Should policymakers be concerned with issues of those in the minority?
By Charles Griggs
“He who has the gold makes the rules.” – The Wizard of Id
As a political observer, the one thing I find that drives people crazy is when their candidate loses. For most people who participate in the political process the success and advancement of their personal ideologies through the electoral process is paramount.
It is in this space that rules and policies are changed having varying impacts on the lives of people in our community. For better or for worse, our own prejudices inform our political biases. When deciding how to best represent our personal needs, most of us listen to, investigate and select a politician that we believe represents our wants.
Some people are even more invested and choose to participate in the political process on a higher level through volunteering, campaigning and donating money to support the success of a candidate. With all of these ingredients in play, and because we live in an era of no compromise politics, the stakes often get high. Political ideologies become all or nothing.
So what is a person supposed to do when their candidate loses? Should a taxpaying citizen feel any less represented because the person who best identifies with their political values lost an election? And should an elected official or party adhere to an expectation of representation of those who did not earn their support at the ballot box?
Admittedly, it is difficult for a sitting elected official to feel any loyalty to those who differ from their political beliefs. And while today’s political standards are such that compromise is no longer an option, there is value in consideration of varying points of view. Truly, it is the elected official’s responsibility to hear all voices. It is also the people’s responsibility to make their voices for fair representation heard in a way that cuts through political differences.
In America, Black people have been living at a political disadvantage since before this country was born. In fact, what drives such different political thought is the that we can’t even agree on something as simple as racism. It’s because in America, politically and socially, racism is the third rail of truth. Truthfully, racism has a totally different meaning for Black people than it does for Whites. To come to an agreement on the meaning and impacts of racism in this country would cost too much to those that benefit from its privileges.
So, therefore we will always be the same yet different. We will breath the same air, travel the same roads and pursue the same life goals while seeking to be different in our understanding of compassion and humanity. As a result, minority representation will always stand for “less than” in a world of haves and have nots.
Yes, to the winner goes the spoils. And elections do have consequences, but that should not add up to the under representation of marginalized citizens who only want the best for their community. All voices deserved to be heard, considered and valued. When this happens, respect brews and common ground is usually consumed.
Real leadership, governing and legacy building is not about partisan victories. Those who choose to be successful at representing the people should be concerned with the interests of all the people. Not just those with whom they share political priorities.
True believers know that we all will be judged on how we treat the least of others. That alone should be motivation enough to be better statesmen by not adhering to intimidation through representation.
Congratulations on winning. Now move to higher ground and dignity by representing and governing for all of the people.
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