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Black Communities Need A Few Good Men - And Women
Published:
7/2/2014 10:05:30 PM

By Barney Blakeney


Well, the primary runoff elections are over and the November general elections are set. I promised myself I’d vote in every election. A lot of people made some serious sacrifices so I’d be able to exercise the privilege. They got beat up, spit upon, blasted with fire hoses, bit by dogs and some were killed. All I’ve got to do is stand in a line, usually a short one. Still, voting is hard work.

I voted in the primary elections, but I didn’t vote in the runoff elections. All my people won their primary races. I had a hard time deciding who to vote for in the primaries. Most of the offices close to me were already decided as the incumbents had no opposition.

Where are all the intelligent young people Black folks sacrificed to send to school and upon whom they rest their hopes for the future?

Don’t those young Blacks realize their mothers and grandmothers cleaned Miss Ann’s homes and cooked her family’s meals so they would get the opportunity to change our world? Their fathers and grandfathers accepted the designation as boys from Mr. Charlie who often was half their ages so those young Blacks could get an education and make a difference. Those folks threw their bodies in the doorways of city halls, county council chambers and statehouses so they could step over them to take seats at the tables and they won’t run for office.

I ask political party officials why more citizens aren’t challenging incumbents. They tell me constituents are satisfied with the representation they’re getting, but I can’t believe that. Too many Black folks are dying. If a bullet don’t get ‘em, the sorry quality of healthcare available to most Blacks knock ‘em off way before their time.

I’m in that age group where some of my friends are holding political office. They’re all good people, but I had no idea elective office would become sideline careers for them. Some of those cats will be able to retire from elective office before they can retire from their ‘real’ jobs. And with better pensions!

I could understand the argument that constituents are satisfied with their representation if Black communities looked like white communities. The economic demographics between predominantly white constituent districts and predominantly Black constituent districts is as different as day and night.

Take Rep. Bobby Harrell’s district for example compared to any Black representative’s district. Black legislators are staying out of the controversial Bobby Harrell/Allan Wilson campaign fund spending issue. They won’t touch it with a 10-foot pole. I ain’t touchin’ it either. That’s white folks’ business.

But look at the average income for constituents in Bobby Harrell’s district compared to the average income of constituents in any Black representatives’ district. The income gap between them tells me Black folks need to be worrying about unemployment, low wages and quality public education. Bobby spent the campaign money or not, he brought the bacon home to his constituents.

Now I ain’t sayin’ Black folks should look the other way when it comes to political corruption, but we do it anyway. Jonathan Pinson is waiting to see if he’ll get a free ride on the corruption charges he faces in the alleged kickback scheme at South Carolina State University. According to some of my sources, several of our Black elected officials have been slopping at that public trough a long time.

Ain’t no use getting mad once the horse escapes the barn. At that point all you can do is close the door and go get him. Black folks have an opportunity to fill our barn with quality livestock. We bred ‘em, trained ‘em and taught ‘em well. Now we have to round ‘em up.

I was listening to Charles Stanley the other day who mentioned that in seeking truthful people to represent us, we must look to trustworthy folks who hate dishonest gain. The Democrats will tell you their candidates are the ones, the Republicans will tell you their candidates are the ones.

We’re grooming honest trustworthy young Black men and women every day, but we’re not encouraging them to go into public service or community service. We’ve filled their heads with the notion they must make money, rise above their circumstances and leave their communities rather than build them up.

I look at young brothers like Bakari Sellars and realize there’s a generation of young Blacks out there, young sisters Johnny Caldwell and Taneka Reaves who have the savvy to take our community to another level. We must support and encourage them. Help them understand their community needs their talents.

Yeah voting is hard work and it doesn’t start and stop at the voting booth. I think we blew it with Kwadjo Campbell. That horse has left our barn. There are other young ponies out there. Let’s round them up, train ‘em, feed ‘em, support them and put ‘em to work.
 

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