With 2008 shaping up to be the biggest political year ever, largely because of the anticipation that Senator Hillary Clinton
will seek the presidency, I believe many people will have difficulty reaching a decision about whether or not they will take part in the voting process. The re-election of George W. Bush, coupled with the voting fiasco of the 2000 and 2004 elections, forced many Americans to question the validity of the not only the voting process, but the candidates as well. Polls conducted by publications such as The Wall Street
Journal and Newsweek have clearly indicated an increasing disconnect between voters and the political process. While pundits expound on the reasons why this condition exists, I suspect the main reason for the steady decline in voter turnout is voter apathy. Furthermore, not only do they disregard the candidates, they also seem to feel the candidates have no direct link to themÃ¢Â?Â¦let alone understand them.
I’ve spoken with a number of residents throughout New York City, and this sentiment appears to have reached epidemic proportions. Based on what happened in 2004, and what has repeatedly happened in previous elections, large percentages do not plan to vote at all in 2008, and this will be extremely detrimental to communities across the country. Again, voter apathy will play a crucial role in creating this catastrophe.
In my interviews, young and old, employed and impoverished, believe that the people they put in office have abandoned them. Nothing has been done to improve their condition or plight. The elected officials often apply make-up to poverty-stricken areas by supporting the construction of alleged affordable housing, but there is nothing being done with regard to economic and cultural development that would allow them to continue living in the community. Others note that poor areas across the country will become nothing more than ghost towns, and that the few remaining residents will have to dodge the tumbleweeds to avoid getting whacked in the ass! “After the towns dry up, the big economic developers can swoop in like buzzards, claim the spoils, and begin to create their utopias,” exclaimed one Brooklyn resident.
Poor areas of New York City are always given the finger by big corporate executives, state legislators, and many of the elected officials chosen to represent them. Then, you get the blood-sucking politicians, who are hard up for votes during any given election year, coming around and talking about how much they need your vote. Here’s the word of the day folks, in reference to these vampires. Can you sayÃ¢Â?Â¦. pathetic?
The other thing that pisses me off to no end is when these “slimiticians” go to their constituents in the nicer neighborhoods and they forsake those in the poorer areas. You can always spot them in a crowd. They’re the ones with the Cheshire Cat grin, and they stare at you and hold your hand long enough to make it seem as though they really, really care. Is it any wonder why some voters just don’t give a damn?
I want to take this opportunity to issue a challenge to Senator Hillary Clinton, since many within the Democratic Party consider her the new savior. Actually, this is for any potential candidate for the presidency of the United States. Given the fact that your photo-ops always seem to take place in economically booming neighborhoods, why not campaign in Bed-Sty or Red Hook (Brooklyn)? I can’t recall one big named politician, Bush, Clinton, Gore, Nader, Edwards, or Kerry coming to visit residents in the Redfern Houses or the Hammel Houses, which are two of the poorest public housing sectors of New York City. I should know. I grew up in Redfern and covered these areas extensively as a journalist.
I guess the key questions to ask are why don’t they show up more often, and what message are they trying to send? Are their advisors telling them, “Don’t go there! They might bust a cap in your ass!” Well, if this is the case, the advisors, or anyone else that would criticize you for going to these areas, are a bunch of jackasses. Contrary to public opinion, white people can walk through a public housing development and not get their tails kicked. You have the troublemakers scattered about, but you have some very good people living in them as well. You have this in any neighborhood. If you want people in these areas to give you their vote, then you need to have the “testicular fortitude” or “steel-plated breasts” to visit them like anyone else. You should have enough respect to want to hear their concerns and see the devastation within their community. When all is said and done, isn’t that what a listening tour is all about?
Let me be clear. This is not a blatant attack against Senator Clinton or other potential 2008 presidential candidates. I’ll leave those asinine tactics to the punk asses in mainstream media. You hear me Bill O’Reilly? This is a plea for candidates to show some sense of humanity and respect for those who are not even living above the poverty line. This is about how you will reach out to them and what you will do to make them feel like they are part of the American mainstream. So, get out to these areas! Tell you what. I’ll get the ball rolling by meeting you at the Redfern Houses in Far Rockaway (NY). Have your people call my people. We’ll have a few laughs, talk about the times George W. Bush fell and busted his tail or mispronounced a word while in office, and share a root beer or two. I have no doubt that residents from Washington Heights to Far Rockaway would love to have you.