No, I don't come to your meetings. I am no longer interested in sitting around for two – three hours hearing grown people bitch and moan about what is happening to them with few if any actionable solutions offered. Always trying to get “them” to fix this or that and seeking “justice” (fairness) in a political system that runs on “power”(votes and money).
So for people without a lot of money that translates into “If most of you don't vote someone will crap on you and all you'll be able to do is swim in it.” And isn't that where blacks, as a race and all poor and struggling people are in Louisiana are right now. Our failure to work within our communities and teach what I just taught you is what allowed the election of a governor who can thumb his nose at the justice needs of blacks and the health and education needs of all poor and struggling people, now Louisiana's “untouchables”.
And that, for the black community is why when I bring up voter registration as a way to regain accountability in the political realm, everyone agrees, but no one agrees to develop and execute a plan to go into our poor and struggling neighborhoods and reengage those who became disenchanted with voting and elections when those they elected acted like their predecessors, but in black face. So, you know what, it may be that the old leaders can't do the work because they will be recognized as those who came and got struggling people's votes for this one or that one and didn't bring back any goodies... kept them for themselves. So some folk might be real uncomfortable and embarrassed asking or even seeing people in the conditions they live in at the bottom of the socioeconomic hill... to care about voting.
Our determinations to continue to engage in protests breaks me up... and then makes me cry, understanding that education, justice and the health of our children is being handled with such impotence often by people who don't know them... or even care to.
Effective protests have always depended on supportive coverage and prime time media exposure. Our leaders must be enlightened by the historical impact of the voter registration complacency that became pervasive once they (and theirs) became the elected officials. So this historical perspective is necessary.
In the 50s and 60s and most of the 70s there really was a “liberal” media. Under FCC rules in place since the beginning, no one company or person could own more than two media outlets in any market (city). Under those rules, media was much more competitive and a vast range of political perspectives made it to the airwaves. The competition made for more jobs for real journalists, and the public had the opportunity to hear the “truth” from so many sources that media was held to a higher standard. As a result almost any sign of unrest or discontent among the citizenry made the air and there would be some journalists who would be sympathetic and tell the “truth”. Back then that was how you moved up in media. Media coverage not only ushered in civil rights, but ended the Vietnam war, supported Head Start, Job Corps, Medicare and Medicaid and other social programs as social unrest and the dire needs of poor people in wealthy America were covered and touched the soul of the American public.
In the 70's as voter participation in urban areas waned as the leadership “cats” began to put on weight, and began to see the social activists and community leadership that ushered in their power as troublemakers... always wanting them to do something for the people at the bottom of the hill at a time when white flight was reducing the tax base. Community couldn't get a dime for voter registration and education even from the new (and more colorful) Democratic Party leadership... might create pressure on the “cats”, who were now filling the tables at the steak house. Some people forgot that, to racists, be you in an Armani suit with a PhD or sagging in Air Jordans, the same term is used to describe you and it ain't “surplus labor”.
So with reduced urban voter turnout Ronald Reagan was elected and started a process that effectively unplugged the protest from the media protesting needs to succeed. Since 1976 any company or individual ( and now foreigners) can own as many media outlets as they want, so wealth won out and now almost all media in America is owned by five very conservative corporations whose primary interests do not align with justice, education and health care for poor and struggling people, and due to institutional racism, none of the interest of black people. So when you see black folk in the media know that they are there to get you to watch, not to keep you informed about black issues (although many really do the best they can... and still feed their families) Watch Michael Baisden disappear.
So in a still institutionally racist America, for poor, struggling and all black people the truth remains “If most of you don't vote someone will crap on you and all you'll be able to do is swim in it.” Oh yeah and holler, “This stinks”, as though the crapper doesn't already know.
I'm going to spend the rest of my life working with new leaders, people of any color who are actively engaged and doing constructive things in my community, teaching them what I just taught you and I'll bet they aren't afraid or ashamed to explain the same to people who sure could use some power right now. So if you don't see me at your meetings... its because we're busy. And don't ask me to run for office because I don't want to gain weight and because actually I pretty much get what I need from most elected officials because as I told one, “I might not be able to make you, but I believe I can help break you”...I teach all my people to vote.
This banner on my back fence faces our park that is kept beautiful and clean by our elected officials. Its not who is in office, its who can take them out!
C'mon y'all find a group of young people with time and energy who want to do things and give them access to your access... instead of keeping it for yourself... and you will become even more powerful... and actually get some stuff done. Oh yeah, and have the meetings in your house instead of a church or community center and then you don't have to spend hours listening to people who only have something to say about the odor.
To be invited to my meetings you will have to be one of these: a person that is making a difference, a person with a plan to make a difference, a person with time, skills or resources to offer others in making a difference or a person who wants to learn how to make a difference, and the “smell” is never on the agenda because everybody already knows the present situation stinks.