Controversy, Conscience and Choice
7 months ago
Stacey Dash was criticized for supporting Romney, but that's better than what many do--just not vote at all
Two nights ago, I attended a pre-screening of a new BET News series called “Second Coming? Will Black America Decide 2012” that airs on the network next Friday. The docu-series examines the years since the election of President Obama and how his Presidency has inspired or not inspired black communities around the country. In the first episode, a woman who lives in violence-plagued Chicago admits that she had not voted for 32 years prior to 2008 and, because of her disappointment about how violence in Chicago has been ignored, that she might not vote for another 32 years.
It is a statement that I have heard and written about before, but it was a statement that shocked me nonetheless. No matter how many times I hear it, it’s one of those things that I just can’t rationalize and it stings like a whip. I heard that statement a day after I watched a video of a pastor telling people not to vote for Barack Obama, heard stories about other pastors telling their congregations not to vote at all, and during a week when people were up in arms about Stacey Dash tweeting her support of Mitt Romney. While I’ve grouped all of these things together, not all of them are equally troubling. But I’ve noticed that people have been talking about them as if they are all the same.
What is utterly reprehensible and totally misguided is to tell anyone not to vote. Even if a pastor disagrees with a president’s personal position, that is never a reason to tell someone not to vote. The president has not made a policy about same sex marriage and yet a few pastors, upset with his personal opinion, have told their members not to vote on Election Day. Pastors making this statement are hurting the very communities that they are supposed to be helping. By not voting, you are not part of the decision making process about who will make laws and decisions that will ultimately affect you. You are giving away your own power and will be stuck dealing with the ramifications of not playing a part in your future.