Goodbye Aunt Sallyanne’s Social Security check!

Okay readers, if the above headline wasn’t enough to grab your attention, here’s one that appeared in a local newspaper that got mine, and perhaps yours:

“Just 11.1% of state’s registered voters chose to cast ballots in the presidentialprimary.”

Wait, 11.1 percent? Are you kidding me?

So what am I to conclude – and say – about those 88.9 registered percenters who were missing in action? I mean, if you are a person of color – a Black person in particular – I remind you that blood was spilled, and lives snuffed out for yourright to vote. Do the names Fannie Lou Hamer, Viola Liuzzo, John Lewis, Martin Luther King, Jr., Medgar Evers ring a bell with you? Okay, I’ll assume that you had legitimate reasons and will cut you some slack and let you off the hook.

But let’s step back from my anxiety and into a recent conversation I had with the publisher of a Tennessee -based newspaper during which we traded a few unprintable words to describe our frustrations with voter apathy and, more to the point, our issue with how so-called polls can be misleading.

Now what prompted my call to her was my suspicion about a particular poll and a few others that suggest a growing trend indicating that African Americans – men in particular – will cast their votes in large numbers for former president Trump in the November election. 

Said my friend, “In all my years on Earth as an African American woman, I’ve never once been polled about my voting preferences. Not once. So I have to ask myself who in heaven’s sake are they polling? I don’t know anyone among scores of family members, friends and business acquaintances, many of them Black, who have been polled.” Humm, as I think about it, me neither.

So what about these polls?

Well, based on my research, here are among the reasons from those polls as to why people don’t vote (maybe our 88.9 percenters among them):

They figure that their vote won’t matter.

They’re disgruntled with politics in general.

They simply forgot to vote.

They’re impatient with waiting in line to vote.

They don’t see how voting previously impacted them in any way.

They don’t see someone who “looks like them” running for office.

The voting station was located and too far away.

Now when it comes to voting patterns by African Americans, it’s disingenuous tobuy into any utter nonsense based on what you’re read that Black folks don’t voteand compared to other groups, are likely to sit out the next election.

And even more incredulous, if you want to drink the Kool Aide, is the belief that Black voters are planning in large numbers to vote for Trump – some, according to a Black senator from South Carolina, a failed candidate for president mind you, upward to 40%. If you believe that, I have a nice bridge in Brooklyn I can sell you, real cheap. 

Now the fact is that Black people not voting simply isn’t empirically true relative to other racial groups. But it is foolish not to consider the ways that Blacks havesystematically been denied the ability to vote. With the rolling back of the Voting Rights Act, and widespread voter suppression we saw ways that Black voters are targeted and discouraged to vote. So if we want to honestly address issues that impact voting by African Americans, we cannot sidestep these and other factors that impact voter turnout.

So are we seeing a racial realignment in national politics where Black folks are flocking in droves to former president Trump? Uh, uh, I don’t think so. Please don’t take the bait and jump onto the GOP bandwagon because according to credible – I repeat, credible – polls, that percent hovers around 7 to 9%, not some cockamamie 23 to 40% range those “sources,” among them those well-funded “wolves in sheep clothing” who look like us would have us believe.

Thus, if we peel back the onion, research points to the threat of a return to office by Trump, racism, white supremacy and economic uncertainty – not President Joe Biden’s age – are at the top of the list of concerns by Black voters. And if we layer in perceived attacks on Black women across the nation, single digit African American support for Trump is not far-fetched. 

At the end of the day, understand that including those who skipped the primaries,Black voters are smart enough to vote for candidates who have their best interestsin mind and know that their voting power can swing an election. They will come out in large numbers in November, believe me. 

Which takes us to a series of questions about the potential consequences of voting versus sitting out the next election.

First, which candidate would graciously accept the loss and hand over power to the winner versus the candidate who would likely deny the results?

Second, and heavens forbid, what happens if we experience another outbreak of COVID, the strain of which killed over a million Americans over the past four years? Who would you prefer to have at the helm in leading the response?

Third, which candidate would work to restore the right for women to choose, a right struck down recently by the United States Supreme Court?

Fourth, and most horrifying, which candidate would deliver on his promise to cut Uncle George Robert’s Medicare…… and Aunt Sallyanne’s Social Security check?

Terry Howard is an award-winning trainer, writer, and storyteller. He is a contributing writer with the Chattanooga News Chronicle, The American Diversity Report, The Douglas County Sentinel,, co-founder of the “26 Tiny Paint Brushes” writers guild, recipient of the 2019 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Award, and third place winner of the 2022 Georgia Press Award.


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