The Gantt Report
By Lucius Gantt
Go to the Paint If you, or someone, you care about is considering a run for an elected office, tell them to go hard in the paint!
Too many candidates of color believe the best path to victory is to skip down the white brick road like Dorothy skipped in “The Wizard of Oz”!
Don’t take my word for it. If you look at the campaign literature of all the candidates running for office in your neighborhood, the fliers, cards and direct mail pieces pretty much look the same.
Candidate literature looks the same because candidates are told who to spend money with. The writers, printers, mailers and other vendors change the candidates’ names to protect the innocent, so to speak, but the styles, shapes and slogans are basically the same.
You tell me, in local, state and federal districts that are predominately Black, for instance, why haven’t you seen more campaign pieces that talk about stopping voter suppression, about stopping law enforcement misconduct or using government money to pay for more and better affordable housing?
You don’t see much of that because the people candidates pay to advise them believe that Black political issues are unimportant, unnecessary and unworthy!
Election winners obviously get the most votes but what is the reason why most voter turnouts are low in some elections and not low in others?
After Barack Obama left office, voter turnouts have always been lower than when he was on the ballot.
Well, if you’ve read any of the Uncle Remus stories, you know Brer Fox used Tar Baby to trick and trap Brer Rabbit.
In modern day elections, the modern-day fox uses tar babies to turn out people to vote for the modern-day foxes and wolves.
Just like in every other political year, African Americans are the first to endorse candidates, the first to contribute to political campaigns, the first to volunteer to work on campaigns and African Americans are the last, if at all, to get political benefits or political campaign money.
In order to seriously compete for an elected office you have to go hard in the political paint.
No matter how hard you go on the playground, the tee-ball field or on the intramural basketball court, politics is like warfare. You have to fight for votes in your neighborhood and fight even harder in so-called, enemy territory.
The politicians you love have your addresses and emails but they won’t give you theirs. Their robo-callers can ring your phone number any day or night but will never answer your calls made to your representative.
Running for office is not for the weak and squeamish. You have to be hard and you have to work hard.
You have to be man or woman enough to say yes when it’s necessary and no when it’s appropriate.
Whenever legislation is discussed that is about Cuba, Cuban American elected officials jump up, when the Holocaust is mentioned Jews in office step forward. If you are a Black candidate that is afraid to rise up to support issues of importance to Black people, afraid to patronize Black businesses or are afraid to hire Black people in decision making and purchasing positions in your campaign, perhaps you shouldn’t run for office.
If you stay hard in the political paint, you won’t have to get hard