September 2018
Write on Tuesday, 23 October 2018 Published in iZania Community Blog

I have a different take on that question. "Does the African American community take the Democratic Party for granted?"

The reason I ask that question is that I have voted in every election since I was eligible in 1968 -- local, state, and Presidential elections. Prior to 1965, before I was eligible to vote, I was a volunteer canvassing the Black community to register voters. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 made that a lot easier in my home state of Virginia. What I have noticed as I have moved around the country, living in 6 different states is that the participation of African Americans has steadily declined while our rhetoric in recent years has increased with the question.

It seems to me that we accepted the gift of the Civil Rights legislation that was fought for by the Baby boomer generation of Blacks and those before them, and then took for granted the benefits that came with the gift -- integrated education, affirmative action, fair housing, protections against redlining, equal employment protections, Small business set-asides, the explosion of elected Black officeholders. As this progress was being made, the following generations were missing in action at Democratic committee meetings, town hall meetings, stopped canvassing, stopped registering voters. We had an opportunity to increase our influence in the Democratic Party -- and our most successful office-holders are Democrats. However, it is not the Black community who have their backs.

I believe that the CBC could be a force to be reckoned with if 65% to 75% of Black voters showed up to protect their positions in our interests. I am not saying vote Democrat or walk. There is nowhere else to go -- certainly not to the Republican Party. I am saying that we complain harder than we work.

I was recently at a Democratic Party meeting where my wife and I were 2 of 4 Black people there. We show up in very small numbers at the places where grassroots support for policies is crafted. The same was true when we worked for the Obama campaigns and the Clinton campaign. How can we expect the Democratic Party to go to the mat for us if we don't show up? It is not they, but us who take the Democratic Party for granted.