The country’s national election will be held Nov. 3 and the run up to voting for the next president is in full swing. This is undoubtably one of the most consequential elections in recent years with a president consumed by narcissism, self-absorption and deceit. He appeals to the worst of the millions who follow and empower him. He leads a country beset by division, which he fosters, a deadly pandemic and a pestilence from heaven that has turned America against itself.
On the other hand, the Democratic Party, with its first Black vice-presidential and Asian American pick, Kamala Harris, is offering an elderly statesman with moderate leanings and safe positions inside the U.S. politics as its leader.
The country is in a unique, dangerous position and could use leadership that is wise, somber-minded, principled and willing to challenge a fading nation to change its course by focusing on giving justice to the children of her once slaves, repenting for genocide against the native peoples and embracing and acting on the Christian values of compassion, love and mercy that she loves to quote and quickly ignore.
Passions and tempers are high. There is clear hatred on both sides—those who back President Trump and those who embrace Joe Biden. The battle lines are drawn and the fight is on.
Mr. Trump seeks to Make America Great Again and Mr. Biden seeks to restore the soul of a nation that never had one.
Blacks are excited by the entry of Sen. Harris into the fray, seeing great talent, hope and symbolism in her role on the ticket. Many fear going too far in demanding anything from Democrats. They are leery of inspiring a White backlash against the California Democrat that might be the difference between a new president and four more years of Mr. Trump.
It is such fear-of-a-white-sheet politics that has helped keep Black voters on the Democrat political plantation. Blacks are told to sacrifice their issues, their complaints and even some of their aspirations in exchange for a “friend” in the White House.
But despite the victory of friends, Black existence in this country grows more precarious and dangerous. No urban policy is enacted. No race-based solutions are allowed and the “friend” in the White House should never be pressed too hard to do better because a scary, racist White dude lurks just off to the side.
Politics is the art of the compromise but when you give away or surrender your position regularly and get nothing in return you erode your political power. Nothing changes. People lose faith in and drop out of the political process because they don’t see change. They don’t hear a strong demand for change and they don’t see a champion inside the system willing to go all the way for change.
But our people have the right to make demands based on their interests, their needs and their votes. We have been slaughtered literally for over 400 years. No one has been and is murdered and exploited and abused like us. Yet we are told wait, wait, wait.
What do we want? If we want liberation, we must fight for it. If we want progress, we must fight for it. If we want a future, we must fight for it.
If we suffer and go to hell, White America suffers and goes to hell too. She has a lot more to lose than we do, do White folks love their own country enough to change for the better?
What happened to all the talk of the cusp of great change in America?
What happened to all the dialogue about reparations during the primary as a real remedy for Black suffering?
Black survival is at stake. This is bigger than a single election, though this single election is important, especially with Blacks infected from and dying disproportionately from Covid-19. We need sound science and good government policy to help save Black lives. We could use improvements in policing, expansion of health care and other benefits that are supposed to come to the citizens of any nation.
But when will we tie our politics, activism and economics to our overall survival? When will we consider how these inter-related realities impact our ability to exist? These are not single issues; these are critical areas that must be considered together as part of a comprehensive strategy for the preservation of Black life.
And, if elected officials cannot bring change, significant change we seek, what good are they? And, if a system cannot deliver full and complete freedom, how much should we invest in it? That doesn’t mean we should not participate and extract every benefit we can and every advantage we are owed.
It does mean we cannot be like children waiting for Santa Claus or slaves waiting for a benevolent White man to deliver us. We must chart our own course, which means fighting, sacrificing, pain, conflict, losing and winning. We should never confuse the tactic or tool with the ultimate goal. Politics is a tool and we should use it well. But blind faith, heart pounding fear and hoping for acceptance will never get us the freedom we desire. The system was never designed to give us life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and actually excluded us—except to the extent that our recognition would benefit our slavemasters.
So, let’s temper our politics with acceptance of practical reality: Power concedes nothing without a demand and it never will. And, until we organize, direct and focus our power, our politics will never yield the results we hope for. No matter who is running for office.