Thursday, December 20, 2007

Why Blacks Must Caucus on Jan. 3 in Iowa

From: Dana Boone

I’ve heard people say that they will begin pay more attention to the presidential candidates after the Iowa Caucuses on Jan. 3. But, the time to pay attention is now. The time to make a choice is now. Don’t leave such an important decision in the hands of others. Don’t wait to see what the crowd is doing. Set the trend. Research the candidates now and pick one. Then participate in the Iowa Caucuses on Jan 3 and make sure your vote counts.

I attended Barack Obama’s rally with Oprah Winfrey nearly two weeks ago. Prior to the event, I researched where Obama and the other candidates stood on the issues that are important to me as an African-American woman -- issues like health care, education, employment and justice. I went to the event with an open mind and I left convinced that Obama is the only smart choice.

I’ve heard some people doubt whether this country is ready for a black president. The fact is we need a leader who understands black America and has the desire and will to make things better not just for us, but especially for us.

I’ve heard people talk about the other candidates and I remember something that Claud Anderson, president of PowerNomics Corporation of America, said during the Ongoing Covenant with Black Iowa Summit in Waterloo last month.

Anderson said blacks must learn to elect officials "who speak for you first and foremost." He warned the audience against voting for candidates who can’t deliver something specific to them.

"Quid pro quo is politics," he said. "I vote you into office; you owe me."

Serious issues affect blacks all over the country and it is irresponsible of us to lend our support to any candidate whose campaign messages, speeches and ads don’t include something specific to improve our plight as blacks.

So I can’t wait to caucus on Jan. 3 for Obama because his proposals include specifics that will improve black neighborhoods and schools, among other things. Learn about it for yourself.

On Jan. 4, I don’t want to hear people say, “Oh, I should have.” Get the information you need now to make a decision and make your voice heard on Jan. 3.

6 comments:

SAO said...

Dana, I think this is absolutely right. So many average folks "talk" about change, but when the opportunity comes along, we don't always act. Black folks in Iowa have a very unique opportunity that most Americans do not have--I hope they take advantage of it--they are representing Black folks across the United States.

Keecia said...

Dana:

I completely agree; the time is now for African Americans in Iowa to act. They are in a unique position that no other African Americans are in…they can start the ball rolling for the states that elect Senator Obama-a vote for Change.
Senator Obama not only can bring back respect to the oval office but as a African American male living in America he has faced the same problems that other African Americans have faced daily. He understands what it means to be racially profiled, he under issues with civil rights. He is not only qualified to run this Country but he can specifically address the needs of African Americans because who he is, that’s who is wife and children are….We have to get out there and support Senator Obama- we should not be left with regret or I should have…the opportunity is upon African American voters in Iowa to effectuate change….For the 1st time in American history we can have the leader of the free world who looks like us and who will make policies that help us and not hurt us. Its amazing and the time to act is now.

sao said...

Keecia:

I agree with you. So often we're compromising. "Well, he's only so-so, but he's a brother." Or, "perhaps Clarence Thomas will 'change,' we should support his nomination because we don't know the next time we'll get any person of color."

There is no compromise here. Barack candidate is bright and well qualified. He is committed to our community, but he also symbolizes the next chapter in America.

rikyrah said...

For all Black Iowans reading this blog: PLEASE CAUCUS. There are many of us out here in the rest of the country who need for you to lead the way. We're willing to pick up the ball for Barack, but we need your help in Iowa first.

OCIII said...

Dana,

Great Points. One thing you said really sticks out for me, and hopefully for all voters. If we wait for the general election to think about the vote, we lose out on the opportunity to choose who we feel is best for "our" cause, and are left to vote between who "others" present as our options. Getting out to Caucus is imperative; it’s where we are given the opportunity to empower our options, yet far too often we leave that decision making ability on the table.
Oh and one other reaction to your point. I am supporting Barack not because I think it would be “cool” to have a black president nor am I anointing him as the 2nd coming of Kennedy or Lincoln; I support Barack because via his comparisons with the other Candidates, through hearing him speak and by reading and researching what I see as America’s problems and who best to work through them, Barack is the overwhelming best fit. Everything else is secondary.

sao said...

Every Black Iowan who doesn't caucus lets down 509 African Americans outside of Iowa.

To pick up on Rikyrah's point, which was started by Dana--some Black folks in Iowa don't understand the importance of the Iowa Caucuses in determining the president, and how much of a privilege it is to participate in the Caucuses.

Some people talk about the need to caucus because "black folk died to vote." I don't mean to diminish that, but black folk in Iowa should also caucus because there are about 25 million African Americans who live outside of Iowa who cannot caucus and start off the process.

Every Black Iowan 18 years and older represents about 509 other African Americans who live outside of Iowa and don't enjoy the privilege to start off the process.

I don't mean to sound preachy, and my point is not that all Black folks think the same. But Black folks in Iowa should not take for granted the right to caucus.