Black Votes Disrupt Power Dynamics — That’s Why They Matter

The enemy to those who want unmitigated power isn’t foreign, it’s Black votes that keep true democracy alive

Photo by Jennifer Griffin

If the love of money is the root of all evil, then the lust for power must be something far more heinous.

We watched for months as a former president lauded unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election. Months. With not a shred of evidence, we saw people rally behind what was clearly an attempt at a power grab.

The target of attack? Black voting precincts across the country, with Georgia being the center of controversy because record numbers of Black people showed up and showed out. And now Georgia is leading the way and showing all of us just how much Black votes mean to free and fair elections by revisiting its past and tapping into one of its most valuable resources — voter suppression.

Despite 250 bills across 43 states currently being mulled over in an attempt to legally make it harder for Black and minority voters to make their voices heard at the polls, Georgia’s GOP wasted no time in passing the Election Integrity Act of 2021. Governor Kemp was swift to sign it into law. For Republican circles, this was a big time win for them. They hope that they can keep the integrity of sweeping amoral elections under the rug for their benefit. This isn’t a Republican hit piece, but let’s be honest, the only entity in this nation right now doing this is, well, Republican officials so…it might just be.

They’re wrong for this and they know it.

This bill has plenty of provisions that will largely affect Black and minority communities and their access to vote. Once 2 pages, it was well over 100 when it became law.

Open and domestic attacks against Black voters means something. It always has. It means that every Black vote is precious. Why? Because as history shows, Black votes disrupt power dynamics in the government, they level out the playing field, and they are the lifeblood of what having a democracy means.

This is why Jim Crow laws existed. This is why poll taxes were put in place. This is why literacy tests were enacted. This is why the Civil Rights Movement happened. This is why gerrymandering and redlining persists. This is why Georgia, among other states, fights so hard to put voter suppression into law and not call it tyranny, but democracy, because Black unity and voices reset the balance of power in places where government officials have succumbed to the pursuit of it for their own agendas.

Simply put, Black votes have a huge say on how many White supremacists we put in office and how many overtly racist or racist-leaning policies infiltrate our way of living. Equity, equality, and diversity become the true arms of the American system when Blacks have a say, even if not but for a short time, and force those ideals into place when they should have already been there. That’s a problem for those who benefit from their absence.

In every era of the United States, the same mistake is made. Black people are shown just how much they mean in times when they were meant to be shown how insignificant they are. Rocks are thrown and hands are hidden, but the coup attempts against Black people continue to be done in plain sight…again and again and again, reminding the community what’s at stake.

This focuses attention to a common goal and that’s even more dangerous than the war against Black rights and quality of life.

This bill, a response to the massive Black turnout in the 2020 election is everything we needed to not relax and rest on our laurels. State Rep. Park Cannon has been arrested for openly protesting the bill in the Georgia capitol, LaTosha Brown of Black Voters Matter has a lawsuit coming, and Stacey Abrams is rejecting this notion of voter suppression with Fair Fight Action. The reckoning is coming because Black leaders are not standing down. Black people will continue to have their voices heard and have a new generation of powerful movers and shakers now to lead the way.

Laws like these are made by those who think they wield the sword, when in reality it means that they’ve been on the ropes playing defense this entire time. When the cracks form on the dam, you can only keep it from bursting until it eventually does. And it will. You can only suppress Black votes for so long before not even the law can stop them. It’s inevitable. It’s fate.

This isn’t about Democrat or Republican, who is for the people or against them. This is about what the country claims it was founded on, a free, fair, and untampered democratic process that allows the people to choose who leads them, not the powerful. That will always include Black people no matter how many times their rights are threatened and taken away.

This will fail. Maybe not now, but it will. And if there’s anything I’ve learned is that no matter how many times the deck is stacked against Black people in this country, we overcome and then we overcome and then we overcome some more.

This too is something that will be overcome.

A writer and singer-songwriter centered around perspective and diversity. Words found on Medium’s Level and Marker. Follow me @JoshuaDairen on Twitter and IG.

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