By James Clingman
Over the past year or so, I have been wondering how Black folks would react to the election outcome. Two questions kept coming to mind: What will we do if Obama wins? What will we do if Romney wins? Let's make it personal: What will you do?
Four years ago I wrote a similar article titled, "The Morning After," that dealt with what Black folks would do after the inauguration of Barack Obama. Let's face it; we blew it, y'all. Now let's see if we learned anything.
Black people are "all in" for Barack Obama, so we know there will be sackcloth and ashes if he loses in the Electoral College, where all presidential elections are decided. The same scenario will take place among Romney supporters if he loses; less weeping and gnashing of teeth, yes, but still there will be remorse. For the most part, other than Herman Cain, Mia Love, Artur Davis, and Allen West, Black folks love Obama. But many White people just tolerate Romney; they aren't in love with him. Besides, many of them couldn't care less who wins because they know who and what really controls this country, and they are holding a can't-lose hand.
So what will we do if Barack wins a second term? Well, for sure there will be dancing in the streets again, tears and euphoria, and a whole lot of Praise the Lords, Hallelujahs, and Amens. I hope there are no more Peggy Joseph comments. You remember her words: "I won't have to worry about putting gas in my car. I won't have to worry about paying my mortgage. If I help him (Obama) he is going to help me."
Will we settle for a big celebration and then go home and fall asleep again, the way we did four years ago? Or, will understand that when he is elected our work will have just begun? Will we make the same missteps during the second term as we did during the first? Will we organize and mobilize our efforts around a common goal? Will we seek reciprocity for our votes?
Here is the other question, and I know this may be difficult for most of you, but what will we do if Mitt Romney wins? Will we declare 30 days of mourning? Will we resign ourselves to no progress for the next four years and settle for whatever happens during that period? Will we rant, rave, and complain for four years about how bad things are under Romney? Will we acknowledge that we did not support him and, therefore, have nothing coming from our new president?
I am certain there will also be euphoria and maybe even a little dancing in the streets if Romney succeeds. Surely Hannity, Limbaugh, Beck, and the others will gloat and rub salt into the wounds of the Obama supporters. And, no doubt there will be sighs of relief among the super-rich as they review their portfolios to determine how much they will make in the next four years.
But what will you do regardless of who wins? There are answers and plans that have been developed long before this election. Ron Daniels has been planning the State of the Black World Conference (SOBWC III) for some time now, part of which is dedicated to our "appropriate" action after the presidential election – no matter which candidate wins.
Daniels is bringing the SOBWC III to Howard University in Washington, D.C. November 14-18, 2012. You still have time to get in on this solution-oriented meeting comprising some of the nation's top thinkers, businesspeople, activists, educators, religious leaders, politicians, college students, and economists in this country. Folks from every sector will converge to set us on a path toward prosperity, strength, and self-determination.
It is appropriate that the event will be held after Election Day because, irrespective of the ultimate winner, Black people must work together to define our own political, economic, educational, and social agendas. We must be strong and cohesive in our approach if we want to be counted at the decision-making tables of criminal and social justice, economic empowerment, educational excellence, and political inclusion; and it matters not who is the President.
We cannot win of we are not in the game, and Ron Daniels and his team have set forth an agenda for this conference that, if we attend, pay attention, and commit to doing the work when we leave, will bring the victory to Black people that many of us have longed for and have fought for through the years.
There is much work to do, and it doesn't matter who lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. The work must be done, and we must do it.
For more information on the SOBWC III, call 1-888-774-2921 or go to www.ibw21.org
Jim Clingman, founder of the Greater Cincinnati African American Chamber of Commerce, is the nation's most prolific writer on economic empowerment for Black people. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati and can be reached through his Web site, blackonomics.com.