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Viewpoint: When Turn About Is Fair Play

By Dennis Edwards
Editorial Page Columnist
New Journal and Guide

Over the years I’ve come to appreciate how our most persistent adversaries can become our best teachers. How it doesn’t really matter from whom we learn as long as what we learn is used for the right purposes.

Back in the 70’s a kind of “Massive Resistance” to Affirmative Action produced what I call a “hire to fire” strategy. The practice in some places was to hire minorities and then fire them as soon as possible for alleged “incompetence.” This was often done under the shadow of supervisors who feigned disappointment because things “didn’t quite work out.” It didn’t take long to realize they were demonstrating patterns that when reversed actually protected us from them.

I learned the best response to criticism is to accept it, immediately correct the mistake, avoid repeating it and by so doing snatch the “double standard” rug from under a puzzled adversary. Instead of assuming a defensive “they’re out to get me” posture, a better approach was to transform every weakness into a strength. To turn each valid criticism into an opportunity to get better. In the process would-be enemies became mentors, admirers and ultimately friends.

There’s a similar opportunity available after last November’s Presidential Election. Voters frustrated by Bernie Sanders’ failure to secure the Presidential Nomination, those deceived by inaccurate or fraudulent information about Hillary Clinton and those who didn’t vote or pouted away their ballot in protest can rebound. Just remember what is meant for evil often produces powerful fuel for good.

In this case, the fuel would be a singular focus on making voting in every election a family cultural tradition. In short, there should never be a day now or in the future that entire families miss a voting opportunity. If we don’t, I’m giving our parents, children, uncles and aunts “Carte Blanche” to take a verbal strap to every offender.

Those who proclaim “it’s not gonna change anything” should stop talking nonsense. The last time that happened not only did you not vote, your sons, daughters and grand children didn’t either. Now the White House has become a House of Evolving Horrors. Just don’t do that again.

Those who won out in this Presidential Election never stopped voting. Over 8 years they regrouped in silence, gathered their sons and daughters and went to the polls together. On the way out of a Chesapeake Voting Precinct, their demeanor progressed from an in-going dogged determination to a joyous discussion about where to have dinner on the way out. Their cultural commitment to making voting a family affair was inspirational.

So why not do what they did? Regroup, refocus and decide to vote together in every succeeding election. Why not take the grand kids in the booth with you when deciding the next Dog Catcher, City Clerk, Judge, City Council Person or Mayor?

Just vote against the party and the President who wants to “Drain The Swamp,” a NOT so subtle reference to dismantling the Federal Government in Washington and devastating local government budgets everywhere else.

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Mid-Term Congressional Elections for the U.S. House and Senate are just 22 months from now. Are those who didn’t vote just going to keep protesting what cannot be changed? Do we spend our time waiting to see how the Trump Administration disassembles Democracy, how they’ll “Drain The Swamp” first by destroying middle and upper middle class families in the D.C. Area, all over the country next and then in your neighborhood?

Or will dissatisfied voters of all races decide to take a page from the opposition’s playbook and vote in mass to quickly drain the incoming Congressional Swamp. Why not? After all “turnabout is fair play” and with a 32% national approval rating the incoming President isn’t as politically invincible as some want dissatisfied voters to think.

Dennis Edwards is an Emmy Award Winning Investigative Television Journalist who’s worked in Detroit, Baltimore, St. Louis, Richmond and as a Freelance Correspondent for CNN. He’s a graduate of Virginia Union University and its Samuel Dewitt Proctor School of Theology.

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