(ThyBlackMan.com) Doug Jones’ stunning victory over Roy Moore in the Senate race to replace Jeff Sessions was something special. Black political power returned to the stage in an impressive manner. In doing so, a message was delivered to the powers that be: we are no longer the floor mats for fringe, populism in the United States. Structural barriers to voting still remain in American society – felon disenfranchisement, absence of early voting, gerrymandering etc. – but the African American vote is not to be regarded lightly. Blacks will partner with others to secure a democracy for themselves and future generations.
Alabama is ground-zero for the take down of Trumpism!
Here are three takeaways from the Alabama Senate race.
It Restored Our Faith in Civic Engagement
What black Alabamians did was nothing short of miraculous. The cornerstone of the black emancipation movement since Reconstruction has been civic engagement: to address the powers that be and demand a piece of the pie, chief among which was the right to vote. From the work of abolitionists to common people to those of the professional class, suffrage was the path to full civic engagement. We have overcome a lot of barriers on the path to full civic involvement and we certainly have more rivers to cross – the assault on voter rights is just as real today as it was two hundred years ago.
Poll after poll has demonstrated sagging interest on the part of African Americans to get to the polls. Alabama was a palpable change of thinking and it could not have come at a better time, given the rise of Trumpism. To be sure, this was not just a victory for black Alabamians; this win has galvanized blacks across America!
It Silenced the Scoffers
The Pew Research Center recently reported that the Black voter turnout in the 2016 election declined for the first time in 20 years “falling to 59.6% in 2016 after reaching a record-high of 66.6% in 2012. Obviously, Barack Obama was at the center of that epic turnout. Since then, the ‘don’t vote’ rhetoric of segments in the black community (including prominent African Americans) has prevailed. What’s lost in such rhetoric is that a ‘non-vote’ is just as cataclysmic for progress as voting for the lesser of two evils.
They are ‘civic scoffers’ and this segment of the black community has grown more vociferous over the years; they scoff at the idea of civic participation by dismissing the validity of the ballot box; they urge others to stay home as a sort of protest. In the end, such an attitude of political disengagement only leaves blacks in the same place as before: nowhere.
In Alabama, black voters rejected such nonsense.
Rejuvenates the Power of the African American Vote
Pundits who could once underemphasize the power of our vote must now know we are a force to be reckoned with. A sleeping giant awakened in Alabama; it drowned out the voices of the scoffers; blacks voted in overwhelming voices and change was procured.
The naysayers among us will still have their opinion, but change nonetheless happened in Alabama due to several factors but one factor was decisive: numbers. More than ninety percent of African Americans voted for change that would work for as opposed to against them. This is where the power of our vote lies and this is what so many fought for with such a great price.
The coalition of voters who surged Jones to victory in Alabama was not, in my opinion, an electoral anomaly. It was, simply, a consortium of people who refused to remain silent in the face of open bigotry and reactionary politics.
From Alabama, the resistance continues!
Staff Writer; W. Eric Croomes
This talented brother is a holistic lifestyle exercise expert and founder and executive coach of Infinite Strategies LLC, a multi-level coaching firm that develops and executes strategies for fitness training, youth achievement and lifestyle management. Eric is an author, fitness professional, holistic life coach and motivational speaker.
In October 2015, Eric released Life’s A Gym: Seven Fitness Principles to Get the Best of Both, which shows readers how to use exercise to attract a feeling of wellness, success and freedom (Infinite Strategies Coaching LLC, 2015) – http://www.infinitestrategiescoaching.com.