The Crusader Newspaper Group



An “election” is the formal process of selecting a person for public office or of accepting or rejecting a political proposition by voting. It is important to distinguish between the form and the substance of elections.

Although elections were used in ancient Athens, in Rome, and in the selection of popes and Holy Roman emperors, the origins of elections in the contemporary world lie in the gradual emergence of representative government in Europe and North America beginning in the 17th century. (Encyclopedia Britannica).

Basically, elections are the backbone of a democracy. The chief tool in this regard is the vote. In the United States there was a time when the only individuals allowed to vote were propertied white men. Black men were granted the right to vote with the ratification of the 15th Amendment on February 3, 1870. Women were granted voting rights in August, 1920, when the 19th Amendment was ratified, after a protracted suffrage (right of women to vote) movement.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 removed barriers that had previously been erected to keep Black people from voting, especially in the South. Prior to that time, literacy tests, poll taxes and various and sundry methods were used as impediments to voting.

Today, things seem to be slipping backward, in that a number of states are enacting measures that serve as impediments that can, again, keep Black people from voting. Basically, this appears to be coming out of the Make America Great Again (MAGA) playbook, a strategy influenced by the 45th president of the United States, Donald J. Trump.

Though many people understand the power of the vote, it is an incredible truth that too many Blacks have not understood its value, even though it is one of the most important tools that can help impact the quality of Black life in America. It is a superpower in a democracy!

The reluctance to vote of many Blacks may be due to a collective lack of self-esteem and a certain defeatism among those who do not appreciate the gains that have come with exercising this instrument of democracy. Some are not engaged enough in the workings of government to understand incremental change that comes with holding elected officials accountable.

The truth of the matter is that the vote is the greatest tool that can help level the playing field in a democracy! Unfortunately, people think that rich people have an advantage over everyone else when it comes to voting, but actually every rich person has just one vote, just like everyone else.

The difference between the rich and non-rich is that the monied class uses its votes in tandem with others who are of like mind. They unify and pool their voting resources to get what they want. They have the money to advertise and spread their message so they can communicate their positions and gain allies.

The so-called disenfranchised groups, however, tend to operate out of a stance of defeatism and fragmentation. They think their vote is powerless, and that nothing will change because they have only one vote! They don’t get it; they don’t realize that a lack of money does not necessarily serve as a barrier to exercising their voting power.

Ingenuity is what is needed among the disenfranchised classes. Years ago, when the venerable Harold Washington became the first Black man to be elected mayor in Chicago, he used an ingenious method to spread the word. There were buttons circulating far and wide; they were EVERYWHERE. This made up for the lack of money for widespread communication and kept Harold’s name on the tongues and in the minds of voters.

Today, there is an even greater tool that can be used by candidates to get their message out, social media. It has a reach that even exceeds that of buttons.

Now, the main impediment to exercising the superpower of the vote among Black people is the lack of self-esteem that is evident under the guise of “all candidates are the same,” or that “nothing will ever change for Black people.” The low voter turnout in many areas comes from this mindset.

There are candidates who are better choices for the collective welfare of the Black community than others! Too many Black people (and their allies) have lost their lives in the quest to ensure that Black folks have the right to vote, to throw away that precious opportunity.

We must understand that if we don’t utilize what we have, it may be taken away, and you better believe there are a growing number of white supremacists just waiting to use the equivalent of political kryptonite to eradicate the superpower of the Black vote! A Luta Continua.

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