By ML Mobley
Election after election, we have chirped about the importance of getting out to vote. Election after election, we grow weary of hearing and seeing social media posts calling for us to get out and vote. It feels like we are begging our people to do something that is so simple to do and the “sale of the day” campaigns for getting out to vote have become so complacent and oblivious success.
On Sunday, the parking lot and side streets of The New Mount Olive Baptist Church, in Fort Lauderdale, FL, were filled with vehicles forming a long line, honking horns with loud speakers and jubilant music which was used to draw attention as we paraded up Sistrunk Boulevard to the African American Research Library where ‘Early Voting’ had started the day before. What a joyous occasion it was! “Souls To The Polls” is used to create an atmosphere of unity, pride, and positive energy around voting. Maybe it’s not understood clearly, that our community’s involvement in this necessary democratic process could change how we look for the better.
However, what I saw on Sunday felt like this event has succumb as well to the “sale of the day” syndrome. I witnessed that many of the parade participants getting out of their cars and not going inside to vote, instead used this opportunity to fellowship and enjoy the company of others…one big party, if you will.
This presented to me an issue that is ever present and sorrowful for our people.
We rise up, set a trend, then get bored, scared, or complacent and drop the ball and never finish what we started.
It’s frustrating to watch credible young leaders sink into the sad abyss of the “I once was” because they have burned out, got their feelings hurt, or become selfish in their approach to community leadership. It feels like to me, they have left their constituency and mentees behind without any proper guidance. We failed our beloved President Obama because of this lackluster work ethic we have as it relates to voting!
I can’t be the only one frustrated with the on again – off again behavior we have about issues that affect us as a people. We have to keep our foot on the gas and stay on message. You remember being in church and chewing gum or playing because your mom was in the choir stand and Miss Mary, the usher saw you and came over and tapped you on the shoulder and said “Stop that!” You remember that, right? Well…I’m Miss Mary today…..Stop it!
We now have the best opportunity ever to make tremendous strides in so many downtrodden areas of our lives. We can actually evoke real change in how we are policed, how our children are treated and educated, what our neighborhoods look like, and even our equity in pay. All of these things can be made better for us by voting. Yet, it seems to me, we are more concerned with who like us, what color is the nicest on our skin, and what filters we should use. Stop it….please! Get it together! Don’t do this now! We need our Broward County leadership to rise up even more so now than they did for Obama. We need to rise up for ourselves and put people in place that will be able to make changes in our local government. This is where we live! Yes, Biden and Harris are important, but candidates like Odom, and Witherspoon, Harold Pryor, and Ruth Carter Lynch, Bobby DuBose, and Sheriff Gregory Tony are even more important to what happens to our neighborhood. They will have more control over the policies and procedures that govern us on a daily basis. The federal government provides support to our state but the state decides how that money will be spent and where the support will go. Have you ever heard the phrase, Local politics matter more? Case in point, do you remember when Obama allocated Medicaid expansion funds for all 50 states? Well he sent that money but many states were governed by Republicans. And those republican governors refused those funds even though the people in those states desperately needed that money. These politicians allowed that money to expire or refused it for political grandstanding instead of helping their constituency. Don’t be fooled into believing that it will all work out. Black people aren’t you tired of the status quo? We need to make this movement of Black Lives Matter Count! Support your local candidates and get out to vote for these people so that we can have bigger voices and make our quest for change a reality.
We need our leaders to come out of your offices and really take a stand. We need you to support these people in their campaigns and stop being scared of who you will lose as a friend or colleague. Because when you get down to it, if they can’t see that we as a people deserve better, then you should be rethinking your choices in friends anyway.
Remember, remember, Always Remember, they are not superior to you! They know it; do you?
Rise up Broward and take your place; it’s time!