Challenge: Saying Goodbye to Grandma's Party – THE DEMOCRATS

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Most black Americans have been Democrats for at least the forty-one years that I’ve been alive. What have the Democrats done for us in all that time? We have the lowest average income of any large racial group in the nation. We’re incarcerated at an alarmingly high rate. We are still segregated and profiled, and have a very low representation at the top echelons of the Democratic Party. We are the stalwarts, the bulwark, the Old Faithful of the Democrats, and yet they have not made our issues a high priority in a very long time. Why should we be second-class members in the most important political activities of our lives? Why shouldn’t the party we belong to think that our problems are the most important in this land?

I’m not saying that we should become Republicans. The Republicans don’t care about us either. But at least they don’t pretend to be on our side. And you have to admit that, of late, the Bush Administration has put black faces into high-profile jobs that carry clout on the international playing field. I don’t have to like Colin Powell or Condoleezza Rice to appreciate that once a black person has been put into a position of power, the second time around is much, much easier.

We are a racial minority in a country where racism is a fact of life, a country that was founded on economic and imperialist racism. Taking this into account and adding it to the fact that our issues are regularly put on a back burner, I believe that it is not out of order to send out a call for the formation of an African-American interest group, or maybe a political unit, that would bring our issues, and others, to the forefront of American political discourse. 

If we had our own political voting bloc that paid attention to issues that reflect our needs in domestic and international affairs, things would change for us. The first thing is that many more of us would be likely to vote. Imagine the interest young people would have if they felt we were organizing based on our own interests: They could work for a candidate who represented their issues; they could run for office themselves.

Even though the party would be based on the racial identity that has been shoved down our throats since the first days we came here in chains, we wouldn’t work only for ourselves. We’d argue about medical care and Social Security and the good jobs that are disappearing from this nation like fleas off a dead dog’s back. 

If we took the vote into our own hands, we wouldn’t have to ask the Democrats for their support–we could demand it. George W. Bush, or whoever takes his place, will send for our representatives to come to his home to discuss his plans. This is because they have not yet figured out how to dispose of the vote in the American political system.

Imagine it. We could actually democratize America by taking power away from the two-party system and handing it over to the people. Other special parties would arise splintering off from the centrist attendants of the rich once we show them the way.

What I’m talking about here is the beginning of an American Evolution, a movement that will create a series of political interest groups that will transform our two-party system into a kind of virtual parliament. We could construct smaller political groups based on specific interests. There could be Black Party Congress members from Chicago, Watts, Harlem, the Motor City and a dozen other inner-city bastions. All we have to do is have a fair representation in the House of Representatives to have an extraordinary impact on the wheels of government.

NOW YOU SEE WHY I DON’T OFTEN SHARE MY VIEWS – TOO RADICAL…

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  • I don’t think your views are too radical. A bit ambitious? Maybe. But radical, nah.
    I think this is interesting. There is definitely cause for us to remain hopeful and I can understand your points of view. Will it work? I can probably emphatically say no. I think it won’t work because there is so much ground work and foundation to be built first. I think your idea of an independent system that addresses the needs of Black America directly can really only work if there is a lattice work of unification, strength, and awareness that’s completed first. The Black Agenda has so many facets to it and each sub-group of the Black race would want to make sure their agenda is taken care of first – despite working together based on one commonality, race.
    Any system that’s created to join and strengthen the Black race for the purposes of politics would have to address how it would be beneficial to agendas that deal with healthcare, education, crime, political systems already in place, the economy, and so many other issues that people are struggling with. That’s a hard task. It’s not impossible, but that’s going to be hard. And you’ve got the recent attempts from Pro-African American groups across the country that have helped boost the Black vote and the registration thereof. But many feel those attempts are sorta failed.
    I guess I’m saying there’s so much to deal with when you talk about creating a political representation for such a divided group of people. I think the idea is a hot one. Just too bad I don’t think it can happen in this day and age. Not to mention America’s readiness for such an idea.
    I can definitely remain hopeful with you though!
    -DTW

  • Hello – I’m new to blogging but I always come to your page and read your messages. I am glad you posted your views because I was very interested to know where you stand on some of these issues and I pretty much agree with you on this one.
    Would you care to share what your thoughts are about Tavis Smiley and his continuous bashing (in my eyes) of Barack?
    Tanya

  • Tanya,
    Welcome to the world of Blogging! Glad to have you here. Also, thanks for your encouraging words, they really mean a lot! To be honest, I haven’t really followed Tavis’ remarks. Do you (or anyone else) mind sharing what Tavis said?
    Darius,
    Man you hit it right on the head (check out today’s post regarding classism). Not trying to sound over simplistic, but, the greatest challenge to overcome is classism. Civil rights united us – we all had the same issue. Now, blacks are stratified and we have a myriad of issues. Therefore, we would need policies to address class issues. This is why there will never be another monolithic leader like ML King, Jr. We will have many leaders who speak for & represent their respective class.

  • Tavis has made several implications that would make a person (if they didn’t research and know for themselves) think that Barack is not fighting for justice or for issues concerning our race.
    He was very upset that Barack didn’t attend his State of the Black Union this year and made it seem as if Barack was avoiding talking about “our” issues. I understood and understand that Brarack is in a fight for the candidacy right now and had to be in whatever state at that time.
    The latest remarks were from Dr. Cornell West saying that he was bothered and disappointed by Barack not going to Memphis for Dr. King’s memorial on April 4th. Their sentiments were that he was putting his candidacy above honoring Dr. King. They stated that he remained silent on that day yet he spoke about Dr. King and his legacy while he was in Indiana.
    On the April 8th segment of the Tom Joyner show Tavis ended his talk by saying “If the cost to occupy the White House is to be muzzled and to render black suffering invisible, then for me, it’s too high a cost”.
    I understand that every black person isn’t going to vote for Barack just as every woman isn’t going to vote for Hillary but what I don’t understand is why Tavis thinks that he is the spokesperson for black people on black issues, especially regarding Barack and his candidacy. He’s received a lot of backlash from his supporters regarding his commentaries.

  • Wow TW – thanks for sharing this information. I didn’t know that Tavis & Dr. West felt this way and had all this going on.
    People are trip sometimes! If what you said is true, I can’t believe that Tavis would say those comments about Barack – especially without consulting the man first. Barack is trying to become President of the United States – not President of all the Black folks in America. The man has a job to do and he has to appeal to a wide range of folks while remaining unbiased to all. I think he’s doing one heck of a job.
    If Tavis thinks that America’s only agenda is to advance the Black experience, then he’s sadly mistaken. America is the fruit of a rich history, a cornucopia of vast cultures and heritages. The idea is to mix well, not mix well and have one surface to the top like oil. That for sure isn’t the MLK Dream that speaks of one nation where all can join in w/the same rights. If this was what the celebration was strictly about, I wouldn’t have gone either.
    Whew…sorry for venting. Let me get back to work!!!