Political Free Agency
Earlier this month mid-term elections were held many people were upset that many citizens did not have a desire to vote. In particular I noticed many people were upset that Native Black Americans were reluctant to participate in this election cycle. Roland Martin and many other Black political pundits were outraged by this sentiment. I listened to some family members and friends from all walks of life say why they did not want to vote. After hearing their dissenting opinions I understood and respect their choices. Voting has been important to the Black American community for various reasons. We have a unique relationship to American and the U.S. Constitution. We also have a complex legacy in America.
I noticed that Oprah campaigned for Stacy Abrams in Georgia. Abrams was seeking the governor seat. On November 1, 2018 Oprah issued a statement at an Abrams campaign rally.
"I'm here today because of the men and because of the women who were lynched, who were humiliated, who were repressed and oppressed.... I refuse to let their sacrifices be in vain," she told the audience.
It is safe to say that she was alluding to the Native Black Americans that fought and died for the right to vote. She was also making reference to the Native Black Americans that were attacked for even attempting to vote. In 1870 the 15th Amendment was adopted to the U.S. Constitution and granted Black men the right to vote. Obviously during the 1870 this would not be enforced. Yes, it is true many of my ancestors died while trying to vote. But they also fought for the right for me to think critically. The point I am trying to make is we should use the suffering of our ancestors to force people to vote. I understand and respect the sacrifices they made. Although it is important to put things in the context. At the time it made perfect sense for Native Black Americans that were formally enslaved to attempt to participate in the political process.
Now in the 21st century as constituents it is mandatory that we think critically. If the candidate or party does not have an agenda that supports your interest then I do believe you have the right to hold your vote. I also believe that if the candidate or party does not support your interest you other have other choices. These choices include running for office, registering with another political party, financially invest in the candidate of your choice, and most importantly start your political action committee also known as a PAC. Voting blindly is both irresponsible and stupid. Constituents must hold the candidates accountable. Constituents should have standards. We should not condemn people that choose not to vote if they have legitimate concerns and dissenting opinions. I admit I used to tell people you need to vote simply because your ancestors fought and died for the right to do it. As I have gotten older I realize that they also wanted us to think critically. I also realized it was wrong to impose my beliefs onto others. I support free agency. For example, LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers to pursue to his lifelong dream of becoming an NBA champion. He had other teams court him until he found the team that would serve and support his interest. LeBron took his talents to the Miami Heat and won two championships before returning home to Cleveland and winning his third title in 2016. I support free agency in sports and I believe the same sentiment should be adopted into politics and voting. Even though I did vote in mid-term elections I understand and value the important of thinking critically. I also still suggest participating in local elections.