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CLINGMAN: Public and Public Officials are Stuck on Stupid

James Clingman | 10/23/2013, 3 p.m.
Why do we keep electing the same people to the same office year after year, putting them in charge of ...
James Clingman

In Cincinnati, voters passed a law that now allows council members to reign for four years instead of two years. That means voters will have to suffer twice as long under the ineptness, the self-interest and pompous attitudes of individual politicians, and the myriad of financial crises that now plague the city. That is, unless the voters elect folks who are not only concerned but competent, and candidates who have demonstrated their professional abilities and willingness to tackle and solve tough issues.

The ridiculousness of political engagement must stop, especially among Black people. We must be informed to the degree that no one can simply hand us a flyer with a list of candidates for whom we should blindly vote. We suffer the most from political incompetence and disregard, yet we are so loyal to those who do us wrong; we keep coming back to them the way an abused spouse keeps returning for more abuse. We keep electing folks who make empty promises and lay out nebulous solutions that, in the end, never benefit us. We keep listening to and believing political hacks that are only in the game for their own self-enrichment, as they lead us to the cliff and then step aside to allow us to plummet to the rocks below.

The Black electorate needs the most from politicians but obtains the least; our families are at the highest risk from do-nothing politicians; and we are the ones most affected by cuts, layoffs, pension fund reductions, and all the other negative aspects of political control. Don’t you want local and national politicians who are competent, solution-oriented, and have the “audacity” to buck the status quo to get things done?

Ultimately, despite politics as usual, our caveat is clear: We must “seek for ourselves,” as Richard Allen told Black folks back in the 1700s. As someone said, “A government big enough to give you everything you need is a government big enough to take everything you have.”

Wake up! Vote intelligently.

James Clingman, founder of the Greater Cincinnati African American Chamber of Commerce, is the nation’s most prolific writer on economic empowerment for Black people. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati and can be reached through his website, blackonomics.com.