As the next segment of the discussion moved from voter ID to President Obama and his record, there was much consensus on the importance of re-electing him. The audience was reminded that the alternative would consist of many measures that would hurt the most vulnerable. Rev. Sharpton brought home the slew of things that are at stake, from health care reform, to Medicare and Medicaid. As observers of the Republican budget plan know, much of their program calls for extreme cuts to these programs, and the GOP wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Most interesting, is how Rev. Al compared the Obama Administration to David Dinkins, the first Black mayor of New York City. Noting how Black New Yorkers did not support Dinkins in the same numbers the second time around, this resulted in his loss. “I’ve seen this movie before”, said Sharpton as he drew a parallel that if one follows the parallel, makes Mitt Romney akin to Rudolph Guiliani. Very poignant thing to say, especially to a Harlem audience.
Prof. Dyson also reinforced the necessity of standing behind President Obama, for practical political reasons. Stating that politics is business, Dyson reiterated that far too much is at stake to not continue to support the president. In speaking of how the symbolism of President Obama becoming the first Black president, the professor and preacher points out that it has translated into substantial issues. With the recent revelations of Mitt Romney’s real views on the majority of the country, it is a challenge to argue against many of the points raised by Dyson and the other panelists. This event brought to the fore a good number of issues, and left the audience with many things to mull over. For the next month and a half, politics of the domestic and foreign nature will be highlighted.
Vote Like Your Life Depends On It was a successful and spirited event. The next scheduled event will be a viewing party for the second Presidential debate on Tuesday, October 16th. Don’t Sleep debuts on BET Monday, October 1st.
-Marc W. Polite