A political generational shift has shown itself and the establishment is going crazy. America finds itself in a season where anything establishment is viewed with the utmost contempt and scrutiny. This is also true as it pertains to endorsements. If the country picks its political champion by endorsement, Senator Sanders should quit now. As the campaign shifts from New Hampshire to Nevada and South Carolina, we see the endorsement game being played out for the black vote. As of this writing, Secretary Clinton had just received the endorsement of the Congressional Black Caucus PAC, while the Sanders campaign has received the endorsement of Harry Belafonte and Ben Jealous. And while I appreciate all involved, I was thoroughly surprised when Congressman John Lewis stated that unless he met you, you did not participate in the Civil Rights movement. I understand that endorsements by certain organizations can be very valuable as they can carry with them additional campaign support, including contributions, phone banks, volunteers, and boots on the ground.
I say all of that to point out that I really don’t make my political decisions on what someone else tells me. I am of the persuasion that you should take a hard look at the candidates’ stances. You review their record, listen for their passion points, and you try to see if there is consistency in their political worldview. Many of the political pundits, operatives and endorsees are given the task to try and think for you. You are expected to listen to them and to do what they say because they know best. They try to get you to accept their answer without debate.
I grew up in a time where a child was to be seen but not heard. I was sent to the kid’s table and expected to stay in my place. The people in my family had oversight over me, my siblings, and my cousins. We respected our elders and simply followed suit. And this is what I believe many in the political atmosphere believe: that there are those who speak for a particular group of individuals. Yes, the NAACP, National Action Network, the Congressional Black Caucus PAC, and others believe that they somehow speak for black people. Benjamin Dixon, radio host and leader in the Progressive Army points out that, “In reality there is no gatekeeper for blackness anymore. The black identity has been democratized and now it’s a competition instead of community leaders.” So, truly, there is no elder for African Americans to turn to in times like these. There are no Malcolms or Kings or Stokelys that we can trust in, who have shown through demonstration that we can stand with them for the betterment of our community, instead of the betterment of themselves. So just as the kid’s table does not fit us anymore, we must adjust and move to the adult table and have those debates and discussions as to who helps our community the most. It will require you to take a look at who best meets your political worldview, discuss your point of view with those that see the world like you and those who don’t, and then make an informed decision based on your criteria and not someone who could be getting a kickback to step up.
Yes, there is a generational shift that will make itself evidently clear as this process proceeds, and it is my hope that the endorsement that matters most to you is the one that came from within yourself.