Columns, Opinion

Social dilemma: Haitian-Americans know whom to vote for, but are clueless about why to vote

By Bobb Rousseau, Diaspora Matters Columnist

Voting should not be a decision based on short-term thinking, but a comprehensive civic and political engagement based on its lasting impact on future generations. It is a pragmatic investment, not for voters, but for their community and their children, to reap the rewards. Voters should not be steered to vote a certain way because the consensus is that their origin or color is synonymous with their political choice. Therefore, voting is counterproductive when people vote for their origin, not for their belief or self-interest. It is definitely the recipe for social chaos when they know who to vote, but do not know why to vote for such a candidate.

Haitian Americans enter the American political arena with a weak political culture and strong political pressure to vote in one direction from a handful of political leaders whose thinking has been already being manipulated by the liberal media.

The Haitian-American community has never given such a warm welcome to any American presidential candidate, not even Barrack Obama, than the one it gives to Joe Biden. This is the first time in American political history that they have shown so much activism and slacktivism through ad hoc groups that call themselves Haitian-Americans for Biden or Haitian-Americans against Trump. As seen on social networks, they take to the streets to assert their political presence, socialize their agenda and strengthen their voice.

Their position is clear: they will vote Democrat because Biden is better off dealing with political corruption and bad governance in Haiti, the country Trump called shithole. They will vote against the Republican establishment because Trump will cancel TPS while Biden promises he will renew or extend it for the thousands of Haitians who are no longer at risk of deportation because of it. If only Haitian-Americans are allowed to vote, Trump will lose by a tidal wave.

A good vote is a vote that is cast after voters determine and know the position of whom to vote on local, state and joint issues that matter to them as a community, as students, or as parents. Haitian Americans do not take the time to learn about the American political process to identify policies that will affect them and future generations. Their votes are automatic responses to the growing fears and continuing political propaganda that polarizes their decision.

Voting to renew TPS is not only a bad reason to vote, it is also a bad decision that does not protect future generations from police brutality and unfair discrimination practices. Rather, effective Haitian-American leadership should be demanding that Joe Biden replace TPS with a more comprehensive immigration path to residency and, ultimately, to citizenship or the effective approval of measures that will protect the undocumented children of Haitian-Americans against deportations.

Haitian leaders show their relevance by bringing out issues without offering real long-term solutions. They encourage the general population to vote to solve today’s problems without informing them that their vote is not just a vote, but that it is their freedom and, as such, they must not pass it on to their generation through the chains. They are not effective electoral advocates as they lack the political curiosity to learn what another party is doing to establish a balance, among others, in the education system, especially to provide opportunities for children who will attend Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Bobb Rousseau

Bobb Rousseau

Bobb Rousseau holds a Ph.D. in Administration and Public Policy with specializations in Public Law and Managing Local Government. Dr. Rousseau firmly believes that the Haitian diaspora in the United States is at a prime stage to build an attractive political force that can shift U.S. immigration, diplomacy, and humanitarian aid to Haiti and to advance the Haitian agenda around the world.
Bobb Rousseau
Oct. 23, 2020

ONE COMMENT ON THIS POST To “Social dilemma: Haitian-Americans know whom to vote for, but are clueless about why to vote”

  1. Reading the title of this piece, one would assume that the author’s thesis was a broader analysis of voting in our community, and a comparative analysis of the two major parties. One would have expected to read a coherent argument that could help to advance our community’s political maturity.

    Alas, from the opening paragraph, the author states that “Haitian Americans enter the American political arena with a weak political culture and strong political pressure to vote in one direction from a handful of political leaders whose thinking has been already being manipulated by the liberal media.”

    This standard trope of blaming the evil liberal media, has become the gold standard for Republican operatives who are out of argument. They blame the evil liberal media as if Fox News, the New York Post, Washington Times, Boston Herald, Wall Street Journal and the dozens and dozens of conservative papers and magazines are not part of the media. Tchuipss!

    In the end, one is left with the same gnawing and infuriating feeling about Republicans. And that is, their Trumpian intellectual dishonesty and their constant attempt to play the victim, even as they impose their draconian views on the rest of society.

    This piece has brought nothing new to the debate and like Trump, only attempts besmirch Democrats under the false pretense of neutrality.

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