What effect will the 2000 Presidential elections have on us?

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This year inclusiveness seems to be a main issue with both the Republicans and the Democrats. It became a major issue both in presentation and rhetoric at both conventions. Obviously the minority vote is being coveted. The question remains, what will this election mean to a minority member after the last vote is cast? Will inclusiveness still remain or will it be back to business as usual? Who can do the most to improve conditions for this country's minority communities? I am sure there are plenty of opinions. I only ask that we offer our opinions not to inflame but to inform, so keep you mind on Jesus and your fingers on the keyboard.

Rev. John

-- Anonymous, August 21, 2000


It is extremely interesting with this years Presidential race and the African American community. As always we play a pivotal role in it. Each party is scrambling to get the votes of the African, Hispanic, and even Jewish American communities. It was quite humerous to repeatedly hear the Republicans mention that they were the party of Abraham Lincoln. In addition the performance to have African Americans and Hispanic Americans appear. They wanted to have this inclusion affect, whereas the democrats also realize that they must hear the cries of the other members of the party. It will be interesting to see if which candidate will win and if they will continue what Pres. Clinton has done in his administration of appoiting people of color to various positions. Hopefully we will do as Rev. Jackson has said and "stay out of the Bushes"

-- Anonymous, August 21, 2000

I happen to be a registered Republican and have voted for the GOP Presidential ticket since 1988. My outlook on foreign policy and social responsibility prompted me to distance myself from my Democratic pals and pols. I find the current kowtowing to Democratic operatives in our churches nauseating to say the least. But, I would feel the exact same way if GOP panhandlers pillaged our pulpits to ridicule every Democratic initiative. The black church and concomitant black leadership structure has become too monolithic in her critical analysis about existing social conditions. Racial inequality appears to be the only concern to galvanize voters. Affirmative action has been defined as the litmus test for whether or not you are truly an allay of the Congressional Black Caucus. Just ask Mr. Lieberman after his "conversion" chat with Maxine Winters. I look in amusement at our clerical leaders who have unlimited ammunition directed at Justice Clarence Thomas yet fail to criticize the internal problems which plauge our communities and homes where the beseiged Justice is far removed from culpability. Predictably, GW Bush is cast as a politician whose vision is inimical to that of black Americans. When Bush recently replied that the most influential person in his life was Jesus he was ridiculed by the liberal press as a religious fanatic. Why must the witness of Christ be dismissed as insignificant. Bush's current biography is titled "A Charge To Keep". I sing this classic song every month in my local AME Church. Does it now suddenly have no meaning? The black clergy, irrespective of denomination, uncritically accepts the indiscretions of Democratic pols. Yet, Rev. Sharpton raised a valid question about the recent VP selection process. Why were there no blacks even considered for the #2 job? Is this a sign of co-equality or condescension by Gore? I would rather be respected for my dissenting principles as opposed to be taken for granted by people who think they know what's best for me. If the goal is black enfranchisement and saving our communities this will require the collective response by people of faith and not people of politics. The philosophy or Self-help is no stranger to the AME community since Richard Allen himself lived and taught this noble idea.

-- Anonymous, August 21, 2000

My good friend Bill echoes Rev. Sharpton's question: "Why were there no blacks considered for this job?" We can start by looking at history to see who is typically considered for the job:
  • 1996: Jack Kemp, Congressman (with a very visible first career in the NFL), Gore (sitting Vice-President)
  • 1992: Dan Quayle (sitting Vice-President, political descendant), Gore (senator, previous congressman, Harvard graduate, political descendant)
  • 1988: Quayle (Senator, political descendant), Lloyd Bentsen (Senator)
  • 1984: George H.W. Bush (sitting Vice-President, political descendant), Geraldine Ferraro ( Conressional Respresentative)
  • 1980: G. H. W. Bush ( ambassador, Congressman, CIA head, RNC Chair, poolitical descendant), Mondale (sitting Vice-president)
  • 1976: Bob Dole (Senator), Walter F. Mondale (Senator)
  • 1972: Agnew (Sitting Vice-President), Tom Eagleton (Senator), (I don't remember who replaced Eagleton in this landslide defeat)
  • 1968: Spiro T. Agnew (Governor, County Executive), Edmund Muskie (Senator)
  • 1964: William Miller (Amex's first "do you know me?" face - I have no idea where he came from - New York? - or what his qualifications were), Hubert H. Humphrey (Senator)
  • 1960: Richard Nixon (sitting Vice-President), Lyndon B. Johnson (Senator)
  • 1956: Nixon (Sitting Vice president) I was born in 1953, so my memory doesn't go back much farther than that without references. :-). Clearly, though, the primary source for VP candidates are sitting VPs, senators, and occasinally governors or congress persons. (at least in the second half of the last century). Rev. Sharpton should be more concerned, then, with mobilizing the vote within states to help us break the glass hallway between the lower and upper chambers. To the best of my recollection, the only black senators in this nation's history were Hiram Revels, Ed Brooke, and Carole Moseley Braun. Sen. Brooke lost his seat in 1978 when a primary threat to Gov. Dukakis caused most of the black voters to choose a democratic ballot, leaving the sitting senator vulnerable to an upset by Massachusetts conservative Avi Nelson (who eventually lost the general election). Senator Braun recently was not re-elected after some questions surrounding her conduct. Senator Revels served during Reconstruction. We have had some wonderfully qualified (from a leadership perspective) persons in the house, but they have left the lower chamber to pursue "other ventures". Bill Gray went to the UNCF (now the College Fund). Kweisi Mfume left for the NAACP. Andrew Young left to take the UN job. Floy Flake returned to Allen Cathedral of Faith AME, which needed him full time. I observe the data and find the sequence "interesting." If we are to be seriously considered for the VP nomination, I think the senate may be the way to go. It shows electability at least at the state level: while many in the house serve in gerrymandered districts, a statewide post such as senator or governor reflects the confidence of a broader spectrum of voters. I think Colin Powell would have made an excellent VP from a leadership, confidence, and experience perspective. The general has served in both republican (extensively) and democratic (briefly) administrations, and has served as both JCS and NSA, two ery kew positions and part of the National Strategic Council. I think where the general runs into trouble is his avowed commitment to Affirmative Action, which causes heartburn for conservative republicans, and a sense of aspiration that has some believing he would only consider the #1 job (this may only be the perspective of a reactionary press, though). Other than the general, who has national visibility?
  • 1984 & 1988 Presidential Candidate Rev. Jackson has yet to serve in elected office, although his oratory remains powerful in the current vacuum, and his championing of the causes of the poor make him a srong consideration for a number of votes.
  • J.C. Watts is being groomed for a future role, and may emerge as a strong player in the republican house leadership, especially if Dick Armey retires. But the real access is in the Upper House.
  • 1976 candidate Julian Bond has retired from elective politics to devote his time to chair of the NAACP.
  • Alan Keyes? Excellent speaker, great ideas, caring and interestng man, but no elective experience (I think), and was not among those included in the republican Love Fest (unless it was at a time I just missed :-)).
  • Condoleeza Rice. Impressive. Most impressive. Get elected.
    I think some work remains to be done at lower levels before we can consider seriously the national ticket.

    -- Anonymous, August 21, 2000

  • Very good observations. One that was forgotten was a strong Congresswoman from NY, Shirley Chislom. She also ran as an independant in 1976 for President. A good study into the American Political structure in this country is a book by A. Leon Higginbotham called "Shades of Freedom." In the book he has an entire chapter devoted to blacks in the political structure of this country on a State and National Level. One must ask "why was not a black person chosen for VP or considered by both parties?" It is my opinion if Ron Brown had not died in the plane crash a few years back he would have been a strong selection in the political machine of this country. What is unfortunate is that the only way that an African American is noticed by the parties is to not have too much of an opinion of his current party. Colin Powell on affirmative action, CarolBraun on blacks as part of the total picture. These will be respected but outcast in their parties. One of the most powerful weapons that the Black Caucus of the democratic party has is the leverage of it's membership. If they put the right pressure on the party there would be more blacks on the national ticket, Senate races, and congress positions. If they did not give their support but ran their own candidate they would have the deciding power of who would be elected. In NYC when former Mayor Dinkins ran, if we as a city of color had backed him for reelection we would not have the tyrant that we presently have. We have the power to decide President, VP, Senator, Congress, mayor, etc. why not use it. After the Civil War we were used to get Rutherford B. Hayes elected and what did he do, pull the federal troops out of the South and this started a period of anarchy and chaos towards blacks. We have a strength in numbers let's use it as our voting power and have ourselves properly represented.

    -- Anonymous, August 21, 2000

    Jerryl & Jerome---

    Your conclusions are consistent with your individual premises. The hypothesis Jerryl proposes about black VP candidates having high visible state wide electoral experience cannot be refuted based on the data. The problem however for any black Democratic is overcoming the perception in the minds of many paranoid whites that they are too "liberal". The Democrats can only win the White House if a centrist or moderate ticket is endorsed. That criteria practically excludes 95% of the Congressional Black Caucus who for better or worse are political hostages to left-of-center special interest groups. Effective coalition building requires shedding some of the old garb [read: less govt. spending to solve every social problem].

    I believe the best hope for a black VP candidate would have been former centrist VA Governor Douglas Wilder. Gov. Wilder brings the much needed state wide experience that Jerryl stresses and the political savvy admired by Jerome. Another possibility would be former Charlotte, NC mayor Harvey Grant who has talent yet somehow finds a way to lose to the quintessential curmudgeon of anger politics, Jesse Helms. Now Jerome makes an intriguing contribution by referencing the infamous Hayes Compromise which effectively killed Radical Reconstruction circa, 1888. This is undeniably true and it illustrates my point why politics is not the preferred strategy for long-term social rehabilitation. I recall in 1992 Presidential candidate Gov. WJ Clinton promised to include in his priorities statehood for Washington, DC. This was practically received by the black elite in DC as manna from heaven and with it came ~ 92% of the black vote. Well, a funny thing happened shortly after Clinton-Gore defeated the incumbents in 1992, statehood for DC was not once made a legislative issue much less a priority. This was nothing more than a reckless political ploy to dupe black voters in DC thinking there dreams of disenfranchisement would end. Eight years latter the dream has turned out to be a nightmare. I don't think this is what Langston Hughes had in mind when he wrote the classic poem "A Dream Deferred". But, the concerns of the black church go beyond horse- trading, patronage and the rubber chicken circuit of endless campaign stops. Does the black church in general and AME's in particular agree that particular lifestyle choices embraced by the Democrat party such as gay marriages or abortion are compatible with existing theology? Are the evils we face really corporate greed, enviornmental destruction and racial profiling?? Why is sin so compartmentalized in our underdeveloped discussions? Complex problems warrant thorough analysis prior to policy recommendations. I believe, like Paulist teaching, we are looking thru a glass darkly where political reality is more gray than black or white. I will be publishing an article soon about who will be the likely first black President of the US. When it is released I'll notify my AME online family.

    -- Anonymous, August 21, 2000

    In one of the response to the question about the 2000 election the question of the number of African Americans who have served in the Senate was raised. The writer listed three persons. Having served as pastor of the church from which Hiram Revels was pastoring when he was elected to the Senate, Zion Chapel A.M.E. Church-Natchez, MS I am familiar with his record and as the first African American he is widely known by many. However, Hiram Revels served the unexpired term of Jefferson Davis. The first African American to serve a full term in the United States Senate hailed from my home county of Bolivar County, Mississippi, where he also served as Sheriff. That person was The Honorable Blanche K. Bruce of Rosedale, MS. He served during the Reconstruction period I can't remember the exact years. Just thought this might be an interesting historical tidbit.

    By the way I truly enjoy this forum. Keep up the good work. I will be becoming more involved in the forums.

    -- Anonymous, August 24, 2000

    These are very good references of the black political structure. I had forgotten about former VA Governor Wilder. He dropped off of the National scene, as have many of our stronger politicians. Here in NY our black politicans that have national coverage are always talking but it seems that we rarely see much action. We have a habit of rallying around a candidate whether we are Democrate or Republican instead of putting our own candidate out there. IN NYS we have our State Controller H. Carl McCall who will run for the democratic nomination for Governor, as well as HUD Chief Andrew Cuomo, son of former Governor Mario Cuomo, who will also seek the nomination. Now McCall is a much better choice, not just because he is black & a preacher, but he has had more to do with the running of NYS. We jumped behind Mrs. Clinton, when we had qualified black candidates such as David Patterson. We back candidates and always get caught in the middle. Will it be the same regarding the national election. Both parties seek inclusion but take shots at each other regarding the lack of minorities. We have a large Black Caucus in the democratic party, let's put a candidate on the ticket one day so that we can be part of the overall process.

    -- Anonymous, August 24, 2000

    As for the VP choice, I think personally that Gen. Powell would be running with George Bush now if he had accepted the offer. I also tend to believe that the first black president will have to be a Republican. Republicans show much more party loyalty to candidates, hence the current situation where there are more Democrats in the country, but the Republicans own the house and senate. I also feel that there is alot of prejudice in the Democratic Party that would cause democrats not to vote for a black candidate, but if a republican one the nomination I think the republicans would group together to vote for him.

    Also, once Jessie Jackson came in second to Mike Dukakis and the Democrats pulled out Benson from knowhere as the VP candidate and then sent Jessie around the country to get votes, I was quite through with being used by the democratic party with no returns.

    How much have the Democrats really helped us as Christians lately?

    We must look past the traditional party we vote for and also past the person and examine the issues.

    Historically African Americans voted as Republicans from the reformation period up until the Roosevelt era. It was at this time when most of the countries poor voted for Roosevelt and his New Deal programs. These programs originally were to be temporary programs designed to get the country out of the depression, but alot of them were contiuued and expanded in order to keep voters throughout the years.

    Currently the Democratic Party is fighting to uphold alot of values, which Christian's should be very wary of. There is abortion, gay unions, the continued alienation of Christianity from our schools, and the continuing of the molding of the minds of our young people by the entertainment industry. How can we as Christian's overlook these issues when going to the ballot?

    Also the traditional large government programs of the democratic party have been attempts to take over the roles of the church in the lives of people and replace it with secular versions that may seem more inviting to the overall population.

    It seems to me that the liberal portion of the democratic party is trying to save people without Christ and that is why these programs have been unable to stop the downward moral spiral of our society.

    It cannot be denied that although welfare, and other social programs has given money to the poor. In it's original state it also caused the dissection of alot of families, contributed to the single parent household syndrome, and devalued the self worth of an entire segment of our population.

    George Bush, while Gov. of Texas, has instituted some programs which would help alot of Church's get funds for social ministries. He want's the government to fund more social programs that are run by Religious Organizations instead of copying the programs and stripping God from them.

    He also is a pro-life candidate who has openly professed his faith to the nation and feels that he has been called into political service by God to make a difference in this country. As a Christian and as a person who recently answered the call to ministry I can relate to that and I think it is couragious for him as a politician to come out and so boldly proclaim his faith in todays climate of Christian bashing.

    Al Gore seems to be a very good man, and he may be a practicing Christian, but I think he is selling himself to the wrong people from a moral standpoint and I think that although his intentions for the country may be good his methods and programs have a universalist or new age type of mentality to them that makes me very wary and in this important time when the supreme court is going to be deciding some very important faith based cases I think that I would trust Bush with nominating the justices who will decide before I trust Gore.

    -- Anonymous, August 31, 2000

    Ouch! Michael!

    Are you suggesting that one cannot be Christian and pro-life?

    -- Anonymous, September 01, 2000

    Ouch! Michael!

    Are you suggesting one cannot be Christian and PRO-CHOICE?

    -- Anonymous, September 01, 2000

    What bothers me most about the Pro-Life/Pro-Choice issue is that I feel it osbscures the real issue: sexual promiscuity. We have always had premarital relations, and the solutions to pregnancy in the old days were 1) marriage or 2) sending the mother "down south" or 3) a back- alley, gruesome abortion. With the advent of Roe v. Wade, the third option was sanitized (and set to a profit motive). Naturally this is better for the mother, but again, for me the real issue is still the act of conception itself.

    I believe the church needs to be aggressive in teaching sexual holiness to our youngsters. We need to help them understand the spirtual aspect of the union, and the blessing that such a union can be in its many forms. This would mitigate the decision between life/choice tremendously.

    -- Anonymous, September 01, 2000

    A life should never be taken unless it is to save another life. That, to me, is the reason I can and have served my country in the military. That is the justification for the atomic bombing of Japan during WWII. That is also the justification for the death penalty in those states that still have the death penalty. It is strange to me that some of the same ones who protest the excution of a convicted killer can advocate taking the life of an unborn child just because it is inconvienient. Suppose Jerimiah, who was called to be a prophet while still in his mother's womb, had been inconvienient?

    -- Anonymous, September 02, 2000

    I am not saying you cannot be a christian without being pro-life, but as a Christian the issue should be looked at from a Christian perspective. This is not the only issue, but since it was raised. As Christians we do know that God gives life and is the only one who should take it. Therefore abortion for convenience sake of the parents is wrong. I also agree with brother Payne, that the issue does somewhat stem from a pre-marital sex issue. People need to be taught that it is realistic to abstain and that this will prevent the problems of becoming inconvenienced too early with a child, but if the first mistake does lead to a child, then as Christians we need to help the mother and or father responsibly get back on the correct path and accept the life that they have created and not kill the child for the sake of selfishness and distrust that God can turn your downfalls into victories.

    You know Jesus was also quite the inconvenience to Mary and Joweph, but they trusted in God instead of man.

    God has used many inconveniences to help his people. Moses escaped the population control initiatives of the Pharoah of his time. Read Exodus and see how Moses ended up in the River in the first place. The Pharoah was worried that the population of the Israelites had gotten TOO LARGE and he could not trust them from overthrowing him. So he decided to trim the males from the minority population.

    Now if that doesn't sound similar to the abortion issue as it started to rise. The government wanted to open up access to abortion for the poor who could not afford to travel for one. This way it would be a solution for poverty and population control of the underpriveledged.

    Abortion is not a solution that the Church should condone or stay silent on. It has man judging the value of a life that God has allowed to become created.

    -- Anonymous, September 04, 2000

    This election means alot to the minority people because many of them feel that thier voted did not count. With all of the votes that were thrown out people (minorities) hahahahahahahahaahahahahahahahahahahaha

    -- Anonymous, February 17, 2001

    This election means alot to the minority people because many of them feel that thier voted did not count. With all of the votes that were thrown out minorities hahahahahahahahaahahahahahahahahahahaha

    -- Anonymous, February 17, 2001

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