Democrats Ignoring the Black Vote
How I Became A Liberal
I became a true liberal while growing up in Washington DC. Growing up in such a city affords one the luxury of taking in parts of this country’s history that many don’t get the opportunity to experience. For example, I would spend my leisure weekends amongst the most storied figures in this nation’s history as youth out and about the city. I remember spending countless nights sitting on the steps of the Jefferson memorial with my friends. We would cycle from the upper part of the city through Rock Creek Park, down to the mall. For those of you, who have never experienced this memorial, allow me to draw you a picture. The monument itself is nestled along the tidal basin in the heart of the city bordering the Potomac River. A magnificent marble structure surround by a giant marble staircase a housing a bronze statue of Jefferson standing as it peers out onto the basin itself. On the inner walls of the memorial are four panels, each inscribed with memorable writings by Jefferson himself.
Panel 1 is the one most people are familiar with: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men. We...solemnly publish and declare that these colonies are and of right ought to be free and independent states...And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."
Panel 1 is also the most repeated writing of Jefferson, especially by conservatives who argue states rights.
Panel 2 addresses freedom of religion: Almighty God hath created the mind free. All attempts to influence it by temporal punishments or burthens...are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of our religion...No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship or ministry or shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but all men shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion. I know but one code of morality for men whether acting singly or collectively."
Panel 3 addresses Jefferson’s views on slavery: God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever. Commerce between master and slave is despotism. Nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate than that these people are to be free. Establish a law for educating the common people. This it is the business of the state and on a general plan."
Most of you might think that this would be the panel that I was most impressed by as a black male, but you would be wrong. The panel that would shape my views of society and set me on a road of liberalism is the fourth and final panel housed within the memorial.
"I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors."
The fact that Jefferson had for the forethought to realize that society would change as time moved forward and felt the need to address changing times struck me as nothing short of profound. The fact that so many people today scream of the need to return to the values of our founding fathers immediately draws me back to Jefferson. “We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors. Jefferson realized that with time change must follow in order for this country to keep pace.
Now on to the topic at hand, namely the constant failure of the Democratic Party and why it will lose that black vote. Conservatives shouldn’t get too excited or maybe again you can since the loss of the black vote will show in the form of blacks staying away from the voting booths in giant numbers. Since 2012 the rank and file democratic politician has elected to avoid the liberal tag at every possible opportunity. This choice was made in order to focus on a popular strategy of attacking politicians on the right while keeping silent on their own practices, achievements, and future plans. The Democratic Party walked in the confidence that the black vote or the liberal vote in general would simply appear like magic, in some cases it did in the same way that it did for Obama in 2010. Democrats ran on the notion that liberals are liberals are liberals therefore the need to address their concerns became secondary to trying to influence outsiders to join the party. But what they failed to understand is that liberals are liberals and require new opinions or ideas in order to throw their support behind a candidate. Now considering that most Black voters consider themselves liberal in thinking, combined with the fact that most of our Democratic candidates gave us nothing to consider, addressed none of our concerns, and took our vote completely for granted acted as a vote suppressor.
As a liberal I am actually happy that the midterms results were as lopsided as they were and that the conservative party now has two years to show the country how they can govern, though I have my opinion on how that will turnout. It now requires the Democratic Party to take a step back and reevaluate its strategy before 2016. The party’s decision to abandon its President and his accomplishments left it with nothing.
May I offer a suggestion, no my demand of the Democratic Party; stop being afraid of being liberals. It’s a noble badge to wear. It identifies you as one who is open to new ideas and one who is focused on moving forward rather than looking backward. If you are unable to stand on a sound liberal agenda then do the rest of us proud liberals a favor and get the heck out of the party in order for those with real answers to have an opportunity to get their voice into the discussion. As far as the black vote is concerned it’s time for some strong liberal ideas to address issues that are important to this community. Blacks like all other voters share many of the same concerns like the economy or religious rights. However we also have some unique concerns that must be addressed by our party prior to 2016 or it may find itself staring into a rerun of the 2014 midterms. These concerns center around a judicial system that is focused on the exploitation of minority communities and include, police reform, disassembling the prison industrial complex, and fair sentencing for non-violent offenders. If the Democratic Party fails to address these issues and expect the Black vote to be there for them in a national election, they are sorely mistaken.
© 2014 SOBF
More by this Author
Understanding why Christian demonize Haitians and glory in the earthquake.
"Black Guilt" a phenomena seen mostly in the upper crust of black society that has recently begun to filter down into even the most oppressed segments of the black community.