By Vernon A. Williams, Gary Crusader
Those who took away nothing of substance from the recent historic Alabama senatorial election are more than learning challenged. They may be “unteachable.” Ignorance is not the worst thing. Not knowing simply means not having yet been taught. That lends itself to growth potential once the fertile mind is seeded with knowledge – then cultivated with context. To those content in not knowing, or hearing but denying reality, hope is less.
Black America must seize the moment and focus on progressive thinkers to capitalize off those who, as Dr. King put it, embrace the fierce urgency of now.
Knowledge and context are key. We know that because there are many learned individuals whose words and deeds conflict with all that they have ever learned. No one questions the academic acumen of either Ben Carson or Clarence Thomas. It takes a certain level of acuity to complete anyone’s medical or law school.
But despite their intellect, they are unable to frame their education in a manner that lends itself to synthesis in relation to moral parameters. The education that they have garnered is not being recycled to the benefit of their people. As a matter of fact, they use it to Black Americans’ detriment. The old folks would refer to people of that ilk as “educated fools.”
So the Alabama senatorial election experience requires grasping two equally critical elements – fully understanding what happened as well as understanding the implications and ways in which to apply that experience well beyond that state and that senatorial race.
The timing couldn’t have been better. You don’t have to go any further than the despicable so-called tax reform ushered through by an inept administration and immoral Congress, to witness our plight.
Nobody has our back. Blacks need to realize that the proverbial “cavalry” is not coming to the rescue like in those old western flicks. In the minds of most, Black lives really don’t matter. What Alabama proved is the fact that BLACK VOTES do matter.
Despite forecasts of low turnout and an inspired electorate, African American men and wo-men mobilized forces in ways unseen in more than a decade to assure that they were not only aware of the election but bent on venting their feelings at the voting booth.
When was the last time you heard of whites comprising 26 percent of the registered voters but accounting for a disproportionate 30 percent of the overall turnout? I can tell you when you last heard of it. Never. This marvelous sense of activism must be sustained and must infect the Black community around the nation.
Alabama taught us that even though the Republicans rule the Senate, the House of Representatives and the White House, they remain underdogs outside of the nation’s capital and most people remain primed for cohesive and deep Democratic alternatives.
That resistance to the current federal government is far more than a Black revolution. It requires the cooperation of educated, suburban and young whites as well as the so-called “blue collar workers” beginning to realize that they were duped in backing Agent Orange and that he could care less about those who have less.
Doug Jones topped Roy Moore by a 2-1 margin among voters under the age of 45. That is the definition of a mandate. And there is every indication, even among his most loyal base, that the Trump aura is dissipating. His 35 percent approval rating in this week’s poll is a new low for him or any president at this point.
When the fallout from this Republican tax plan becomes pervasive, it will be clear that the Republican Party has no future in a democratic United States. Trump has tarnished whatever was left of the GOP brand and at some point, people will reflect on folks that would rather send a racist, pedophile to the Senate than the man who convicted Ku Klux Klansmen in the bombing of the Birmingham church killing four Black children.
So there is at least a portion of the knowledge. The second critical element, explained at the outset, is applying lessons learned in Alabama to the entire nation. The following necessities are the seminal potential or this moment will be lost:
- Field viable candidates for elected office at every level of government – city, township, county, state and national.
- Meticulously vet prospective candidates and lock into agreements that spell out expectation, ensure ongoing accountability and develop alternatives.
- Conduct massive voter registration initiatives and eliminate any of the GOP inspired obstacles to discourage participation in elections.
- Mount massive voter education campaigns that spell out the flaws and discrepancies of the oppositions and assets of preferred candidates.
- Pound the need for voter awareness and activism into the minds of folks at every level, from seniors graduating high school to senior citizens.
Strategically get out the vote, police the polls and monitor those tabulating out-comes. We’ve whispered the call for advocacy in 2018 and now we should be buoyed by the Alabama experience to scream it out loud using every organization, church, business, community activity, social event and most of all – SOCIAL MEDIA.
The Alabama victory is no excuse to rest on our laurels. Just the opposite, it is a call to action. If not yourselves think about the children and future generations. We had better be prepared for 2018 like our lives depend on it because, in truth, they do.
CIRCLE CITY CONNECTION by Vernon A. Williams is a series of essays on myriad topics that include social issues, human interest, entertainment and profiles of difference-makers who are forging change in a constantly evolving society. Williams is a 40-year veteran journalist based in Indianapolis, IN – commonly referred to as The Circle City. Send comments or questions to: [email protected].