Politic or Be Pimped: Part 1 (City Council)

Dear T.S.P. Reader,

I was inspired to do this series by a presentation from Yvette Carnell, a former congressional aide on Capitol Hill and, currently, an independent news provider at BreakingBrown.com.  In this presentation, she brilliantly narrated the detrimentally significant intergenerational impact that all historical and modern-day forms of white supremacy (chattel slavery, jim crow, housing discrimination by FHA, the New Deal, the war on drugs/mass incarceration, the systematic destruction of prosperous black neighborhoods, police brutality) have had specifically and disproportionately on the direct descendants of American slavery.

So, therefore, consequently it is the responsibility of the government to provide corrective action for its violations of the constitution and it is the responsibility of the American people, of every race and creed, to see that the constitution is upheld by holding every level of government accountable for rectifying those violations with the descendants of slaves.  It is the duty of both the government and of the American people to ensure that black people, as a collective, are made whole, after the damage, historical and modern-day, this country has brutally inflicted upon African Americans.

After a year in, on the heels of Obama’s tenure in office, I’ve seen plenty of individuals who are furious and outraged at the conduct of 45th president and his administration.  I’ve seen plenty of disgruntled citizens, in my social circles and on social media, expressing their concern, their anger, and their disgust every time legislation and policy gets introduced or implemented that affects them negatively. 

There are plenty of people speaking out and protesting this administration, but as Yvette has so eloquently stated over and over again in many of her presentations, we not only have to look at how America became the financial superpower that it is (forced cheap and free labor via cotton production) but also how only through becoming thoroughly educated and involved in politics, on every level, can we induce the kind of social change so many are wanting to see.

The act of being angry and calling trump names is not going to oust him out of office.  trump, unfortunately, can pretty much conduct himself however he pleases without having to face any significant ramifications for it.

From the time he stated in his book, trumped, that laziness was a trait of blacks, and, he still became the republican party’s presidential nominee. To when he bragged being a sexual predator in the infamous “grabbing by the p-word” recording, and, he still became elected as the 45th president.  And, even when he violated the constitution by not recognizing the Treaty of Fort Laramie of 1868 (grounds for impeachment) by signing executive actions to advance the construction of the Keystone Pipeline through sacred Sioux land, he still isn’t having to face a threat of impeachment by our so-called “checks and balances.” 

He can pretty much do no wrong and can expect no real consequences, outside of having to deal with a little public outrage which he is almost completed shielded from.

And, no, marching and protesting, by itself, will not remove trump and his administration.

Spreading messages of peace and joy through the arts and holding hands and singing Kumbaya isn’t going to stop trump nor this administration from passing policies that place the American public in very real danger.

No amount of name-calling and venom-spewing on social media towards the president is going to change the hearts and minds of the those who are willing to support this man and his ideology, both the politicians and the citizens, to the ends of the Earth, no matter how much damage it causes to the quality of their lives and to their fellow Americans’.

And, those of you who’ve been following me for a while might think I’m beating a dead horse when I say what the only option is, if we want to see the kind of progress we want to see as a nation.  But, with all of the trivial nonsense we continue to let ourselves to be distracted with day-in-and-day-out, I feel that I can’t allow this much-needed piece of wisdom be washed away in the sea of propagated empty concepts much of mainstream media loves to push

The only way we get governmental entities in office, on any level, who’ll uphold democracy based off the guideline of the constitution is by collectively as a society becoming educated and consistently involved in politics, at the local, state, and federal level–aka, putting in that work on a grassroots level!   

And, before we can start mobilizing those in our community to become politically active and to advocate for the implementation of the policy change we desperately need to see, part of the education and involvement we must engage in first is getting to know what kind of political power each member of government, in our districts, has to influence legislation and policy. 

We all know who donald dump is, but who can tell me what the name of their city’s mayor is, and what kind of political power does the mayor have that influences the quality of your life and the lives of those you care about?  What kind of have policies have they had a part in implementing recently, and how can you influence their decision-making?

Because, I can tell you, the fact that Flint, Michigan is just now being declared safe after over a 1,000 days of it being tainted with lead can be attributed to the corruption of local government, and this was while Obama was president, not donald dump. 

In an effort to educate not only myself but my readers, too, for the next few months, I will be composing my “Politic or Be Pimped” series and posting them on my blog.  In this series, I will narrate what kind of power each politician has on the local, state, and federal to influence policy implementation, how you can advocate for the issues that matter to you the most to your politician, and how you can challenge them on the agendas they’ve not effectively addressed or implemented.

Today, the type of government official I’ll be discussing is the city council member. 

While driving around town, if there was an election cycle going on in your district, you’ve probably seen picket signs advertising the campaign of those running for city council.

And, if you’ve pretty much ignored those signs up to this point, it’s time to start paying attention to them.  It’s time to take a mental note of the names that are on those ballots, and it’s time to start looking them up on your city’s website and on social media. 

Before we move on let’s take a look at what kind of duties city council is responsible for:  Source – Wikipedia “What Does City Council Do?

“City councils and town boards generally consist of several (usually somewhere between 5 and 50) elected aldermen or councilors. In the United States, members of city councils are typically called council member, councilmancouncilwoman, councilman, or councilwoman, while in Canada they are typically called councilor.

In some cities, the mayor is a voting member of the council who serves as chairman; in others, the mayor is the city’s independent chief executive (or strong mayor) with veto power over city council legislation. In larger cities the council may elect other executive positions as well, such as a council president and speaker.

The council will generally function as parliamentary or congressional style legislative body, proposing bills, holding votes, and passing laws to help govern the city.

The role of the mayor in the council varies depending on whether or not the city uses council–manager government or mayor–council government, and by the nature of the statutory authority given to it by state law, city charter, or municipal ordinance.

There is also a mayor pro tempore councilmember. In cities where the council elects the mayor for one year at a time, the mayor pro tem is in line to become the mayor in the next year. In cities where the mayor is elected by the city’s voters, the mayor pro tem serves as acting mayor in the absence of the mayor. This position is also known as vice mayor.

In some cities a different name for the municipal legislature is used.  In San Francisco, for example, it is known as the Board of Supervisors; San Francisco is a consolidated city-county and the California constitution requires each county to have a Board of Supervisors.”

How to get involved: Voting to decide who gets elected for city council in your town is just as important as voting for the governor of your state or for the president of the United States.  They’re largely responsible, as you can see, in deciding how the resources of town are distributed amongst the members of your community and for making sure the community is safe.

Firstly, get to know the background of each person who is currently on the city council and whoever is running.  Figure out what party they’re affiliated with, how cognizant are they about national issues and how they affect you locally, if they have any history of corruption, and what are their political accomplishments?  You can find their resumés on your city’s website (every town has one).  Also, start following you politicians on social media.  I’m currently following my state rep., my lt. governor, my governor, my mayor, and my city councilwoman on Facebook. 

Seeing what they post about, “like”, and retweet will help you start getting a better picture of their character and what ideals they do or do not stand for.  

Typically, city council terms run for about 4 years.  So, make sure you familiarize yourself with the election cycles of your district.  You also can find this information on your city’s website, and, while you’re there, start figuring out when and where your city council has their meetings. 

If the meetings are open to the public, start attending.  If they’re not, reach out personally to a member or to a council aide to request a sit-in.  I’ve done it myself, and most of the time they encourage the public to attend.

In a meeting, pay close attention to what kind of proposals are coming down the pipeline and start talking with your friends and family about it.  If you oppose their policies, mobilize and get everyone you know to go voice their opinion about it.  Let them know that their vote is on the line if they do things that are not in your best interests.  And, leave emotion out of your politics.  They’re there to do a job, not to romance you or buddy up, nor vice versa.

And, one final point, if you’re going to attend these meetings and you want to express some type of grievance or discontent, make sure you come with data and statistics.  This means you need to do your research on topics you want to present.  Politicians don’t really care about emotions and feelings.  They just make it seem like they do to get your vote.  Also, make sure to get a copy of the meeting minutes of each session you attend, which, again, can be found on your city’s website.

I think that is a good start to this series.  If you have any follow up questions, please feel free to contact me at contact board below. 



Published Works: (https://goo.gl/y6zy45)

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