I am concerned about this because our vote has been the most powerful influence on the outcome of Presidential elections since the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. In fact, African Americans participated at a higher level than all demographic groups in the 2012 election. This translated to the largest number of Black elected officials in history -- including President Barack Obama. There is a short answer to the question, "Should I vote in this election?"
WHEN WE STAY HOME, WE LOSE. WHEN WE VOTE IN OUR SELF-INTERESTS, WE WIN!!!
Here is why I always vote.
- My vote counts. The power in our economy is wealth. The power in our democracy is our vote. For those who are not wealthy, our vote is more powerful than our money. There are more of us than them.
- Every positive change for the people that has come about in our society has come through the ballot box -- the abolition of slavery, women's suffrage, Social Security, the Civil Rights Acts (anti-discrimination, fair housing, public accommodation, voting rights).
- When I vote, I own a part of the responsibility for the outcome. If it is an outcome I did not support, it is my obligation to do something about it to change the outcome. If it is an outcome I support, it is my obligation to hold my candidate accountable to me.
Voting is not like sitting on the lap of Santa Claus wishing for gifts. Voting is about making a responsible choice from the alternatives available to us. I just voted in my 13th presidential election, starting in 1968. Additionally, I have voted in every election in between. The most influential Black voice inspiring our participation is that of the Black abolitionist, Frederick Douglass.
“Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are people who want crops without plowing the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”
Our investment in the legacy of progress is written in the blood of our historical leaders. When we vote, we can make a difference.
Yes we can!
Roger Madison, CEO