By Dr. John E. Warren, Publisher, The San Diego Voice & Viewpoint Newspaper | In just a few months, the State of California will have a Primary Election with most offices in the state on the ballot. We, the people, will have an opportunity to determine who our elected leaders will be from certain City Council seats to School Boards, Judges, State Legislature, Congressional and U.S. Senate seats, and candidate for the next Governor of the State to the next Presidential candidate for the United States. The process by which all this is done is called “Politics” or determining whose interest is more important than the next guy.
Most of us participate in this exercise without knowing how. We make commitments to the interest of other people without securing or, sometimes, even knowing our own interest. We commit our support prematurely and therefore get less for that support than many who know how to hold out until they get at least some of what they want in return for their support. If one is to be political, then one must know who the players are (or the candidates or the interest they have made commitments to). If one is going to be in politics, then one should know how to rally support for their point of view since the support of others will determine our degree of success. Needless to say, we all engage in the politics of making decisions everyday and yet, many of us separate that process from the real political process governing our lives and too often without our active participation.
Clearly, politics involves choices and choices have consequences. Consider that in too many instances, African Americans no longer bother to vote. The reasons given often state “it won’t make a difference or I can’t see the benefit of helping someone get elected that I don’t even know”. The reality is that the choice not to vote indeed becomes a vote by helping someone get elected with no concern for you or your interest. The consequences come later when you become a victim of the vote you didn’t cast when the person you didn’t vote for works against your interest. Simply stated, instead of the rent control or housing that was important to you, that person you didn’t check out or vote for, works for the interest of others who gave money and or a vote.
The failure to have your interest on the menu is the result of you not being at the table either because of you not voting or not seriously looking at the candidates from the standpoint of your interest or the interest of those you hold dear to you.
When African Americans in particular voted and supported the politics of our collective interest, we had great victories such as the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act and so many of the social programs we collectively enjoy today. While our numbers might not be as great as some other members of this society who follow the examples we set, now is a good time for each of us to renew the politics of our own choices, seriously examine the consequences of how we choose and once again become as important where we are as the Black people of the State of Georgia have become producing people who vote the interest of those Black citizens who understand the politics of choices and consequences.
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