Welcome to part two of my “Advice for the New Year.” Now if you’re saying ouch after reading the title, let me say sorry but not sorry. This type of activism is simply not working. And if I’m calling anyone out about it, I’m calling myself out too. I want to do more in 2017, and I suggest you all join me.
- I Don’t Have Time to Stand in Line
This excuse may be a valid one, if so many people weren’t willing to stand in line and wait for other things. We all know a friend or family member that has woken up at the crack of dawn to stand in line at Best Buy or Walmart on Black Friday. Heck, you yourself may have rolled out of bed to stand in line for two hours to wait to get a TV or two. Or maybe you’ve been one of those people to wait in line to get the latest iPhone or pair of Jordans.
The point here is this. People are eager to wait in line for small picture material items, but are reluctant to wait in line to vote. That sounds crazy. Taxes are always on the ballot. If you want more money to spend on phones and shoes, try voting. In fact, if it will get you to the poll faster, think of voting as an opportunity to possibly earn you some extra spending money. Everyone could use some extra coin. And if you still can’t wrap your mind around waiting in line to vote, then GO vote early if your state allows it.
Folks we’ve got less than two weeks until Election Day, and I’ve got one word for you. VOTE! I know PSAs and the media describe every election as extremely important, but this one truly is. There is a lot at stake with this election cycle, and if you don’t exercise your right and duty as an American citizen, you’ll be doing this country, and more importantly yourself, a real disservice. Don’t believe me, well let’s look at some of the things at stake here.
- Post Obama Race Relations
It should be no secret to anyone that since the election of President Obama, race relations in this country have taken some unfortunate steps back. The fact people must chant “Black lives matter” in 2016 is just sad. I for one don’t want to let my vote go uncast knowing politicians hold a lot of power in making sure this country is truly dedicated to seeing that there is real “justice and liberty for all.” Marching in the streets and posting named hashtags is symbolic and sentimental; but, if you want to make a real difference, you’ll show up to the polls.
- Potential for War Deployment of Troops
With the looming threat of Russia, the ongoing conflict in Iraq and Syria, and the infamous ISIS still present, matters of national security will be increasingly more important during the next presidential term. You’ll want to vote for someone you believe can keep the country safe and out of wars. Someone that is of sound mind and temperament to engage with other international powers. I for one don’t want someone that will be like a “bull in a china shop.” (Old country saying for you. LOL)
- Higher Education Costs
If you are reading this and you’ve never heard of Sallie Mae or Navient, consider yourself blessed. There are those like myself that are very familiar with the two. College is expensive and is not getting cheaper. There are many in this country that hail education as being the great equalizer, and the major key needed to get ahead and reach the American dream. However, for millions of millennials it’s becoming harder to reach that dream because they are drowning in student loan debt trying to pay for a degree (or two) they were told they had to have in order to even pursue the dream in the first place. Where is the fairness in that? It’s important you go out and vote to stop the increasing price of degrees, and to help alleviate some of the financial burden on countless college graduates.
- The Supreme Court
The right for members of the LGBT community to get married just became nationally legal and recognized a little over a year ago. I want you think about that when you say you won’t vote, because that is what’s at stake. The highest bench in the land has an opening, and possibly a few more openings in the next four years to come. Do you want to risk having the wrong person elected as president, or people elected to the senate, that could possibly shape a court that overturns the rights of millions of gay couples?
Besides gay marriage, the future makeup of the Supreme Court will also be deciding on some cases involving voting rights, women’s rights, and affirmative action. These are things that impact your everyday life. And if not directly, these issues impact someone you know. Trust me.
- Empowerment of the Average Man
I may not agree with most of the things Trump says, but he and Bernie were right about the corruption in DC. Too many companies and special interest groups have their hands in politics. These groups use money to persuade politicians into making horrendous policy decisions that often disenfranchise the average man. Take for example the criminal justice system and the private prison industry. When politicians voted to impose mandatory sentencing, they often did so knowing they would be directly benefiting the private prison industry, but disguised their decision as voting to protect public safety. (Check out 13th on Netflix.)
Heck, you can look at the gun lobbying groups such as the NRA. The NRA has pretty much immobilized many politicians from voting on simple common sense gun reform policies. Politicians claim they don’t want to pass anything that limits the Second Amendment, but you would think they would pass something that makes it more difficult for the wrong people to get weapons. But again, many politicians are more loyal to the money getting them elected than the average people they swore to serve. And you can apply a similar argument to failed banking reform and failed checks on Wall Street. (It’s understandable why so many people felt the Bern.)
So in short, VOTE! If you can vote early, go. If you are sending an absentee ballot, send it. And if you are voting on Election Day, get to the polls before they close. We’ve got to take this seriously people. Remember, if you don’t vote, then don’t complain.
It’s been a few days now since the tragic deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and the five police officers in Dallas, and I haven’t posted anything on the site partially in an attempt to gather my thoughts. If you stroll through my social media pages, you’ll will see short blurbs and videos expressing my outrage over what has happened within the last week. However, I’ve yet to publicly state my peace on the matter. And so here I am today. Saddened by the state of this country, angered by moral hypocrisy and ignorance, and humbled to be among the living of an endangered people.
The 2016 BET Awards has officially come and gone, and I most assuredly can say that I enjoyed it better than last year. Now I may be a bit bias in saying that given my favorite performer ever opened this year’s festivities. However, even when she packed up shop and high tailed it overseas following her epic performance, I was still more entertained than last year. Heck, I barely paid last June’s show that much attention until Janet walked across the stage. But this year, I was definitely more in tune with what was going on. I think that mostly had to do with trying to see if BET would live up to the hype of its Prince tribute. Whether or not it did in my opinion, the jury is still out on that. While I expected more out of some performers, others lit the stage with fire. Overall, it was way better than the Billboard’s tribute though. So Anywho, check out my top 5 moments of the show.
Despite record breaking turnout in some states’ primaries or caucuses, I for one find myself increasingly underwhelmed by this 2016 presidential race. I’m sick of the media talking about Hillary’s emails, I’m tired of the back and forth pettiness between candidates, and I’m beyond over the ignorant and clownish phenomenon that is Donald Trump. To be honest, American politics is slowly becoming a sick joke that I can’t believe is our reality. And I’m left to wonder, where did it all go wrong?
It’s almost 2 months into 2016, and some of the trends that I hoped would phase out with the end of last year are still lingering around, and actually becoming more prominent. And that’s maddening. Well you read the list, and tell me if I’m alone in my thoughts here.
Look, I won’t attempt to beat what should be an obvious dead horse, but I will offer my two cents on the nonsense. While Beyoncé is not responsible for this debate, she has definitely brought about the resurgence of the conversation. A conversation that still baffles me is even taking place. It might be 2016, but some things apparently never get old.
Black Power, Black Lives matter, and similar pro-black sentiments, have never been created with an anti-white premise. They were created as an expression for black men and women to embrace and rally behind in the face of injustice and inequity. Injustice and inequity subtly, and sometimes overtly, perpetuated by the governing authorities of a given place and time in the U.S. When black lives were trampled, overlooked, and lost, it was movements sparked by the chants of “Black Power,” that showed this country and the world, that people of color are united in our demand for something better. That the unfortunate accepted norms, were no longer tolerable. And that our voices will be heard and change must be imminent.