Former President Barack Obama returned to the campaign trail Tuesday, October 27th to drum up support for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, visiting the crucial battleground state of Florida, one week before the 2020 Presidential Race.
In Orlando, Obama said he left this country better than it was when he was elected. “It wasn’t perfect but it was better,” Obama tells all at a drive-in rally in Orlando, during which he will urge Florida voters to come up with a plan to cast their ballots early. Early voting here in the Empire State began Saturday, October 24th and lasts until Sunday, November 1st.
I have heard and seen many posts on Facebook with Black People talking about not voting, or complaining Joe Biden’s problematic debate answers and vision for black people. In January The Root.com article by Frederick Joseph points out how “Joe Biden Doesn’t Deserve Black People.” The article points out how he’s still yet to take accountability for his actions in his role as Senate Judiciary chair during the heinous treatment of Anita Hill while hearings took place in which she brought allegations of sexual harassment against then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. Joseph talks about how many Black People support Biden out of familiarity and fear, two of the three most powerful tools a politician has to win an election. The third, which is seldom used, is honesty.
During the Democratic Primary, most said Biden could not win because of his weakness among younger Democrats, which was in part the result of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s strength with that group. Others pointed to Biden’s support of the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, commonly known as the Crime Bill.
Before I go further lets keep it real about the 1994 Crime Bill. According to a 1994 Gallup survey, 58% of African-Americans supported the crime bill, compared to 49% of white Americans. Most Black mayors, who were grappling with a record wave of violent crime, did so as well. As he joined a delegation of mayors lobbying Congress to back the bill, Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke said, “We’re trying very hard to explain to Congress that this is a matter that needs bipartisan support.”
In a recent interview Rep. James Clyburn, a member of the House leadership and one of the most powerful African-American elected officials, reflected on the reasons for his vote in favor of the bill. “Crack cocaine was a scourge in the Black community,” he recalled. “They wanted it out of those communities, and they had gotten very tough on drugs. And that’s why yours truly, and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus, voted for that 1994 crime bill.”
As Yale law professor James Forman Jr. wrote in his much-cited 2017 book, Locking Up Our Own, “At the height of the [crack] epidemic, Black political and civic leaders often compared crack to the greatest evils that African Americans had ever suffered.” Writing twenty years earlier, another prominent African-American scholar, Harvard law professor Randall Kennedy, argued that “Blacks have suffered more from being left unprotected or under-protected by law enforcement authorities than from being mistreated as suspects or defendants”
Moving on, I shared the aforementioned to put things in perspective because while I do feel it led to the mass incarceration of Black and Brown People, it was what many Black Leaders and elected officials were calling for on the behalf of their constituents. Which goes to something BW has said all along, we have to be mindful of what we demand from our elected officials, but that’s an editorial and a conversation for another day.
Real Talk, I did not agree with Barack Obama on everything when he was president and I was very critical of him, but as he said Tuesday in Orlando, I do feel he left things better than he inherited them. Were things perfect, absolutely not, but they were better. Likewise I don’t feel Biden on everything, but do believe he will leave things better, as supposed to the current occupier of the White House who is leaving things worst than he inherited them. Just like everything else he inherited in his life.
When it comes to the 2020 Presidential Election, it’s not about choosing between the lesser of two evils as we like to say. It about who do we feel will lead and leave this country in better shape then they inherited it. We have to stop expecting any elected official to be perfect or to accomplish everything we want. Like they have a magic wand and will make everything we want to, go away. Having a Black President did not stop the killing of Black Men and the hands of law enforcement (Oscar Grant in 2009, Danroy ‘DJ’ Henry in 2010, Kenneth Chamberlain Sr in 2011, Trayvon Martin and Ramarley Graham in 2012, Eric Garner, Mike Brown, Akai Gurley, Tamir Rice all in 2014 and Freddie Grey, Walter Scott and Felix Kumi in 2015, Philando Castile and Alton Sterling in 2016, just to name a few) until his two terms from 2009 to 2017. Equally, Obama’s appointment of Eric Holder – an African-America – as the 82nd Attorney General of the United States from 2009 to 2015 did not stop police officers from escaping any punishment for these killings. Holder concluded, “Michael Brown’s death, though a tragedy, did not involve prosecutable conduct on the part of Officer Wilson.” Then we had Loretta Lynch, an African-American Woman, after Holder resigned.
So even though my president was Black, we were still killed by the police or in the case of the 5 Black Women who died in police custody in the month of June 2015 – Sandra Bland, Kindra Chapman, Joyce Curnell, Ralkina Jones and Raynette Turner here in Mount Vernon, NY. This isn’t about beating up the 44th President who Biden served under as Vice President, but to make a point. Yes the murder of Blacks were worst for blacks under Obama, things were better for us than under his successor, who has empowered white supremacy.
I’ve read all the reasons and heard all the excuses why many say they aren’t voting for Biden, it’s time for some REAL TALK!
This election even more than any other election, instead of choosing between the lesser of two evils, we need to choose who will make it better, NOT PERFECT, BUT BETTER. That is what’s on the ballot this year. The only people who think they would be better off with Trump in office another four years, other than the billionaires who received tax cuts are President Xi from China, President Putin from Russia, Kim Jong-un, North Korea, who get everything the want from Trump.
But as for the rest of us, can you actually, honestly say you are better off today then you were four years ago and you think you will be better off with four more years of a Trump Administration? If so then the choice is easy, vote for Trump.
But if you cannot say that, if you do not feel that way, the choice is also an easy one, you know what you have to do. This election is as much about voting against Trump as it is about voting for Biden. Although as far as I am concerned, the country will be much better off with a Biden/Harris Administration than four more years of a Trump/Pence Administration.
Biden may not be as progressive as many of you would like and again he or no other person will be perfect, but Biden will be better and that’s what this election is about.
The outcome of the presidential race will have profound impacts on our community. But, so too will countless down-ballot races. On November 3, we will elect District Attorneys who will make decisions about how to enforce laws in our communities. We will elect sheriffs – in some states -who run jails and make decisions about policies like solitary confinement and how to treat those who are incarcerated. We will elect mayors who will choose who leads our police departments. We will elect City Councilmembers who determine the budget size for local police departments and programs and services in our community. We will elect city, county and state judges in Westchester and some states who help determine who are charged with ensuring equal justice under law. We will elect State Senators and Assemblymembers and members of Congress and Senators.
Before I forget, I wanna give props to everyone in the nation who stood on long lines for early voting, so they know their vote will count and they don’t have to worry what shenanigans Trump is pulling with the postal service to delay the absentee ballots from getting in on time. I personally stood on line for 4 and 1/2 hours Monday morning in the cold and drizzling rain to get my vote in and I encourage everyone who can to go and vote early or take your absentee or mail in ballot to one of the early voting locations and turn it in to a poll worker.
Simply put, the ballot is an important vehicle to promoting accountability and addressing demands for criminal justice reform that have been at the heart of this year’s historic protests. Biden gets us closer to those things we claim we want, that we marched and protested for. I said closer, to be clear a vote for no one will get us everything we want. BUT THIS IS ABOUT WHO WILL BE BETTER, NOT PERFECT, BUT BETTER! That’s what these elections are about. That’s is why you should vote or at least not use not feeling a candidate 100% not to vote.
A lot of you have said I don’t vote because [insert your excuse here], well let me ask you how is that working out for you? Many of you did not vote because you didn’t like Hillary (I wasn’t a fan either) but can you tell me, have these past few years of Trump made the country better?
Who do you feel would be BETTER in getting us out of the COVID-19 Pandemic that has rocked our world. The dude who told us it would be gone by Easter and would die in the summer when it got hot? Told us we are turning a corner, who couldn’t even keep the White House, his wife and son, his staff or the Vice President staff safe? Personally I do not trust him to keep me safe, I don’t know about you. With his Super- Spreader Virus tour at the White House, that he is now taking around the country.
This is election is about who would be BETTER, NOT PERFECT, BUT BETTER!!! REAL TALK!!! Don’t let the PERFECT be the enemy of the GOOD!