One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. That’s the sound of a recount. Slow. Measured. Painful. Necessary.
Florida has long been pointed to as the harbinger for the rest of the nation, ergo, the recount for three key races in the all-important mid-term election of 2018.
We can clearly see that the democratic election process- as we have known it- has come to a screeching halt, at least in Florida, Georgia, and a few other less populated areas. The alternative is not pretty, but we must examine it.
Why is this happening? In just a little under two years, the USA has been remade in the image of our elected leader; turning back the hands of time-to another era- when diversity, full participation in democracy and other such progressive notions were not part of the common language. And they were certainly not ideals to be reached in society, the workplace, in schools or any of its institutions; until in our lifetimes-recently.
Make no mistake, in his rhetoric and in his practice, the current leader wants the USA to look like those founders: white, male, Christian.
Think about that for a minute. The founding demographic represents a small minority in today’s actual count, but the dominance of that group, institutionalized through the constitution (the amendments are correction courses); in subsequent policies and practices, executive orders to reverse many gains that benefit minorities; and, the recent appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, will continue to keep them in power- to hammer that ethos into the future.
What’s a non-white citizen to do? Nonwhite, and white women? Non-Christians. In other words- the rest of us?
We know how important it is to vote, but now, even that sacred process is under review. There are so many leaky spots- in the malfunctioning machinery, with the inept folk responsible for counting and delivering absentee ballots, etc.
We know that outright voter suppression tactics have been a part of the historical fabric of American polling practices (it is a documented fact of life practiced for decades in parts of the South and some regions of the industrialized north). That practice is, once again, being re-examined in this twenty first century. Go Stacy Abrams!
Yet, despite the difficulties of voting uncovered in the recent elections, we must continue to vote and exercise that longfought over right. But we must do something else.
We must re-define what it means to be black in America.
Ask yourself the following: Are you an historical black, identifying only with the diaspora and the slave experience, barring any other?
Are you an economic black? Yes, there are enough of us in the upper five percent to vote our pocketbooks- to protect our economic status and keep our earnings out of the tills of the IRS.
Are you a political black, voting as part of a monolithic group for only one party? First the party of Lincoln, then whatever party delivers the biggest promise for a better conditions for our community.
Do you, black women vote on different issues than you, black men?
And, what ever happened to coalitions with other minority groups? Once upon a time we formed strategic alliances with Jews, Hispanics, unions, etc.
Of course, times have changed. But is it better?
We have more independence of thought, greater number of options, and our newest generation of voters has been encouraged to sample a smorgasbord of political flavors. All that is good.
But when we choose to get down in the mud of politics, accepting that we will get dirty, there are so few choices, really.
If we could only keep in mind that this country was never founded for us, but that it is our duty, nee right, in honor of our ancestors’ toil and pain, to live here totally free: to claim our rightful stake in the American dream to pursue life, liberty, and happiness, without fear of physical harm, psychological torment, or any other existential threat to our individual as well as to our collective lives, then we will know what kind of black to be in the USA.
Reminder: the revolution is being televised and tweeted. Choose your side, now.