By James Clingman
In March of 2007, I wrote a column under the headline: “Obama Drama.” It began, “Will the euphoria sweeping through our ranks over the possibility of a Black President eventually dominate our collective psyche? Will it overwhelm us with notions of ‘equality’ and ‘victory,’ and ostensibly cause us to subordinate our primary interests and abandon the pressing issues that negatively impact Black life in America?”
Just when I thought we had learned our political lesson, along comes another one. Our collective anesthesia began in the first week of June, when Hillary Clinton made voter suppression her major theme. She went to Texas and called out Rick Perry, Chris Christie, Scott Walker, and Jeb Bush, all of whom she said supported voter suppression laws in their respective states.
Not only did she go into that lion’s den called the state of Texas, she gave her speech at Texas Southern University, a Black college. “So what, you say? Take your anesthesia mask off for a moment and think about this. In 2007, Black people started inhaling the nitrous oxide and fell into what has now become nearly a 7-year state of political euphoria. Some of us are still laughing from the gas we inhaled.
Now, with Hillary’s foray into the sacred bastion of voting, saying she will fight against voter suppression, while surrounded by smiling Black folks (Or, should I say, grinning Black folks?) on a Black college campus, the fix is in once again. We are being numbed out and dumbed down, and many of us will traipse to the polls and vote for Hillary in 2016 simply because of this one issue. “She’s for voting rights,” many will say, and that will simply be enough for them. Yes, voting is very important, but that one issue must not be used as the panacea for Black political empowerment.
There will be no other issue on the minds of many Black voters since they will have been programmed while under anesthesia. They will demand nothing more of Hillary, or any of the other presidential candidates. They will not make demands around criminal justice; they will not demand some form of reparation for Black people; they will not demand a student loan bailout; and they will not demand a Marshall Pan for America’s urban areas where Blacks reside.
Hillary is already playing the voting card with Black folks because she knows that’s what wins us over. I am sure she will be in Selma next year, lending her shoulder to John Lewis as he weeps, saying, “Don’t worry Black folks; I will protect your right to vote, for real this time.”
She will attend the NAACP national convention in a staunch show of support for that organization’s fight against voter suppression, even though the NAACP has shown no penchant for outlawing voter suppression in its own ranks. That’s right; there are several open cases of the NAACP allowing and maybe even supporting voter suppression in local branches across the nation, led and promulgated by Gill Ford.
Hillary is already dancing to the Black voter tune, and once the music stops in a couple of months, and we are well under the influence of her anesthetizing effect, she will then move to the more important business of dealing with the agendas of other groups. She knows all we need to pacify us is a call for voting rights.
Not to worry though. There is a group of conscious (as opposed to being politically anesthetized and unconscious) Black people who will not submit to the nitrous oxide. It is called the One Million Conscious Black Voters and Contributors (OMCBV&C). We will not be lulled to sleep nor put to sleep by the political shenanigans of any candidate. We will not be beholden to a particular party, and we will cast our votes for the candidate who publicly supports our platform. Likewise, we will withhold our votes and our dollars from any candidate who does not.
Once and for all, Black people must stop allowing ourselves to be manipulated by politicians; we must stop letting them off so easily; and we must stop giving them our so-called “precious” votes with no reciprocity other than a good feeling. This goes for any candidate running in 2016. Let them all know that we are not little children who simply need a warm hug or a pat on the head to make it all better. That’s what we got in 2008, and Hillary, sure to be followed by others in the race, is getting her simple obligation to Black voters out of the way early. Join the OMCBV&C, if you are conscious, and let’s put an end to this political nonsense. Go to www.iamoneofthemillion.com and register.
Jim Clingman, founder of the Greater Cincinnati African American Chamber of Commerce, is the nation’s most prolific writer on economic empowerment for Black people. He can be reached through his website, blackonomics.com. He is the author of Black Dollars Matter: Teach Your Dollars How to Make More Sense, which is available through his website; professionalpublishinghouse.com and Amazon Kindle eBooks.