Monday, November 3, 2008

Your Vote Does Matter!

Some years ago, there was a brilliant PBS Television mini-series called "Eyes On The Prize: America's Civil Rights Years 1954-1965." The series has a companion book that came along with it, filled with photographs and commentary about that period in American history and those heroic black people who took to the streets, got arrested, got beaten, and in some cases got killed trying to get equal rights and, more importantly, voting rights for blacks and all racial and ethnic minorities in this country.

I wish I had a copy of this book for all of those people who feel as though their vote doesn't matter. It certainly mattered to somebody. If your vote didn't matter, nobody would have been murdered to make sure that you were too scared to vote. If your vote didn't matter, then that travesty in Florida in the year 2000 would have never been attempted. Clearly your vote does matter... it matters a lot.

Photo #2: Medgar Evers Funeral

In particular, when I read about Mississippi and how hard they resisted voting rights for African-Americans. Much to my surprise, I learned that African-Americans actually out numbered whites in many of the counties in parts of Mississippi and, if allowed to vote, they could have voted all of those redneck sheriffs and the white "Citizen's Council" members out of power. This is why the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and the white "Citizen's Council" fought so hard, even resorting to murder, to run the large African-American population away from the polls. Your vote does matter... it mattered to somebody if they were willing to bomb churches, snatch three guys (Photo #1: Goodman, Chaney, and Schwerner) off the street and murder them, burn people's houses down, and assassinate two NAACP leaders (Photo #2: Medgar Evers and Photo #3: Vernon Dahmer).

Photo #3: Vernon Dahmer's Home Firebombed

As I leaf through this book and look at the photos of all those brave people... black and white, young and old... who risked their lives riding into foreign territory so that I could vote, it fills me with both pride and gratitude. I know that I wrote a post something like this before but, I can't stress enough how important it is that your voice be heard by tomorrow. I know that some people have already voted and I applaud them. I am most certainly going to vote tomorrow because I'm an American citizen, it's my right to vote, and it's the way to make my opinion heard. I can rage on and on on this blog and that's cool... but, my vote will most definitely make my opinion known and go toward exacting that change.

People are afraid of change. They are afraid of the masses of free people having some say in their government... that's why they fight so hard to crush any dissent. There is a fellow blogger now being held under virtual house arrest in Nigeria because he has dared challenge the position of that country's government. Here we are... able to assemble freely, vote, and blog... and some of us don't want to take advantage of that opportunity.

Vote tomorrow. Freedom ain't free. There are several people lying in their graves now who might still be alive and who gave their lives so that all of us could vote. If you don't do it for any other reason, do it for them. They gave so much and it's an insult to their memories not to vote.


SLC said...

Big brother Keith! You have a reputation on you other blog of providing art that grabs the attention of visitors to your site. Well at 12:46AM your choice of pictures grabbed my attention. Although they're not old enough to vote yet, I'd like for my wife to share this post, including these pictures, with some of her students that think Obama is cool but still miss the historical significance of his success and the implications it has on their future.
Thanks for the knowledge and the wake up call.


ZACK said...

In my case, my vote doesn't matter. As I wrote in post, "What Happens If You Don't Vote" - my grandparents died from illnesses, not registering people to vote. While they worked extremely hard for me to have my right to vote, I feel that my vote for Obama in 2004 is PROOF that I don't matter to anybody.

We've spent so much time on this election, while forgetting that black folks are suffering every day. It's amazing how every body wants to get you registered to vote, but will pass you by on the street if you are selling DVDs and batteries.

We all have been vote prostitutes. And politicians are the pimps who play us, and get what the want and leave the rubber as evidence.

No disrespect to you or your blog. I just feel different because I voted for Obama in 2004 with great hope that he'd change Illinois and America for the better. For some, he did. For others like me, he didn't.

For the first time in my 6 year voting career, I just can't pull the lever. I can't. Because I don't matter to Obama. And guess what, he knows that...

Constructive Feedback said...

Brother Keith:

In Atlanta last week a Black man was shot to death during a Drive By Shooting in which 200 BULLETS were fired into his house.

Could you tell me why I should be more concerned about the "Civil Rights murders" of 50 years ago more than the much greater amounts of murder of Black folks today?

Question - Can the wanton murder of a Black man by another Black man be considered a "Civil Rights" violation? What if "Stop Snitching" enforcement works to effectively suppress justice? Is this such a violation?

Keith said...

@Constructive Feedback- Not once did I mention who anyone should vote for...I said that people ,Black people especially should vote. They should vote for
politicians (and hold politicians
accountable)who will look after their economic interests and political interests as well. Combatting crime is one of those ills that should be addressed.
The civil rights murder of 50 years ago means a lot more to me than some crackhead getting shot over something that doesn't mean anything to me right now.
What would you have me tell people to do? Not Vote?/ Sit back and be apathetic? I want people to get involved, to do something, to say something about what is going on in their neighborhood, in their state and in their nation.
If you want to combat Black on Black crime and any crime for that
matter you have to do something.
If you don't vote, if you don't speak up, If you don't do anything, then you have no right to complain.

Shorty said...

Keith, I appreciate your post so much. We can't sit by and be complacent. The truth is we live in a horrible world, but it can be wonderful so much of the time. No, we can't change all of the crime and hate by voting in this one election. But for those people who think that complacency will solve anything....well, you people are just wrong! I don't know how else to say it. Yes, our leaders disappoint us at times, but we have to remain realistic that they can't make all things better for all people. Especially when apathy is what leads the constituency, not activism.

Don't be complacent, people. We can all do more with our actions and our voices. All of us. And if we all did...oh, what a different world we would have. That is what I believe. And, yes...I voted early!!! Praise God that I live in a place where a woman can do just that!

OG, The Original Glamazon said...

Yes this election is bigger than who you vote for, it’s about exercising your right to vote. For blacks it’s about being able to vote because it was not a right along with freedom that we had even though the rest of the country did.

537 votes decided the 2000 election as Harrison Ford put in the 5friends video I have posted on It’s a travesty not to vote to me because even if you go in that booth and write Ralph Nader in you still have voted for someone you believe in. That is what voting is about.

I hate that some think it’s just about supporting YOUR candidate, I have voted in so many elections where I didn't even have a candidate, because I don't want to squander my right to vote.

I had major issues with Gore in 2000 much like Zack has with Obama, but I voted. I really don't understand why so many Americans don't vote, when there are so many other countries where you aren't even allowed that right, Democracy is a special thing, a very special thing. I agree with you WHOLE heartedly Keith.


The Dreamy One said...

i amm not gonna lie to you that last pic stood out to me. that pissed me off to see those white men standing looking over at the charred remains of a black man.

i am gonna vote tomorrow you can count on that!!! it was never a question. and my vote better count!!!

James Perkins said...

Point well Taken Brother.

Simon Bastion said...

It's an important election and an even more momentious time in history..Good post.

Toni said...


Angie B. said...

"Barrack the Vote"

Sunflower said...

Good Post Keith...I just can't understand people who make excuses for not voting..Like you said, so many people gave up so much so that
our generation would have the right to vote.

Anonymous said...

I will be voting tomorrow.

The first time I saw Eyes on The Prize, I was in 10th grade. I think every child should watch it. I plan on buyin the DVD set once my son grows up. So we can watch it together.

Shanita Waters said...

Hi Brother Keith! That book and movie was excellent. I actually had the privilage of using the materials in an African American History class .
You are so right- Our vote is important and to say that it isn't is disrespectful to all of the blood, sweat and tears so many before us have shed so that we would have the right to vote. We only know about the stories of all of the hardships people suffered that made it to the mainstream media and textbooks. Think of the untold stories and struggles people went through for us. I am looking forward to seeing a lot of first time voters at the polls tomorrow. Many people now are following politics that were never interested before now that Obama is running. Even if he doesn't win (God forbid) think of how elections will never be the same again now that so many eyes and minds are open now.

Raven said...

Good morning! Great visuals to go along with this. Speaking to young people I get the feeling that they are so far removed from our history. I want to choke these kids when I hear "what does that have to do with me". This is important, but it seems like it goes over so many people's heads. I keep hearing excuses on why they won't vote,but I never hear them talk about what they did to address their own issue. Come on people! Do better!

PS I voted Friday!!!

Keith said...

@Constructive feedback-I realize that I didn't answer your question.
A lot of the crime and unemployment in the Black community today is a direct result of decades of policies of benign neglect. This is a direct result of apathetic Black masses not voting and allowing just any old candidate to get elected. Candidates won't respect you if they know you're not going to vote.

CurvyGurl said...

Amen, Keith! I'ma try my best not to do a full-out happy dance after I rock my vote, but who cares...a change is comin'!

@Zack - I'm sorry you feel this way. I can understand your doubts about effective goverment. There is a value in voting whether or not it's immediately apparent. Even though your family may not have been directly impacted by the struggles, take time to consider the countless people who laid down their lives to make sure we have the rights we take for granted now. Too much blood has been shed to take it lightly. I hope you will reconsider voting.

Keisha "Kitten" Isaacs said...

Hey Brother!

I'm NOT voting tomorrow...because I've ALREADY voted...Praise God....

The F$%K it List said...

Keith I am breaking my day of reflection for you only! Today is Black Solidarity day, a long forgotten tradition and this was the perfect post for the night before the election.

I'm sure you will enjoy my post for today as well.

Thanks for reminding those that don't vote, that its not a right its an obligation to our ancestors!

Keith said...

@ F$%K it List- I am honored..coming from you that is the highest compliment I could have gotten today..Thank you again.

Anonymous said...

Barrack da vote baby!!!!

Strongblkwmn said...

So, we did it and the voting's over. I just wanted to tell you that I appreciate your efforts to enlighten and educate.


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