During the past primary election in March, I provided professional outreach services to Republican governor candidate Bruce Rauner to meet and have dialogue with various sections of the Black community. My advocacy was controversial.
Chicago Sun-Times writer Michael Sneed called and asked if it were true. Sun-Times "columnist" (a term I use loosely) Neil Steinberg scolded and mocked me. I was talked about on Black talk radio station WVON, and the media attacks continue.
I guess I stepped out of the Black Box and challenged "take my vote for granted please Democrats" politics-as-usual in the Black community. In essence, I invited people to think about who they were voting for. I asked if the Black community is voting for a party or a specific candidate. And I also asked, by the way, what have the Democrats done for you lately?
So, now I am contemplating a new political party -- the Blackmocrats. I was having a political discussion with a couple of friends recently and brought up the subject. One friend suggested it be called the Cocoa Party (like the Tea Party).
The Democratic Party takes the Black vote for granted and lines up with the ministers as political ambassadors, while the business of the Black community is ignored. At the same time, there is very little Black political participation with the Republicans.
There is a big opportunity for Blacks in both parties, but the political tactic needs to change. The Black community needs to challenge both parties with an agenda. That is, to demonstrate the value of the economics of the vote, not just the religious and historical loyalty of the vote.
A Proposed Agenda
The economics of the vote would look at the quality of education; equal funding of schools; and the business of the community. Where is the commerce? Where are the businesses? What kinds of businesses are there in targeted zip codes? How many contracts were let to Black businesses from government? Were the laws of affirmative action enforced, waived or ignored?
How many African Americans are employed in government construction projects like the red line mass transit extension or the state highway projects? What is the quality of the jobs? Is the minority participation vertically and horizontally integrated from professional services to laborers to suppliers?
And, oh yes, what about the pension funds? When the worker retires, will he or she be able to capture full pension? What about taxes -- are your tax dollars being credited fully or are you getting redlined, discount services, discriminating, lower-quality services for your hard earned dollar?
The Blackmocratic Party would hold elected officials and other governmental office holders to their word by forcing them to show accountability and responsibility. There would be an annual report, much like a corporate annual report, to measure the year's activity. There would be a Black measurement, where the ruling prime force would be equality.
In other words, we would take a measured approach on what the politician delivered to your community. Did politician A deliver funds? Did politician B deliver jobs? Did politician C deliver contracts? What were the deliverables?
The Blackmocrats would look at politics as a business. The voting public hires a politician to run a state, county, city, or ward. Those people hired need an annual performance review. The business would be commerce as well as social service.
How many new businesses were established? Do the people with the businesses live in and hire from the neighborhood? What is the graduating success of the schools? What is the employment and unemployment rate in the zip code? What commerce does the politician bring to the community? What are the hires? What are the fires?
The Blackmocrats would hold all politicians accountable for their actions, from local alderman to U.S. senators. Blackmocrats would insist that all politicians list their cell phone numbers and not be allowed to change that number while they are in office.
Blackmocrats would vote for the type of business in their neighborhoods. In areas where the unemployment rate is over 10 percent, all new businesses would be mandated to hire residents from the community. The community would have to vote on the new business.
In other words, the new party of the Blackmocrats would consider a Black agenda and would function as a democracy. After the Black community was fully developed, with the unemployment rate falling to less than 10 percent, others would be allowed to join. If the Blackmocratic Party is successful, the idea would expand into other neighborhoods.
N'DIGO Publisher Hermene D. Hartman can be reached at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.