The election is over, and the majority of our country has decided it wanted more of the same. I was not among that majority. I was disappointed, but life goes on. I believe the American people will conclude this was the second election in a row where we made a huge mistake.
Yet, I can’t help wonder whether a true majority of Americans really made this bad decision.
Even after all of the elections I’ve lived through, I am still shocked by how many people simply don’t bother to vote — and didn’t in this latest presidential race. I knocked on many doors while walking precincts over the last eight months and talked to people about why we need to change occupants in the White House. I was amazed to find so many I talked to who said they were not going to vote.
These were people of all races, but my amazement at their apathy comes from being a black man who grew up in Mississippi in the 1940s and 1950s. That was a place and time where blacks were denied their right to vote.
The firebombing in my hometown, Hattiesburg, Miss., of NAACP leader Vernon Damer’s home will forever stay with me. I knew the family. His only crime was registering blacks to vote; his punishment was to be murdered by the Klan.
Medgar Evers, the legendary Jackson, Miss., NAACP leader, was gunned down in his driveway at night while his wife and kids were in the house simply because he sought equal treatment of all races. These historical figures and many others gave their lives for basic civil rights and especially the right to vote.
This is why I get upset with anyone — black, white or brown; Democrat or Republican — who doesn’t vote!
Meanwhile, just look what apathy has gotten us. Among other things, it means four more years of a weak economy-under weak leadership.
Just two days after the election, Dr. Julianne Malveaux, the 15th president of Bennett College for Women, in Greenburg, N.C. — and an Obama supporter — admitted that black Americans are continuing to do especially poorly in this bad economy.
Dr. Malveaux stated in the Dayton Times that black unemployment remains in the double-digit percentages. More than one in four African-Americans is unemployed. “In some urban areas, as many as half of the African-American male population does not work,” she said.
But wait a minute: Wasn’t the Obama administration’s budget-busting stimulus spending supposed to turn that all around?
Wasn’t it supposed to create jobs in all sorts of industries — not just preserve jobs in the public sector? Apparently, black Americans didn’t get that memo.
I agree with Dr. Malveaux that the unemployment rate among black Americans is very high. Most black citizens live in our urban areas, which are controlled by black and Latino Democrats. Just what have those supposed leaders been doing to ease the pain? What, besides singing the praises of Barack Obama?
Sorry, that won’t bring jobs back to America’s inner cities.
We have over 23 million Americans out of work.
That means a lot of Americans of all races are out of work, yet with such a high number of those being black and members of other minority groups, you would think our first black president would be able to offer them more than talk. More than playing the racing card.
Let’s face it: This president never really went through the black experience in any significant way in his own life. Yet, through his eloquent speeches and his skin color, he has been able to curry favor with black America.
That’s a pretty flimsy basis for claiming a mandate to lead.
But what’s even more troubling is how many Americans of all races didn’t bother to vote.
Heroes of the civil rights movement gave their lives in some cases to fight for their right to vote. Yet, today, too many people take those sacrifices for granted. And now, they are going to have to live with the consequences.
Ed Jones is a former state senator, El Paso County commissioner and a longtime Republican activist in Colorado Springs. Ed’s on KVOR-AM 740 radio in Colorado Springs. Learn more about him at www.theedjones.com