By House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels
If Black America needed a reminder that we can take nothing for granted, this year was it. Our jobs, our safety, our health, our families, and our very lives continue to be threatened and harmed by the coronavirus.
In a matter of days, all of that and more will be on the line at the ballot box.
If you’re looking for a wake-up call, 2020 is it.
If you want to change the direction of this country, November 3 rd is it.
We cannot afford to sit this election out. Now, is the time to be brave, to take stock of all we’ve lost, evaluate what’s at stake, and pick leaders who are grounded in reality – not reality television.
Don’t be scared off by lies. Joe Biden’s tax plan rewards work. It supports Black workers, students, families, entrepreneurs, and the middle class. It upholds the promise of quality public education, higher education, career growth, business ownership, homeownership, and retirement for all.
Trump’s tax plan rewards wealth. Under his administration, income inequality reached its highest level in 50 years. Meanwhile, low and middle-income Americans are finding it harder and harder to make ends meet. Trump’s plan is not about what’s best for you, your family, your school, your job, or your home. Listen closely — Trump’s staff, supporters, and surrogates aren’t advocating for Black communities, families, students, workers, and business owners. They’re talk ing about further boosting their own bottom lines. And the fact is: if you’re not significantly wealthy already, you don’t have a fighting chance under Trump. Not when:
· Black men and women are being laid off more and rehired less. The unemployment rate in the Black community more than tripled under Trump. It doubled among Black men to a staggering 1.4 million.
· Black-owned businesses are closing for good. Studies show that more than 40 percent of Blackowned small businesses are shutting down and those remaining are hanging on by a thread.
· Black workers and families aren’t bouncing back. More than half of black families have lost wages since March. One in 3 expect to lose employment income in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, Black workers are less likely to receive unemployment assistance or federal COVID-19 relief.
Not to mention the fact that Black Americans are succumbing to the virus at a much higher rate that ongoing attacks on Obamacare would leave millions of Black families uninsured, and that the Black community continues to report significantly higher maternal and infant mortality rates.
In my home state of Alabama, Black people accounted for more than 40 percent of COVID-19 deaths, but we only make up about a quarter of the population. That same trend continues in Georgia, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and other battleground states. Despite Trump’s promises, the virus is not going away and corporate tax cuts cannot buy health. Even if we could somehow magically benefit from tax breaks for the wealthiest, we’re still getting sick and dying at vastly disproportionate rates.
No, now is not the time to double down on a bad bet – one that has already cost us far, far too much. Now is not the time to be fooled by fear or distracted by hype.
There’s just too much at stake.
If this year has shown us anything, it’s that we never know what tomorrow will bring. We never know what struggles are in store. And we never know what Trump or his administration will say, do, or Tweet to make them worse. Just look at this week’s comments from his son-in-law and senior advisor, Jared Kushner.
He basically blamed us for Trump’s failures. He implied that many Black Americans don’t succeed because we’re complainers who don’t want it enough.
Does that sound like someone who is in touch with the Black community. Does that sound like someone who has your best interest at heart?
Nope. We know better. We know the importance of stability, steadiness, and self-control, especially in the face of unprecedented crisis. And we know Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and they know us. We know their values, their views, and we’ve seen how they conduct themselves with dignity, decency, respect, and composure.
And we know the importance of voting. We know that as long as we all vote, we have hope. We can change the course of history and we can get our future and our children’s future back on the right track. 2020 has taught us a lot: November 3 rd is our chance to learn from it and do better. Be brave. Get off the sidelines. Make a plan to vote. If necessary, stand in line to vote. Get your friends and family to vote. Show Trump that we’re not whiners, we’re not lazy, and we want to succeed just as much if not more than anybody.
Joe and Kamala know that. We know them and they know us. They know Black Lives Matter.
Let’s show the nation and the world that Black votes matter. Let’s come together to elect a new president and vice president who understand and stand for Black Americans across this nation.
And let’s send them the Democratic support they need in Congress, state legislatures, and communities across the nation to Build Back Better for All.