“America is not the project of any one person. The single most powerful word in our democracy is the word ‘We.’ ‘We the People.’ ‘We shall overcome’ and ‘Yes, we can,”- President Obama
This past week has been an interesting one. The new Commander in Chief began his first week in office and began to implement a number of radical changes. Within 24 hours, he changed the White House website, removing pages that speak to LBGTQ, Climate Change, and Civil Rights. Next, his administration has already taken the following aggressive actions: removing (not reforming) the Health Care Act, moving forward with building walls, set in a motion an executive order for the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), declared war on Chicago, and he banned Muslims from 7 countries (even those with legal green cards). Even Flint water and environmental issues are going backward as opposed to forward. Through it all, 45 still has managed to take to twitter to troll like no one else can. Countless other things are being exposed daily. The new President has an agenda and it is going forth.
Water is wet.
I am not trying to be insensitive but it’s not like we didn’t know his agenda. At this juncture, there are some of us that are stuck in TV watching mode. As a people, many of us are feeling helpless or in a state of awe and “oh mys” and even “WTF.” Our participation has been much like watching The Apprentice: Just watching and waiting, commenting yet not fully engaged. For many of us, the reality of Donald Trump as President of the United States has yet to hit home…it’s simply entertainment.
If we were honest and admitted that we have been and remain in shock and awe, we might be able to move on to the next step of solving issues, which is responsibility. We must take responsibility for how we got here. As spectators, we are simply watching this three-ring circus as though there is nothing else on TV.
Just as we have power over ratings, we have power as a people. Trump has a full house behind him. How did we let this happen? Even if we impeach the Orange, we still have a full deck of cards to deal with. (Shout out to my House of Cards fans)
Challenging but not impossible.
Quick Civics Lesson:
Note that each branch requires a vote of at least 51 Senate members. Likewise, the branch that makes the laws is the Legislative branch. WE the PEOPLE elect these politicians directly. They work for us! There is no confusion or veil of an electoral college. As a matter of fact, if you take a look at the constitution, the 12th Amendment speaks to the election of the President. It states that in a case of a tie at the electoral vote level the next set of folks to vote is the House of Representatives.
“The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President.”
Conversely, we are the ones who elect and have a direct relationship to this branch. My question is: how did we ever lose sight of this power and control?
I can and possibly will get into more details about interest groups, but know this, interest groups are an essential organized set of people (not politicians per se) with a joint interest. They have membership (a collective group of people with a common interest), money (funds that correlate to said interest) and information (resources, laws…pretty much they do their homework). Their goal is to have legislation passed and implemented.
What does this have to do with Congress? Congress needs votes from large numbers of people (membership), money for re-election and information (resources and homework) to do their job which is to develop and pass legislation. They have one job and one job only, to serve the people.
As a community, we are the membership and we have tons of information. Likewise, we also have money. And please don’t fix your mouth to say we don’t. The buying power of the African-American community alone is expected to reach $1.2 + trillion this year, and $1.4 trillion by 2020, according to the University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth. FOLKS that is so much money combined that our spending power would make the 15th largest economy in the world in terms of Gross Domestic Product. Our combined economic power is the size of Mexico based on World Bank data. That is enough for several walls…. another post for another time.
The point is, we are the CEOs. It is time to boss up and demand changes. We do have the power.
I’m not asking for everyone to become politicians but requesting we get off our couches and stop being spectators and get engaged. Here are three quick things we can do:
- Let’s not reinvent the wheel but just maybe revitalize it! There are a fairly large amount of organizations that already exist that have experience in organizing people, raising capital and secured political relationships like the NAACP, Urban League, Churches, Fraternities and Sororities and Councils. I hear you: “these organizations are old, stuck in their ways, they don’t care about people, just their own agendas.” That may be true, but so is the fact they are well-known interest groups and they have survived and are accountable to the greater community. Change the narrative, get involved, challenge them and be heard. It’s about the “We” not the Me.
- Hold folks accountable. Let’s take a lesson from our Tea Party friends. The “state” we live in today was formed because of a seed planted many years ago. The Tea Party began as a local movement that stayed involved in local politics and made sure their elected officials heard them out. Those meetings turned into a movement, that movement became a party and now in 2017……..! Look at what their collective organizing had the power to do. It is imperative that we understand how this system works and hold folks accountable. When your garbage is not picked up do you send a letter to the President of the United States? As silly as that sounds, the majority of folks don’t know the name of their Mayor, Council person, Congressman/woman or Senator. Don’t get mislead folks. Unlearn the propaganda and relearn the system. Get started here.
- “I am” – Bruce Leroy Green the Last Dragon. Ok. I love the Last Dragon movie, particularly the end, when Leroy is challenged to realize that in all the searching he has done to find a master, he was in fact THE master all along. As a community we get stuck on depending on folks to save us. I am sure there is a correlation to slavery and master conditioning, but regardless, YOU are the master. Martin, Malcolm, Obama, Harriet, shoot even Jesus had a similar message. That was one of self worth and empowerment that will free the collective. As a body of people we need you, our future needs you and clearly this country and world needs you. We can no longer afford for you to stand by in shock. Boss up and let’s change things around.
“History shows that it does not matter who is in power or what revolutionary forces take over the government, those who have not learned to do for themselves and have to depend solely on others never obtain any more rights or privileges in the end than they had in the beginning.” – Carter G. Woodson,