It has been four months since the election of Barack Obama as president of the United States of America. That’s one third of a year.
I have a valid reason for counting this way instead of starting the day after Obama’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2009.
Lest we forget, a lot of work is supposed to have started so that a new America can emerge. An America that is a true democracy – not merely a theoretical one in which a class society actually exists wherein only a few, an oligarchy, enjoy “democracy” among themselves.
Including the heretofore vaunted middle class, other Americans outside the oligarchy – workers, the unemployed, the poor and near-poor – are not only suffering material loss, but also the psychologically dangerous loss of self-confidence. It is not a stretch to predict with certitude, then, that loss of confidence in society itself can – and probably will – follow, unless something else happens.
So much of America expressed jubilation when Obama won the presidency. Black American voters in most places voted around 90 percent for Obama. So when will these American voters for Obama spring into action and organize, organize, organize? Are they waiting for President Obama to turn into the biblical Moses? Are they waiting for manna from Heaven? A third of a year has passed, and nothing’s happening!
Let’s look at black America. Well, the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) still does not understand that its real power would manifest if white congresspersons who represent districts with majority or near-majority black constituencies were members. Outside of Washington’s Capitol Hill, the CBC does not resonate, anywhere.
The problem of accountability is astounding. Regardless of whether you vote for an elected official or not, as a resident of his or her district, you deserve representation that includes communication regarding pertinent issues. Did you ever wonder who your representatives talk to before voting for “the will of the people?”
For example, my congressman is Alcee Hastings, Democrat, 23rd congressional district of Florida. I know him, but I have never heard from him on any issue.
There’s a lot of organizing to do! Political junkies including scholarly researchers agree that all politics is local. Therefore, if bottom-up organizing, preached by candidate Obama across America is ignored, then comprehensive social change will not – indeed, cannot – come about.
Turnout in local elections is abysmal everywhere and worse in black neighborhoods. After all the civil rights struggles for the right to vote, scant emphasis has thus far been placed on voter education.
Churches could play the role of ground zero for community organizing by seeking out those with tested capabilities and expertise. Let the church invite civic association members in for workshops to enhance their skills and learn new and better techniques, including use of the
Internet to gather and analyze information. These people then can become the great spreaders of ideas and information while recruiting other neighbors to get involved. One gets two, two get four, and so on.
Not only will school board, city council and county commission meetings become more meaningful through actual knowledge of issues, but also contacts with elected officials and bureaucrats will develop as a result of church and neighborhood leaders’ ability to clearly articulate community needs, backed by essential recent data.
Also, community organizers should have statistics and other hard evidence when discussing law enforcement and community issues with sheriff’s office and police department personnel.
Positive results come through organization. We have witnessed what President Barack H. Obama did through organizing from the bottom up. We should have been busy since the election.
There’s a lot of organizing to do. What about our youth and elderly? What about deteriorating housing and black-on-black crime? What about HIV/AIDS and obesity? And don’t forget the scourge of environmental injustice.