By Victor Ochieng
Many church leaders have been urging voters to exercise their voting rights so as to elect leaders who will deliver to their aspirations. However, there are still so many eligible voters who opt not to cast their votes with no justification.
Is that a good idea? What are the consequences of not voting?
Let’s first look at what Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright had to say about the importance of voting. The man of God urged Americans to vote when he visited St. Luke on August 28, where he reminded voters of their responsibility as voters. Wright’s appeal, which was delivered in between sermons, came at a time when the U.S. presidential election was fast approaching.
He urged voters to go out and vote, giving an example of his uncle Thomas Henderson who ran for a legislative seat in Virginia back in 1959. The decision by Wright’s uncle to run for the position was well informed, although many people couldn’t see it that way at the onset. According to Wright, he knew very well that his uncle was going to lose and even asked him why he would put himself through such an embarrassment.
His uncle’s answer was very simple: He was running so as to inspire Black people to go out and vote, knowing that this could open a door that someone else would walk through even if it wasn’t him. Wright’s uncle knew that by going to the ballot and casting their votes, the Black community in Virginia would make a statement that would not only earn them respect, but also inspire other people to take the challenge.
Although Wright’s uncle performed dismally, his strong statement opened a door that would later see Lawrence Douglas Wilder elected the governor of Virginia, becoming the first ever African American governor.
It’s for that reason that Wright is asking Black people to come out in numbers and make their voices heard in this election.
Not voting has numerous consequences and one of them is ending up with leaders who don’t serve the respective interests of given demographics. Over the past two elections, the Black vote has become a notable voice. Obviously, that’s the reason why both leading presidential candidates in the 2016 elections are selling their agenda to the Black community. Should they come out and vote, they shall have given the incoming president a good reason to push for the African-American interest, knowing that failure to do so means losing the Black vote in the next polls.
November 8 is here, make sure you cast your vote.