Fear of a Black Voter

American history since the Emancipation Proclamation covers a lot of historical acts and actions, from the ending of the Civil War, Juneteenth, suffrage, the Industrial Revolution, world wars, and various civil rights movements.

The time also covers the growth of the military-industrial complex, miracle drugs and vaccinations, Jim Crow, the decline of unions, and the creation and advancement of the digital age.

America has transformed itself from a second-rate backwoods nation that relied upon enslaved labor to enrich its white-led government, citizens and white people the world over.

Enslaved people allowed white America to set up an exclusive system designed to benefit themselves, their heirs, and any and all future people who looked like them, regardless of skill, wealth, or class.

Conversely and insidiously, they also set up a system to exclude everyone else who did not or would not look, think, act, dress, live, study, work, marry, or identify like them from benefitting from the system they set up.

Oh, the framers did not mind the occasional “outlier” to be successful and enjoy the fruits off the tree of white privilege, no matter the race, gender, religious affiliation, or political affiliation. As long as the person or group did not attempt to take all the benefits and thus blur the line between the privileged and non-privileged, they were allowed to be successful, but with a short leash.

The non-white people who were allowed to reap the rewards like white people — think Jack Johnson — could remain successful and safe as long as they knew how long the leash was.

By and large though, the system was and is well-thought-out and set up with just enough checks and balances to prevent major upheavals to the social and racial order.

The best and strongest check and balance are the courts who arbitrate what can and cannot be allowed to disrupt the social order. Heavily relying on the seemingly benign “precedence” to force slow changes and minimal social disruption to white rule and systemic racism, the courts are the vanguard against real, fast change. The courts and all the systems that feed it — prosecutors, sheriffs, police, bail bondsmen, district attorneys, attorneys general, governors, senators, and presidents are all overwhelmingly white, male, and Christian.

Just like the framers wanted it to be.

The only true opportunity to disrupt the social order — for the benefit of all, instead of a select privileged few — are free and fair elections for all citizens.

More than any other change mechanism, whether civil war, desegregation, wealth, or taxes, the ability to vote is what will ultimately make America a first-rate democracy. Without free and fair elections, America is another in a long line of struggling democracies and societies that are easily destabilized by internal and external, foreign and domestic, forces that easily exploit the frayed edges of a democracy that is also frayed on the inside.

You read that right: America is not a first-rate democracy and never has been because it has never once in its history had free and fair elections for all citizens.

That doesn’t mean people cannot vote, of course, but it does mean that America and Americans accept the fact that a significant portion of the population cannot vote as easily as white people do.

And that is by design.

The framers never intended anyone other white men to vote. White, male, owners of property. That’s it.

Remember, that is “precedence” and “originalist.”

Your vote is tolerated as long as change is slow or nonexistent, and as long as white men and women get their way.

When white men begin not getting their way, then we begin to see massive movements to mobilize white rage and majority-race dominance to reassert power and control of society by attacking Black folks’ right to vote.

We have seen it time and again in cities and states since the end of slavery. Blacks vote and attain power and leadership and begin exercising the power of the offices they hold — before white citizens attack and kill leaders, burn cities, destroy voting locations, and then install their chosen leaders to “protect the interest of white people.”

There is example after example of white mobs refusing to obey the law and taking the law into their own armed hands and invalidating the will of the people. Many people do not know that there were Black senators, mayors, and other office holders in many Southern cities following the emancipation of the enslaved. But white people refused to be governed by Black people so eventually poll taxes, jellybean counting, redistricting, gerrymandering, Jim Crow, voter intimidation, and, of course, violence, laws, and precedence, were enacted which served to limit, restrict, and prevent Black voters from voting.

The tactics used to prevent Black people from voting are bookended with tactics to get more white people to vote. The tactics to prevent Black people from voting are as versatile as they are predictable, from fearmongering and lies such as “they will steal your jobs,” ”their dumb kids will ruin school for your smart and innocent white kids,” ”they are lazy welfare queens,” and “they will take your daughters and create mixed-race babies.”

The tactics to get more white people to vote include tactics that are tried and tested, including targeting white people’s racism as the number one driver and motivation to get white people to the polls.

Racism has been a winning strategy since the end of slavery in 1865. If and when white voters are whipped into a frenzy of fear, threats of integration, and even threats of benefits being extended to non-white people, those are enough to inspire record numbers of white voters to go to the polls.

Though there are plenty of examples throughout American history, we don’t have to go far to find examples of white-racism-fueled voting: The Klan, The Moral Majority, Tea Party, and Trump voters are all groups whose sole purpose for voting was and is based on racism.

And right now, we see the white rage being directed at critical race theory or CRT, as white people learn the acronym but not the meaning of what it means to teach the truth of who and what America is and how it came to be.

You don’t need to watch a special on white voters in cafes in Nebraska, or white voters talking about economic anxiety, or progressivism, to know the simple fact that fear of Black voters (i.e., racism) is the number-one motivator for the majority of white voters.

The fear is real and it is a destroyer of the myth of American global superiority. It is the elephant in the room and it is the obvious wound that is slowly killing its host.

The Senate’s refusal to pass the “For The People Act” is just the latest example of the white people in power refusing to facilitate free and fair elections. The Senate voted along party lines with every single Republican voting against the Act. Fifty Republicans think exactly the same: Black people will not have the same access to voting as we and our constituents do, and we will not even approve talking about it.

Those 50 senators represent only 21% of the country, while the Democrats who voted in favor of the Act, represent 43 million more Americans.

The minority can win and effect change, as long as that minority are white people who have laws, systems, and the courts on their side.

The backup plan is to eliminate the filibuster which has been used to prevent, delay, and derail the advancement of rights for Black people for over 100 years. The filibuster, as outlined in great detail by Twitter user and historian Kevin M. Kruse, has been used against — 

  • The civil rights bill of 1874.
  • Pensions for a Black official, 1906.
  • Anti-lynching, 1921, 1922, 1925, 1935, 1938.
  • Against a monument to Black World War I veterans, 1926.
  • Against racial discrimination in employment, 1945 and 1972.
  • Against Truman’s civil rights proposals, 1948, 1949, 1950.
  • Against housing discrimination, 1954.
  • Against civil rights, 1957, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1966, 1968, 1976, 1984.
  • Against extending voting rights, 1982.
  • Against Martin Luther King Day, 1983.

And here come the senators from Arizona and West Virginia, standing up for their racist colleagues from the near and far past. The more things change, the more they stay the same,  because that is what the framers and the racists want.

There is nothing that defines the weaknesses of America more than racism and the structure that supports it. It is known globally by friend and foe, and it is exploited globally by friend and foe.

America’s inability to address the ugliness of race-based voting restrictions prevent it from actually being a beacon for fledgling democracies and, instead, make it a mentor state to dictators, totalitarian and strong man regimes, and communist countries such as China.

The American media, educators and social and political scientists, have proven inept at challenging the status quo and have instead found themselves defenders, enablers, and co-dependent justifiers of restrictive voting access for Black voters, because most of them are white, male, conservative.

The Senate vote will be written about with the typical “both sides” angle typical of mass media who are first and foremost mouthpieces for the majority.

Fear of Black voters is the driving force for the lack of change and advancement in America. And until white voters understand that their priorities are not everyone’s priorities, and that their needs are not more important than anyone else’s needs, the sooner a better version of America can be realized.

Black voters are the number-one catalyst for change in America. And Black voters are the only voters who can say that every time we vote and win something, anything, everyone, including white people, benefit. Every time.

In fact, it is Black voters who benefit poor and middle class white voters when we get our way. Wealthy white voters have no care for poor and middle class white voters, other than using them as fodder for senseless protests at school boards and city councils who dare address racism, CRT, integration, free speech, or anything Black folk want that white folk do not.

But it is the poor and middle class white voters who are weaponized and whipped into fear because “the scary Black people are voting and when they vote, you lose.”

White voters are spoon-fed Opposite Day lies, and they have fallen for it over and over in small and large elections for over 100 years.

It is past time for the majority of white voters to wake up, but unfortunately, there aren’t any alarms sounding that can wake them from their slumber because they are simply too comfortable living in the dreamy, white, ethnostate they’ve created in their neighborhoods, churches, and homes.

And the people they elect know it.

They will literally attempt to overthrow the US government, ransack the historical Capitol, parade the Confederate flag there, and utterly trash the building that is supposed to represent the sober deliberation required and venerated in a mature democracy. They spread shit on the walls there.

Fear of Black voters — and that it means that Black voters not only vote but change election outcomes for our benefit — is the worst nightmare of the framers and of white supremacists in both parties.

When white people cannot own us, lord over us, patronize us, lecture us, order us, or force us, it means that the vision of white-ruled “democracy” crashes and burns in favor of a true representative democracy of, by, and for ALL the people, not only one group of people.

Until America and its white voters accept the true meaning of democracy and free and fair elections, America will continue be a democracy in peril.

There is no guarantee that any country, no matter the style of government, will succeed and last for hundreds or thousands of years. On the contrary, history has shown that governments that ignore the will of the people, that suppress significant portions of its population, and that refuses to learn from its own past, are governments with relatively short lifespans.

Republicans are working hard to limit the promise of America to only white voters who are loyal to the ideology of limited voting rights for everyone else, but specifically for Black Americans. If they succeed America loses.

Not the imaginary America that is whites-only but the real America, made up of people who are Black, brown, Asian, white, Christian, Muslim, atheist, Jewish, and all the genders and all actively utilizing the power of the vote to improve the country for all its citizens, not just an elite few.

© 2021 by Myron J. Clifton. All Rights Reserved. 

Myron J. Clifton is slightly older than fifty, lives in Sacramento, California, and is an avid Bay Area sports fan. He likes comic books, telling stories about his late mom to his beloved daughter Leah, and talking to his friends.  

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