It’s time to Break It Down!
Yesterday, I shared a passing thought on my Facebook feed. “Voter suppression and intimidation are not new tactics. They were simply dusted off, refreshed and applied to our Election 2020 narrative.” As I write this, The Polls have closed, and state-by-state results are being revealed. In the backdrop of yesterday’s election, CNN’s Brandon Tensley wrote a piece in yesterday’s online edition exploring “The anxieties looming over Black Americans on Election Day (2020).”
In an America in which the President refuses to say Black Lives Matters, or to concede that systemic racism is a thing, viewed in concert with a steady parade of Black men and women being killed by law enforcement officers, and seldom charged, and even less frequently convicted, Tensley’s article is in a word, timely.
Moreover, it overlaps with the election, irrespective of the outcome, because Blacks are far and away the most reliable voting bloc of one of the two major parties…the Democrats. Tensley wrote:
“Overwhelmingly, Black voters, the backbone of the Democratic Party, are on the receiving end of Republican chicanery: voter ID laws, shuttered polling stations, purged voter rolls, the disenfranchisement of incarcerated people, voter intimidation.”
America’s first federal (Presidential) election occurred in 1788, when citizen voters elected George Washington. African Americans were not able to freely participate in the electoral process until 1968, the first Presidential election after the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Their reward was the election of Richard Nixon. That translates into making this just the 13th time Blacks have voted in an American Presidential Election in 232 years, or in 58 elections. In other words, for the first 45 elections, Blacks were off the participation board.
So, transport us back to the present, and we have one major political party and presidential candidate reducing the number of available voting sites, initiating lawsuits to disenfranchise voters, purging voter rolls, and disavowing systemic racism. This is juxtaposed with a party and a candidate for president who embraces BLM, chose a woman of color as his running mate, and who has committed to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court. There’s much more to a Presidential Election than the candidates’ positions on race matters. But this is a time in history when our country is in the midst of a reckoning on race, police brutality, social justice, a crippling pandemic, and a month’s long economic convulsion.
The election will end. If not today, soon. Unfortunately, the economic, political, and yes, racial dysfunction that roils us, will not pass so easily. Regardless of the ultimate winner, the chasm that is the racial divide will not be bridged simply as a result of either of the two candidates prevailing. That will require, at a minimum, coming to grips with the fact that we have a problem. It may be tempting to pretend that all’s well. That can only last, best case scenario, until the next George Floyd or Breonna Taylor. In short, America…and Americans must face the unshrinking reality that systemic racism is a thing, and without a unified commitment to confront it head on, the problem cannot be resolved. “Altogether Now; Black is the New Black.”
I’m done; holla back!
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