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America’s political landscape forever altered; minority voting bloc speaks volumes in 2012


Frederick Douglass

The bell has tolled

America’s political landscape forever altered; minority voting bloc speaks volumes in 2012

“I feel this election is a mandate for the power structure that has ruled for generations to see its waning strength, and for the underserved to see its escalating influence. – Rev. Lance Chaney

By K. Chandler

     Despite spending upwards of $400 million to unseat President Barack Obama, the Republican Party failed disastrously against an unstoppable wave of Black and Hispanic voters, combined with students, gays, seniors and white women, all wary of the impact that a Romney/Ryan administration might have on social, economic and healthcare issues.

    On Nov. 6, 2012, President Obama effectively captured 80 percent of this enormous voting bloc, enabling him to handily win the election against a blind-sighted Mitt Romney. Romney counted on white males, suburban couples and upwardly mobile seniors in nine swing states to carry him over the threshold to victory.

    The problem with this strategy was that the older population is steadily dwindling, and white men, who once comprised nearly 50 percent of the voting electorate, have seen their numbers downsized to 34 percent this year. Further exacerbating this decline were white female voters who have been extremely leery of Romney’s stance of reproductive rights.

    By all accounts, the 2012 election will go down as one of the most vitriolic and polarizing elections in modern history; the future implications of which have yet to be seen. The ideological differences couldn’t be more striking between the conservative GOP with its divisive, ultra right wing Tea Party faction that believes the country is moving in the wrong direction, and the more liberal-leaning Democratic Party embraced by a majority of minority and women voters who feel just the opposite.

    While a majority of white voters (60 percent) feel the government should do less in terms of getting involved in individuals’ lives, a similar majority of Black and Hispanic voters feel the government should be more pro-active in protecting minority rights and helping the disadvantaged get a leg-up on the ladder of success. Where this cultural divide is headed in the future is anyone’s guess. One thing is for certain however, and that is the immortal words of Frederick Douglass (1857): “Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never did, and it never will.”

    Getting an assessment of peoples’ reactions no that the election is behind us, the Westside Gazette (WG) sought out the opinions of a number of prominent Palm Beach County residents to ‘take their pulse’ on where this country is headed; the pitfalls it faces, and how history will ultimately play out.

    Rev. Chaney, pastor of St. John’s Missionary Baptist Church in Boynton Beach, said that he felt there remains “an undercurrent of racism, elitism, and privilege” that has perpetuated the “dehumanization of minorities” in these ‘Yet to be United States’ (Maya Angelo).

     “I feel this election is a mandate for the power structure that has ruled for generations to see its waning strength, and for the underserved to see its escalating influence. [In keeping with Frederick Douglass’ quote] concerning power and demands, my fear is that we don’t find common demands that power must concede [to]; that our voice is diluted by individualism, ego, and palm greasing. My prayer is that we demand the humanization and equality for all. That as a nation we care for the underprivileged, disenfranchised and marginal, we lean, from a biblical man-date, that we are our brother’s keeper.”

 ACLU: Freedom’s Watchdog

    Per Baylor Johnson, spokes-person for the ACLU of Florida, while the nationwide organization works to “defend the individual rights and personal freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights,” it also “recognizes the impact on civil liberties for all Americans – including Floridians, which a President can have.

    “President Obama was able to accomplish a lot in advancing civil liberties in his first term,” stated Johnson, “but far more remains to be done.”

    Among the actions and initiatives the ACLU would like to see the Administration undertake:

    ·   The closing of Guantanamo prison, ending a “shameful episode and fulfilling one of the first promises he made as President”;

    ·   Rescinding federal anti-immigrant policies and programs, ending abusive and discriminatory actions such as DHS programs that encourage local law enforcement to engage in racial profiling, and,

    ·   Lending continued support for women’s reproductive rights.

    “The issues facing the nation are no less challenging than they were before the election,” said Johnson, adding, “But we are hopeful that our elected leaders can come together to meet these challenges and advance civil rights and civil liberties for all.”

    Echoing that same sentiment, “Lexxy,” a career employee with the State of Florida (who asked to remain anonymous) said she fervently hoped the economy would now improve along with the job market.

    “The real challenge is going to be getting everybody on the same page,” she said, adding that it was a prospect she didn’t hold out much hope for.

    “The crazy part is that according to the Pledge of Allegiance, we are o-n-e nation under God… but we’re n-o-t one nation; we’re a divided nation.”

    Lexxy made it clear that she did not blame President Obama in any way, noting that he was “up against the devil when he came into office,” however she said she was frustrated by the sheer volume of hatred directed at the President.

    “How did we expect to elect a Black man president when we have never, ever dealt with our race issues in this country – that’s what I can’t figure out,” she noted, shaking her head.

            Patrick Franklin, president and CEO of the Urban League of Palm Beach County (ULPBC) for the past 11 years, said the ULPBC was “very pleased to have the President back in office for four more years,” adding that there was a meeting taking place in Washington of national Black leaders that very day to discuss the ‘financial cliff,’ and current economic conditions “adversely affecting low-income residents.”

“We need legislation to help residents get jobs; job training, job placement. Especially jobs that pay above the minimum wage, “in order to uplift those on the bottom rung of the economic ladder,” Franklin emphasized.

     Other priorities of the ULPBC include stressing greater education initiatives and reducing gun violence.

     “We need educational reforms that will address the poor graduation rates of minority students across the country and especially in Palm Beach County,” noted Franklin. The ULPBC is also encouraging President Obama to continue his strategy of helping children in college stay there with financial aid packages and by increasing the funding currently in place.

     The organization is also pressing the Administration to address the rampant gun violence problem plaguing the Black community by reducing the number of guns available on the streets. At the same time it would like the Obama Administration to address the need for safe, affordable housing, which Franklin pointed out wasn’t happening because the “banks weren’t lending,” and people simply didn’t qualify for good, affordable mortgages anymore.

     Steve White, author/educator, and founder of a Black male mentoring program in Palm Beach County, has a more negative take on America’s future direction.

     “I think this country is headed for financial disaster. The country’s debt will destroy America. Whether you are an individual or a nation, if you spend more than you take in, you are headed for a financial collapse”.

     “The wars will also contribute to our downfall, the cost to finance wars is tremendous. America can’t afford it. In addition, I believe Israel is sucking America into a war with Iran”.

“The greatest pitfall facing America is our immorality. President Obama made a terrible decision to endorse same-sex marriage. All great empires have fallen due to their immorality. Same sex marriage represents the death knell for America. President Obama is obligated to the Wall Street bankers that contributed heavily to both of his campaigns”.

     “Lastly, I think the Presidential Election has shown that race relations are getting worse, not better. I believe the majority of white men did not support President Obama simply because he is Black. Further, I believe there will be a backlash of racist acts because President Obama was re-elected. But keep in mind that racism has never been on the decline in America, it simply takes on different forms, but the results are the same.”


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