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The Ramey Guide To Elective Office For Men, Part 6 by Mike Ramey
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Great political quote from the late Harry Truman: “An honest public servant can’t become rich in politics. He can only attain greatness and satisfaction by service.” Keep in mind that Truman was one of those politicians that no one wanted as Vice President (just like Teddy Roosevelt). FDR died suddenly, and Truman became President. If you know your history, one of the things that happened on his watch; Israel became a nation, and the U.S. was the first nation to recognize this fact in 1948.
Men of color need to enter the arena of politics, not to be served…but to serve. History has a way of favoring the servant, and punishing the power hungry. Through service to others in society in general and political parties in particular, we can be the best ambassadors of our Christian faith, representatives of our race--and political views. The central question is: How far is a Man of color willing to go to get into the political arena and ‘mix it up’ to make the life chances better for his family AND our people?
Interesting fact of political life in the file of “Politics 101”: Those whom an individual registers to vote will likely vote for the party of that person. Why? Because--to that registering voter--the person who best represents their party, also represents the candidates OF that party. Thus, a man who smiles; is upbeat, knows what his party stands for, and carries himself well, is NOT going to have that much of a problem in registering people to vote.
‘Mean muggers’ don’t register a lot of voters. Further, neither do ‘texters’.
SOME HISTORICAL HONESTY:
Another interesting tidbit: A firm majority of Black people have ALWAYS been conservative. There are a LOT of what I call “After Dark Republicans” in our ranks. It is too bad that in some areas of the country the ‘assumption’ is that Blacks always vote Democrat. Sometimes, the GOP may get lazy because of this assumption. Thanks to President Trump, politicians are getting back to realizing that EVEY vote must be sought out and actively campaigned.
You do your own research in your own house among your elders and parents. We have LONG been against racism, homosexuality, abortion-on-demand, illegal immigration, socialism, high crime, and a whole lot of other things. We, as a people, have been Pro-Life, Pro-2nd Amendment, Pro-education, Pro-voucher, and a lot of other things, including Pro-church and Pro-Bible. Contrary to the liberal mainstream mess, there are more Black Republicans out there in the hood. They just don’t know that they are Republicans…but they DO know that they don‘t truck with the evil of our day.
Let me say this again; It is up to the GOP to go out there and campaign for their votes IN THE HOOD. If they don’t then they will wind up with more ‘sanctuary cities’ and back in the ranks of being a ‘minority party’.
What about us? Well, it’s time for us as a people to be honest. We have seen a generation of Black politicians come and go from public office, many of them with a “D” next to their names. They started out good, but have not kept up the pace in supporting the attitudes of the Black folks who put them there. In short, these ‘old pols’ as I call them, have been more loyal to the agenda (to keep them IN power) rather than the will of the electorate. In the words of a lyric from a Stevie Wonder song from back in the day: “They haven’t done NOTHING!”
Part of blunting the will of the people? Convince them that they can’t change their lot in life. Toss racism around like a towel. Dissuade them from challenging them at the polls. Convince men of color that they can’t ‘change’ the system, so they may as well get used to the ‘new normal’ of victimhood. Lastly, don’t listen to the will of the people.
Here’s an observation. In my home city, there was a big hoopla put on by our Mayor (a Democrat) about having a summer jobs program for at-risk youth to supposedly keep them ‘out’ of trouble. Another service provided by grants and the government. In reality? IF the crime rates were brought down in certain areas of my city, businesses would move IN and these same, so called ‘at risk’ youth could find jobs in their neighborhoods WITHOUT ‘help’ (or, as the old folks used to say ‘hep’) from the government.
In fact, some of them might EVEN get the gumption to create their OWN jobs and HIRE some of their classmates.
Folks, In a full employment economy (4% or less unemployment) jobs are easy to find (unless someone isn’t looking too hard). However, those who want to make the next step into job creation and open their own businesses NEED the tools during this time to become economic supporters and helpers of their people. NOT waiting for government help.
Men of color are going to have to get back to getting angry at and forsaking sin, and putting out low achieving politicians.
It’s time for US to get back to cleaning political house!
Get out the brooms, baby. Stop letting them ‘rest’ in the corner and get them out and USE them by sweeping out low-functioning and low-performing Black politicians.
Read the Declaration of Independence. What ARE we supposed to do when government no longer responds to the will of the people? That’s right. Kick ‘da bums OUT!
A TALE FROM MY COLLEGE DAYS:
I had both some very positive--and negative--political lessons during my time in high school and college. My college experiences serve as the best place to start. During my college days, dormitory students had to pay ‘dorm fees’. A portion of those fees went to the Dormitory Council. Thus, if a dorm wanted to sponsor an event, they had to; a) have representation on the council, and; b) be able to fill out the paperwork and satisfy the Funding Director to secure the monies needed to sponsor the event, by having the approval of the entire Council.
This was my first, real brush with a political machine.
Since I didn’t think it was fair that our dorm kept paying money in, and NOT getting the benefits of it back in the form of events we wanted to sponsor, I went to my typewriter, and called the Council out, via the Campus Newspaper.
Oh, they didn’t like that! Power does not want to be confronted by anyone!
Since I went to a state college--and the college was predominantly white--it would stand to reason that the Council leadership was predominantly white. This was back in the ‘love and happiness seventies’, just to give you a time reference. We Blacks had won our Civil Rights…and I aimed to exercise them…and collect!
I had grown up in both an urban setting and a suburban setting…so I had plenty of exposure in Black and White. To sum it up about white people, I use the analogy of, and paraphrase the sage of the spoken and written word, Tony Brown: “There’s nothing special about white people if you have been around them for a period of time. You quickly discover that they are not that mysterious. Most of them are average, there are a few geniuses…and a liberal sprinkling of fools!”
Council leadership requested a sit down with me. They admitted that I was right, but also invited me to fix the problem by joining the Council as (tah-dah) Funding Director. Since I was an Accounting Major during a part of my college career, keeping books, checking figures and keeping paperwork were not uncommon. However, I quickly discovered that the powers-that-be had set up a minefield through which they expect me to walk. I was NOT told that “Roberts Rules of Order” was their rule book, nor did I take the time to read their constitution and bylaws.
Thus, I could not make much headway during my first term in office.
FRUSTRATION LEVELS AND THEN--DOING MY HOMEWORK:
Please keep in mind that these were my before Christ, or, pre-salvation days. Had I known then, WHO I know now...but, let me continue with my story.
Anyway, my frustration level was high at the end of my first term, and I considered resigning. I went home to lick my wounds, wondering how I could make some real headway for my dorm mates during my second term. Instead of quitting the Council (which is something the Council higher ups wanted), I focused my anger on something positive. I was blessed to get in touch with a Black woman who was a master Parliamentarian in my home city. Thanks to her, I spent the summer learning Parliamentary Law and Roberts Rules of Order.
I came back in the fall tan, rested and ready for the battle AND doing my job the right, legal way. It was a simple matter of knowing the rules, reading the Council constitution, by-laws and rules and ‘working smarter’ instead of harder. Plus, I had secured my dorm’s Council vote--as a dorm representative, thus making me a ‘double threat’ to the powers that be.
I got so good at P-Law that I even managed to ‘shut down’ the Council Parliamentarian, who soon learned that he had better have his Roberts Rules at the meetings! I had mine, and was NOT willing to share!
After a few weeks, the Council leadership got the clue. Funding requests for ALL student dormitory groups were going to be handled differently from then on, and BY the rule book. Even the campus organization for gay students, which had members in the dorms, requested--and got--funding from the Dormitory council, a first for them.
Guess who was the one who signed off on the request and recommended approval? That little old Funding Director…me!
A setback, was a set-up for a comeback! It wasn’t a racial thing…it was a knowledge thing. Men of color need to KNOW the difference between the two…and exercise their strengths accordingly. There IS a time and place and way in which to stand your ground. To pin a footnote on this story, I found out that there was a course in Parliamentary Law offered as part of the courses offered by the university. It was taught by one of my favorite professors. It was an elective.
I took that course and aced it thanks to the training that I had already received!
I would advise ANY man seeking public office to take such a course; also courses on public speaking and debate. These are the mainstays of political life.
Government bodies run on three things: money, rules, and votes. Too bad that they don’t run on God’s laws…but that’s a subject for another day.
If you are going to enter politics and you are a Christian man, you are going to have to learn how to fight God‘s way, and know when to fight in the face of long odds and critics.
Remember the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill hearings when he was on his way to confirmation to the U. S. Supreme Court? Justice Thomas had two choices; roll over and play dead…or, FIGHT! Racism was being displayed against him, and Mata Hari was his color (maybe even darker), holding court as the central witness and potential high executioner.
It was slime, with a soul spin.
Fight he did, with and by the rule book.
That’s why he won…and is STILL on the high court. He called out racism, but beat it with a rule book: That being “The Bill of Rights”. Justice Thomas is another of my political heroes, to this day. Why? Because in the face of opposition, he did not fold nor run away from the game, like another court nominee did.
He held his ground!
APPLYING THE LESSONS LEARNED:
Back to the action. When I became a GOP Ward Chairman in my home city. I went to EACH of my Precinct Committeemen, reminded them of the election laws, and LISTENED to what they had to say in order to help them avoid a trip into frustration space. I spent more time serving them--making sure they had proper notification of trainings, got their poll supplies, and made their job easier--which, in turn, made my leadership easier. On election day, I made it a point to visit EACH of my precincts in my Ward to personally thank all of my PC’s AND their poll workers.
That’s right. Shaking hands and kissing babies!
I did the same thing later, when I ran for elective office a few years later.
Again I say, IF you eventually have your sights set on elective office, you have to serve in your party’s trenches for a season. No matter what ideas you may have, or how much money you have behind you, it boils down to service in the trenches, which soon leads to trust.
They have to get to know you, and you have to get to know them.
Also, you have to develop AND maintain your people skills.
You also have to get to know your OWN frustration levels, and be able to tell the difference between racism, and a simple lack of knowledge of the rules of the political game. It is always best to make your rookie mistakes…while you are a rookie. IF you become a veteran, and are still making rookie mistakes, you didn’t get the right type of training…and such mistakes will cause you to lose valuable ground as you are getting schooled and trained in the right manner, at the same time attempting to make progress in public service.
More to come.
Mike Ramey is a Minister, Modern Street Gangs Specialist, Political Consultant and Syndicated Columnist who lives in Indianapolis, Indiana. “Ramey‘s Guide To Elective Office For Men” is one of a variety of columns that Ramey has in cyberspace. His address is still the same:
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