This post is personal.

This is for all the black men who:

  • can figure out how to pay their child support on time, even when they are between jobs, without selling drugs or robbing anybody.
  • have survived Iraq, Afghanistan, Desert Storm, Vietnam, Korea, and even World War II.
  • are preaching their hearts out this Sunday because they know in these final hours how much we need it.
  • take care of their elderly parents.
  • teach other peoples children how to read and write.
  • introduce music appreciation into your life.
  • clean your teeth, listen to your heart, and keep your eyes healthy.
  • ride on the back of garbage trucks to make sure our streets are clean.
  • deliver packages, or groceries, or gas, or lumber, or concrete, or office supplies.
  • pledge their very lives to protect and serve.

260,432 of the 676,063 black men registered to vote in Georgia have already cast a ballot in this presidential election. Which isn't bad...

...until you see that twice as many black women - 439,434 - voted last week.

If you will lose your job because you stood in line for eight hours to vote, I can understand why you haven't gotten to the polls yet. But the guys like the ones I listed above, who are as busy as you are, are no doubt a majority of the black men who made a way to vote early last week.

Which means, guys, that here in Georgia, the ball is in your hands on Tuesday. I say "yours" because I already pushed the button. And I'm a "three days before Christmas" type of shopper, so I know how it is when you are prone to wait until the last minute to get something done.

The reality is, if you haven't voted yet, you probably aren't reading this blog. But the people who do read this blog know exactly who you are. They are your brothers and sisters. They are your parents. They are your children. Your poker buddies. People who go to your church. Your neighbors. Your video gamer friends. Your MySpace and Facebook friends.

So if you know someone who you think has not voted yet, just ask them. I was out of town for a couple of days last week, and I asked almost every black man I saw whether he had voted yet or not - harder than it looks when you try to work a question like that into casual conversation.

LeBron James gave Obama more than $20,000. Jay -Z asks us to vote every time he steps in front of a mike. Emmitt Smith not only wrote checks, he's on the streets, getting people organized. EVERYBODY is getting in the game this time, fellas.

I just don't think, when the dust clears on Wednesday or Thursday, and the numbers start being totaled, that we could live with ourselves as men if we didn't turn out to push that button on Tuesday.

Is Obama going to fix our problems over night if he wins? Nope. He may even have to leave a whole lot of them untouched, depending on where our economy goes.

But that doesn't mean that getting him elected isn't important.

We can't put everything on the "government" without acknowledging that at some level, the government is us. It isn't a mirror of who we are on a literal level, but rather a reflection of the things we are passionate about as well as the things we choose to remain ignorant about as a collective.

So between now and Tuesday, especially my blog readers hear in Georgia, but readers everywhere - tell the guys you know who are prone to let voting slide:

    They can "get on their grind" AFTER they stand in line.

    They can "stack that paper" AFTER they help complete this election caper."

    They can "handle their business" AFTER they they do this .

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Lew Scannon said...

It's important, if you support Obama, even if you're black, white or whatever, that you get out there and cast your ballot. The GOP will try hard to steal this election, just as they have stolen the last two. The only way to ensure that they don't is to have enough Obama votes that they can't.

Brown Man said...

Absolutely, Lew.

The thing that has me a little hot is all the complaining that has gone on for generations about what could happen "if we had a chance" - if the few brave souls who spoke out in the forties, fifties and sixties opened the door for the rest of us to have something approaching equality, then you would have to imagine that a brownskinned president with a brownskinned wife and brownskinned children would translate at some point in the near future into getting these things that we complain about not having today.

Miranda said...

I voted on Friday in Atlanta, and there sure where a lot of bruthas out looked even to me. I was proud to see so many men (and that's a shame in itself, but that's for another day)

Missy said...

Great message. I fear you're preaching to the choir. The folks that are reading this have probably already voted.

Brown Man said...

Lots of brothers in line with me, in a Republican precinct - so believe me, I was SHOCKED when I saw the number - only 38.5% of the black men who are registered have voted, compared to 45.7% of the black women who are registered.

The thing that is amazing, that I might add to this post, is the spotlight the Atlanta Journal & Constitution put on one poll worker who pulled a 16 hour shift and was back at her desk at 6 am - and she was PREGNANT!

Time to Man Up!

S.W. Anderson said...

Good post, and you're so right.

Do get out and vote, everyone, especially if you're African American and never thought you'd see the day.

Do get out and vote, especially if you're not wealthy and well connected. You better believe 99 percent of Americans who fit that description are going to vote, if they haven't already. And not all of them are in your corner when it comes to getting a fair shake in the workplace, or even when it comes to being able to get a job.

Get out and vote, even if it's not easy to get there, the lines are long and some jerk is spreading rumors you'll get in trouble if you have an unpaid traffic ticket, or something.

Get out and vote, and on your way there make sure a friend/neighbor/family member/somebody you know from work — white, black, whatever — is going to get out and vote, too.

Because if all the people who've gotten a raw deal the last eight years gets out to vote, really comes through by Tuesday night, Obama is going to win like no one has ever won before.

And later on, bit by bit, things are going to get better for all of us — white, black, young, old, rich, poor, in between or whatever.

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