Tag Archives: voting


When you have no one to stand up for you or to help you fight your battles, who does one look to for support and reassurance during those periods of peril, turmoil and misdirected aggression that greets you at every turn? When you yearn for a quiet and peaceful place of solitude away from all of the conflict, who is there to teach you how to embrace the adversity and to press on and press through?  What does one do when one is at the complete mercy of whomever is governing ones  life and possesses an unmitigated control over every miniscule aspect of that life? What are the thoughts that flow through ones mind and what are the options? Invisible…

One would more than likely be encapsulated with an enormous amount of self-doubt, internal conflict, a defeatist mentality and lack of self-identity that would lend itself to an extreme disconnect from reality. Ones vision and reasoning becomes completely obscured and decisions now become irresponsible and reckless. There would undoubtedly be an overwhelming feeling of exasperation and hopelessness that would ultimately envelop the soul and hold captive the spirit of dreams. All that one is surrounded with are indicators of failure, confinement and restrictions with nothing that offers up possibilities for potential opportunities of change. Inside of you there stirs a constant desire and need for something more palatable than this seemingly meaningless existence and shell of a life but the doors of welcomed passage appear to be sealed indefinitely. This was a mindset and seemingly inescapable reality for me during a time in my life and currently appears to be the reality and aimless journey for a multitude of others in today’s society. Invisible…

One should take just a moment to ponder the hopelessness that one would feel if one were to be subjected to a life of obscurity, where our presence was meaningless. A life that presently reflects no semblance of promise and for all practical purposes is illustrative of defeat and void of meaning. How would one feel knowing that there was something more tangible in life for others but for you an elusive and ostensibly  unattainable reality? Invisible….

As a nation of so many diverse ethnic groups we all at one time or another throughout the course of history til present day have experienced some form of discrimination or prejudice. We are extremely familiar with injustice and subjective bias. We offer no empathy or compassion towards our fellow being and are much to consumed with selfishness.  We continue to treat each other with dis-respect, dis-courteousness and vitriol infused with a virulent antagonistic behavior. We reluctantly if ever take time to acknowledge the truth and the harshness of its reality unless of course it benefits our own agendas.

I can’t even begin to imagine what a life of absolute subjugation would feel like but I do have an idea of what imprisonment feels like. There are some similarities since both are forms of incarceration but not quite the same as living in the free world and watching that freedom and liberty being enjoyed by others on a daily basis. In prison there are walls that lock you in, guards and other forms of security to insure that there is no escape. In this world that we live in we often times become completely exasperated and full of self doubt because of walls that lock us in.. Walls erected of systemic oppression and discrimination and walls that some of us unknowingly create…Invisible

Granted, there are many obstacles in life that one must overcome but it is not as though the opportunities are not there. Exactly what is it that stands in the way and prevents a person from making progress in today’s free world? Could it be  fear, lack of confidence or a lack of desire and a clear-cut method by which to achieve something of significance? This is the question that I struggle with constantly every single day to find an answer too.

Have we become imprisoned by our own doings or non-doings? We must honestly ask ourselves where does the real and absolute responsibility lay? Who and what are the roots of our problems and issues that somehow never seem to warrant our immediate attention or solutions for correction. Is it through eyes of fear that we gaze upon the improprieties of mankind and take no action? Why are we not able to separate ourselves from that segment of Black and white America that is rife with negativity, low standards and principles and declare our independence of it? Would not a pride of lions expel from their community that one culprit or culprits that reaps havoc, discourse and disruption for the sake of pride. Are we that afraid to take action for fear of being labeled a sellout or tom or even a snitch? Something is inherently wrong with this type of mindset…. Invisible…

Could it be that because there is a lack of real suffrage today people are without a driving force? Is it because we have allowed ourselves to lower our standards and expectations which in retrospect and coincidentally have compromised our morals and principles? It appears that this has in effect all but diminished our pursuit of excellence and the desire for outstanding accomplishments.. So with all that said, where does the answer lie?


It is my belief that the answer lies within all of us. We as individuals and hopefully collectively can accomplish great things. First and foremost there has to be a raw evaluation of self. A truthful and honest look into what one as an individual must improve on or change in order to effectively make a difference not just in their life but in the lives of others whom they  impact..

I may not possess much in the way of fortune but I can offer you an ear, a shoulder and a kind word. I can show you a smile and look at you with eyes of hope and share with you a heart full of compassion and empathy. I’m unable to erase your pain completely but I can help to make the moment lighter. I can share with you my struggles in life and offer you comfort in letting you know that the fight is not only yours. In this regard, just maybe we can forge a bond with a commitment of hope and determination in an effort to make a difference. We can pave the way and lay down the path with bricks to success….You are not invisible to me…

If this is accomplished we will move away from the realm of invisibility into the realm of visibility…

Written By Al DeVeaux Jr.

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Power of the Vote

The Voter registration drive during the 1960’s  which campaigned for millions of African-Americans right to vote was a costly effort by so many people on both sides of the color divide. Hundreds of folks  had unselfishly  volunteered and sacrificed their time away from family and friends for this righteous cause, with some even paying with their lives to make this a reality for millions of the so-called Negro ( Black Race). It was during another time in this country’s violent history where the beast of racism would again rear its ugly face and the vile stench of hatred for a people of color and their supporters permeated the air. This folks was the America that I grew up in and came to know in my childhood. Your America is one of expected entitlements and immediate gratification coupled with selfishness and irresponsibility.

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It has always been my contention that if you are not a part of the solution then you are pretty much part of the problem. Today there is one problem that we as the dark-skinned people in the United States of America are confronted with every election cycle. The one constant issue that malign us in our desire and efforts to make and sustain progress is our lack of participation in the election process across this great land.

For some inexplicable reason it has somehow become a misconstrued notion that our absence during this process is striking a blow at the system that we feel fails us. Choosing not to vote is supposedly designed to inflict harm on those that are thought not to have our best interest at heart or have abandoned us. The inclination to not participate and exercise this right is meant to send a message of disapproval and discontent to those elected officials whom we have entrusted with the task of representation on our behalf.  There are even some folk who feel that the process is just a waste of time and some who elect not to participate at all completely out of spite. It reminds me of the kid that didn’t get what he or she had expected, so they decide not to vote in the preceding election,  a sort of  ( I’ll show you ) mentality. We had this little saying in reference to people who behaved in this manner when I was a child, which is (you cut your nose off to spite your face). Basically what this means is that, the only person that you are hurting, is yourself because it is your face that is affected by this immature, spiteful and selfish behavior. I get this wholeheartedly and understand the exasperation as well as the agitation towards those who have failed to deliver on the goodies.  But come on, I mean we really should take the time  to second think this completely.

Folks need to understand that the main benefactors of this misdirected and irresponsible action are the individuals who don’t want us in the voting booth to begin with and are more than elated at our dumb and immature gesture. They sit back and salivate at the mere thought of us not voting because we’re talking about power here brothers and sisters. POWER is what we give to them when we do not vote and then we cry about not having anyone doing anything for us or representing us. How in the world can we expect change if we aren’t ready to see the process through. How on earth can we expect the process to deliver on anything if we abandon the process?  Some of us may not live to witness the change  but, should that be the determining factor? NO! We fight the fight and continue that fight for as long as we are on this planet. The fight is never over and all problems and issues are never fully resolved immediately. However, we never sway from the task at hand and we continue to forge ahead and  press through the disappointments because that is exactly what your adversary does. They understand completely that it is an ongoing process and that the state of this country as well as their future and their children’s will be determined by those whom they elect into office with their vote. Why do you think they put on such an extravagant gala and get all fired up when the elections come along. They know fully well what is at stake here and they have every intention of making sure their agendas are pushed forth and that the candidates get their full support. They recognize the urgency as well as the necessity and they throw themselves all in with a determination and commitment that rivals a hip hop concert.

Why would people who are privy to the same as another fail to take advantage of the one powerful tool available to them? The one component that they have which will undoubtedly ensure that their voice is heard, they fail to exercise. This makes absolutely no sense at all.                                                                                                                                              There are millions of people all over the globe who need to have their voices heard and are dying for that right. Yet, here in America this enormous privilege and right is far to often taken for granted or cast to the side. Why has it become so difficult for some of us to understand and accept the premise that anything worth building requires time to materialize. We have come to expect immediate results and when those expectations don’t come to fruition we tend

Black Voter

to toss in the towel, mope and groan about the lack of concern that exists for us. We fail to comprehend that if we are not involved in the process, that we can’t ever expect the process to work for us. I mean, where is the logic in that thinking?  My other question would be, just what exactly is it that we are looking for?

Wait a minute, do you not see that there is a pattern here that is repeated year in and year out. A pattern that any worthy adversary can see and take absolute advantage of.

We are known by our counterparts for continuously throwing up our hands and surrender. Think about it, you are doing your enemies bidding for them. They have come to know that at the mere presence of turmoil or dissatisfaction that we will refuse to fight. We lack the patience and resolve that our predecessors did. They understood all to well the importance of the vote and the power  it yielded. They had endured over  hundreds of years the pain and immeasurable agony of suffrage and realized that the long-awaited opportunity to vote was not to be dismissed. This mighty sword of the democratic process that wielded great power was finally bestowed upon them and they would for the sake of their children continue to endure the hardship which exercising this right and privilege be-felled them by their oppressors.

What we fail to realize today is the amount of power we have with our vote. The oppressors knew very well what the power of the vote meant during that period. They knew it then and they most definitely still know it today. Just take a moment to consider this. Why do you think they made such an extreme effort to discourage  us from voting with methods of intimidation, violence and murder in the past?  In addition, why would this seemingly meaningless tool of the democratic process be denied from us for hundreds of years. Ask yourself why is there a concerted effort by the Republican party today to suppress the voting rights of African-Americans and young adults with Gerry meandering (redrawing district lines), new registration policies, picture or state issued I.D, requirements. The purpose is intended to discourage us so that we will squander the one opportunity that we have to exercise power. They understand all to well what a massive voter turnout of the African-American people and other Democrats, Moderates and Progressives will do. They witnessed that when we elected the first African-American President in Barrack H. Obama. A truly amazing historical accomplishment that no one ever expected to happen in this millennium if ever. But it did happen people and it happened with the power of the vote. That’s power baby, real authentic genuine raw power that sends a frightening chill through their conscious. So much so that they have reverted to implementing new restrictive and suppressive voting legislation. The burning crosses, the hangings, the torture and the murders are no longer acceptable methods of intimidation.

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We should never surrender the right to vote and never fail to exercise that right to vote. There have been too many people who have sacrificed far too much for us to have this right, and for us not to use it would be an utter and shameful disgrace to the legacy of their work as well as the sacrifices and hardships they endured. We should honor them with an unyielding commitment dedicated to their vision of liberty, justice and the democratic process. Surely they understood how dangerous of a task it was to register folks to vote in such a heated climate of vicious racism.  They refused to submit to the threats and intimidation of a vile and hateful opposition, for they realized the urgent need for African-Americans to have a voice.

There will always be corruption, racism, discrimination and prejudices to contend with but,  if we choose not to fight, we will allow these destructive forces  to become more anchored within our society and increasingly more difficult to remove.  If we surrender this right, we have no one to blame but ourselves for our dreadful situation.

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Below you will see a link that lists Presidents Obama’s accomplishments over his first six years of office. I think you will be impressed and maybe a little surprised.  He continues to do his part and it is incumbent upon us to do our part. This is the power of the vote. No Vote equates to No Voice equates to No Power!!


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Written by; Africa Fifth