Blind Party Loyalty
Recently a movement called BLExit was brought to the forefront by Candace Owens (a conservative black political figure). Because of her conservatism, many in the black community find issues with some of her beliefs and political allies. BLExit’s stated agenda is to remove the blind loyalty of many black communities to the Democratic Party. In regard to this agenda, a question arose for me. Should a movement be disregarded because I disagree with the messenger but not the stated purpose of the movement? Many have rejected the movement for reasons that are not a part of BLExit agenda. And I’d like to address some of these.
Yes, Candace Owens supports the Republican party and would be more than happy if black people left the DNC and voted GOP, but that is not the stated goal of the movement. An example I would compare it to is the gathering for the million-man march by Minister Farrakhan. If the people that attended the event all joined the Nation of Islam he would have been ecstatic, but the goal of the million-man march was not to convert people to NOI but to address issues in the black communities. I think we as black people should be able to separate our feelings about Candace Owens or any person’s politics and be able to weigh if the purpose of a movement is valid. Many of us supported the initial movement and reason for the movement of “Black Lives Matter,” but were able to disassociate the violence and our negative things. Why should it be different here? No matter a person’s thoughts on Candace Owens and her politics, we must and should consider if the black community that votes over eighty percent to the Democratic Party should reconsider its loyalty.
“The Democrats have been in Washington DC only because of the Negro vote. They have been down there four years. And their other legislation they want to bring up, they brought up and gotten it out of the way and now they bring up you! And know they bring up you! You put them first and they put you last. Cause you’re a chump. A political chump … and that party can’t keep the promises that it made to you during election times and you’re dumb enough to walk around continuing to identify yourself with that party. You’re not only a chump; you’re a traitor to your race.” – Malcolm X
I am from California—the San Francisco Bay area to be exact—aka DEMOCRAT LAND! I recently went home to visit family, and when we drove through Oakland it looked like a refugee tent city (near Jack London in Downtown Oakland). I was appalled and distraught by it, to be honest. Many minority groups have left my region already because it has become too expensive to live there. This is not a new problem. The problem has been going on for decades.
The classic model is “GOP for rich people and DNC for working class and poor people,” but why in my region have the middle to lower class people been forced to move further and further away from the jobs? Many people commute three hours to work (half of it is traffic but the other half is due to moving out of the immediate region). Why have politicians from the party of “the middle class” not addressed this in the past twenty years? Why is the downtown area of Oakland looking like a refugee camp? All of this has happened under my community’s loyalty to the Democratic Party. The issue of homeless people has always been an issue in my home region, but not to this degree.
Once again, I am not saying areas with GOP leadership are pioneering change. But if we as a people are voting over eighty percent in your favor for the last fifty years, I’d expect some focus on our community in return from Democrats. Why should we continue to be loyal when we are not a concern of theirs?
Similarly, but more seriously, Chicago’s murder rate has remained ridiculously high under the tenure of multiple local Democrats. Numerous reasons can be given as to why the numbers are so high, but the fact of the matter is that local officials have not been able to reduce the numbers. It started while Democrats were in local mayoral office, has been persistent with Democrats in local office, and continued while a Democratic President claimed to be from that region. It remains today.
It seems we often ignore the failures of the party we support and the progress of the party we dislike. For example, when I saw George W Bush appointed Condoleezza Rice to be the first female African-American Secretary of State, I was shocked. But she was not the first African-American to hold that position. That honor belonged to Colin Powell who was also appointed by George W Bush. In case one does not know the prominence of this position if a catastrophe or tragedy happened the person in this office is only three people away from becoming president. I know my people did not vote for this man or his party. As a matter of fact, we shun people that vote Republican in a majority of black communities. But, why hadn’t an African-American person achieved this level of political success before? Bill Clinton was president for eight years. We bestowed the label “the first black President” on Mr. Clinton out of our love and unwavering support for him. Seems we are more than willing to ignore blatant racist gestures from one side of the aisle, rather than demand respect from all.
Another example of this was Hilary Clinton carrying hot sauce around in her purse. If you truly believe this was not done to pander black votes by use of a stereotype, I vehemently disagree. But even if that is the case, I truly doubt a GOP candidate would be afforded that same exception. One may say, “well Hilary gets a pass because she hasn’t shown racist trends in the past.” That would be a bald-faced lie, no offense. She tripled the incarnation figures of black people in jail and is credited with the Three Strike law from the 90s (even Bernie Sanders spoke against the law and informed her what the result would be). She’s even called black youth “super-predators.” How many passes does one get? And is it the same for both sides? My intent is not to turn this into an anti-Hilary blog, but just to show that the Democratic party has not had the best record regarding our community.
If we are honest, the first black president did more politically for the LGBT community than he did for the black community. I do not even think this fact is up for debate. I will give one petty but clear example. Obama didn’t even make Martin Luther King Jr a Federal Holiday. It took Trump to do this. Other than Cornel West, no black leader dares speak up and comment on the lack of concern for the black community. One must conclude that when it is a non-black at the helm and a black guy at the helm, black issues are not a priority for the Democrat party. Why should Black people not exit and withdraw their loyalty?
I am not the one to the tell or suggest what party a person should vote, but I will say that each and every person should make parties and candidates prove they value you and not just your vote. A friend of mine recently stated that “Local Republicans haven’t given a shit. The DNC might only pretend but at least they perform the song and dance” as a reason that my community votes in the masses for the Democratic Party. I agree full heartedly, and eventually, we have to realize it’s just a dance and demand more for our vote.
As Malcolm X stated, continuing to be loyal to a party that has consistently failed to fulfill their promises is being a traitor to your race. You are selling out the leverage power of a voting block. It turns the issues we care about into a party’s façade for power. By no means am I saying blindly shift loyalty to another party. Rather let’s make a party—any party—take our issues seriously. If that means electing Third Party people to Congress or local state offices, then that is what it means. Being a pawn is not my specialty and I have no choice but to refuse the blind loyalty of the democratic party just to have kind words said to me and no action done to fulfill the promises. No matter the final shake out of the midterm elections, these are the reasons I support BLexit.