by Deborah Mathis, BlackAmericaWeb.com
Word on the street is that the 18- to 29-year-old crowd is pretty much going to sit out the mid-term elections. Black voters who go to the polls in November are also expected to be slight in number.
That would be in keeping with historical trends. Two years after a presidential election, interest always wanes.
Usually, no more than 38 percent to 42 percent of registered voters show up to vote for local and state officials, members of Congress and, in 34 states, governor.
But, it is especially important that both young adults and black voters resist the temptation to skip the ritual on November 2.
The youth and the non-white votes were the ones that propelled Barack Obama into a history-making presidency. His name is not on the ballot this time, but he needs that base support just as much.
There are three important things at stake. One is the success and effectiveness of Obama’s presidency. When the opposition party takes over either chamber, it always makes it harder for the chief executive to get his ideas across and his programs through. It can be said that such is the nature – and purpose – of the two-party system.
But there’s more afoot than intramural function. Partisanship is so fierce and unforgiving these days that it is more than a thick, messy sludge; it has become concrete.
Nothing gets through. When the objective is make a man a failure, even his superb proposals will be dead on arrival.
In the 21 months that Obama has been in office, the GOP and the Tea Party activists they are bowing to have bedeviled the president with disrespect, lies, innuendo and exaggeration.
They routinely portray him as anti-American, fascist, anti-business, socialist, racist, incompetent and, in former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s words, a con man. Clearly, if they actually have the power of majority on their side, Obama faces only a tougher row.
Another thing at stake is the safety and prosperity of the American society.
As institutionalists, Republicans are pledged to protect collections of power – banks, insurance companies, big energy, the military industrial complex, etc.
The individual, while the ward of the Constitution, is less important; his or her rights are fungible, suspendable, even disposable.
It was their kind on the U.S. Supreme Court, for example, that continues to erode civil liberties while expanding corporate rights.
A power grab by such folks bodes horribly for those of us who love freedom, fair play, accountability and the square deal.
Finally, Obama’s re-electability is on the line. Should he be steamrolled and stymied by a mean-hearted, short-sighted and self-righteous band of marauders whose only goal is to grab and grow their own power for the enrichment of their friends and people like them, the president will have little to show for the remainder of his term and, come 2012, the people will kick him out, barring some astoundingly good turn of luck.
Obama has not produced the change that some of us had hoped for and anticipated, but considering the wreckage he walked in on, he has done a decent job in the short time he’s been in office and probably more than we can ever know, since it is impossible to measure what did not happen because of his decisions.
Take unemployment, for example. As terrible as it is, what would it be had there been no $787 billion stimulus package?
Back in April, USA Today surveyed 50 top economists who said there might have been more than 1 million more jobs lost without the stimulus.
Though speculative, their estimates are sobering, but the point is, we can never know for sure.
What is certain is that the president has more time and should be allowed to use it imparting and enacting his vision, not fending off cruel attacks on his motives, his ideology and his character.
Yet, that’s what a Republican majority offers and why it must be stopped.
They’re counting on us not showing up; they need us to not show up. I, for one, cannot give them that satisfaction.