“I didn’t know I was a slave until I found out I couldn’t do the things I wanted. I prayed for twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs.”
That quote about escape from slavery is often attributed to Frederick Douglass, someone who knew what it was like not to be able to move on from one thing to the next — no matter how bad the former is, no matter how beautiful the promise of the latter is.
Sometimes the chains that bind us within are even more restricting than those made of iron without. Perhaps it’s because fear, instead of freedom, dominates our thinking.
It appears that a taste of freedom may have been at hand, though, in the 2018 gubernatorial elections of Ron DeSantis in Florida and Brian Kemp in Georgia. Not because Republicans beat Democrats, but because racial tribalism wasn’t allowed to carry the day by a rare few who prefer to their destiny be tied to something other than pigmentation.
As laid out on Twitter by longtime Fox economic analyst Charles Payne, it appears black women have as much to do with DeSantis beating his opponent as any other voting constituency. Black men were similarly significant in propelling Kemp to victory in his race. The twist in both cases is that the Democrat nominees were themselves black.
Whereas President Barack Obama attracted 95 and 93 percent of the black vote nationwide in 2008 and 2012, DeSantis grabbed 18 percent of the black female vote in Florida, and Kemp received about 10 percent of the black male vote (while 97 percent of all black women voted for Democrat Stacey Abrams).
At the very least, that tells you the legacy of Obama doesn’t seem as galvanizing as some might think when it comes to racial politics. While his eight years as president certainly induced more white Americans to throw around accusations of racism like confetti at a wedding, a small but influential portion of black America clearly doesn’t want to be in on such a toxic joke. Instead, these voting patterns signal a willingness to return to a more dynamic place, pre-Obama, where people weren’t racing to make it 1968 again and calling it progress.
Their reasons for doing so may be legion – Trump’s economy is better than Obama’s, they think transgenderism isn’t the same thing as Rosa Parks, or they just want their damn NFL back from the kneeling crowd. Regardless, sooner or later, my guess is some folks must be sick of the day-in, day-out propaganda posing as “news” like this from the Washington Post following the election:
“What’s up with all those black men who voted for the Republican in the Georgia governor’s race?”
You don’t even need to read beyond to the data or the analysis to resent the entire concept that you are supposed to be the property of one political party because of the color of your skin. Every black American has the right to hope for something better than that. Check that: Every American does.
I’m not highlighting this because this surprising uptick of black voters benefited Republicans. I can’t stand the Republican Party and have literally prayed for its destruction so that something genuinely conservative might have a chance to take its place. The inspiring fact is that these black Americans had to break through the tribalism to vote this way.
Now, lest anyone think I’m being myopic, I readily concede the road to hope clearly isn’t without its jagged turns or steep cliffs. The disparity between the sexes when Florida and Georgia are compared may very well show a distrust or disrespect between the sexes in the black community, born of years and years of abuse and now amounting to an out-of-wedlock birth rate for black babies that exceeds 75 percent. So how can a particular demographic help heal our nation’s civil war if it is at civil war with itself, especially at a level as foundational as the family?
But as I’ve long held that nothing short of revival will heal our land, I can say with equal confidence that there isn’t a more perfect or historically fitting place for revival to take root than in black America. Somebody needs to go first. Somebody needs to break the cycle of tribalism and idolatry before it is too late. (For more from the author of “Obama’s Legacy Doesn’t Look as Strong as You Think” please click HERE)