Nonpartisanship

Why the Fight for Social Justice Must be Nonpartisan

Stan
Published July 31, 2020

Social Justice warriors should disavow their political party affiliation. We should be independent and our vote should be lobbied for by both parties. Politicians shouldn’t trust our allegiance until we’ve exited the voting booth.

Why? Aren’t we Democrats? No. We are American citizens and that is an important distinction.

From the passage of Brown vs. Board of Education in 1954 until today should have been the golden age for Blacks. In the 1960s Black nonviolent direct action tactics resulted in three landmark legislative victories: the Civil Rights Act ending segregation, the Voting Rights Act protecting the right to vote, and the Fair Housing Act removing barriers to homeownership a key path to wealth generation in America. But instead of ushering in a period of steady gains in education, health, and wealth, the ’70s kicked off a disastrous 30-year stretch that all but nullified the gains of the ’50s and ’60s.

What happened?

Simply, the government refused to enforce key aspects of the Fair Housing Act. Without enforcement, segregated communities became a permanent feature in American cities.

Enforcement of the Fair Housing Act continued to be spotty at best. Schools while legally desegregated remained functionally segregated and underfunded. Black neighborhoods became more crowded, more impoverished, and more lethal to their inhabitants. Infant mortality, a key indicator of general health, increased for Black women. Heroin, crack and cocaine flooded into ghettos destroying lives. Democrat and Republican leaders scrambled to show their “tough on crime” bona-fides by increasing minimum sentences for drug crimes. They also incentivized states to militarize their police force and flood Black and Brown communities with constant patrols. Black youth were regularly racially profiled and harassed as a matter of policy. Schools, once places of learning and a key to Black empowerment became secure fortresses and the gateway for the school to prison funnel for many.

So whose fault is this? Democrats and Republicans failed us. Republicans continue to encourage a political strategy that relies on Black anger and White fear. Democrat policies have been undermined by unintended consequences (incentivizing one-parent homes, mass incarceration, underperforming public schools) that our sluggish legislative system has been to slow to correct.

Progress has stagnated and will likely remain in neutral because of two realities: 1) Republicans feel that they can never get the Black vote, and 2) Democrats are sure they will never lose it. History has shown that we can never win when we are in some politician’s pocket.

How do we win? How do we get the political support we need to achieve and preserve change?

We stay nonpartisan and negotiate with the party for full support of two litmus test issues.

Antiracism:

We demand that our political leaders doggedly pursue racist ideology and systems with the same vigor that we pursue other enemies of America.

We must eradicate racism. We must use every tool at our disposal to suppress and shame those who support racism like the German people took action to shame and bury Nazism. Either you fight against racism or you are a racist. There is no middle ground.

Economic Fairness:

America’s economic foundation is strong and enduring. Greed and selfishness, however, can warp capitalism into a predatory system that funnels wealth to the elite by exploiting the working and middle class.

The widening gap between the wealthy and the middle class cannot be sustained without ripping our country apart. We must make sure that every American citizen can be guaranteed a working income, universal health care, good education, and a clear pathway to owning a home. The richest country in modern history deserves to give these basic essentials to the people who make America’s wealth possible.

Democrats and Republicans are welcome to court us based on these two non-negotiable demands. Quit using race to divide us. Quit selling us out to the highest corporate bidder. You cannot turn your back on America and expect to stay in office, pretending to represent our interests. No one owns our vote.

We have it in our power to begin the world over again. — Thomas Paine

This and every election is our opportunity to start again, an opportunity to create something new. Let’s stand with one another and make sure both parties understand that we speak with one voice
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