Houston Forward Times

01 October 2013 Written by  Jeffrey L. Boney

Politicians: What are You Doing and Where Have You Been?!


No More Chicken, Fish, BBQ or Steak Dinners for our Vote

It’s that time again! Yard signs have infiltrated the neighborhoods, radio ads and appearances become more frequent, mailers are being sent in mass to registered voters. You guessed it, election season is upon us and every candidate is scurrying around trying to obtain votes so that you can put them or keep them in office.

Politicians have long been staples in our community; with a visit to a church here, a knock on a door there. They kiss our babies and shake our hands in order to get us out to the polls and vote, but when it comes to educating the Black community about key issues, many disappear.

Historically, many members of the Black community have treated elected officials like high-profile celebrities, looking to take a picture as if they were a Hollywood star, rather than the public servant that was elected to serve the people. The voters get out to vote and then there is very little reciprocity from those same elected officials.

Think about it for a moment, when it comes to accountability and asking many of the elected officials to educate and inform the Black community about key issues in matters concerning the Black community, many of them can’t be found until election time. Don’t make an assumption, but when was the last time your elected officials provided an educational forum about key issues or policies at the local, state or at the federal level?

Now you may have been invited to a fish fry, steak dinner or community social event, but the Black community has been short-changed when it comes to receiving substantive information from their elected officials; helping residents become and remain intelligent and informed voters and citizens.

The Black community deserves to be treated like a partner in this serious relationship; not a fling on the side, where the politicians whisper sweet nothings in their ear in order to get what they want; THE BLACK VOTE!
They make promises in order to get the Black vote, close the deal (get the vote) and then don’t hear from them anymore until they need you again. The Black community will not continue to fall for the okey-doke, over and over again, because they have begun to realize the impact that these elected officials have on their livelihood, as it relates to the school board, local, county, state and federal positions. They are moving away from seeking to remove someone out of office because they don’t like them, and are learning more about the political system, in order to make informed decisions. They are looking for engaged politicians that want to see them empowered and equipped, not uninformed and helpless. They are looking for politicians that want to educate the Black community on a consistent basis and not use the excuse that they are busy or can’t make it.

Elected officials are not paid Hollywood entertainers, they are public servants and many need to stop acting as if they are the latest, hot celebrity, and start acting like relevant informants and advocates for the people.

The same energy and efforts that these elected officials use to get elected or re-elected, should be the same energy they use when it comes to educating the Black community and responding to their constituents needs. Many people don’t understand the legal and political jargon, but it is the job of each elected official to help their constituents understand what things mean and how they will impact them, just like an interpreter is there to interpret differing languages. Elected officials must be the interpreter and must provide interpretation to the Black community and their constituents.

It was once stated that if you are a leader and no one is following you, you are just taking a walk. A lot of politicians are just taking a walk because they have nobody following their level of progression or growth. If the constituents of elected officials have not progressed, and are no more educated or advanced as a result of their leadership, you should start with their leadership and see if they are even trying to lead.

MAA WereReady