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A Millennial View: Cafeteria Style Politics

By Rev. Donald L. Perryman, Ph.D.
The Truth Contributor

   May God write us down as asses if ever again we are found putting our trust in either the Republican or Democratic parties.                                  

                   -  W. E. B. Du Bois


Rev. Donald L. Perryman, D.Min.

Trying to not get run over as people raced with their carts to buy bulk bottled water and toilet paper this weekend had me thinking hard about the future of our politics. Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, two septuagenarians, are the last Democratic Party presidential candidates standing in a world moving at breakneck speed and possibly careening out of control. 


It finally dawned on me to get a perspective from someone with quicker reflexes than either the presidential candidates or myself. I was pleased that Elgin Rogers, a millennial, agreed to provide me with a panoramic view of current politics from a millennial’s angle.


Rogers has worked as researcher and instructor at Indiana University focusing on African American politics. He currently serves in the Lucas County Auditor’s office where he has held several titles including the Assistant Chief of Staff, Executive Assistant, Director of Department of Education and Outreach; and Assistant in the Department of Weights and Measures.


Perryman: What is your take on the 2020 Presidential race?


Rogers:  My take is that Bernie Sanders looks like his back is up against the wall. He said himself that his campaign failed to get young people to turn out to vote, those he thought that his campaign would be energized by.  The folks are saying that they want a nominee who they may not necessarily agree with 100 percent, but who could defeat our current president head to head.


Perryman:  Are folks saying that young people seem to be more revolution-minded?

Rogers:  I don’t know if they’re revolution-minded.  Today’s young people are policy entrepreneurs.

Perryman: Please elaborate.

Rogers: Young people no longer understand party loyalty.  I think that they have a different view and they’re not limited to buying everything that’s just on the menu, they’re doing things a-la-cart. In other words, they’re pulling in the traits, characteristics and issues that are most salient to them and they’re supporting those things. I don’t think that they have yet found a candidate that embodies most of what they’re (looking for). 

Perryman: The Trump campaign invested millions into Facebook and other social media, possibly with the help of Russians, and many have said that it shifted the election based upon a lot of the misinformation that people bought into.  Will we see that again in 2020 and will it have an effect on the election?

Rogers:  I think what we’re going to see now is that Facebook is pretty much like a beauty and barbershop in the 2016 election.  You hear what you hear and see what you see and you take it with a grain of salt. 

Perryman: Do you mean by “take it with a grain of salt” that people will be less naïve in 2020 than they were in 2016?

Rogers:  I think people will more likely tune into who’s supporting their values and belief systems because they’re looking for information and sources that will affirm them and their way of thinking. 

Perryman: Former candidate and billionaire Michael Bloomberg has pledged personnel as well as money to help Joe Biden’s campaign. Do you think that Bloomberg’s assistance will be a factor?

Rogers:  Well, I just saw a commercial not long ago with President Obama talking about how great Joe Biden is, so it’s gonna take not only the resources of Bloomberg and some African American surrogates who black folks are in touch with and are familiar with to help push Biden over the edge.  One thing we also need to recognize when we talk about voter apathy is that these candidates are recruiting and posturing for black votes and if black people didn’t vote they wouldn’t be posturing.  We need to understand that black votes matter and black folks need to also understand that black votes change the outcome and course of the election. We saw it in South Carolina and you will see locally that black votes matter when it comes to supporting levies and different ballot issues that are put forth.  We really should consider how strong of a voice that we, as African Americans, have when we use it.

Perryman:  What effect do you think Pete Buttigieg’s candidacy might have on future elections?

Rogers:  Buttigieg gives you another perspective as a young up and comer. He’s a political entrepreneur, but he also transformed how people look at small town mayors when getting on the big stage. And, for many people he’s an inspiration in terms of running for office and understanding issues of equality injustice.

Perryman: What do you think about Elizabeth Warren’s candidacy?

Rogers: Warren candidacy was very substance oriented; she had a lot of different points that seemed very progressive and that were forward thinking.  I think it’s still a challenge if you’re a minority or a woman candidate, because there are certain style points in conveying your message that people are looking for across the various demographics. 

Perryman: Let’s close our conversation with a local issue. What are your thoughts on Issue 1?

Rogers:  People want the roads fixed because they want nice roads. They don’t want to see the orange barrels and cones, and in many of the circles that I travel and listen to the people on the ground, there is a belief that they’ve already paid for these roads. So, where is this money going?  My personal opinion is that a lot of times they don’t understand government and that each administration is different and I’m trusting that this administration is going to do what’s right for the people.

Perryman: Does that mean that you supported it? 

Rogers: I want my roads fixed, but the question is how are we going to pay for it and what does that mean for African American jobs?  I don’t know if we have anything in the legislation that talks about minority contracting or minority business being a part (of the measure), but I’m definitely in support of getting these roads fixed and developing and maintaining our infrastructure.

Perryman:  Well, finally then, when are you planning to run for office and what do you plan to run for?

Rogers:  Well, the first thing that I’m running for is to do a better job in our community.  I think that we need more young people and people of color serving on boards and commissions.  It gives them the experience and the understanding of networking, community service and understanding complicated budgets.  I’ve had the opportunity to be appointed to a federal commission dealing with students.  I have been a part of several boards here locally and advising different government officials and elected leaders. I’ve worked with the union and other businesses. That experience has helped me in my professional and personal development. It has also allowed me to see that issues are much more complex, but they’re not as complicated when you have a serious network of people who understand and trust you. 

Perryman: Thank you.

Contact Rev. Donald Perryman, D.Min, at drdlperryman@centerofhopebaptist.org



Copyright © 2019 by [The Sojourner's Truth]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 03/19/20 16:25:59 -0400.



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