Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Black Community: No More Chicken Dinners — We Need Policy.

December 28, 2015 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Politics, Weekly Columns

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( It happens every year.

Yard signs infiltrate our neighborhoods and litter our streets, placed by campaign operatives, hoping you not only familiarize yourself with their respective political candidate, but translate that familiarity into a cast vote for that candidate.

Familiarity tends to work, which is why it’s no secret that radio stations play the same songs over and over again. They want that song to grow on you, even if you don’t initially like it.

You often hear people complaining all the time about hearing the same song all the time, but very rarely does a song become popular after one or two listens.

Familiarity is the first step to a song becoming liked, and it is the reason why during election season, radio ads become more frequent, blackcommunityprint mailers get sent out in mass quantity to registered voters and television ads are placed during key shows on the network.

It is about familiarity.

One act of familiarity, as it relates to politics, that I’ve always disdained, has been the way political candidates use gimmicks to obtain votes from the Black community.

You know what I’m talking about – chicken dinners, barbecue cookouts, fish plates, steak days, gift cards, air conditioners for senior citizens, etc. All of these gimmicks have and continue to be used to get people to vote for a particular candidate, yet once they get the Black vote, we don’t hear from them again until … next election cycle.

It always fascinates me the way political candidates scurry around during election season trying to obtain votes so that they stay in elected office or get elected into office.

Politicians have long been staples in our community.

They visit a church here, do block walks and knock on a door there, kiss our babies, shake our hands and even give us stuff in order to get us out to the polls and vote.

However, when it comes to developing key, solid policy to help the Black community, many of those same candidates disappear, never to be heard from again … until next election cycle.

Historically, many members of the Black community have treated elected officials as if they are high-profile celebrities. Instead of talking to them about policy, many of us are looking to take a picture with them as if they are a Hollywood star rather than the public servant that was elected to serve the people.

You know the routine – voters get out to vote, and then there is very little reciprocity from those candidates once they become elected officials.

Think about it for a moment.

When it comes to developing solid policy for the Black community, where is the evidence that we have held elected officials accountable for their failure to do so? I am talking about the elected officials we continue to elect over and over again, yet they have done very little to educate, equip and inform the Black community about key issues in matters concerning them or developed any sound policy that has made a difference.

Written by Jeffrey L. Boney

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