As America prepares for the upcoming 2012 elections, President Barack Obama is not the only Black man that will seek to be elected or reelected into public office. I don’t know for sure but I would imagine that nearly every state in the United States has at least one or more Black political public servants.
If you think Barack Obama can do things to help America’s poor, exploited and oppressed then you should also believe that the African Americans currently serving as Mayors, Commissioners, Councilmen, Judges, Senators and Representatives can also do something to improve Black lives and Black communities.
One of the most important things that elected officials must do every year is to appropriate, or divide, taxes, fees and other monies collected by the government. The very best elected officials are those that bring the most money back to the cities, counties, states and communities that those elected officials represent.
The money can be in the form of government grants, government funded construction or capital outlay, private and public jobs and in the form of government contracts. Let’s assume that many of the people reading this editorial column live in a city where there are one or more Black elected officials. In the cities where they serve, a vote by a Black elected official carries as much weight, means as much and is equal in power to votes cast by any other elected officials.
White votes don’t carry more significance than Black votes, nor do Hispanic votes or votes by elected officials of any other race or creed. Now, let’s go back to the appropriations process. If all elected officials get votes, why are there fewer dollars appropriated to Black communities and Black districts than dollars appropriated to districts represented by other elected officials?
Do the Black elected officials demand that Black communities get equal considerations for appropriated government dollars? Or, are the black elected officials just happy to be in office?
Do they stand up and speak out and ask “Where is the Black communities share?” when appropriations are taking place or do they bow their heads and take what other elected officials tell them to take?
I don’t know.
Look around your neighborhood. Do you see construction going on or do you see liquor stores selling booze? Do you see shopping centers or do you see 7-11s and Minute Markets owned by people that don’t even live near a Black community? Most accomplishments by elected officials I know are of a symbolic nature, like holidays and commemorations. Very seldom can most Black elected officials talk about how they brought millions of dollars to the ‘hood!
Can we change what’s going on? Yes!
America’s Black Mayors, Black Commissioners and high ranking Black public servants like Black City Managers, Black Department Heads, Black City Attorneys and Black Staff Directors must seek to give more government contracts to Black vendors and businesses. You’re reading this column. You tell me who do you know that is not a construction contractor that is Black that has gotten a multi-million dollar contract from a local, state or federal government.
Governments buy commodities and some Blacks sell commodities. Governments buy advertising like tourism ads and anti-tobacco ads and there are Black ad agencies. Governments buy and sell property and there are Black real estate agents. Governments buy cars, trucks, furniture, street lights and other lighting products and guess what?
Blacks can sell those products too!
In 2012, it will be great to reelect the President and other Black candidates but it will be better to elect someone, regardless of their color, that will spend money with us and give us more and better opportunities to participate in government purchasing transactions.
(Buy Gantt’s book “Beast Too: Dead Man Writing” at any major book store and contact Lucius on Facebook or at www.allworldconsultants.net)