… who gave you life: An Encomium for the Vote

Screen Shot 2020-08-27 at 4.35.32 PMby T. Renée Crutcher

(special to The Dreher Report)

To you who disrespect

those who

gave you

Life:

They lived

for us.

They understood

Life to Life.

People of the earth.

They speak to us

from the ground.

They shed their shackles

from a resurrection spirit

 

The puritanical self-righteous attitudes related to the vote and the disrespect for the generations that gave you birth and life, nurtured you, left you an inheritance of faith, hope, institutions of education, commerce, skills, land, and gave slave names dignity makes this position deserving of Donald Trump and the GOP. Why? Because your ingratitude for the blood spilled over the African diaspora for you to live and to have the rights you enjoy now that you didn’t fight for nor earned matters not to you.

You think the elders are useless.

Go ahead.

Drop the excrement of your disrespect with no regard to the privilege to vote you have that you paid no price for.

Go ahead.

Expect results that you aren’t even willing to fight for because you just give up and refuse to vote.

Our lives are at stake. Don’t you know? You curse the wombs that bore you. You curse the seed that created you when you, as a Black person in this country, decide because Jesus isn’t the nominee you won’t vote. “Oh,” you ask, “what are you talking about?” Here is what I’m saying: You are looking for that perfect candidate. Well, I’ve got news for you: There never will be that candidate.

Unbeknownst to you, our ancestors are still making ways that you can’t and are unwilling to see.

Know this: People and situations evolve. The evolution may not be at breakneck speed and it may be too slow sometimes. Be not dismayed. Every piece of a pace is a gain. Don’t you know to just live is revolutionary? You gotta keep on pushing as Curtis Mayfield encouraged us in the 1960s.

If your decision is to give up and not fight then here is what I have to say to you: Don’t dishonor those who walked the journey for you to be here now—in this moment–and even left you a blueprint for you on how to thrive by speaking their names.

Remember this: Congressman John Robert Lewis and Rev. Cordy Tindall “C. T.” Vivian died on the same day having witnessed the gutting of voting rights, yet both men died with dignity, bravery, and hope for us and for our country.

Screen Shot 2020-09-24 at 4.30.58 PM

Let me tell you. On February 1965, on the steps of the Dallas County Courthouse in Selma, Alabama, C. T. Vivian, with several civil rights activists faced segregationist Sheriff Jim Clark who refused to let him enter. C. T. Vivian warned Clark, “You can turn your back on me, but you cannot turn your back upon the idea of justice. […] you can keep the club in your hand, but you cannot beat down justice. We will register to vote, because as citizens of these United States we have the right to do it.” Sheriff Clark hit him in the face with his club. C. T. Vivian kept on speaking; he was arrested. On August 5, 1965, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act. C. T. Vivian died July 17, 2020.

Let me tell you. Congressman Lewis never forgot about us, even on his death bed. On July 30, 2020, the New York Times published his final words of wisdom and encouragement. Before you even get to the general content of his words, he speaks to us in the title, “Together, you can redeem the soul of our nation. Though I am gone, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe.” Our Statesman died on July 17, 2020.

screen-shot-2020-09-23-at-8.31.25-pm-3

Yet, some of you decide you’re wiser than either of them for not voting because the perfect candidate is not on the ballot. I’ll state it again: there is, never was, and never will be that candidate!

Let me tell you something: Unbeknownst to you our ancestors are still making ways that you can’t or simply are unwilling to see. Why? Because you enjoy the benefits of the sacrificial bravery of those who came before us but disparage their wisdom and knowledge.

Go ‘head …

… wit yo bad self! Raise your hands. Shrug your shoulders. Claim, “it is what is is!”

I write this in all sincerity: Our ancestral heritage does not tell us to be silent over things that matter; not family, friend, nor foe.

As I close, I’m thinking. Maybe, just maybe, we need to stop using the word “woke” ‘cause it’s past tense. In this present moment, we need to wake up and stay awake. Our ancestors and those on whose shoulders we stand gave us life. Let there be an encomium for the most nonviolent gesture in the land they fought for us to have: the vote.

◊ T. Renée Crutcher is the founder, CEO at Sankofa Ministries & Tellin’ Our Story Publishing, Inc. in Atlanta, Georgia. She is a graduate of the Candler School of Theology, Emory University.

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