Voting has become a crutch that makes lazy people feel like they contributed. If all you did was read up on some candidates, stand in line for an hour, fill in some bubbles and go back to your life, don’t call yourself part of the solution. Our problem as a people is we vote, then that’s it. Our participation in our community, and democracy for that matter, has been reduced to an hour every two years, and we get to stay on our high-horses and call ourselves “honoring the legacy” of our ancestors.

Our issues are so much bigger than a few minutes every couple of years can overcome. We vote, and then complain about Black-on-Black violence, police brutality, the spread of AIDS, poverty, education, and other issues that would be solved if we invested more of the other 17,519 hours in those two years actually involved in our communities. None of those problems can be solved by a Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Green-Party Member, or Communist. All of these are solved by us: a unified community with agency over our children’s minds, economic sovereignty, physical safety, and international destiny.  Without those things, we have no future in America.

The powers that be are forcing us to contemplate life post-Obama two years earlier than we wanted to.  Anybody who was aligned with him is in the crosshairs of this newly empowered Republican Party.  Mark Udall paid the price as did other democrats whose heads rolled on Nov. 4. The Grand Old Party is ready to make Obama fight for every scrap of progress this last bit of his term. In the same way that anybody associated with the Prez is catching repressed vengeance, so it will be for those of the president’s ethnic group. The Ku Klux Klan and all the rest of the ‘repressed’ majority’s thunder are all too ready for a return to the status quo. So what does that look like for you and I on the ground in real-time?

Let’s do the math. You actually can predict the future to some degree by looking at the past and the present for trend analysis. For example, The Black Wall Street era of the 1920’s was predictable in the “Do For Self,” Booker T. Washington ethos at the end of the 19th century. The Civil Rights movement was predictable. All that Garvey energy in the 1930’s had to go somewhere. Enough Emmitt Tills, burned churches and bus segregation, along with the solidarity of our people overall foretold a mass movement was eminent and unavoidable. Likewise, our rise in the 80’s to public cultural prominence was predictable if you looked at the seeds sewn during civil rights. All that energy had to amount to something, and for a while, we made gains toward that which was denied us for so long. Similarly, the drug epidemic that got started in the late 70’s and 80’s beneath our cultural prominence made itself visible by the utterly destructive gang violence that emerged in the 90’s.

Now, let’s look at the dominant society. You could see that White America could no longer make pretense toward the façade of democracy with us getting bitten by dogs and lynched all over television.  Therefore, a shift was imperative toward the end of putting a band aide on America’s bruised international image. Integration, or at least the illusion of inclusion, benefited America’s international marketing machine, especially during the Cold War. We needed to be better than those ‘fascist soviets,’ so surface amends had to be made to the Black community.

Similarly, the Clinton-era three strikes, zero-tolerance legislation 20 years ago could have predicted this prison industrial complex we see today. The deregulation of the banking industry by Clinton in 2000 foretold the collapse of the financial system eight years later. The saying, “When White America catches a cold, Black America catches the flu” makes sense when you look at our unemployment numbers.  They’ve gone virtually untouched, despite Obama’s overall progress with the issue.

Now let’s look at the incubating seeds of today. We have a narrative demonizing Black men all across the country. With Ray Rice’s elevator incident to Bill Cosby’s sex abuse allegations, to the supposed “strong arm robbery” Michael Brown pulled before his shooting in Ferguson, it’s easy to put a target on people who fit Obama’s description. Chicago is virtually in a constant state of emergency because of the violence. All over the internet, videos are uploaded of Black depravity and public indecency. In other words, the propaganda is being laid out to make the case for us being unnecessary to the welfare of the American public. Never forget, this government of ours was once in the business of making people disappear. In fact, the history of Europe’s imperialism is awash in the blood of entire races no longer alive to tale. The question is will we, en masse remember this fact in time?

The message could not be clearer from the dominant society, as a whole, telling us that we’re no longer necessary at this party. Even culturally, why have a Black singer when Adele, Justin Timberlake, Macklemore and Iggy Azalea have all the soul you need? Most rap is bought by Whites, the record industry is owned by them as well.  In fact, your record deal is contingent on whether you resemble the Platinum Pickaninny thug caricature of today.

So, is this a global issue for Blacks? Not necessarily. I recently returned from South Africa, and what did I see? A first-world nation of Black people who had no intention of being anything but number one across the entire world, that’s what. I was immediately welcomed as a brother into a 20 year old nation. I saw green technology at work in even the roughest parts of the city of Johannesburg. I saw a population who was politically aware on all levels of class and race. No one stuck their head in the sand about politics until election time. Everyone was committed to the betterment of the nations, and saw a way that they fit into the entire nation. Were there problems? Yes. They still struggle with the scar of Apartheid in the form of townships and a wealth gap-created crime rate. But one thing was for sure; everyone cared about fixing it. It dawned on me that this was the answer; an all-hands on deck approach to address the problem (which first must be acknowledged). In short, we need community.

I realized that oppression is like a liquid that exploits the gaps in the fortress of community. Where we are no fathers, the system will be father. Where we are not teaching youth our truth, they will teach the youth their truth. We have to start addressing our own public indecency. We have to start actually being a village. As simple and plebian as this sound, they are where the bonds are made to create the collective strength to address our larger issues. No more going for self and career at the expense of our neighbors. The few remaining hinges cannot bear the rattling of selfish ambition. No more leaving our baby’s minds open to systemic miseducation. Teachers will never be adept at the job that God appointed to you. 

So, I should have a caveat: There is no future for Blacks in America…unless: Unless we develop our own business sector; unless we seize control over the narrative of our people via education; unless we do the work necessary to set our babies up for success before we conceive them – these are what are in our hands, and time is running out.

If Ferguson is any indicator of what’s in store for the rest of us, we’ve got quite the mountain to climb. Strap on your shoes, get in gear, and get moving!