Ice Cube has caused quite the controversy this week. Though I can't entirely agree with him, I believe he’s trying to address a pressing need.
This sucks. I wish I could get mad at anyone for how they plan to vote, but I just can’t. There’s simply no right answer. There are positives and negatives to every choice that Black folk, and any other American, can make at the ballot box this year. Well, except for one choice, that is. Please, no matter who you are or where you’re reading this from, do not vote for Donald Trump. The man is beyond unhinged and is willing to get us all killed so that he can maintain his ‘strong-man’ moniker. He doesn’t give a damn if any of us or our loved ones catch COVID and die. Ice Cube has caught a ton of flak this week because of his willingness to give Trump a chance. As much as I disagree with him, I understand where he’s coming from. He believes that politicians that want Black votes should make a Contract with Black America (CWBA). I couldn’t agree more, but we can’t ignore who these politicians have proven to be throughout their lives.
The basic premise of Cube’s contract with Black America is that we should get something in return for our votes. This premise is hard to disagree with. In fact, I’ve written extensively about how I agree with that premise. In the modern-day, we’re mass incarcerated, not housed or educated fairly, the last hired and the first fired, and our women are twice as likely to die in childbirth. We very rarely vote Republican, and for good reason. However, the Democrats, and Joe Biden specifically, have contributed to our current state just as much as the Republicans have.
I’ve written about Biden’s record before, and it’s fairly common knowledge that his history as a former segregationist and mass incarcerator puts him at odds with the needs of Black Americans today. I’m outraged by his record, but I’m more infuriated by his arrogance. He shouldn’t feel so content about receiving our votes that he doesn’t propose solutions to the problems that he’s caused us. Solutions such as defunding police, slashing the prison population, and pledging to prosecute cops that kill unarmed Black people (via his Attorney General). Organizers and activists have been making these pleas for years, and Trump already accuses Biden of supporting some of them. It’s the least he could do to show us that he gives a damn about our material conditions and his remorse for his role in creating them.
Given everything that I just said, I understand where Ice Cube is coming from. Biden should feel the need to earn our votes, especially given his record. However, the notion that we’ll receive any serious support from a blatant white supremacist is completely absurd. Trump wants power, and he’ll sell us whatever snake oil that he needs to so far as he can receive the power he craves. This leaves us in a precarious predicament. Especially given that Biden thinks we ‘ain’t Black’ if we don’t vote for him. I believe that Ice Cube is on the right track with his CWBA, but he needs to be savvier about it.
The Democratic party feels that they own Black votes, and for good reason. We’ve propped their pitiful excuse of a party up for nearly sixty years now. We need to apply pressure on them from multiple fronts. With this end in mind, it would have been much more effective if Cube had unveiled his CWBA during the Democratic Primary. Over two dozen Democrats were vying for the nomination, and we would have had a much better chance at getting a ‘yes’ with more options to choose from. However, that’s behind us now, so let’s look forward.
Should Biden win, as it looks like he will, we need to continue our protests against systemic racism even after he’s inaugurated. We need to organize locally, as well. If you’re volunteering with a local organizing group for Get Out The Vote (GOTV) efforts, please stay engaged with them after election day. The real work begins after the election ends. My next suggestion will not be popular, but I am absolutely convinced that it is necessary. We need to support third parties.
We all know about the Green Party (which rocks) and the Libertarian Party (which sucks), but you may not have heard about the Movement for a Peoples’ Party (MPP). I am already involved with the thousands of people nationwide laying the groundwork for this movement. Before your blood pressure rises any higher, please allow me to explain. Creating a third party does not always have to have the goal of replacing one of the major parties. Throughout American history, third parties have been extremely successful at forcing major parties to adopt their policy platform. Also, this does not mean that you can’t support ANY Democratic candidates. It merely means that we will no longer be forced to place all of our eggs in one oppressive basket.
We have to force the Democratic Party to evolve or lose our support. We have to put fear in their hearts. We cannot allow them to stay complacent and assume that they have our support no matter what they do. This isn’t personal; it’s about liberation. Either the Democratic Party will support us beyond empty platitudes and insufficient representation politics, or they will be our enemy. We have to honor the words of brother Malcolm X, and ‘stop sweet talkin’ our oppressors. Tell them what we demand, and leave the ball in their court. Vote however you need to this November, but understand that our long road to freedom truly begins after the election is over.