By: Omowale Luthuli-Allen
Which of the ladies in the photo established citizenship by chain migration and who was born in Oakland, California, USA? Political power speaks to the power of who it can define. Who can define who is a citizen and who is not a citizen? The constitution requires a candidate for the Presidency and Vice Presidency to be born in the United States and 35 years old. It’s time to drop the “birther” conspiracies and focus on the real issues at hand.
Power is the ability to define a phenomenon and make it act in a desired manner. Politics is the gaining, maintaining and use of power for black well-being. Or political power can be used for acquiring necessary goods and services for poor people, native Americans, brown, red, white or people who are dwarfs.
Political power acquired by the VOTE and secured by the confidence of the American people determines our ability to secure our livelihoods, healthcare-insulin prescriptions, good housing and schools, continuation of Medicare and Medicaid and a timely direct deposit of Social Security checks. Politics determine whether a retention pool gets dug along Sims Bayou to prevent your house and hood from flooding.
Does your community have police protection? Quick responses to 911 distress calls? If not, perhaps your community is not sufficiently organized and voting intelligently. The mayor prepares and administers the budget. The budget is the political expression of goods and services to be delivered to neighborhoods. Have you checked to see what benefits your community should receive?
Houston, along with most big cities, has a strong mayoral form of government.
A short time ago, our ancestors had to pay a tax to vote or take a fake test that required you to tell how many jellybeans are in a jar or how many bubbles are in a bar of Ivory soap. Imagine your anger-rage at a registrar asking you to read a Chinese newspaper. Yes, you are correct, there is a reason that we were prohibited from learning to read or write and vote.
It is simply a falsehood that voting doesn’t matter. Although voting and political power has not closed the racial exclusion gap, it has improved incomes and opportunities for the boats stuck on the bottom.
President John F. Kennedy in 1960 won the presidency by 100,000 popular votes- 1 vote per percent. Kennedy believed that “a rising tide lifts all boats.”
Blacks and other racial minorities were citizens in 1960, but the unprecedented political participation led to happier faces and few wrinkles in our bellies.
John Lewis, Fannie Lou Hammer, Amanda Boynton and all our freedom fighters, WE LOVE YOU BACK!
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