Friday, April 6, 2012

Politics As Usual???

It was a nice day on Tuesday so I decided after my mid-day workout that I'd walk to Subway to get some lunch. As I was walking to Subway to grab a sammage I was approached by a woman that I initially thought was homeless (whoopsie) who handed me the flier below.

The woman then said to me "making history together" in a somewhat uninspired tone, thanked me, and walked away. My first impression of the flier was "why is this black man on the flier with the President?" Then I flipped it over and saw the following image:

If you can't make that out, on the left side it shows all the names that were on the Baltimore City primary ballot (Tuesday was primary voting day in Baltimore City) with Barack Obama's name checked along with C. Anthony Muse's. On the right side it lists the composition of the 112th Senate and highlights in red that there are zero black members in the U.S. Senate but that we make up 12% of "US Demographics" (I assume this means population).

It was at this point that I just shook my head, realizing that this was a blatant and obvious attempt to race-bait my vote. I got a little insulted by it actually. I was insulted because a flier like this assumes a few things like: 1) if I'm Black I support Barack Obama, 2) I will vote for any Black man "aligned" with Obama (and by "aligned" I mean Photoshopped onto a flier with him), and 3) THAT IT'S THAT EASY FOR YOU TO GET MY VOTE!!!

He may as well have just said on the flier: "You black, I'm black, Obama's black, vote for me!" That's what the flier boiled down to for me.

When you consider that there was no mention of what this man stands for, no one-liners about his platform, or even a website address for me to visit to learn more if I actually wanted to, what this says to me is that it's acceptable to go into a community and race-bait their votes because you assume they don't know any better way to pick their political candidates. And coming from a Black man running for a public position in the Obama era, that's pretty insulting to a person even if that person doesn't have a college degree, a white collar job, a mortgage to pay, or any of the other things we assume come with being "better-off" in this country. This flier actually made me NOT want to vote for him and to tell others to think a bit deeper about why they would vote for him.

Even with all that said, it's not C. Anthony Muse's fault that this kind of political tool is very well tried-and-proven in garnering the votes of poorer, less educated voters. It's just a "tool of the trade" I'm sure and it's up to US to hold our candidates to better measures than promotional materials like his. But by choosing to use it you're effectively saying "I don't expect any better from you than to see me and Obama and as a result, hand me your vote."

I can't wait for the day (if it ever comes) when ALL people will take the time to think deeply about who they're voting for and why on both the local and national levels. The assumption that you don't have to give me any information as to what you stand for on a flier or a website where I can learn more about what you stand for is insulting to me and those who actually put some real thought into who they vote for. And it's the main reason why I did't vote for someone like C. Anthony Muse (at least not in this election) even though I'm sure to him it's not insulting, it's just a means to an end or a "tool of the trade" and once he gets in office he gon' "look out" for us. Yeah, I'm sure that's exactly what's going to happen.


Lance Coleman said...

Coonery, if you ask me. I would've voted for Hillary over Obama if I thought she was better fit to run the country. I would hate for anyone to think that I voted for Obama because he was black. Maybe if it was the first time I voted and I really wasn't paying attention. But that was my 3rd time at the ballots, and by then I was feeling more like an independant adult. Which means who I was voting for was having more of a direct effect on my life for the next 4 years. So in no way would I ever vote for one person over another person based on race or gender.

But hey this type of coonery is what gets people that are ignorant of the power of politics out to vote for people that they have no idea of what they stand for. Who am I to hate?

Anonymous said...

This is an old trick of the trade that I'm sure works wonders in certain neighborhoods. I was just personally put off by it but I'm sure others won't care.

Lance Coleman said...

Yeah there's all types of trickery out there to get the votes/money of the naïve. I actually have a quick post I've been working on that kind of goes along with this but more so dealing with product naming.