Okay y’all. It’s 2016 and the race for President of the United States has heated up.
Yeah, I know there are other political races being contested in various cities, states and municipalities all across the United States, but it seems like all everyone wants to talk about is the 2016 presidential race.
This 2016 presidential election cycle features many presidential candidates vying to carry the torch and pick up the mantle of presidential leadership that President Barack Obama has held for nearly 8 years.
Quite frankly, I believe this has been one of the most contentious and competitive presidential races we have seen in some time. Presidential candidates from both major political parties – Republicans and Democrats – have been jockeying for position to become the frontrunners in their respective parties, and are campaigning and soliciting votes, with the hopes of becoming the next president of the United States.
We have Donald Trump trying to fend off Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) on the Republican side; and we have former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) battling it out on the Democratic side. It has been an interesting thing to view, to say the least.
In the midst of it all, at least on the Democratic side, the one group that has always been loyal, and is often sought after to help push a candidate over, is the African American voter.
Ah yes, it’s no secret that Black voters are the proverbial key to unlock the door for any Democratic candidate running for office – especially those seeking to become the president of the United States.
African Americans historically tend to vote for Democratic presidential candidates in almost every national election – with identical results being mirrored at the local, county and state levels. This continues to be a concerning trend for me, because I see how disrespected Blacks have been by the Democratic Party, especially when it comes to truly addressing our issues.
This leads me to the point that I am leading you too.
Personally, it saddens me to say that in 2016, I don’t believe Black people have a collective clue what they want from politicians, let alone from the president of the United States of America.
I’d bet you a dollar that if President Obama unsuspectingly landed his own plane (Air Force One) into any predominately African American neighborhood, in any city in America, and asked the collective group of Black people in that neighborhood what they wanted, most of them wouldn’t have a clue how to respond.
They would be more concerned with taking a photo with President Obama or shaking his hand, than they would be focused on policy and legislation that could help them; and I believe the response would primarily be the same whether it was rich or poor Blacks.
Now don’t get mad at me and judge me because I’m telling the truth, and you’re too emotional to acknowledge the truth. It is what it is, as they say. We don’t have a collective Black agenda.
Hell, going even deeper than that, I believe if President Obama were to ask everyone in that neighborhood what he could do for them as president that didn’t involve getting a hook-up, giving them some money or acquiring some material possessions, most of them would be looking like a deer in the headlights. We, as a collective group of African Americans, don’t really know what to ask for, and that’s a disturbing reality that needs to change. We must move away from this “just get out and vote” push, and move towards a “more proactive and interactive position” where we develop a collective Black agenda and ask ourselves before we go into the voting booth, as a collective group of people, whether any of those candidates are supportive of our collective agenda, with more than just lip-service. We need action-oriented candidates, who keep their word and do what they say they are going to do – advocating for our collective agenda.
The question is, do members of the two major political parties see Black folks as more than just a vote in elections or do they simply want Black folks to vote and be called upon when needed? I have seen nothing but the latter be the case for years now.
The Black vote is crucial to the success of Democrats. We can look at the presidential debates and see how important the Black vote is to the Democratic party.
When you watch a Republican presidential debate, you rarely, if at all, hear any discussion about the issues that are important to and directly impact African Americans. On the flip-side, when you watch a Democratic presidential debate, it seems like the candidates are a part of a presidential love-fest with African Americans and they are seemingly out to see who can “love” Black people the best.
Interestingly enough, here we have a Jewish presidential candidate (Sen. Sanders), who is finally saying many of the things, and promising to address many of the things Black people say are important to them, yet those same Black people find a reason to vote for other candidates who have not given any indication, until challenged, that they would advocate for those same Black issues. That is so baffling to me and I don’t understand it. This is the type of response you give when you don’t have a collective agenda. No agenda – No expectations – No accountability – Just emotions.
It seems like most Black people act like they are voting for the next American Idol, rather than the next person who will be able to advocate for and use their position to address Black issues.
What the hell do Black people want or expect, huh? I’m really confused and want answers. Can somebody please tell me…please? When it comes to other groups, I’m totally clear what’s important to them.
It’s clear to me that same-sex marriage (marriage equality) and same-sex benefits are important to the LGBT community and is part of their collective agenda; it’s clear to me that immigration reform is important to Hispanics and is part of their collective agenda; it’s clear to me that reducing government spending and lowering taxes is important to the Tea Party and is part of their collective agenda; it’s clear to me that pushing legislation that advantage women, such as equal pay for equal work, is important to feminists and is part of their collective agenda; it’s clear to me that dealing with the issue of climate change is important to environmentalists and is part of their collective agenda.
Again I ask, what the hell do Black people want or expect? If Blacks have no collective agenda, then how can we demand anything at all from any political candidate for office, including the president?
Let me tell you right now, I see nothing wrong with groups having a collective agenda. Even if you have people within your group who may not agree, the key is having a collective group who are advocating for these issues, and won’t stop until your agenda items are acknowledged and until your goals are achieved.
I don’t profess to speak for all Black people, but as a conscious Black man in America, I am challenging a remnant of conscious African American people to come together collectively to develop an agenda for the Black community that a collective group can not only support, but spend time and resources advocating for politically, economically and socially. We have no more time to waste. We must act now!
Jeffrey L. Boney serves as Associate Editor and is an award-winning journalist for the Houston Forward Times newspaper. Jeffrey is a frequent contributor on the Nancy Grace Show and has a daily radio talk show called Real Talk with Jeffrey L. Boney. He is a Next Generation Project Fellow, dynamic, international speaker, experienced entrepreneur, business development strategist and Founder/CEO of the Texas Business Alliance. If you would like to request Jeffrey as a speaker, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org