By Miles Jaye
It’s that time again! It’s time for us to elect a new President- Biden or re-elect the one we have- Trump. We will either elect a 46th president or give the 45th a second term– it’s that simple! So… “Let’s get ready to rumble!” Incumbents always have a distinct election advantage. However, Republicans are off to a slow start this year. Two RNC convention events, North Carolina and Florida, were cancelled, presumably due to Covid-19 concerns. To offset the slow start, a robust voter suppression campaign has been waged, including attempts to shut down the Post Office– that’s right, the U.S. Post Office. The DNC convention is in full swing, in… in… well, in your home. Unlike any other political convention in history, this year’s convention delegates and speakers were telecast from across all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and all territories including sites as remote as Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Guam, Alaska and American Samoa. This is an amazing time, and in spite of my issues with the process, and to some extent, the candidates, I know this, along with ’08 and 2012, is one of three of the most important elections of my life. I will vote!
In her keynote address at the 2020 DNC convention, Michele Obama said, “Vote like your life depends on it.” The late Congressman John Lewis said, “The vote is precious, it’s almost sacred.” Sacred? Clearly, unlike other Americans, Black folks associate the act of voting with struggle and bloodshed. To us suppression and oppression are synonymous. Exercise your right to vote, has been pressed and stressed as though voting was the most important act a human being could perform in a democracy. There are two words in that five-word phrase that make the statement, exercise your right to vote, inherently problematic– they are exercise and right. The intent and purpose of exercise is to strengthen, but this process, this exercise has failed to make us stronger– it makes us weaker. Besides, how is it possible to exercise when someone is holding down the very bar and weight I’m trying to lift?
As for my right to vote, our rights have always been at issue in America– always. They’ve always been tampered with or outright denied. I realize freedom is not free, however, a right, or birthright, is an inheritance, and is ours by virtue of our citizenship. To suppress, violate, or deny our rights should constitute a crime. To juxtapose the phrases voters’ rights and voter suppression as though it is fair game and a function of political jousting is just wrong. Voter suppression in any form should be considered unlawful– conspiracy against the government, and arrests should be made. That would put an end to it, but as Dick Gregory often told me, “It’s all a game!”
The problem with America is broken promises! And, in spite of America’s history of broken promises, each election cycle we vote for what… more promises? Writer Denis Waitley, author of “The Psychology of Winning” wrote, “Losers make promises they often break. Winners make commitments they always keep.” Which of the two are we? Which does America want to be? That’s the question. Have you ever broken a promise to your child? Regardless of reason or circumstances, you forgot, you didn’t have the funds, you fell ill, you had to work, didn’t it make you feel bad? Didn’t you want to make up for it sooner, rather than later? If you have broken a promise to a child, a family member, a friend, and it didn’t wear on your conscience, maybe you don’t have one. What is the state of America’s conscience?
Judging by our current President, we have no conscience. There is no honor, no empathy, no truth. Remember, he promised his base a wall, but all they got were red baseball caps? There is no justice and there is no peace. He asked Black people, what do you have to lose? Now we know! So, we vote, but rather than voting for truth, justice, and uplifting policy change, we vote for gender and race. We vote for personalities, charisma, and appearance. No one insists we study the issues… just vote. No one demands that we make demands… just vote. No one requires that we do our due diligence and wrestle with the history and design of complicated, but essential, pieces to the puzzle like the Electoral College… just vote.
FYI: The Electoral College represents 538 votes: 435 for state representatives, 100 for state senators, and 3 for U.S. territories. These people (yes, they are people) represent your representatives to make sure everyone is represented– got that? No, it doesn’t make sense. The whole thing stinks in a way old food smells in the fridge and for the same reason, it needs to be thrown out. The Electoral College is responsible for Trump’s victory in spite of Clinton’s scoring nearly 3 million more popular votes. We have to know what is meant by Key Swing States and Battle Ground states. It’s important to the process. Did you know 700 attempts have been made over the past 200 years to eradicate the Electoral College? They know it stinks but can’t figure out a viable replacement, so, we keep working on the kitchen sink when it’s the toilet that keeps backing up.
Government was established to provide law, commerce and representation. My representative sits at the table so I don’t have to leave my farm unattended for extended periods of time to lobby my concerns.
The DNC convention proved that if you’re in Guam, Hawaii or Puerto Rico, you don’t have to leave the island to participate in government. I don’t have to leave the farm, just boot up the laptop and log in.
It’s my hope that one day, we’ll vote for issues and policies rather than personalities who promise to represent our issues and interests. It could take up to 3 hours waiting in line to vote and 3 minutes to cast your ballot. That’s backwards! We should spend 3 minutes booting up our computers and the next 3 hours voting over Putin proof, secure lines for issues like healthcare, education, housing, banking, loans, interest rates, infrastructure, taxes, minimum wages, Policing Reform, Criminal Justice Reform, and term limits.
Rather than a two, or three, party system, I would encourage thousands of little voting parties in homes in every county, city, and state in America. At my party, we would make ineligible for a second term any President who had been impeached, not removed, impeached. We would make voter suppression a Federal Felony. We would remove racist hate speech from the protection of the 1st Amendment, whether from a schoolteacher or a President. Finally, we would celebrate the long-awaited release of first offenders of non-violent crimes, knowing that upon release, they’ve been armed with nothing less than a hopeful future, and their right to vote.
That’s what’s on my mind!