Views from the 6: Election Edition

Q: Did your ancestors fight for you to vote or for you to have the choice? 

Ron: Both. Your rights inherently come with choices and responsibilities. Probably the greatest responsibility is exercising your right to vote. The vote is our primary vehicle to effect change and create the world we want to see. The people we do, or don't vote for champion and create laws and policies that effect our everyday lives. And if you really think about it, when you don't vote, you are taking away your own choices because you sat back and did nothing. Now you are stuck dealing with years of consequence unable to do anything about it.

Ryan: I would say probably both, to blanket a huge population of our ancestors with one of the answers or the other seems unfair. I’m sure some would say, I want you to have the choice on whether to vote but it’s hard for me to believe most wouldn’t want us following through on the civil right they put their life on the line for.

Gabe: Man straight up for the right to choose.  Voting is a result of choosing who you want to be in public office. During that time all they wanted was to be included in the process, and choose someone who they thought would fight for them.

Ben: I would like to think my ancestors fought for the choice. Free will was God's gift to Adam and Eve (mankind) so why couldn't we have the same thing; the right to vote but the choice to not. In my eyes if I were a man fighting for equality back then, I would not want anyone to be governed by oppression to another group or another man. I would want all men and women of any color to be free from oppression and live the real American dream; which is the choice to do whatever you choose inside the ("fair") law. The real answer is my ancestors fought for freedom. Whether we are talking about slavery, Jim Crow, or all the discriminating laws against blacks; we fought for a seat at the table. It was never the intention of blacks to gain control of America, we just wanted a seat at the table. Which means we wanted the same rights and freedom as our white counterparts. Free will.... The freedom of choice.

Will: Having a choice in any matter of life for Black folks is a blessing. Choices haven’t necessarily been plentiful for us when looking back at how we’ve been woven into the fabric of this great nation’s decorated history. Slavery, the Black Codes, Jim Crow and other discriminatory laws and practices all adversely affected our ancestors, and they had no choice in their implementation. The 15th amendment finally gave them the power to choose to vote. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 eliminated certain provisions in place to deny their choice to vote. And even though these melon farmers STILL are trying to disenfranchise and suppress our right to choose to vote, the fact of the matter is that we have a CHOICE. Free will to decide either way what we want to do. Understand that, if you choose not to vote, you are making the conscious effort not to participate in the civic process that many fought and died for. And if the country isn’t headed in the direction you’d like, you just gave up your right to complain about it.

Al: Both. At that time, I think our ancestors just wanted the right to vote. But as time has gone on, we have been shown how corrupt and messed up this country and government really is. This political game has become a money game. Money = Power. Not our votes.  - Al

Q: Was Hillary and Jay-Z's concert over the top to get the young black votes?

Ron: No. We've seen these types of collaborations used time and time again by politicians. Anyone complaining about Hillary and Jay Z just want to complain about Hillary and Jay Z. The concerts were an effort to raise awareness.

Ryan: Over the top? No. It was effective, I think it shows Hillary is trying to meet and reach us where we are. She isn’t demanding we adapt to her and come to a Town hall meeting, no she bought the message to us in an effective medium.

I attended the concert. As I was preparing for the concert I was taken back by the diversity in the crowd, I noticed a gang of older white women in front of me decked out in their Hillary gear and signs. I thought to myself, “why are they here? I’m sure they won’t enjoy this” and as the concert started I saw them gaze and marvel at the crowd, talk with other concert goers of different backgrounds, and react to Jay-Z lyrics. I saw them cringe when he cursed or said Nigga but I also saw them gleam and connect the dots on Jay’s influence when he spoke at length about respect (“U don’t know” had them beaming), I saw them bought to tears when Chance performed blessings, and I saw them poke their chest out when Beyoncé sung "Independent Women" and "Girls Run the World". I ultimately saw them connect with our culture, and it was amazing. I thought to myself this type of relating and connecting could never happen with a Trump program and it undoubtedly confirmed in my mind I made the right vote.

Gabe: Hell yea there concert was over the top. You might say, well president Obama did the same thing. In my opinion the entertainment world wanted that concert as much as Obama did just because they wanted him to win that much. They wanted change and they wanted to help and do there part. Now Hilary on the other hand is doing so to sort of look like she is with the times and look appealing to the young voters so they'll support her and vote.  We'll see if helps comes Nov. 8th.

Ben: From a fan of rap, I was thankful because the concert was good for the culture. Seeing guys like Jay Z, Big Sean and J Cole stand up and say get out and vote because it's important is really what these young black men need. To see black men they look up to taking the time and really talk about important things like voting was really cool to me. Also I know getting Jay and Beyoncé on the same stage at the same time AINT cheap. But from a young black voter perspective, I thought it was a little extreme but a good tactic. Sometimes we forget that this is a race ( hint presidential race) so there is a winner and a loser. Just like every race, preparation and tactics are needed to win. So I respect her for her all out sprint to the finish line as Cuyahoga county is a very important county to secure Ohio in the race today. Seeing Jay Z and Beyoncé in Cleveland wasn't enough to buy my vote but it did make me listen to the message and planted a seed in my head with voting only a few days after that concert.

Will: If seeing Beyoncé up close can inspire people to vote, maybe she should run for President in 2020 instead of Kanye. The gangsta-rap version of Hillary Clinton (affectionately known as Drillary Blinton) went into her Black Illuminati rolodex for last Friday’s show at the Wolstein Center in Cleveland, Ohio. Concert-goers stood in line for hours to witness JAY Z, Beyoncé, Chance The Rapper, Big Sean and J. Cole (or Sideshow Bob, I can’t quite tell them apart anymore.)The concert was a success, if the goal was to inspire the (mostly) young Black voters to turn out in droves. Hopefully, everyone flexing on social media about a free concert makes that same flex at the polls and exercises their civic responsibility. Don’t get in formation, vote!

Al: No I don’t think was over the top. To me, it’s a good strategy by Hillary. The majority of politicians have used this strategy to get votes for years. However, I’m curious if the concert really swayed “on the fence” voters to vote for her or people wanted to take advantage of a free concert.

Q: Even if the Republicans win, will they end up regretting nominating Trump?

Ron: Yes. We have seen this play out during the run up to election day. The nomination of Trump has divided the party and left multitudes of Republicans reeling. If Trump were to win, first I would be terrified, second I'm sure the majority of Republicans would be as well.

Ryan: In their minds NO, they will rationalize whatever he does as the right thing for whatever reason. They will make the Trump decision, the right decision no matter what happens good or bad if he wins. And that’s precisely what’s wrong with politics now, the parties (Democrats and Republicans) have divided the country into stubborn prideful assholes who always rep their parties even when they're wrong.

Gabe: Most definitely they'll regret it. It's the same thing as asking for something and getting it. Then realizing after that it was a bad choice. We seen that during the primaries when they wanted trump to drop out.

Ben: They already regret him now with over 40 prominent republicans taking back their endorsement but if he wins I don't see how they can stay mad. Each party has one job, get their representative in office. Once they are there, they can retain control of congress and get their agendas pushed. Whether republicans love or hate Trump, their goal will be fulfilled. Trump is like that ball hogger on your basketball team that is trash at basketball and you hate playing with him. Then in the championship game, he hits the game winning shot from full court and your team wins the championship. You still don't like him and he still is a ball hog but your team won the championship so it is what it is. I think that's how most republicans will be.

Will: It’s a real possibility that Roger Klotz from Doug might become the next leader of the free world. And it’s all the Grand Ol’ Party’s fault. There’s already been buyer’s remorse from Republican voters about nominating Donald Trump to represent their party at the polls. He’s an embarrassment to the democratic process and every time he opens his mouth, something ridiculous spews from it; he’s like a walking Hindenburg. If the Dems had a more universally likeable candidate whose husband didn’t get a midday neck dinner in the Oval Office, the Electoral College votes score would look the final score between the Harlem Globetrotters and the Washington Generals. As of today, the race is looking more like the last minute of the 4th quarter of game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals. Clinton got a ringing endorsement from LeBron, and the Dems are hoping she can chase down Trump from behind and pin his shit to the glass. No one wants Trump to win, not even his own party. Can you imagine the ego trip of this melon farmer if he gets to 270 votes first? He’ll have the most vulgar, self-absorbed, ego-maniacal inauguration speech of all time. He’ll probably steal parts of Obama’s previous speeches and Kanye West’s lyrics from “Can’t Tell Me Nothin.” All while the Republican Congress and Senate members are forced to watch in horror, eyes peeled open like that scene from A Clockwork Orange. A Trump in the White House, finally something you can’t blame Obama for.

Al: Yeah of course. The Republican party is a joke and them nominating Trump has really showed us how much of a joke they are. Outta all of them Republicans, they picked Trump. Smh. Makes no sense to me.

Q: Are you voting and why? 

Ron: Yes, because it is the right thing to do. If a close family member worked their entire life to build something and they left their life's work to you when they passed away, would you simply throw it in the trash? People were jailed, beaten and many lost their lives for this, we can't pass on the opportunity to vote.

Ryan: Yes and because I think it matters.

Gabe: Yes I'm going to vote, mainly due to my obligation as an American. Secondly, the things my ancestors had to endure getting the right to vote and also during the first times they did vote. I have had the opportunity to vote in the presidential election twice. Each time I walk into the voting booth elated with the fact I can vote without the problems of old.

Ben: No, I am not voting this year. I wasn't going to vote at all and my logic was the following: "These two nominees are trash bags and I'm holding my vote." Having talked with my mom and really understanding how important this race is, I changed my mind and now I want to vote. Of course I can't now since I didn't register and it's to late to register. No, I'm sorry I was wrong. I can't because my MOM didn't register me to vote. So if Trump wins, it's all your fault Mother! But in all seriousness, now that it's time to vote I wish I was registered. Not only do we have to stop Trump from getting into office, this year marks back to back presidencies where milestones are reached with the possibility of a woman president. We can push the envelope and make history again!

Will: Am I voting? Mighty personal question there. The short answer is no. The long answer is no, I’m a sit this one out and enjoy either outcome because this election has been a shit-show since the primaries. “Not voting for anyone is a vote for Trump!” That’s a clever little statement you came up with; too bad it’s filled with mathematical inaccuracy. Zero for one side doesn’t add 1 to the other, that’s like saying missing a free throw gives the other team a point. But whatevs, I’m not that good at math so we’re not going to argue it. I don’t agree with either candidate’s policies 100% enough to believe that either of them will really adhere to everything they say they’re going to do. It’s a cool idea Clinton has to make state college “affordable” for everyone, but you tell me how you’re going to force any higher education institution to lower their prices? Even if you threaten their federal funding, they’ll just ruin the lives of everyone employed by and attending that university by increasing their tuition and decreasing wages and scholarships. It’s got about as much swaying power to me as Trump’s Mexican wall idea. And I trust Trump like I trust those old white ladies working on the floor at Dillard’s who cut their eyes and clutch their pearls when I peruse the Polo section. So vote on, yall, and tell me how it goes for you. Maybe if there’s Kanye West/Michelle Obama ticket in 2020 I’ll get back to the polls.

Al: I’m definitely voting. (Bernie Sanders for President *inserts black power fist*) I am a strong proponent of voting at the state, county and local levels…that’s where your vote really matters.

Q: Does my vote really matter since we have the Electoral College?

Ron: Yes, because the electoral college votes are tied to the votes of the people. The votes of the people determine which candidate will receive the electoral college votes.

Ryan: Yes, the Electoral College for each state except two represents the popular vote of that state. I think the point of the Electoral College was to keep one faction of the United States from dominating the election by simply obtaining a majority number of people. So that would go beyond race in my opinion, initially I think smart guys feared they would be outnumbered by dumb guys so they put the system in place, but now it seems we just do it because it’s the way things were done since most of the time the popular vote wins the election anyways. We all know about the infamous time it didn’t.

Gabe: The electoral college is a farce!  We as a state vote and they still if they wanted to could swing which ever way that wanted. Historically the electoral college goes with the popular vote of the people.  I have a strong feeling this election could take a turn for the worse.

Ben: Yes, my vote counts. I think my vote counts. I hope my vote counts. LORD PLEASE LET MY VOTE COUNT. The vote goes toward an elector and then they vote for the candidate I support if they have enough votes from people like me. The system is flawed though because there is no constitutional rule that says the elector has to vote for the people's pick he was backed by. It seems like some type of buffoonery could get in the way and throw it off every once in a while. Bribery, fake agendas, anterior motives, etc. could happen and then the electoral for one nominee could turn into a electoral vote for the other nominee. We will see.

Al: Hell No. This is a group of individuals that most of us don’t know who the hell they are and none of us really don’t truly understand how the Electoral College really works. And we are supposed to trust them and this government. If our vote really mattered, popular votes would decide who the President is not the Electoral College. It’s outdated and it doesn’t belong in today’s time.  

Q: How would this country be without the two major parties?

Ron: That's a tough question. I don't know if I have the vision to answer it, as we've had the two party system since inception. Ideally I would like to believe we would be more united. But I don't think that is the case, I think it is in mans nature to have division and disagreements. My honest answer is probably not much different.

Ryan: We will soon find out. I believe with our generation, we will destroy the two major party system. We’re over the petty back and forth fighting. It's reached an ultimate high due to media influence. And I believe its bringing us to a breaking point.

Gabe: Better off!  This two party system brings competition and nothing good will come of it.  It makes both parties come with these egregious promises that will never be accomplished.  I do agree with Ryan to the effect that our generation or the next will hopefully do away with it.   

Ben: If the country didn't have two the major parties it would still have two major parties, just without a name. People will always agree and disagree on certain things just like the parties do now. So without the two major parties, I still believe there would be a party that opposes some things that republicans do and also a party that opposes some things that democrats do. "A spade is a spade regardless of if you call it that or not." Now there would probably be more parties because everybody may not agree with every one and since the two parties gives us a starting point on where we stand as citizens (without the two parties laying the framework) there would definitely be more than two parties fighting for presidency with a semi-strong backing.

Will: We need political parties, so that people have something to identify with and then argue about how much better their party is than the others. Without any dominant political parties, all these loonies running around will think the political ideology is best, and anarchy will ensue. The nation is better off with the GOP and Dems running the show because I’m sure the Independents, Libertarians and the Green Party would fuck this shit up even worse.

Al: F*** the two major parties. We need a viable third political party that is really for the people and really about changing this country. We have been conditioned to only consider the Democrats and Republicans for years. I think a third party would make candidates really work for our votes. But with the current system, we are forced to pick between two people….it’s divide and conquer method.