So recently I was all caught up in the hype of this Rick Warren event at his church where he invited the presidential candidates to his church to answer the questions relevant to him and his congregation. I was disgusted at the fact that Rick Warren has all this pull and the candidates felt that he was important enough to go to his church and answer his questions on spirituality. (I do not think these two things, spirituality and politics, go together as much as people may think but that is another blog entry.) But I was thinking if these candidates are going to go and prove themselves to this group of Evangelicals why not do the same for Muslims, Baptists, and any other major religious group in the country? Find the major leaders of these churches as well and go answer their questions in front of their biggest congregations. What makes Evangelicals so important?! Then I looked at some stats and got the answer... THEY VOTE!
Steve Harvey pointed out some interesting facts this morning on his show. He stated Kerry lost PA in the last election by approximately 3% of the vote which was around 144,000 votes. (I paid particular attention to this state because it is the one from which I am from.) It was also documented that there were 360,000 Blacks that were not registered to vote in Pennsylvania. (And that is not to say that every black that is registered even voted.) I have volunteered in two voter registration events since I have graduated college and the most common thing I hear from Blacks that I am trying to get to register is that "my vote isn't going to count. They are just going to steal the election anyway etc etc." I look at this as excuses for a lazy ass not to have to take initiative and then just complain about what is wrong in society. According to the statistics that Steve Harvey ran off this morning if more Blacks were registered to vote in Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Virginia alone it would have been close to 1.5 million more votes cast and that is only 4 states.
Here are some more facts:
In 1870, the 15th Amendment was ratified. It stated that, "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude."
More than a half-million black men became voters in the South during the 1870s (women did not secure the right to vote in the United States until 1920).
With federal troops no longer present to protect the rights of black citizens in Mississippi during Reconstruction, white supremacy quickly returned to the old Confederate states. Black voting fell off sharply in most areas because of threats by white employers and violence from the Ku Klux Klan, a ruthless secret organization bent on preserving white supremacy at all costs.
Laws and practices were also put in place to make sure blacks would never again freely participate in elections. But one problem stood in the way of denying African Americans the right to vote: the 15th Amendment, which guaranteed them this right. To a great extent, Mississippi led the way in overcoming the barrier presented by the 15th Amendment.
As a result of intimidation, violence, and racial discrimination in state voting laws, a mere 3 percent of voting-age black men and women in the South were registered to vote in 1940. In Mississippi, under 1 percent were registered. Most blacks who did vote lived in the larger cities of the South. By not having the power of the ballot, African Americans in the South had little influence in their communities. They did not hold elected offices. They had no say in how much their taxes would be or what laws would be passed. They had little, if any, control over local police, courts, or public schools. They, in effect, were denied their rights as citizens.
- All facts supplied by the Constitutional Rights Foundation
Many Bups may read this and think "This isn't us though we are registered!" And I say to that think AGAIN! Many bups relocate and get caught up for whatever reasons and are not registered to vote. Many blacks that I knew in college didn't vote while they were students. Voting is not just for presidential elections either folks! Black people please stop being naive and get out and vote. Take a couple of your family members and friends that you know are not registered while you are at it. It is the primary catalyst for change! So in the future in whatever election candidates may really care what we think instead of just trying to pacify us for our votes!