Ask the average brother accross the country what’s going on this weekend and the first thing he’ll probably tell you is that the NFL’s playoffs are starting. Ask the same brother about what’s going on in New Hampshire this weekend and the odds are probably 70/30 he won’t know that not one, but two debates between Republican presidential candidates will take place over the next 48 hours.
But why should he care? He’s no Republican. He voted for Obama, after all.
That’s exactly the attitude that allowed the Tea Party to hijack the House of Representatives in 2010 and almost run our economy into the ground in 2011. It’s also the same attitude that could cause Obama to lose in 2012.
I’m sure most semi-conscious brothers plan on voting for Obama in 2012 and will follow through with it this coming November. But this election cycle is much more complicated than that. As soon as the shock of Obama’s win over John McCain wore off, the leaders of the Republican Party began to devise a plan to undermine his leadership and take back the White House. Days after the election, conservative mouthpiece Rush Limbaugh said “he hopes that Obama fails,” even at the risk of the entire country failing. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said it was his number one goal that “Obama be a one-term president.”
Then there’s the aforementioned 2010 mid-term elections. After sending Obama to the White House with control of both Houses of Congress, much of the Democratic base (including many African-Americans) fell asleep at the wheel and gave up many of the gains that were claimed two years prior. Not only did they take over the House of Representatives and nearly bring the country to the brink of oblivion, conservatives won key battles on the State level in many places.
In North Carolina, my home state, Republicans took over both houses of state legislature for the first time in over 100 years. And the results have been sobering. Not only did they withhold the extension of unemployment benefits, they also toyed with voting districts and passed a bill requiring all voters to have a state-issued ID. Our Democratic Governor Beverly Purdue has been doing everything within her power to stem the tide, but she has a tough fight from a Republican candidate with a huge backing.
North Carolina is not alone in this quandary. Wherever Republicans have taken power around the country, they have continued to push for tax cuts for the rich while going to war with the poor. They would love nothing more than for you to sit around on your couch, eating cheetos and texting your boys about football, while the real contest for the future of this country takes place.
Brothers, it’s our responsibility to know the political climate in which we are living and to act accordingly. We can’t just sit on the sidelines all year, run to the voting booth an hour before it closes and hope for the best. We have to be informed, and make sure that everyone knows how critical this election is. We need to make sure that we don’t wake up next January with a Republican-controlled Legislative and Executive Branch government.
So go ahead, enjoy the game. But just be sure that you don’t forget: the biggest game with the most at stake is right around the corner.