Are Black folks taking a knee instead of voting in 2018?
ROGER CALDWELL | 11/8/2018, 4:05 p.m.
It is now days after the 2018 election, and everyone in America is saying that was the most important election in our lifetime. But the truth is every election is the most important in our lifetime.
Voting is democracy in action, and this separates America from a dictatorship, a monarchy, an aristocracy and an oligarchy. A democracy is not anything new, and the concept is built around voter participation, with positive political and economic outcomes. In Dr. Dambisa Mayo’s article “America’s decaying democracy,” she states that more than 80 percent of Americans do not trust the government.
Many in political office would argue this point, but a large percentage of Americans think the system is corrupt, and it does not matter if you are a Democrat or a Republican. In the 2016 election, 50 percent of the money donated to all the candidates running for office came from 158 families.
“America’s democracy is at a breaking point. Voters are less engaged and signs of institutional decay point to a political system increasingly unable to tackle the economic challenges we face. Since 1970 voter participation in the United States has been around only 50 to 60 percent. Lower income voter participation is about 30 percent, and more money buys more political power,” stated Mayo.
Many Americans have decided that voting is a waste of time, and many Black folks have decided to take a knee. Some people might not understand why I am saying that Black folks are taking a knee, but it is important to understand the significance of Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick to African-Americans is on the same level as Dr. Martin Luther King or Muhammad Ali, because he challenged America’s injustice with a gesture of protest and humility.
Many Americans might not try to understand why a Black millionaire is protesting police violence against African-American people, but many Blacks are also protesting voting. Some Blacks and especially men are not voting because they don’t care, and others are not voting because they are protesting.
The Blacks who are not voting have decided that the system is corrupt and nothing is going to change. Many believe President Obama was a puppet, and nothing changed for the Black community, and things got worse instead of better.
But democracy is a slow process, and change starts with an idea and belief. A large portion of the 30 percent of Americans who are considered poor are Black. It becomes imperative that we improve our plight through politics, education and economics.
Taking a knee, when it comes to voting, is counterproductive, and it keeps the Black community moving backward instead of forward. Having a seat where economic resources are decided and distributed is smart and essential if we are to win.
Voting is our voice, and our ancestors fought their entire lives because they understood the power and significance of the vote. To change the state of the Black community, we must have officials who look like us, understand our agenda, are held accountable and fight for our rights.
Every election is the most important in our lifetime, and collectively Blacks and people of color have the power to determine who will win in every election because we are the new majority. Stand up straight, become a super voter and listen to our ancestors. Speak truth to power, educate yourself and continue to vote in all elections.