I grew up in a household where we had frequent spirited debates on politics and other current events. My two older sisters and I were baby sat by a grand uncle who was an army veteran of World War II. Uncle Julian was a civil rights activist, former member of the NAACP and Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
With a background like that, voting wasn’t seen as just routine civic duty but an enthusiastic must since people, fought, bled and died for my right to vote. I was reminded of this nearly everyday. Since age 18, I voted in every single election, both local and national. I cast my first national vote for president Bill Clinton in 1996. By age 29, in 2007 when Barack Obama appeared on the scene, I was excited, but his prescence didn’t suddenly make me feel voting was important as it did many others. I always knew voting was important.
As an African-American female and lifelong Democrat, I’m well aware of the lack voting and inconsistent voting patterns among black and brown communities. I’m also aware of voter suppression and gerrymandering, neither of which are new. It’s the dogged reporting on these widespread issues which are new. However, the election of Barack Obama taught me that when people of color vote, we can win. Yes We Can. Many on the left are also aware of the fragmented voting patterns of communities of color, and as a result are willing to alienate black and brown people in order to get white working class voters to start voting for Democrats again. In other words, our demographic has no value to them if it doesn’t translate to votes that produce wins they can count on . I have no desire to see the Democratic Party return to the Dixiecrat Era despite Bernie Bros who insisted Bernie didn’t need the black vote to win in 2016 if he had the white working class vote or that identity politics was destroying the Democratic Party. I find it interesting that centering everything around the white working class isn’t considered identity politics in and of itself.
Communities of color must not only see the value in voting but vote in every single election. We must show up consistently and make our voices heard just like the retired, rural 70 year old Fox News viewer does. We must learn and study the history of voting in America, value it, respect it and teach our children and grandchildren to do the same. It’s not about the perfect candidate. Perfect candidates don’t exist and they never will. It’s not about who you like personally or who makes you feel warm & fuzzy on the inside. It’s about business and the bottom line-who is the most experienced, who is the most competent and who will do the least damage to our government. VOTE.