Political Correspondent: Maze
It was over before you knew it, and Rahm Emanuel had shocked and awed his way to becoming the mayor of our great city. Pundits and political junkies alike have analyzed what happened, why it happened, and what does this mean for politics, particularly in the African-American community. Newspaper headlines have declared the Black Power Movement dead and our so-called leaders obsolete and ineffective.
After much bellyaching, pontificating, and real analysis, I prefer to look at this past election as an opportunity. An opportunity to reset, learn and move forward boldly in what I see as a new political environment. Now is the time for the next generation of leaders to step up. I think the most significant learning from the Emanuel victory was not what he did, but what he didn’t do.
Rahm did not do all of the “right” things that he was supposed to do to win the Black community. He did not go to kiss the rings of Jesse Jackson, Danny Davis, Bobby Rush or the rest of the “Old Guard.” He sized them up, acknowledged their accomplishments and summarily ignored them. He ran a focused, disciplined and emotionless campaign, relying on polling, message discipline and hard facts, and it worked very effectively. In contrast, the Carol Moseley-Braun campaign was not focused, erratic, and showed no sign or level of professionalism that Blacks have come to expect after seeing the campaign of their beloved President Barack Obama.
They did not recognize that the day of the “preacher/politician” era is over in the Black community. Let’s be clear, the issue is not the Black vote, but the Black candidates being forced upon us based on an archaic set of wait your turn rules. We must stop looking backward, and begin to look to the future if we want to advance. I do not agree with castigating the old leadership, on the contrary, I think they should be celebrated for their accomplishments. But they should also be made aware that we live in a new age and a new era.
They should be made aware that in this new era, the political model is NOT HAROLD WASHINGTON, but BARACK OBAMA! They should be made aware that playing blatant racial politics is played out in a multi-cultural world. They should be made aware that addition and inclusion, not separation and division will win elections moving forward. They should be made aware that there is a time to pass the torch and use their wisdom to nurture our next leaders.
So back to my original premise, that this election presents us with an opportunity to create dialogue, as well as chart a new political course. Now is the time for new leaders to emerge with fresh ideas and new ways of doing things. Now is the time for us to put our BEST candidates forward, not just because they’re Black, but also because they’re the best candidates that happen to be Black. Now is the time for the emergence of the Next Generation of Leaders.