Kenneth L. Hardin: Even living in Salisbury, Georgia is on my mind

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 7, 2022

It’s a sad time in the Peach State. I can imagine there are some good ‘ol pick-em up truck driving, warm beer drinking, crumpled ball cap wearing, fine people on both sides shaking their heads in Georgia.  The statewide shame stems from the ridiculousness that is the U.S. Senate race between former NFL star turned exposed dumb-dummy, Herschel Walker, and incumbent Senator, Raphael Warnock. All of the silliness and mastery of the absurd belongs squarely on the athletic shoulders of Walker, who is clearly ill equipped, uninformed and being played like a puppet minus a few strings.  What happens in Georgia doesn’t stay in Georgia because this is felt around this Country’s political landscape.  No one in Salisbury should be gloating because our slip is showing with our own brand of political nonsense.

I have the luxury of engaging in conversations with the cerebral and educated fool alike. I offer the same answer when asked about  anything on the political spectrum, “That’s why it’s so important to vote.”  People need to understand what type of power and control they could wield if they do.  This is none truer than for people of color in Salisbury.  I get exhausted with fake Black revolutionaries who are in the struggle for all the wrong reasons and have no clue as to what our issues are let alone what path to take to get to the best outcome.  Fortunately, I get the opportunity to chop it up with some good folks who understand.  I had lunch recently with a Sister who wears her HBCU graduate status with pride. I knew at the outset it was going to be a good conversation when she said, “We need to stop begging for seats at others’ tables and build our own.”  We didn’t agree on every point, but we did find commonality in that this was ok as long as we didn’t fall into the trap most pseudo intellectuals of color do by arguing over the methodology while losing focus on the objective.  I preach how the Black community needs to stop waiting for a handout or a rescue team and take control of the economics, politics, safety and direction of our community as other cultures do.

We took separate trains out of the ideological station, but still arrived at the same destination on what we lack is voter education and participation.  We fleshed out the many points on what our vote touches when we rid the political system of the Herschel Walkers. When we don’t vote, we’re shut out of access to resources and other financial gains that could improve our community.  Our absence at the polls precludes us from having a say in what jobs and industry comes to town, leaving us with no voice in future economic development and expansion plans. We’re then saddled with nonsensical and money wasting things like multimillion dollar parks we can’t afford to maintain, an internet and TV provider service that’s a decades long drain on our City’s financial bottom line, upkeep on a downtown hotel that has been unoccupied for 50 years and will never sale, and adding a drinking-walking district that an already crime ridden City doesn’t need. We punish our children because we have no say in where schools are built nor the exorbitant amounts of money we keep throwing at our dismal State report card scores year after year.  The uninformed voters of Georgia pushed Walker through the Primary and that much closer to their own demise come November. Every two years here, similarly misguided folks demonstrate the same Georgian mindset by voting against their interests and then complaining for the next two years about how those elected ignore their needs. If only more of the right people, who needed to hear our discussion, could’ve been at the lunch table.

For dessert, we delved into who was responsible for educating the masses on voting. We wondered where our once trusted civil rights organization, religious purveyors and pulpit prognosticators were. Should the onus be on them to educate the masses under their membership reach?  I’ve long been critical of how easily manipulated some Black so-called leaders are at election time.  They readily give away the keys to our community for mainstream acknowledgment.  We’re easily swayed by those politicians who only find their way into our neighborhood at election time to buy a barbecue plate or make a speech during the church service telling skinfolk how much they’ve done and will do if they get their vote.  Then they spend the next two or four years doing little to nothing to earn it.

I’m keeping hope alive for Georgia because as the Peach State goes politically, so does the rest of the Country.

The key is to get out on Election Day and make your voice heard. Vote!

Kenneth L. (Kenny) Hardin is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists.