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Black voters are back in style … What are we going to do with it?

James Clingman | 4/1/2013, 5:19 a.m. | Updated on 4/1/2013, 1:45 p.m.
The push for the Black vote is on. Black folks are back in style. Black is beautiful – again. Since ...
James Clingman

Our American experience is unique. No other group has committed so much to, worked so hard for, fought and died in wars for America, and received so little in return. Other groups did not go through what we went through, and our right to play in the political game was bought and paid for hundreds of years ago. However, this is still, above all, a capitalistic society, and economics rules the day. If we take care of business in the economics arena, the political arena will be easy pickings.

Heed the words of T. Thomas Fortune, a journalist and co-founder of the National Negro Business League: “No people ever became great and prosperous by devoting their infant energies to politics. We were literally born into political responsibility before we had mastered the economic conditions which underlie these duties.”

His message is clear. We are not even in the political game because we do not use our political leverage to get what we say we need. All we get back from our “precious” votes is a good feeling, which could be characterized as having sex rather than making love. Black people are in love with our political party; and our party is just having sex with us.

We had better wake up from our infatuation with political parties, and understand that they only want us for one thing: our votes. Of course, they would also like our campaign donations, but we certainly aren’t trying to hear that. Black people must be more politically independent, and stop letting the talking heads and so-called leaders, both Black and White, steer us toward one party over the other. We will be more politically effective if we leverage our votes with those who espouse and support our interests. If we can’t do that then we should at least be present at both tables in large enough numbers to have a positive impact on each party’s agenda. Right now, the reference to Black people being made by either major party is related to our votes, not our progress.

Remember: In politics there are no permanent friends and no permanent enemies, just permanent interests.

Jim Clingman, founder of the Greater Cincinnati African American Chamber of Commerce, is the nation’s most prolific writer on economic empowerment for Black people. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati and can be reached through http://wwww.blackonomics.com.