things you described, but what do any of those things have to do with creating a consistent, competing vision to conservatism? You can easily define a modern U.S. style conservative: low taxes, strong national defense, family values, etc. What exactly is a liberal? The point I was trying to make is that the Democrats failed to create a strong, unifying vision of what their party represented and where they wanted to take the nation. They benefited from being anti-Bush more than for their ideas. Reagan benefited from being anti-Carter, but also because his ideas had won the day and really shifted how this country viewed itself politically. The Tea Party/GOP is similiar situation today, where it is so anti-Obama that they don't have strong ideas that can keep them united if/when they regain control of Congress. Things that can smooth over a lot of their regional differences, etc., however I think the GOP has been doing this much better than the Democrats for a long time. To be fair, having strong ideas/vision isn't a panacea. I think Gingrich's ego, GOP overreaching, and brilliant Clinton tactics derailed the '1994 revolution'. However, Clinton still had to operate in a much more conservative environment and tamp down his already moderate agenda. He even declared that the era of Big Government is over and enacted welfare reform. Something similar might happen with Obama where he can outmanuever a cocky GOP Congress, which will be great for him politically, but still leave the Democrats too fractured and frayed.

6. It is true in a sense that the Tea Party might destroy the GOP. I think right now the Republicans are riding the tiger for all its worth, but if these guys get into office and go overboard, its going to dim their chances of retaking the White House in 2012. If anything, for Obama personally it might be a good thing. For one, the GOP can't say its all Obama and the Democrats fault, they would also take responsibility for governing and that means the blame too when stuff doesn't go right. If Obama works with them, but not caves into them, he will come across as a strong, bipartisan president for the middle, while also shoring up his base (who will likey understand he's working in a hostile environment and tamp down their demands-definitely blacks will do this). Of course, all this results in very little change and pretty much the status quo. But by 2016, we can at least say we got eight years of pretty pictures, but very little substantial change.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2010, 06:18:51 pm by Emperorjones »

Offline Emperorjones

  • Honorary Wakandan
  • *****
  • Posts: 6453
    • View Profile
Re: SITTING OUT THE ELECTIONS?
« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2010, 05:32:57 am »
Furthermore,

I didn't expect massive change during Obama's first term. That's very hard to do with our political system, however I was hoping he would be a change agent. Obama came into office at one of those rare times where I think transformative change-the kind he talked about wanting to enact on the campaign trail-was possible. Global capitalism was under assault, the GOP was in disarray, Bush had largely discredited the Goldwater-Reagan brand of conservatism, and Obama had changed the electoral map. If he hadn't played an inside game, if he had gone a more populist course, Obama might have been able to forge a new political consensus, and maybe swung the pendulum away from conservatism. However, he played not to lose, he didn't play to win. 

To be fair, he has accomplished some of them of his campaign promises, but some of those were done in such a way that it leeched the excitement out of it by being compromised of half-hearted. Plus, the administration did a poor job selling what they had done. For the most part he's been a typical Democrat.

I'm disappointed not just with the President, but with black folks too. We've got to demand more. The idea that we shouldn't say anything or criticize the President is absurd. Other groups are doing it all the time, and guess what, he's responding to them. With blacks he's been somewhat dismissive-except now, when they need our votes-and he's able to do that because we don't put pressure on him. We don't vocalize our concerns. Instead, we are afraid of being accused of being haters, crabs in a barrel, or adding to his burdens. The President can't solve all the economic problems, there's a lot of things the President can't do, but at the same time, there are things that he can do, and the very idea that he is reluctant to even talk about targeted stuff for urban communities is a failure on our part to demand this from him. The money targeted to HBCU's didn't create much of a firestorm that I saw, so maybe Obama is being a bit more skittish than he should be. 

Gays got him talking about Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Latinos got him talking about immigration, even the Tea Party folks got him talking about deficit spending. He never told any of them that he wasn't the President of Gay America, Latino America, or Tea Party America. He addressed them with the proper respect as voters. Now, I'm not saying he's done much on any of those fronts but at least he responded to them because they put it out there and forced a response. We've seen too little of this from our community. We got some grumbles last year from the Congressional Black Caucus and their are some intellectuals like Cornel West and Michael Eric Dyson, but the black masses seem to be bottling their disappointment. I think that will just manifest itself in more voter apathy.   

Offline TripleX

  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 780
    • View Profile
Re: SITTING OUT THE ELECTIONS?
« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2010, 12:28:18 pm »
We as a group can't afford voter apathy. You're forgetting that Black people are used to being treated unfairly and being held to a higher standard. Many of us see the assault on Obama as racist, therefore you have to understand our reluctance to contribute. That's why he's getting a pass from the Black community, he has to get shelter from the storm somewhere.

Offline Emperorjones

  • Honorary Wakandan
  • *****
  • Posts: 6453
    • View Profile
Re: SITTING OUT THE ELECTIONS?
« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2010, 01:45:51 pm »
I agree that we can't afford voter apathy, but at the same time I don't think Democrats or Republicans have done much to actually inspire us to vote. It's a truism that the Democrats take us for granted. Malcolm X's brilliant political analysis of the black/Democratic Party relationship in "The Ballot or the Bullet" speech still holds true today, some 40 years after he gave the speech. If we are still at the same place, relatively speaking, in how the Democrats take us for granted, even after a spate of black politicians, public officials and two 'black' presidents-Clinton and Obama-I can understand why some people don't vote. I remember reading Robert Smith's "We Have No Leaders" years ago and he broke it down, that these black politicians put the interests of party over the interests of their communities. They play the inside game and go for incremental change, if any change at all, and that's not a platform that can move people out of their lethargy.

I also don't think that the political establishment of either party wants a lot of people voting anyway. A lot of their calculations are based on 'likely' voters, of people that have voted before and if they keep those numbers and voters roughly the same they can basically slice and dice and manipulate that electorate. Even with the new voters that Obama bought into the 2008 election, the Democrats didn't know what to do with them, perhaps because they didn't expect them or anticipate them. Certainly Hillary's campaign wasn't designed to get a lot more people to the polls, but I am shocked that Obama's team didn't know what to do with these new voters. However, even with that increased number, I'm not sure if we had a bigger number overall of the actual number of voting age people who voted. I know that's been going down for decades as people become more disconnected from their government.

Another thing to look at is the amount of money in politics. It's not just the vote, its about the money clogging both parties, buying access that average folks don't have. And you have to damn near be a millionaire to run for office. How many people you know have that kind of money or can buy that kind of access? Also, back to the Green Party's difficulties for example, I think the two major parties have made it difficult for third parties to challenge them, so its limited the amount of voices out there.

One more thing to consider is that most of the major social change in this country was ignited by movements, ideas outside the government. Government was often behind the curve and a lot of these programs/amendments we got were in reaction, not because the politicians were proactive. To be honest, why should we expect things to be different under Obama? So, I think the whole issue is twofold, Obama for not enacting real structural change, but its also on us, for not demanding real structural change, not holding the administration accountable, and not acting perhaps in concert, but maybe sometimes, against the administration, to enact a change agenda. What we have is too many of our recognized leaders being either straight up Democratic politicians, party functionaries, or in the administration's pocket, like Al Sharpton. Some of the others, like Tavis Smiley, Dyson, or West come off as haters or blowhards. So, who is speaking for the average black person? I say no one on the national scene, and that's why people might not come out in the numbers Obama needs. I mean the Democrats can try to scare the crap out of them and the Tea Party is helping them out in that regard, but I don't think ultimately its going to make much of a difference, especially for poor blacks whose dire circumstances haven't changed much under Democrats or Republicans.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2010, 01:48:50 pm by Emperorjones »

Offline Curtis Metcalf

  • Moderator
  • Honorary Wakandan
  • *****
  • Posts: 4490
  • One never knows, do one?
    • View Profile
Re: SITTING OUT THE ELECTIONS?
« Reply #12 on: October 26, 2010, 09:23:02 am »
"Seek first to understand, then to be understood."
"Be hard on systems, but soft on people."

Offline Curtis Metcalf

  • Moderator
  • Honorary Wakandan
  • *****
  • Posts: 4490
  • One never knows, do one?
    • View Profile
Re: SITTING OUT THE ELECTIONS?
« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2010, 07:03:29 am »
"Seek first to understand, then to be understood."
"Be hard on systems, but soft on people."

Offline BlackRodimus

  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 831
  • You got me straight trippin', boo.
    • View Profile
Re: SITTING OUT THE ELECTIONS?
« Reply #14 on: October 27, 2010, 09:03:06 am »
This whole thing is silly and short-sighted, IMO. Whatever beef you have with Obama, real or imagined, putting REPUBLICANS back in power is not the answer. They haven't even promised anything for if they get back in office, and don't forget those tax breaks for the wealthiest 1% they want to keep from expiring. They do not have lower to middle class people's best interest at heart, and they damn sure don't have black people's interest at heart, no matter how many black republicans they may tout to try and prove the contrary.

In short (since I'm sure no one likes walls of texts, I sure don't), everyone admits Obama, instead of working magic overnight, is going at a snail's pace? Okay, would you rather have that, or a screeching halt and then full speed in REVERSE?

"don't fight the power, be the power" - Reginald Hudlin