Why Blacks should vote early, in person, and in droves

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During the next weeks, I will temporarily shift my perennial, parochial passion for advancing Black people in America to an absolute devotion to helping serve this great American democracy.

The other day I had a conversation with Bishop Michael Mitchell, president of the Council of Bishops of the AME Church.

I was so inspired to hear that his denomination had set a lofty, but achievable goal for itself. The AME’s intend to have 75 percent of their members to cast their votes before Nov. 3.

Shortly after our conversation, I thought why shouldn’t all of our denominations and other organizations follow suit? I do believe that voting early and in person would be impactful.

We should follow all of the CDC’s guidelines to protect ourselves from the coronavirus but voting early and person will not only have a powerful impact on the outcome of this election it will also determine whether or not the process will be deemed legitimate.

Democracy on the ballot

Even with all the injustices that we have encountered as a people, we have known all along that our fate is inextricably intertwined with America’s fate.

We excoriated Thomas Jefferson for his duplicity in writing that “All men were created equal” while he, himself, held human beings in bondage.

But if we had widened the lens of our understanding and placed Jefferson’s words a broader historical context, we would have really seen that what he and the other founding fathers did – advertently or inadvertently – was to create a standard for governance.

‘E pluribus unum’

They spoke into existence the words of the  founding  documents: The Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. These documents continue to serve as a framework and a foundation for the creation of a more perfect union.

In other words, like the awe-inspiring evolutionary process put in place by the Architect of Creation, our founding fathers catalyzed what is today still a work in progress.

Our national motto: E pluribus unum (out of many, one) may well have found its origins in the teachings of Jesus Christ of Nazareth who said: “That all may be one.” Our roots have grown deeper in American soil!

Other than the Native American, no other group suffered as sacrificial lambs on the altar of America’s economic success as did Americans of African descent. And yet as recent  incidents of police brutality so vividly remind us, we are still not “a more perfect Union.”

Making ‘perfect Union’

If you would do a quick study of the public record, it would soon be apparent why African Americans continue to give so much to make this “a more perfect Union.”

From Crispus Attucks’ role in the revolutionary war, to the slaves‘ enlistment in the Union army during the Civil War, to the ferocious fighting of the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II, down to the game-changing impact of Black Lives Matter, we have seen the need to believe in the possibility of “a more perfect union”.

So, during the next weeks, I will temporarily shift my perennial, parochial passion for advancing Black people in America to an absolute devotion to helping serve this great American democracy.

For with all its imperfections, America is still the greatest hope on the planet for perfecting e pluribus unun.

Michael Grant is former president of the National Bankers Association and former president of the Nashville Chapter of the NAACP.

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