October 16th, 2008 | By Sonnie Johnson
Local Politician Sonskystar gave a speech in front of Any Town U.S.A. today. Here’s a copy of her words:
Hello, Everyone. We’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s go. I know this is usually the part where I throw out names and Thank You’s but I think we have more important issues to discuss. So for all the assistance I’ve garnered along the way, Thank You.
Now, I know you are surprised to see a Black Woman running as a Republican. And I know people will try to scare you about me. But this is not the time to let their tactics interfer with your future. I’m not asking for your vote. I’m asking for your ear, a little of your time, and eventually your success.
The Civil Rights movement in this country came at a high cost. We lost some of the bravest most dedicated Americans to ever grace this country. But their fight was not in vein. Some would try to tell you we are in the same fight now. I beg to differ. We are in a new age. And we need a new movement, a Hip Hop Movement.
We can not overlook tragedies from the past. We can not act as though slavery, Jim Crow, and segregation never existed. But we can refuse to let it control our futures. We can give honor and respect to those who came before us, but that can not cause us to stand idle like the battlefield hasn’t changed. We must stand and say Thank You Dr. King, Malcolm X, and all the rest but this is our time to pick up where you left off. You gave us the level playing field and now we have to take advantage of your sacrifices.
If you’re listening right now and thinking to yourself, ‘You know she doesn’t sound like your average politician.’ You are right. I am not. See most politicians would come out and make you every promise under the sun. You give them a problem, they come up with a promise for a solution.
The lower class and lower middle class have given our votes to the Democrats for years. What have they done for you? Have your communities gotten cleaner or safer? Have your schools gotten better? Are there more after school programs and assistance towards getting into college. And I’m not talking about paying for college. I’m talking wanting to go to college. What’s the use of throwing money at people, if they don’t have the skills to make it in college because they weren’t taught properly in public schools.
Okay, now she’s starting to sound like a politician. I’m not finished yet. This will shock you. I will not make you any promises. I’m not going to stand here, pull out my book of magic spells, my wand, and whip up all the change we need. It doesn’t work that way. My plans will fail if I can’t get you to fight with me.
The Democrats want to give you. And that sounds great. But what happens when the funding runs out? What happens when they deem the program unworkable. The promises made by Politicians fade and beauracracy flourishes. And you are left with the same old problems, this time compiled with dashed hopes and dreams.
What I offer is priceless. I offer self sufficiency. I don’t want to give you fish, I want to teach you to be fisherman. I want to give you the power to take care of yourself and your community, no matter how the wind blows in Washington. I want to take away the promises and replace them with actual results.
I think most Politicians get into office and forget their role. They get into office and start to think they know best. I’m not that smug. If one single person had all the answers, we wouldn’t have any problems. As your elected official, my job would be to give you every tool available to do it by yourself. And to fight anyone that impedes on your progress. I mean anyone. Because I know my success will only come when you are first successful.
Real change comes with a price tag attached for everyone. I can not bring change. That’s one promise I will make you. I can not do it. But you can. You can decide to stand up and fight. Because the fight of our time is coming. And you’ve already taken the first step.
In just listening to another point of view. Just giving me the chance to show you, I understand. I grew up in a rural community where Confederate Flags still waved from flag poles. Then I lived in the projects with my single mother. I know the struggles are real and seem insurmountable but they aren’t. Did you hear me? If we all get together and start taking one step at a time, we can crush what seems to be an ever present road block.
That’s how the Civil Rights movement started. Single acts from brave Americans. Before there were large marches, there were small marches. Before there were recognizable names, there were people fighting. Before there was light at the end of the tunnel, there was a dream.
So when they tell you, ‘She’s a Republican. She’s an Uncle Tom. A trader to her race because she sides with ‘Whitey’. Then you say, ‘I have white friends and family. What’s wrong with loving all Americans not just those with the same skin color?’ So when they bring up things from the past, you question how that will get you into the future.
Guess what? You have started to pile stones onto your foundation. And that’s how it starts. A few brave Americans deciding to longer go with the status quo. A few brave Americans willing to stand up when everyone wants them to fail and say I’m still going to fight.
And the change starts to come. Little changes to fix little problems, making the bigger problems seem less threatening. And we have some major problems that need fixing.
Communication is our major barrier. We have so many people pointing to the past. And hell, in some cases the right here and now. But you don’t hear a way out. A real way towards self sufficiency. Now I could point fingers but what would that solve. Nothing. We would still be in this downward slide with more weight dragging us down.
Instead let’s start talking about the real issues that plague our communities. And that’s where it all starts. In our communities. Everyone is interested in the Presidential Election but what about your local elections. This is where the majority of the issues that face average Americans are really hammered out. What does it matter if the Federal Government pledges Millions of Dollars to this or that, if your local officials decide the money would be better spent some where else.
The Federal Government gives a state $10 Million for new computers in schools. But the state and local governments decide to give that money to the Teacher’s Union because they supported them in the last election. Then they complain that the school doesn’t have the resources it needs. Local Officials have to be held to a higher standard of accountability and transparency. It’s not enough to have meetings where people voice their opinions to have them overturned by the very people they voted into office.
Then you get parking lots instead of community centers. Students are forced to pay for school books, while politicians get pay raises. And then they come back to you with the same promise that next time will be different. Next time I’m going to do something about substance abuse in our communities. Next time I’m going for better social programs. But those programs never come. The solutions never appear. And the problems are never solved.
That’s a major reason to let faith based initiatives continue. Government can not fix every problem with the same solution. Each community faces different challenges. And who better to know the challenges than the people who live there. If you are tired of waiting for a new community center and you want to open one through your church, funds should be made available. I trust you more with caring how that money is spent than a politician with campaign debts to pay off.
My family is saturated with drug abusers. My biological mother was an addict when I was born and is still addicted today. And that breaks my heart. But my oldest sister was an addict and now she’s found her way back. All praises to God. She’s working two jobs, trying to settle her debts of the past, and not making any excuses why it’s too hard. Recovery is possible.
For my sister, it all started with a small business in her community that was willing to give her a chance. A white couple who lived in her Ghetto community didn’t see color or her past. All they saw was a woman trying to get her life back. All they saw was an opportunity to help. And they should be rewarded so they can give that chance to as many people as possible.
The federal government couldn’t reach my sister. The local government couldn’t reach my sister. One couple of brave Americans not only reached her, they grabbed her, held her tight, and refused to let her fail. And in return, she refuses to let their outreach be in vain.
There is something to be said about people who faced adversity and come out the other side. They develop this wonderful trait called character. They can look back and realize the mistakes they made. And they begin to notice those decisions also had an affect on their communities. And this is when great men and women are born.
And that’s what we need. A real rebirth in our communities. Who cares how the drugs got here? How do we get them out? Who cares how low our property values are currently? How can we get them to rival other neighborhoods in the city?
The problem is, we look to government to solve those problems. Let’s look to the great men and women being born out of these hard circumstances. They know why the problems exist, they were there. Let them have a hand at revitalizing our communities. Let them have the victory and pride in knowing they are the stewards of the people. Let them fight for job growth by opening businesses. Give them unused city buildings or space to start financial counseling and debt elimination.
People, when I say we are on the door step of a new movement, please believe me. We are in the ‘Keep it Real’ stage in our history. But we don’t apply it when in matters. If somebody steps on my shoes, I’ll knock him out. If you look at me wrong……you know what I mean. We need people who will say the things people don’t want to hear.
We need the former drug dealers and addicts to speak up. We need the single mother’s and once absentee father’s to speak up. I can follow in Cosby’s footsteps and tell you bluntly all the problems in our communities or I can let the men and women you see everyday explain how to help you out of your current situation. I can let them work and prosper. My job would be to fight anyone that would dare say they aren’t qualified. My job would be to fight anyone that said money could be better spent paying for my next election. My job would be to make sure anyone that tells you it’s not worth the fight is silenced, by any and all means necessary.
And with each new stone, with each new victory, you will see change. I’ll still be me. But I doubt you’ll still be the same. Success is contagious. Today we are surrounded by all the reasons we can’t make it. What happens when you start seeing everyone around you prove that theory wrong? You get that little flutter in your heart thinking, ‘Why can’t that be me?’. And you hear my loud mouth saying, ‘It can be you’, drowning out all the reasons and excuses.
You decide to go to Malik’s debt management class. Not only do you come out with a sense that things are going to be different because this plan depends on you; you also found out about Mrs. T’s new daycare program, Rev. Johnson’s new job training program, Shantel’s new health and awarness clinic, and a host of other programs and businesses set up by people just like you.
You go home happy. Dare I say, optimistic. And you look into the eyes of your child and now you want more for him or her. Now you want to attend every P.T.A. meeting to let every parent know that you are starting a new tutoring program. Not just for the kids but for adults that want more than they presently have. And you become infectious. And you bring change. And you strengthen the foundation of your community.
And when it’s time to pick the city counsel, the people will cry out for you, Mrs. T, and Shantel. You will get your opportunity to start building your community floor by floor, because each and everyone of you worked together to make a solid foundation. And no one will be able to take it from you. And no financial crisis will cripple you. Because your progress was not built on false promises but hard work by new movers and shakers.
A new generation with new problems. We are no longer fighting for our right to learn to read. We are now fighting for schools that don’t pass students even when they can’t read. We are no longer fighting for our right to not be called property. We are now fighting to be responsible home owners. We are no longer fighting to to be called men and women despite color. We are now fighting to become men and women by character, dedication and sacrifice.
Our schools need help. That’s why charter schools are so important. And vouchers to make those schools affordable are even more important. Now that you’ve started your tutoring program, more parents are getting involved in their child’s lives.
Let me point something out real quick. Some may say, these ideas have been tried before. To that I say, by the wrong people. You can not give this job to the government to handle. The government doesn’t know how to make a tutoring program interesting in the Urban areas. If you leave it to the people in those areas, I’m sure they will create the buzz needed to get people to participate. They know the people, what they want, and they know how to get them there. The programs are more effective.
The targets are reached. Young boys one step away from being haunted for the rest of their lives by a felony. Young girls one step away from being single mothers. Young men and women one step away from contracting H.I.V. Young men and women one step away from taking my job, they just don’t know it yet. And I welcome that.
Some people will tell you it’s a right to own a home. I am not one of those people. Home ownership is a privelage and a responsibility, not a right. But it is also a struggle. Saving for a down payment while trying to start your own business is almost an impossiblity. Saving while trying to finish school and take care of a family fits into the same category, nearly impossible.
That’s where my job comes in. I’ll fight to get social programs that do not help propel self sufficiency removed, freeing up money for new programs. Cut government programs that should be handled by locals and give them vouchers for home down payments. Reward small business owners with better loan options depending on the number of jobs they create. This gives them incentive to make their business grow.
And other programs that I think miss the target will have to be adjusted as well. I don’t understand why you can get welfare for not working but the minute you get a job, you are cut off. It’s like the government wants to reward you for relying on them. Take that power from them. Don’t let them control your vote by controlling your destiny.
If you currently live in public housing, I don’t expect you to miraculously solve all your problems in a month or two. It takes time to catch up on old bills and buy a car that allows you to get back and forth to work. It takes time to balance a budget; to figure out how much you can afford to spend on housing, insurance, and every thing else it takes to make it in this country.
You should be awarded for taking a step forward. And I will fight to make sure your food stamps aren’t cut off because you have a minimum wage job. I’ll fight to help keep your benefits until you complete your G.E.D., college courses, technical school courses, or save enough to know you can handle it on your own. I’ll fight to make sure you see the light at the end of the tunnel. Because I know when you come out the other side, you will have character and courage to know nothing can stop you. And you will want to give back to the community that gave you that feeling.
And the cycle will continue. One victory at a time. A new movement, with a new voice. A new Hip Hop generation that refuses to go unheard or to let someone else shape our development. A new foundation to build upon. Forged by fixing the problems of the hear and now, not of the past.
But all this means nothing without you. Whether I’m elected or not, I will continue to fight. I don’t want your vote because I think I know what ‘s best. I’m depending on you to tell me what your community needs. And I just your words aren’t enough. I need your action, passion and motivation. There are some people in some high places that don’t want you to think for yourself. They have more education than you. They have years on capital hill to prove they know better than you.
But what they can’t give you is results. They promise them but where are they. You are the only one that can get results. And you need someone that tells everyone else, back off and watch this new generation in action. You don’t need another politician that wins your vote with promises. I’ll be a servant to you. If you say that policy isn’t working. I’ll cut it, even if I fought for it in the first place.
Who knows how many projects and programs will fail before we get it right. Like I said, I don’t have a book of magic to make the problems disappear. But together we have a chance to try. To take each little victory and build upon it. When we find a crack, we won’t ignore it or let it fester until it drags us all down. We’ll fix it, learning from each lesson along the way.
And you will be the Author in this new chapter in History. Names that aren’t known yet, will fill the history books with little stories that lead to massive change. And all the haters that tell you it won’t happen, will remain nameless. History seldoms records the neigh sayers. It always records the accounts of the one’s willing to fight.
So will you fight with me? Will you stand up and say enough with the promises? Will you say my votes’ new cost is character not entitlements? Fight with me for your future, the future of those in your community, and for your community as a whole. Let’s get that first victory, so we can start to build a foundation that can not be broken. Let’s show the Hero’s of the past, our time is now. And we will fight just as they did. And will win just as they did.
God bless you, your family and the United States of America.