12.3% and “Give us the ballot” -Martin Luther King, Jr.

“It brings me to tears hearing … how important it is to vote, for the people that lost their lives, when we’ve had to almost try to convince people to utilize this precious tool.”
-JOHN GASKIN, MISSOURI NAACP

“This year, just 12.3% of eligible voters cast a ballot, according to numbers provided by the county (Ferguson). In 2013 and 2012, those figures were even lower: 11.7% and 8.9% respectively. As a rule, the lower the turnout, the more the electorate skews white and conservative.” -MSNBC

12.3%.

For certain immediate action is needed in response to this tragedy, and justice needs to be served… and voices should continue to be raised until that Constitution backed justice is put in to action across the board… but if after time passes, after people calm down, after the protest numbers decline, after curfews are rescinded, after Police Chiefs and politicians finish their asinine press conferences, after the police put their tear gas, assault rifles, tanks and other surplus military supplies back on the shelf for now, after pundits stop pontificating… if after all this the voting booths our ancestors fought so hard to make available to us stay vacant there is no hope for real, long-term, sustainable change.

I would add more, but Martin Luther King, Jr. covered this quite eloquently and much more effectively than I ever could many years ago.

“First, politics is the process by which we in a democracy create laws from our beliefs. Second, politics is the process of determining who gets how much of the whats, wheres, and hows in five areas: income, education, health care, housing, and justice…

On that bright spring day in 1957, at a time when civil rights activists were focused upon the efficacy of action in the courts, the prayer rooms, and the streets of America, Dr. King pointed the way to the efficacy of action in the voting booths. If we go to the polls to vote, he said, then we can elect people who understand our beliefs—and who will create public policy and practice from that understanding. And the vote gives us power: We have a say in what goes where, and how, in those five essential elements of living.

“Give us the ballot,” he said.”

The Honorable Walter E. Fauntroy

“Give Us The Ballot” Introduction,

“A Call To Conscience”, Martin Luther King, Jr.