The Election Process
On Tuesday, November 4, 2008, the United States presidential election will be upon us, with most of the nation planning to engage in a process that is viewed as an opportunity for the people of the United States to use their vote to choose the next leader of this republic and therein lies the key to this whole exercise.
The United States of America is a republic. That means that any and all votes cast by the populous do not translate directly into representing the interests of whomever cast the vote. It means that the voter chooses someone, acting on their behalf, to vote on matters and concerns that impact the voters or the electorate.
In the case of electing the president, remember, whomever gets the most electoral votes from the Electoral College, not the popular vote, wins the presidency. With this process, each state is allotted electors equal to the number of representatives of each state plus each states' two senators.
For instance, there are 13 representatives and 2 senators in New Jersey. That total equals 15 electors with 15 electoral votes. Each party selects its own method for choosing electors to the Electoral College. Ultimately, this process of voting results in a tally of votes that are read before both Houses of Congress.
The subject of voting, among Black folks (African Americans) here in the United States, is an extremely sensitive issue in our community. We all have been told of the horrors endured by our ancestors and relatives as they sought this basic citizen's right.
If anyone is unaware of what African Americans, as a group and as individuals, endured to become participants in this process, research the history of Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer and listen to her impassioned testimony as she addressed the Democratic Credentials Committee as a founding member of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, telling of the beatings and torment she suffered, questioning if indeed America, “... was the land of the free and the home of the brave?”, when those seeking to be treated as human beings are threatened with death for trying to register to vote, proclaiming her party's right to be seated in addition to the all White delegation sent to represent Mississippi at the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey in 1964.
For everyone who participates in the election process, I offer, as I am known to do, unsolicited advice. Please become part of the informed constituency. Participate by forming or joining a political action committee or PAC, composing a list of goals and issues you want addressed by any and all candidates seeking your vote and the votes of those within your PAC.
Recruit others with the similar desire for accountability from candidates into the PAC or as citizens in agreement with the goals and issues addressed by your PAC, with the object being to galvanize and energize the voting base with those interested in doing more than picking the lesser of the two evils, as is often lamented when an unfavorable and unexpected outcome occurs after that choice.
Insist that anyone that has succeeded in winning your vote make good on their word or promise to address the issues raised by the PAC. If the issues and concerns are not addressed, whomever did not keep their word must be revealed as having betrayed the people within the PAC's trust.
The urge to hang on to them may be great, making excuses for those candidates', now elected officials', disloyalty, but as happens with most bad relationships or alliances when they fail to be loyal to us, if their word, on more than one occasion, has been broken, as with those other cases of disloyalty, it's time to let that elected official or those officials go and move on.
Be prepared, through the political action committee, to inform other voters outside of the PAC of the promises made and broken by that elected official to your political action committee the next time that official is seeking reelection or another office. It should be known by all engaged in this process when someone seeking votes to represent his or her fellow citizens as a representative has not lived up to his or her word.
The United States of America is a republic and as such, one man, one vote, does not determine the lot of the citizenry. The supposed will of the people, is determined by those elected who, in turn, wield power on behalf of the citizens, through the use of laws written and enacted by those elected into office.
It has never been a wise decision for anyone to vote for a candidate because he or she looks good, speaks well, is personable, because they quote, unquote, look like 'us' or be impressed by their ability to fit in and kick it with the girls, the fellas or the homeys.
So, let's not behave like star struck worshippers of a cult of personality of the rich, the famous and the infamous.
Demand that any and all candidates who seek the power to govern prove their desire to serve you, the people, through their commitment to specified goals and issues, submitted to them by you, the people, before you give your vote to them to represent you.
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