The 2018 governor’s race in Illinois has begun, but not officially. It will be a hot and exciting race and already the money is beginning to flow.
It is a rare race for the rich and famous – two billionaires (JB Pritzker and Bruce Rauner) and one millionaire with a billion dollar political name (Chris Kennedy) are all running for the main seat in Springfield. These are the front runners.
The rich trio will need the political currency of the Black community to win and they will be in hot pursuit. I hope we are smart enough to leverage our vote this time. Will the Black community play transactional politics, planation politics, business as usual politics or will we take care of our very own business? The blue bloods from the North Shore will be welcomed in our living quarters. We will compete to host their presence as they seek the Land of Lincoln.
As the political class spends money and seeks favor, I hope Black Chicago has its very own plan that clearly dictates what’s in it for the Black community. There should be only one question for each candidate, that is – what is your economic plan for the South and West sides of Chicago.
We need to hear about investments and economic development that will kill the violence and bring injury to poverty by providing jobs. The Black community hopefully won’t be taken for granted or live on promises.
I am hoping that Black leadership will meet and greet each other to develop a 10-point plan to establish what we want from newly elected or re-elected politicians.
We watch downtown Chicago be extended and fully developed as it becomes mini New York. We see parking lots turn into high rises, while on the South Side, there are nothing but vacant lot, abandoned buildings, with neighborhoods looking like and acting like war zones. The violence is everywhere be it car jackings or just plain shoot em up. The teachers suffer, colleges cut classes and lay off to balance the budget that is not forthcoming.
The billionaires come with their political hats in hand and check books that will probably divide our community leadership. There is enough money on the table to pay attention. Hopefully, Black leadership will stand up in unison and make vital demands.
The political platforms have to be thoroughly examined and the candidates vetted for available resources and economic plans.
All three candidates are sophisticated businessmen and generous givers, but they need to be asked specifically, what have you done for the Black community as a whole, not just individuals. What will you do for this powerhouse collective Black vote, is the real question.
A lot of money will be spent. Let’s borrow a page from Harold Washington’s election. When Mayor Jane Byrne went to the housing projects with what she considered political currency of turkeys and hams for the holiday to buy Black votes, Harold said, take the turkey or the ham, but vote for me. Needless to say, Harold won the election.
We cannot give our vote away and candidates can’t take it for granted. Promises, promises. Damn the promises – we need to see contractual agreements; political platforms have to be in writing, with guarantees.As the politicos visit our churches, hopefully the minister gets something in writing as to what will be done in the church community for the sake of prosperity.
The Black community is dying, not by choice, but dried up from resources as the skyline multiplies downtown. The Black vote is powerful. We have to realize it and use it to our own advantage. We have to fix it. Leverage is key.
I am so hoping that we will host Black debates with the candidates to measure and hear their plans for economic development on the South and West sides of Chicago that will make these communities great again. Black lives matter and Blacks votes count.