As I voted earlier this week in the presidential race (for only the second time in my life) I thought about all the critiques I have for the current president. I also thought about when we need to do this. And I think the appropriate day would be on November 7th, the day after the election. We can talk about the delayed promises, broken truths, and stagnated movements of his campaign, after he wins a second term. Don’t get me wrong; we do need to continue to put pressure on our president to move us forward. However, right now, at this moment, we need to put all our effort into making sure we do not move backwards. Backwards to an ideology that has attempted to silence a population of marginalized people every time it has taken office. We cannot go back to a creed that has oppressed poor people for decades. And we most definitely cannot go back to a set of political tropes that treat businesses as people, and people as something to be tolerated. Once we make sure we’re not going back, then and only then, can we hold our current president accountable to move us forward.
What do I mean by this ideology that is destined to move us back in time? It is an ideology that finds a home in the era of Reagonomics and its followers, an ideology that is rooted in playing off racial fears, (Read: Henry Horton), and one that prefers to label more than half of the country (Read: 47 percent to be exact) as people who would rather leech off the government than work hard. This is an ideology of lies and deception; one that says money will trickle down, only to find floods of poverty doing more than just trickling. This is an ideology that has far too often dichotomized the “us” from “them” on immigration status, race, and class. It is an ideology that would rather lower taxes than provide a safety net for all levels of society. It is an ideology that seeks to control the bodies of women, uphold marriage discrimination, and incarcerate a generation of the truly disadvantaged, by creating domestic wars on the blurry gray sphere of what innocence was, and what it has become. (Read: war on drugs)
Frederick C. Harris, wrote a great article in the New York Times this past week. The article aligns with my thoughts and politics. It is titled The Price of a Black President, as Harris goes on a tirade about how the black community has not held the President accountable on many of the issues that impact us the most, the same issues that the president could have given more attention to over the last four years. Harris Writes: “But the triumph of “post-racial” Democratic politics has not been a triumph for African-Americans in the aggregate.”
And his words could not be truer and the issues he brings up need to be reiterated. So, before the election is over, there is a larger force to be reckoned with. However, on November 7th a conversation is to be had. On November 7th, we need to sit Barack down and speak to him about deepening abyss of income inequality and the widening gap between class systems throughout the country. On November 7th, pastors, politicians, leaders, community members, and activists need to have a long talk with the president to tell him about the: “28 percent of African-Americans, and 37 percent of black children, who are poor (compared with 10 percent of whites and 13 percent of white children); We need to speak about the 13 percent of blacks who are unemployed (compared with 7 percent of whites); we need to discuss the more than 900,000 black men who are in prison; On November 7th we need to stand up and address how and why blacks experienced a sharper drop in income since 2007 than any other racial group; and how black household wealth, which had been disproportionately concentrated in housing, has hit its lowest level in decades; and also how blacks accounted, in 2009, for 44 percent of new H.I.V. infections.”
We need to speak about how this country has unraveled the remnants of affirmative action, ignored gun control, arrested those who used the occupy movement as a final cry for an ideology that can actually end poverty, and sustained public school segregation more than 50 years after the supreme court decided on Brown Vs. B.O.E.
Yes, on November 7th, When President Obama is re-elected; there will be business to attend to. But for now, we must make sure that we are not taken backwards, to policies and ideologies that have ignored our voices. Please, go vote!