No doubt, the majority of you have heard the infamous quote, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Should I decide too, I could end this article right now and get my point across just on that quote alone. Because in a nutshell as it relates to the phenomena of people purportedly voting against their self-interest this quote is self-explanatory. Think about it folks. If harming people you consider your enemy is your goal, what better way to ensure that outcome then by voting for those who share that goal, who share your ‘self-interest’. You see, ‘self-interest’ does not apply only to someone’s finances it also applies to cultural prejudices, biases, and hate.
Consider for a moment if you will, the main reason posited for this behavior, that people vote this way out of fear, fear of what. Admittedly, there exist pockets in America where this explanation might apply, West Virginia and the reluctance of citizens out of fear of losing jobs to protest companies contaminating drinking water for example. Obvious examples notwithstanding, saying that people vote against their ‘economic self-interest’ restricts the conversation to a narrow point of view. As a result and because we live in a politically correct society, no one dares offer the simplest explanation, that what people in this category really fear is loss of power.
The power these people fear losing is not the type of power that many would attribute to that statement. It is not the fear of losing financial power. To the contrary, this fear of loss is more psychological than it is anything else. It is the fear of losing that sense of white privilege, the fear of losing that ‘first come, first serve’ mentality. It is the fear of no longer being able to pull pranks without fear of punishment that in urban communities are considered crimes. It is the fear of despite living in a lower state of poverty than does your enemy maintaining that “at least I ain’t no nigger or immigrant” attitude. What this fear is really all about is losing those long held delusions of grandeur.
That said, the fact that people who vote in this manner continue to prevail is the most troubling aspect of this debate. Reluctance on the part of those most affected by the outcome of these elections, mainly people of color, to speak out, or worse, vote, is the result of being distracted and lulled to sleep. Watching the birdie of gadgets and the latest electronic fad so to be able to say, “I got it first,” and lulled to sleep by senseless reality shows that depict us (blacks) in our most stereotypical state so to be able to laugh at the pain and ignorance of our own. And while we are wallowing in street corner popularity and water cooler gossip, others are voting to keep us in that state out of fear that we might one day awaken from our suicidal slumber and see in ourselves what others have seen all along, that we are Mother Nature’s children.
Some years ago, I made it a habit of watching Pastor James David Manning, PhD of Atlah World Ministries in Harlem. I enjoyed his sermons for their frankness regarding scripture. Alas however, as is often the case with far too many men of God, Pastor Manning’s genius sabotaged his humility before God and his sermons became rants of hate. Hate and hyperbole aside however, Pastor Manning delivered in his final days on air what I believe to be a truly prophetic message as it relates to the behavior of ‘self-interest’. Follow the link below and please do your best to ignore the name-calling and hyperbole. Can anyone say Birthers, Open Carry, NRA, Cliven Bundy, Stand Your Ground, and Voting Rights decimation.
~~~ By Jay Arrington - Email
Maryland Daily Examiner