(CONTINUED): The African American Vote and the 2016 Primaries and Presidential Elections
In our blog of January 26, 2016 we wrote about the unique historical opportunity presented to African-American, Hispanic, and young voters in the 2016 State and national elections. We now want to revisit this issue.
The primary and presidential election and re-election of Barack Hussein Obama remain the template to follow that best serves the interests of African-American communities in the forthcoming election contests.
Remember in 2008 and again in 2012 we were told the unlikelihood that Obama could be elected and re-elected. Now we are told that electing Hillary Rodham Clinton as the first woman president presents us again with a unique historical opportunity in contrast to only a remote possibility that a white male "democratic socialist" Senator from Vermont can be elected.
We are told that while Senator Sander's ideas may be intriguing, imaginative, and popular, in the "real world" of politics in Washington, DC they have only a remote possibility of ever being implemented. Moreover, they are far too costly to enact.
In several recent speeches to various public interest groups in connection with commemorating the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr I say that a new definitional paradigm is needed to characterize or evaluate what is "moral" and "ethical" in America today.
As an example, I ask: How is it possible for people to be sleeping on the sidewalks of the streets in San Francisco, New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, etc., in 2016, in the richest country of the world? How can our default silence to this public squalor amidst unprecedented private wealth be characterized other than morally and ethically obscene?
I now ask: how does the idea of a single payer health insurance plan become financially unrealistic on a landscape of three trillion plus dollars of military expenditures in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria AND within an economy of trillions of dollars of unprecedented amassed private wealth. This is ok. But Senator Sanders' ideas for tuition free college, single payer health plan, removal of Super Pacts from Presidential elections are "unrealistic" and financially "unsound"?
On the issue of gun manufacturers' liability for the unprecedented ubiquitous gun violence in our country Sanders appears to be still "a work in progress". He also needs to better understand that 2016 standards of what is morally and ethically permissible in response to such gun violence requires that he unequivocally and without reservations immediately address this issue.
I remember the often repeated mantra during the election campaigns and presidencies of President Obama that "the Perfect" should not become "the enemy of the good and what is possible."
For the African-American community in the 2016 election this otherwise pragmatic advice may not be sufficient or applicable within the political and economic realties of our country today. A significant proportion of the homeless living and sleeping on the sidewalks in the State and cities mentioned are African-Americans and several United States military veterans are among these homeless.
Additionally, compared the the white population, a high percentage of persons incarcerated in State and Federal prisons for non-violent drug selling offenses today are African-Americans. Our young people remain a disproportionate number of those suspended or expelled from our schools into the streets- unemployment-to prison pipeline.
Addressing the continued police choice of shooting African-American men as the first option in effecting what might be considered an otherwise lawful arrest also remains a major 24/7 issue within African-American communities across our nation today. Our nation owes a debt of gratitude to The Black Lives Matters Movement for drawing the attention of our nation's conscience to this important issue.
The recent Dept. of Justice Consent Decree with the Police Dept. of Fergurson.MO may be THE social justice and political template of hope and possibility for restraining the current police choice of brutalizing or killing African-Americans as their first choice in pursuit of an arrest.
Former US Attorney General and Senator Robert F. Kennedy, paraphrasing the English playwright George Bernard Shaw, once said,
""Some people see things as they are and say why? I dream things that never were and say, why not?"
This should be remembered by our communities when we are told that what Senator Bernie Sanders proposes, if he is elected, is politically undoable and too expensive. Too expensive for whom?
What is morally and ethically required to address the rising and continued income inequality, the expensive costs of health care and the removal of Wall Street money from our Congressional and Presidential elections?
If not now, when?
If not us, who?