A familiar music
A familiar music
By Pastor Rasheed Z. Baaith
“Yea, they opened their mouth wide against me, and said, ‘Aha, aha, our eye hath seen it’.” (Psalm – 35:21)
I guess the thing that most disturbs me about the attacks against Dr. Brenda Snipes and her execution of duties as Supervisor of Elections (SOE) is the attempt to give the impression that she has been somehow derelict or incompetent. Nothing is further from the truth.
Since January, 2009, her office has removed 14,673 felons who were on the voting rolls but were ineligible to vote, and she has done so without a single challenge or lawsuit from anyone so removed. In addition, all of this has been accomplished without a staff investigator or removing someone without cause or doing so wrongly.
While there are those who feel she needs to move preemptively against voters believed to be ineligible, Dr. Snipes waits for the state to confirm a voter’s status before taking away voting rights. How that kind of thinking can be labeled dismissive or untimely is beyond me.
But what I do understand is the need for politicians and media to assail the integrity of high profile Black elected officials. Especially if that kind of uttered virulence has been successful in destroying a Black official who held that same status before. It is the Miriam Oliphant strategy. It is as old as J. Edgar Hoover.
First, there is a questioning of a particular decision, then the questioning of that person’s veracity and credibility. Next is questioning capability, followed by personal attacks. In the words of the Last Poets: “same song yesterday, same song yesterday.”
As anyone who can read a newspaper, view the internet or listen to the news on television can attest, there is a concerted effort by a number of special interests to discourage the Black community from voting next month and to label the Black vote inauthentic or somehow un-entitled. How can anyone believe that attacking a SOE who happens to be both Black and female won’t be viewed as part of that malicious strategy, whether it is or not? After all, timing is everything.
If Dr. Snipes has been nothing else during her tenure as SOE, she has been professional in the application of her responsibilities and diligent in knowing election policy and law. This attempt by some to diminish her professional reputation and how she maintains her office looks dishonest, ill-intentioned and we need to recognize it as such.
It seems the more things change, the more they remain the same. This is the same denial of ability and character used against everyone from Du Bois to Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. to Martin to Oliphant to Dr. Snipes. It is used repeatedly because we allow it to be.
As my favorite professor taught us, “To question is one thing, to attack is another.” What has been happening to Dr. Snipes are not questions about what she did and why. They are attacks meant to hurt and harm her standing with the general electorate.
She is well within her rights not to let these denunciations go unanswered.