Hi everybody, the field would like just for once to keep it light with you, and blog about some nice stuff that goes down with him from time to time. But what's that line from the Godfather? " Every time I try to get out, they pull me back in..." or something like that.
So anyway, it's like this. Today I am heading to court and I literally run into this old colleague of mine. A certified dime piece, and head turner who the field hadn't seen in awhile. Girlfriend could probably play Halle Barry's sister in her next movie. Anyway, I had forgotten just how gorgeous she was, and the sight of her made the field realize just how beautiful life can be in these United States. Hey, the field can appreciate true beauty without having any nefarious intentions. Besides, it's not like she is Lark Voorhies or anything; but I digress. So the field makes some small talk with the Nubian, and not wanting to let the moment pass, asks her to lunch. She accepts, we coordinate our times, and the next thing you know, the field is having lunch with this beautiful Nubian in a Center City Philadelphia eatery and enjoying the view.
Well that's the good part. Now here is where it's not so good. We are making small talk, she is telling the field about her new love and her career, the field is telling her about his life, and career, as well as professional plans for the future. Somehow we get on the subject of the upcoming November elections, and I ask her who she will be voting for in the hot senate race between Bob Casey, Jr., and Rick Santorum that the entire country is watching this fall. And this is when girlfriend drops the; "field I don't vote" on me. Now all of a sudden, girlfriend is looking a lot more like Whoppie than Halle, and I am thinking to myself; did she just say that? So I ask her if she is serious, if she really means that she doesn't believe in voting. And she says yes, she says that no matter who is in power it won't effect how much she spends on a Coach bag, or a pair of Kate Spades. [Yes she really said that] Now I am taken totally by surprise. After all, we are not talking about some young kid fresh out of high school. We are talking about an individual who I am guessing, is in her mid thirties, who spent at least nineteen years of her life in school, and who is supposed to be pretty worldly and sophisticated. I ask her again if she is serious, and I tell her that as a lawyer she should no better. But no go, girlfriend is clearly not buying what the field is selling.
So I try another tactic, I try to explain to her that people died for that right. That black families were burned out, tortured and terrorized in the South before the federal government stepped in with laws like the "Force Act", the "1957 Civil Rights Act", and the "Voting Rights Act of 1965". to allow them to have a right that she now so casually dismisses. I tried to tell her about poll taxes and literacy tests, how white folks in the south lost their minds when we started exercising our rights to vote after Reconstruction. How that led to the rise of groups like the Klan, and the White Camellia, groups who used some serious terrorism to suppress black voter strength. How people like John Lewis from Georgia, literally got their skulls smashed in on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, by racist state troopers trying to break up a march for voter rights. How Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman were brutally murdered by the Klan during freedom summer in Philadelphia, Mississippi, for trying to register black folks to vote. I mean, I could have also told her about Fannie Lou Hamer, and the struggle of the other folks in places like Mississippi and Alabama. But what would be the point? She clearly was not interested. I wondered how many more like her there was? Black professionals, so caught up in themselves and their careers, that they never even took the time to register to vote, and exercise that right when the opportunity presented itself.
Finally, I did tell her, that even though she doesn't exercise it, black folks almost lost that right. As a matter of fact, if a bunch [80 to be exact] of GOP house members had their way, we probably would have. They didn't want the 1965 Voting Rights Act renewed, because they didn't like some of the language that dealt with bi lingual issues in Section 2 of the act. I could have, but didn't tell her about Republican Jack Kingston of Georgia expressing his frustrations with the act by saying: "If you want to move a poling place from a Baptist church to a Methodist church, you have to go through the justice department" You damn right you do Jack. Like what the f#%&? Do you really think we would leave voting rights up to the states again like pre 1965? I don't think so. As a matter of fact, I want your ass to tell the federal government if you even think about moving the damn poling place. Hey, didn't some lady named Barbara Arwine, the Director of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law say that a bi partisan commission found evidence of RECENT voting rights violations in Georgia, [Yes Jack, Georgia] Texas, and several other southern states. Sorry boys, I just don't trust you down there in the land of NASCAR, and sweet tea just yet.
So back to my lunch. I am telling girlfriend all this stuff-not all of it, cause if I did, no matter how great a company the field is, I suspect the head turner would have bailed on the field- and she is telling me, that I am making a little sense, but really, she has never voted, and she doesn't see how it would have changed her life if she did. But what about helping us black folks to be relevant? I ask her. I mean this is why both parties take black folks for granted now, because of attitudes like yours. I tell her to try to change her position and vote this year. I tell her to study up on all the candidates and make an informed pick. Of course I know it's going in one ear and out the other. Then I try another tact. Do you like George Bush I ask? She shrugs her shoulder, says he is alright. Well what if he didn't sign the Voting Rights Act into law? What if he had enough votes to block it from passage on the republican side and his veto could not have been over ridden? What if frat boy and the republicans was sick of only getting about 12% of the black vote every national election, and decided to do something about it? Do you realize that we would go back to the possibility of poll taxes, and literacy tests if individual states and not the federal government controlled the process? But then she hit me with one too. But field, she says, do you realize how ridiculous this all is? Like we have to get someone else es blessings to vote, I think the whole thing is crazy. What do you care I strike back, you don't vote anyway. Yeah, whatever field, she says, clearly annoyed, before she changes the subject.
Now girlfriend is sounding like the grown ups on those Charley Brown cartoons, cause the field ain't hearing a word she is saying. The field is thinking about what girlfriend just said, and the scary thing is, she is right. Someone had mentioned it on this blog earlier and I didn't pay it much attention. Of course that person is right too. Why do we even have to get someone else es permission to freely vote? Why do federal laws have to be passed to protect us from our own people? Yeah that's some messed up stuff. And the more I think about it, the more ironic all this crap is. Here I am telling girlfriend to vote to exercise her right in a free democracy, when the democracy is really kind of f%#&d up. I mean the President had to sign legislation that reauthorized my right to vote. Damn! But hey, I think to myself, it ain't gonna get better if we don't participate in it. So my black ass is going to keep voting, and I am going to encourage every other black person I know or meet to do the same thing.
The check comes, and girlfriend reaches for it. The field can't let her, I tell her I have it she insist on going dutch, I tell her no way. I lie and tell her I enjoyed her company, and the least I could do is get the check. She doesn't believe it, but she acquiesces to the field, thanks him for lunch, and is on her way. As she walks away, I start to think of Halle again.... ..I wonder if Halle votes? Nahhh, when you look like that, nothing is going to effect you unless you want it to.