I’d always hoped that Black people took politics as serious as other races in years past. Then Barack Obama decided to make a serious run for the title of President of The United States and I noticed that there was a renewed energy among Blacks that had not been witnessed in my lifetime, at least not on a level I had witnessed personally. We’ve had other black candidates that have made a run for the powerful position; Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Shirley Chisholm, Moseley Braun and Alan Keyes to name a few. None were able to sustain and then gather the attention of not only Blacks, but other races as well, as President Obama was able to amass while making a run. At best, the candidates, before our current president, gained national recognition, but, outside of that, that was all they were able to gain from their campaign for whatever reason.
The renewed interest in politics for the majority of Blacks probably hit an all time high because of the strength of Obama’s message and quest to be the first Black president of the USA. The support grew outside of the Black community so much that, it was more realistic, not because of our support, but, surprisingly, the support of the other races, who, traditionally would support candidates who didn’t share our vision of who should lead us in this country (Unless, of course, they were a Democratic candidate in the general election).
I started to hear and see people who had no interest in politics, actually going out to vote and throw their support behind Barack Obama and I had only hoped that they were voting for him because he was the best candidate and not JUST because he was Black. But, then again, I had to just be satisfied that they were actually exercising their right to vote. So, in my mind, it was a great start. As long as they participated in the process, then we, as a race, would be better off because our voices would actually be heard AND future candidates will realize that they need to court us for our votes from the inception of the campaign, instead of looking to us last once they’ve locked down other factors and/or they NEED support from us to have a fighting chance in their political race. Now, politicians will take the Black vote as serious as the Jewish vote, the Asian vote, the Latino vote and every other factor that plays a prominent role in getting officials elected.
But, something recent has happened. Obama was re-elected and now, the interest is not there anymore. The excitement of first electing a Black man as president wore off, then the excitement of re-electing him has drifted once he won the second election. Now, knowing that Obama can’t run again, there doesn’t seem to be any passion or none anywhere near the passion that was running rampant during Obama’s initial presidential run. But, what people don’t realize is that there can be another Obama lurking in local elections that, if given the support, can generate another candidate that can be just as or even more electrifying as Barack Obama. But, it seems that since there isn’t another Black being mentioned in the next presidential election, people don’t seem to care anymore, pre- 2008 status.
Sadly, when it comes to the state of Blacks, as a whole, being passionately involved in elections, whether local or national, it looks like it’s back to politics as usual……