This Tuesday, November 3, 2020, a substantial number of eligible Americans will go to the polls to vote for the presidential, congressional and local elections. The majesty of the American electoral system is that this has gone on every four years — since 1789, at the time of the founding of this country, the greatest country known to human civilization.
This tradition has been sustained no matter the weather conditions, no matter the state of the economy and no matter the political contentions of the day! It is not left to the whim, convenience or caprice of any American leader or the most competent president to pick and choose what day he prefers. No.
There are no exceptions not even for the self-styled “stable genius”, and irreverent divider-in-chief Donald J Trump,, the 45th President of the United States.
I am among the 56 million who voted early, almost 2 weeks ago.
I did. Yes, with a sense of civic responsibility and faith in the future and promise of a better day for these United States, I voted for America!
Part of the beauty of America is that it is a nation of laws.
In some of the developing countries of the world, the COVID-19 pandemic would’ve been a good excuse for any of popular or unpopular ruler to postpone national elections in order to entrench himself or herself.
Consequently thankfully, after all the partisan fulmination and divisive, diversionary tactics, the schedule and consistent majesty of the ballot box in America continued….
The 2020 presidential elections and congressional competition are important. They are important because what happens in Washington DC generally affects most of the world.
For me and for millions of other recent immigrants, it is a choice of realistic, productive and equitable engagement with the President who will offer opportunities to all without regard to race, religion and pre-existing conditions. In fact, one of the greatest Presidents of these United States, Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), underscored it with these timeless words: “Americanism is a question of principle, of purpose, of idealism, of character. It is not a matter of birthplace or creed or line of descent.”
I voted for America because of the words that were spoken on Wednesday June 3, 2020, regarding the insensitive, divisive and unworthy handling of the brutal, installment murder of another non-confrontational Black man, George Floyd : “Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try.
Instead, he tries to divide us…. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children.”
James Norman Mattis, a distinguished embodiment of America’s highest dedication to its armed forces, said those words. He put in 44 years in the Marine Corps and retired as a USMC General. The man whose combination of sheer, unflappable courage and intelligence earned him the triple nicknames of “The Warrior”, “Mad Dog” and “Monk”, came from retirement to serve as the 26th US Secretary of Defense from January 2017 to January 2019.
An overwhelming majority of the members of the African Diaspora community especially across the United States of America, share the same concerns and hopes for a competitive access to opportunities as opposed to handouts. I know because since 1993, I have been to all the major cities in the United States and have spoken to many community organizations. I interviewed hundreds of African professionals — in the execution of my work at the USAfrica multimedia networks and public policy organization.
Their message and practical agenda are consistent, progressive and predominantly similar; some people will say fundamentally the same.
I count among the binary demographics of recent immigrants known as Nigerian Americans. It is the same set of immigrants famously ranked at the top by the research on Academic qualifications by the respected Rice University, located in Houston, Texas.
I voted for America! — the world’s most diverse, most creative and competitive market. Regardless of your adversity, ethnicity, race, religion, gender or orientation, it offers immigrants endless opportunities; almost.
Yes; almost. Almost, because the existential realties of America’s “original sin” of slavery in the 17th century are seen, oppressively, in police brutality, financial red-lining and assorted but subtle institutionalization of racism. Almost, because the coarse apostles of the swine gospel of White supremacy and the inheritors of the fruits of the inhumane labor and brutal exploitation and bloody sacrifices made by the enslaved Africans in America, are still demanding all the advantages taken by their slave-owning families!
Beyond all of its material successes, America’s real strength rests on the prudent balance of the constitutional assignment of roles and the moral clarity to execute your obligations with a certain sense of fairness and decency. All, elements of character.
I voted for America! I voted for Joe Biden. God bless America!
*Dr. Chido Nwangwu, the author of the January 2021 book, MLK, Mandela & Achebe: Power, Leadership and Identity, serves as Founder & Publisher of the first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper on the internet, USAfricaonline.com, and established USAfrica in 1992 in Houston. He is recipient of several public policy and journalism excellence honors, civic engagement and community empowerment awards and has appeared as an analyst on CNN and SKYnews. @Chidö247