We all know the sordid, violent history of this country as it relates to, well every aspect of life, but in particular racial issues. We as African Americans all know the stories of our ancestors fighting for freedom, fighting for education, fighting for good jobs, fighting for the right to vote. There are still people alive today who have lived through each era and can recount the challenges faced head on by many brave souls. Fast forward to 2004.
I don’t think there’s a young adult out there who doesn’t remember P Diddy’s Vote or Die campaign where he encouraged everyone, but especially young people, to vote and be heard. His campaign was successful, garnering over 2.6 million youth votes in favor of then Presidential Candidate John Kerry.
These points bring me to the subject of the latest debate over voting, this time being should we or should we not instead of can we and why not. I’m sure there are many out there who are supporting comments made by comedian D.L. Hughley during an interview with a Hartford, Connecticut radio station Hot 93.7 where he reportedly said “There are more black men in prison then there were ever slaves. And it’s silly to me that people don’t want to have a hand in their future.” His comments were made in reference to Lupe Fiasco shocking the country with statements made during an interview with CBS News.
“I don’t vote. No I don’t vote. I don’t get involved in politics. It’s meaningless. To be honest, If I’m going to say I stand behind this person and write on a piece of paper that says, ‘yeah I stand for this person,’ then I have to take responsibility for everything he does cause that’s just who I am as a human being. So politicians aren’t going to do that because I don’t want you to bomb some village in the middle of nowhere.” Said the rapper.
First of all, Lupe does have a valid point. Supporting someone says that you agree with them and their actions, whether or not they may be viewed as “good or bad.” His bravery in speaking out on a subject, and with an opinion, that many would have kept to themselves is commendable. He has every right to feel and think that way. That being said, I would think that he would understand that his stance on voting and why he doesn’t do it would apply to him and his fans as well. The people who support his music, young people mind you, listen to him and the things he says. They take it all in and act accordingly. My fear in all this is that he will play a part in reversing all the hard work that those who came before us have put in and lost lives for, for the sake of some misplaced ideology that you can wait until the right one comes along before you vote. That’s just not how it works and we don’t need our young people thinking that way.
It would behoove Lupe to encourage our young people to become more educated in the voting process and be more familiar with, not only the platforms of candidates, but the actions they have taken when they thought no one was looking. It is this sort of consciousness in the youth that will bring about the change in our political system that we all know needs to happen, not sitting out on the vote because some one you look up to told you it didn’t matter, and being totally unaware of where your future is headed. After all Lupe, it is the youth of right now who will determine how your golden years are spent. Think on that before you tell them not to vote.