Giants: Parade or Election?
BY YUCEF MAYES
Monday evening, I was walking down a desolate street, on my way to a church meeting. I heard a boy screaming something in the distance. I saw a couple carrying a box of Pizza from the Pizza parlor from the Main Avenue. Thinking about the New York Giants. My joy for them. My loyalty to New York. But when I heard that their parade would be on election day, my conspiracy theorist personality surfaced. What difference would the parade make on votes? How many would waste much of their day at the parade celebrating only to forget to vote? How many people held the election in the back of their minds already before it was buried behind the New York Giants, The SuperBowl Champions?
This led me to think about what Chris Rock said about holding elections for Presidency on Tuesday. What an inconvenience? Years ago, I remember asking my parents if they had voted after a long day’s work, after my mother muscling her way through Jersey City ‘s traffic, after my father’s long train ride from Summit, after cooking dinner for the family, after checking my homework. They responded in deep exhaustion. Another responsibility on the chain.
However, there is never an excuse to NOT vote. Voting SHOULD become a priority in the mist of a hundred important things we do day to day. Since voting for presidency is only once every four years it is a small adjustment to rearrange our schedules and our television shows in order to sift through the candidates and listen to the debates. But we, black people, are stricken with disdain for the country, for politicians, for the government. What battles we face, tearing back the distractions, grappling our way to find the opening of a closed curtain.
With my own cumbersome workload, time involved with Church activities, energy focused on school and study, and hours daydreaming and procrastinating, I had found enough time to make my own decision, although I already had my mind made up when I saw my brother. But I owe much thanks to my beautiful girlfriend and her constant curiosity and fight for knowledge and understanding. For some of our time together was to watch the debates or see debates on YouTube and other websites. The people we trust in our lives shape the minds more than the media ever could.
But such a disappointment I feel now for most of the conversations have been spent talking about the Giants and NOT Barack. An underhanded distraction. Somebody who was going to the parade first thing Tuesday told me that the parade will be held in New York about 10am and another rally will be held at the Meadowlands at 4pm. I pray that people have a chance to vote in the in between. I pray for a divine reminder of the real importance for Tuesday, February 05, 2008. We need a shift in celebration. I pray that our ancestors shake the ground underneath us so that we recognize the celebration for another GIANT, another VICTORY.
But all my ideas were left to myself. My prayers were all hidden with the wisdom of God. This street I traveled down was buried behind the Main Avenue, the shopping center. As the screaming boy neared I had to disconnect from my thoughts, my worries to hear what he was chanting. I heard his words, I felt his message. A young black boy, maybe nine to ten years old. Maybe influenced by his parents. Maybe influenced by his teacher. Maybe he was under the tutelage of an older neighbor, an older brother, a beautiful sister, a warm and loving grandmother. Whichever, he chose to carry the message to the masses. To do his part. To scream loud enough to pierce through the closed curtain. To pull people from their dinners for only a second. To convince people to turn down their televisions to hear what was being chanted. The little boy chanted “VOTE FOR BARACK!” I could only imagine where his march started, but I heard and saw him from three blocks away and watched him repeat it another four blocks away from me. His shout never weakened. His rhythm was never lost. He was alone and with everyone of us at the same time. Maybe his reasons were simple. Maybe his reasons were justified. Maybe he saw Barack and he saw himself, a black boy for president, a black man for progress. A nine or ten black boy, maybe four feet tall stood and shouted and chanted like a Giant. Like David to Goliath. Like Barack to an Old America.