There were so many giants in the Civil Rights Movement. So many who made so many sacrifices for Black folks to have the right to VOTE.
Fannie Lou Hamer is the one person that I admire the most. A sharecropper with a 6th grade education, she took on the State of Mississippi. She was jailed countless times. She opened her home to the young people of SNCC who came to Mississippi for Freedom Summer to register Blacks to vote and she never turned back.
She was an unlikely hero and ally to the Civil Rights Movement. She didn't have a fancy education or any stature in her community, but she had more guts than any man of the entire Civil Rights Movement.
She was the only woman beaten in jail like a man to the point that it impacted her health for the rest of of life.
The signing of the Voting Right Act of 1965 was a major milestone for sure, but it didn't change the patterns or fancy ways they continued to suppress voting among Blacks and the poor. Fannie Lou kept fighting! She was one of the giants who challenged the Democratic Party on the floor of the Democratic Convention in both 1964 and 1968. Of which her famous quote, "I'm tried of being sick and tried," has gone down in history. It wasn't just about the right to vote, but also the right to be included in the decision making of the Democratic Party.
When I began working in politics in 1982 I thought we had come a long way. That is until my first staff meeting at Operation PUSH where Rev. Jesse L. Jackson began to lay out the new and creative ways of Voter Oppression. For example, some states had it where a person had to register twice to vote once; in Up-State New York they wouldn't allow students to register in their college town for fear if they voted they would change the scale.
He forced the State Department to step in. He challenged the system. We registered over a million new voters across the South that summer. That voter registration campaign launched his candidacy for President and it was the first time Black America had seen a black man debate white men on national television and hold his own. It was history!
It was history in the making. His bid for presidency also challenged the Democratic Party to do better and be better, just like Fannie Lou Hamer. It was Jackson who challenged the delegate progress of the Democratic Party and ushered in one man, one vote. For example, prior to this rule, a candidate could win the majority of the popular vote in a primary, but still not win the most delegates for that state. This change in party rules of course, opened the door for Obama to win the Democratic nomination. Sometimes I sit back and shake my head at how people think we just got here. Obama didn't just get here. There were a lot of people who paved the way. We got here because other people did the WORK!
I watched as people with no understanding of history, so it seemed, declared that Jackson and men like him were obsolete. I watched as the good old fashion mechanism for voter registration and voter turnout were replaced with Twitter.
I watched in horror as my friends working in politics lost their jobs. There was a new day in Washington DC, a new and modern president and a new era and there was no need for us old timers, our voice or our analysis. We were to" black" and our ways of doing things were deemed obsolete.
I continued to watch in horror at all the joking and name calling in Social Media around the Tea Party. Yep, they let you call them names and they kept organizing. Organizing themselves better than any movement since the 80's.
Black folks are so freaking confused that it's scary. SCARYYYY!! The Democratic Party and Obama is in the fight for their life and all you can do is JOKE.
Let me be clear, all my close friends can tell you that I am a ABSOLUTE critic of President Obama and I consider both he and Michelle my friend. For Real. For me this ain't about friendship, this is about, a just society and a peaceful world for us all. Now don't be confused, as a black woman I will ALWAYS have a special interest, Bullshit ain't nothing! I don't care if the President is green, my interest must have a voice! While Obama and I differ on quite a few things, Paul Ryan is scary and borderline's on fascism. He is dangerous! Yes I know he's not running for President. But don't be confuse, he has a ton of influence in the Romey's camp. Some days I think he is running for President and not Romey.
The fact of the matter, the voting laws for the states have changed so much, you may get to the polls and not be able to even cast a vote.
You are so busy cracking jokes you ain't even bothered to check on your registration. So what you have your voter registration card in your wallet. That may mean little at the polls in November.
This is not just about the South, this is every STATE! For example, I live in Illinois. I moved one year ago. I changed my voter resignation to my new address and I have my card to prove it. BUT, I never changed my drivers license. Now that they have connected voter resignation to the DMV the two must match. My drivers license must match my voter resignation and NO you can't go back to the old polling place. The chances are, you have already been purged from the rolls. So now I have to go get a new drivers license, which cost, and make sure that my registration is connected to my new address by October 9th or I can't vote. Be clear, for poor people, students and seniors this is a hardship. Just working people, who has time to make it to the DMV after work before close?
So whatever you thought you understood about progress has been derailed by your arrogance. Arrogance that said, we have arrived because a black man is in the White House.
Yep Yep.... This election is going to be a MESSY, MESS! My advice to you is to first check your voter registration laws for your state and make sure you are in compliance. FORGET what you think! Find out the FACTS! You have 5 more days to make sure you can vote. Voter Resignation closes on October 9th, thats TUESDAY!
BET News has set up a page state by state of Voter Laws check them out Here. BET also set up a Twitter account you should follow them and begin to RT the information.
My suggestion is that in the next few days, use your Social Media tools, Twitter and Facebook to get this information out. You made the old timers obsolete, well now, make the new way work to your advantage. In fact, copy and paste BET's Link and put it on your Faceook page and Tweet it
As for me, I'm going to handle my business and change my ID on tomorrow, what are you going to do? Voter Suppression is Voter Oppression!