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You Weren't "Enthused"

135,000 African-American voters in Detroit sat out this crucial presidential election because they were not "enthused" by Hillary Clinton.

Hugo Mack

In Detroit Michigan, the largest city in my state and controlled by Democrats, 135,000 largely African-American voters sat out this crucial presidential election, after voting in 2008 and 2012, because they were not "enthused" by Hillary Clinton like they were for President Barack Obama.

As final votes were being counted, Donald Trump was slated to win Michigan by fewer than 16,000 votes. That is one-sixth of the population of Michigan Stadium on a football Saturday afternoon.

African-Americans are the only people in the history of our nation that required three constitutional amendments to make us not only whole, but human.

As citizens, our vote is our voice. No people in American history have paid a higher price for that voice than African-Americans. A few days before the election, President Obama said "The truth is, if you don't vote, it's because you don't want to".

Yes, orchestrated voter suppression is real, but no more real than the human spirit that endured The Montgomery Bus Boycott for 381 days, or the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King on April 4,1968, sacrifices for our full inclusion in a uniquely American dream.

Without the vote, that dream becomes a nightmare.

I have every logical,learned,spiritual and emotional reason to believe that our nation is entering into a dark revisiting of 50 years ago. I pray to God I am wrong and the racist, sexist and xenophobic rhetoric of the campaign remains on ignorant bumper stickers and placards.

The simple reality is that African-Americans are the last people that should have to be "enthused" into voting. The vestiges of slavery are real and exist one centimeter below the surface of the American tapestry.

What a foolish mistake it is to think, particularly for African-Americans, that we are in a post-racial era via the election and re-election of President Obama.

When African-Americans refuse to vote, we not only aid and abet our own minimalization and oppression, we voluntarily forfeit the kindred voice of those who built this nation on their broken and whip-laden backs.

Harriet Tubman once said "I freed a thousand slaves, I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves."

My message to African-Americans, make no mistake about it, and don't blame it on anyone else, when you voluntarily refuse to vote, you have returned to the plantation and become one of the thousand Harriet Tubman warned us about.

Hugo Mack is an attorney in private practice in southeastern Michigan.

Copyright © Hugo Mack. All rights reserved.