(NNPA)—The midterm elections are over, the final numbers are in and they don’t look pretty if you’re a progressive. So, I am going to propose something our national African-American leaders should have suggested a long time ago: It’s time for us to switch. No, not to the Republican Party. That would be tantamount to drinking Jim Jones Kool-Aid (Young people, Google “Guyana Massacre”). It’s time to switch our emphasis from politics to economics.
I remember Al Sharpton, speaking at the 2004 Democratic convention, saying Blacks had decided to ride the (Democratic) donkey as far as it would take us. Well, Al, that donkey has taken us as far as we can go in politics, even into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Now, it’s time to park that old, tired pack animal on a farm and try a new mode of transportation.
Even when we have given it our best, politics have never delivered the expected results. I am old enough to remember how exuberant we were with the election of the first wave of Black big city mayors: Carl Stokes in Cleveland, Richard Hatcher in Gary, Ind., Ken Gibson in Newark and later, Tom Bradley in Los Angeles, Andrew Young in Atlanta and David Dinkins in New York. We saw Doug Wilder elected governor of Virginia, the cradle of the Confederacy. The outgoing governor of Massachusetts is another African American, Deval Patrick. In January, we will have not one, but two Blacks in the U.S. Senate (Cory Booker and Tim Scott), the largest African-American contingent ever in the upper chamber.
And the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), which bills itself as the conscience of Congress, has behaved as though it was unconscious the last six years, too afraid to even critique President Obama for fear of facing a backlash back in their home districts. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri, stated: “Well, I’m supposed to say he [Obama] doesn’t get a pass, but I’m not going to say that. Look, as the chair of the Black Caucus I’ve got to tell you, we are always hesitant to criticize the president. With 14 percent [Black] unemployment, if we had a White president we’d be marching around the White House.”