“Not hearing anything.” “No Buzz”!
By Congressman Alcee L. Hastings
The topic stems from a conversation with Dr. Brenda Snipes, Broward County Supervisor of Elections.
We chanced to meet at the African American Research Library and Cultural Center (AARLCC) two days before the August 14, 2012 Primary Election. Dr. Snipes was there doing her due diligence regarding the polls. I was there as a politician/citizen observer.
That morning, I spoke to 400 stewards of the Broward County Teachers Union at Signature Grand in Davie. From there I visited the 7th Avenue Community Health Center in Fort Lauderdale. Then I stopped at the Westside Gazette for a meeting with the publisher, Bobby Henry. Left there and visited the Organizing for America headquarters (President Obama’s Campaign office) on Sistrunk Boulevard. So the day was productive from my point of view.
Then came Dr. Snipes chilling review of the primary from her perspective, “not hearing anything,” “No buzz”! Man did she nail the outcome. She predicted an abysmal turnout. And, so it was. 10.3 percent. One out of ten registered voters cast a ballot. “Historic low,” “ridiculous,” “shameful,” “Sad,” the pundits said. What did you say?
In my mind I trotted out the usual excuses (1) I did not do enough to publicize the importance of the elections, (2) the ministers should have done more, (3) there was too much negativity, (4) the electronic media did not assist in educating the voting public (they showed too many shooting, bear accidents, fires and storms, etc.), (5) the print media had too much advertising and not enough news, (6) the internet has gone amok, (7) they ought to teach civics and values, I am sure you get the picture. And, I am sure you can add numerous other reasons.
Further, I’ll make you a bet, as your read mine above, that you did not blame yourself. You see friends, it’s always “they” who cause apathy, lack of participation, disinterest, our problems. Who in the hell is “they”? Get up right now and take a look in the mirror. You and I are “they.” And, nothing will get better until you and I make up our minds to do something positive about our problems.
Voting November 6, 2012 is a perfect starting point. The following are a few things you and I can do:
1. Make sure your relatives, friends and neighbors are registered and properly credentialed. (Photo I.D., address changes, etc.)
2. Volunteer at the headquarters of a political party. (President Obama’s is my choice.)
3. Volunteer in the campaign(s) of person(s) you believe are best suited to serve. (That would be Democrats for me.)
4. Send texts, e-mails, faxes, Facebook your friends, call and/or write to somebody, somewhere in America every day, every week, every month.
5. Attend churches, synagogues, mosques, schools, neighborhood associations, rallies, parties, and civic groups and speak out about your views.
6. Contact me, other politicians, media, and community activists about how we may better represent you.
Dr. Brenda Snipes did her job extremely well. She, her staff, and volunteers conducted an election (no surprise to me) absent of any fraud or consequentially harmful events.
I am not certain that you and I did all we could. The November 6, 2012 election will be as important, if not more so, than any election in our lifetime.
Let’s make the world, nation, state, and local communities “hear” us. Let’s create a real and lasting “buzz.” C’mon people we can do this!
More on the importance of November 6, 2012 later . . . .
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