In a private meeting inside Trump Tower days before his inauguration, Donald Trump told a group of civil rights leaders something most Republicans wouldn’t dare publicly acknowledge: lower turnout among Black voters did, in fact, benefit him in the 2016 presidential election. “Many Blacks didn’t go out to vote for Hillary ‘cause they liked me. That was almost as good as getting the vote, you know, and it was great,” the president-elect said, according to an audio recording of the meeting shared with POLITICO.
Where is your voice-box?! If you have never recognized before that silence speaks loudly, please people – African American/Black people recognize it now in the phrase presented at the opening of this conversation. When we do not vote those in power actually can take the arrogant stance that the reason is because we silently agree with them – that we “like” them. When we do not utilize the systems that are in place, broken as they may be, we act as though we are mute. The now elected President is counting on “Blacks” doing the same again.
We can watch movies like “Selma”, we can talk about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and we can talk about the civil disobedience that was enacted to tear down walls all day and night. These discussions mean nothing if we are not taking the torch that they began to remove and keep moving forward. Water-hosed, beaten, arrested – reactions to the desire of African American people to have a “voice” – mean nothing if we do not take up the torch in this broken system and keep moving forward (yes, I know that I said that twice!). We have to use the ballot-box as an extension of our voice – the “Black” voice.
Let me share a personal experience if you will. I worked in a specialized mental health rehabilitation facility (SMHRF) during the last election. Many of the clientele that I serviced were on the high-end of the mental illness spectrum (Schizoaffective, Schizophrenic, etc.) and though at times they struggled to be present in the “now” in their conversations…many of the men (Black and White) were in the “now” when they discussed electing a woman as President of the United Stated of America. They expressed their opinion by stating – “I’m voting for Donald Trump cuz I don’t want a woman running the country.” The speakers were “lucid” enough to make that conscious decision and a vocal one at that! Where is your voice-box?!
If you don’t register to vote, desire to vote, or think that voting is unimportant to your “now” consider this…there are people who still today feel that the place of the African American/Black people is on the bottom. African American women are the most educated group of people in America and their economic standing does not reflect that position. African American males are the object of police brutality regularly and when they suffer even unto death their “past” dictates how the public view of their death will be presented to the masses. Decide if that is how you want your son, daughter, nieces, nephews, to continue to be seen. Ask yourself “Where is my voice-box?!”