I am a black person who has lived in this community for 66-plus years and have participated in local politics since the mid-1960s. Having served a term on Augusta's city council, I can testify to what state Rep. Rep. Sue Burmeister , R-Augusta, is alleged to have said concerning black vote-buying.
It is true. That practice was, and still is, alive and well in certain segments of the community. I say shame on black leaders that participated and continue to do so in this regrettable activity.
When I ran for city council in 1968, there were two black political organizations financed by white political bosses for the sole purpose of getting out the black vote to support the candidates and/or issues of their choice, not necessarily ours. White bosses were wrong for creating this practice, and black leaders were wrong for being willing participants.
I have no problem admitting the truth, regardless of who tells it. I just hope that we, as a race of people, are willing to accept the truth told of us by white people as we are expecting them to accept the truth told of them by us. It is the truth that will set us both free.
I am confident that vote-buying among blacks will cease when we start educating ourselves on the issues and the candidates, and voting our own convictions - not someone else's. Until then, I'm sad to say, the practice of selling votes and buying votes in the black community will continue, unabated, as usual.
Grady Abrams, Martinez
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