The Next Time Some Newly Awakened Black Tells You Not To Vote…

It is the final stretch in an elec­tion cycle that tru­ly lives up to the old cliché’,” this is the most impor­tant elec­tion of our life­time.” As America teeters on the brink of dic­ta­tor­ship under the thumb of a wannabe strong­man, vot­ing takes on new and more urgent significance.
Speaking to African-Americans vot­ers who may be con­sid­er­ing not vot­ing, some per­son told you he or she was­n’t going to vote because they are get­ting noth­ing for their vote.
Stop and take stock of your life.
Your vote influ­ences every­thing you touch, the air you breathe, or whether you are allowed to con­tin­ue breathing.

The qual­i­ty of the food you eat, health­care, the goods and ser­vices you receive in your com­mu­ni­ties, the schools your chil­dren are allowed to attend.
Everything in our lives is touched and influ­enced by pol­i­tics. If your vote was not impor­tant, ask your­selves, why have they fought so hard to stop you from win­ning suf­frage? And now that so many have died to give it to you, why do you think Republicans are fight­ing so hard to take it away from you?
As I thought about writ­ing this arti­cle, I also thought that a pic­ture is worth a thou­sand words, so I decid­ed to show you some of the things Black peo­ple endured to get the right to vote.
If you do not care about what I have to say, I hope you care about what these images convey.

Selma civ­il rights march, the late John Lewis being beat­en by a white cop

There was much cause for cel­e­bra­tion with the pas­sage of the Voting Rights Act. However, the strug­gle was and is not over. (Kheel Center Archives.)

In 1919 Blacks were cor­nered and set upon by white thugs who mur­dered them. 1919 was par­tic­u­lar­ly dif­fi­cult for blacks in America.

This pho­to­graph by Warren Leffler shows African-American demon­stra­tors out­side the White House, with signs read­ing, “We demand the right to vote, every­where” and protest­ing police bru­tal­i­ty against civ­il rights demon­stra­tors in Selma, Alabama. On August 6, 1965, U.S…

Civil rights activists risked life and limb to change America; not much has changed since these images were first recorded.

They love to talk about Democracy. Where is Democracy? Voter sup­pres­sion has been around since the civ­il war to today.

Sadly noth­ing has changed, but the rest of the world must get to see what has real­ly been going on despite the pon­tif­i­cat­ing and bul­ly­ing of oth­er nations…

Young peo­ple stepped for­ward and offered them­selves up in the fight to win the right to vote.

They did not give you the right to vote, so why would you allow them to take it away from you? The right to vote was won with our ances­tor’s blood; you should defend it with that thought in mind. Worse yet, why would you sur­ren­der such a sacred, right?

The late John Lewis and count­less oth­ers were bru­tal­ized by thugs in uni­form then; Blacks are bru­tal­ized by thugs in uni­form now.

And oh by the way.……lest you forget…

If you are offend­ed by the imagery, do not blame me, I am only the mes­sen­ger; this is what they did to us…

It is still hap­pen­ing today.

This hap­pened in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as a crowd of sav­ages sali­vat­ed at killing a human being.

Fighting for vot­ing rights in the Jim Crow south

Those who went on before us did not give up; they fought, and they per­se­vered. You have no right to squan­der or mis­han­dle what they bled and died for…

Voting is a man­i­fes­ta­tion of self-auton­o­my, of cit­i­zen­ship, it as a vehi­cle to self-deter­mi­na­tion. When you decide not to vote, by default, you cede your right to self-deter­mi­na­tion and self-autonomy.
That means you give oth­ers the right to deter­mine every­thing for you, how your chil­dren’s schools are fund­ed, whether police are allowed to mur­der your chil­dren with­out con­se­quence, you give up the right to demand clean air, clean drink­ing water, and safe neighborhoods.
When you cede that author­i­ty to peo­ple who have fought tooth and nail for hun­dreds of years to keep you sub­ju­gat­ed, do you think that they will have a change of heart and sud­den­ly decide to stop oppress­ing you?
The next time some fool tells you not to vote, tell him or her where to go.

Mike Beckles is a for­mer police Detective cor­po­ral, busi­ness­man, free­lance writer, a black achiev­er hon­oree, and pub­lish­er of the blog mike​beck​les​.com. 
He’s also a con­trib­u­tor to sev­er­al websites.
You may sub­scribe to his blogs free of charge, or sub­scribe to his Youtube chan­nel @chatt-a-box, for the lat­est pod­cast, all free to you, of course.