Haitians and the U.S. electoral system

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Haitians and the U.S. electoral system

Post by admin » Thu Nov 04, 2004 10:36 am

In the message thread titled "As I go to bed tonight...", Empress Verite makes a lot of pertinent political observations that make me hunger for more.

First of all, I want to thank you for valuing this forum so much as to take the time to express yourself so deliberately on the issues. I just cannot tell you how much I appreciate it. You are truly one of those 'ki pa vini nan voye monte", but who will forcefully express your personal opinions and stay open-minded to the experiences and opinions of others. I thank you for that. The more people do like you, the more valuable this forum will become.

Now, I am going to highlight some of the statements that you made, which struck me as deserving feedback, additional development, comments, etc. I leave them open-ended, as I do not wish to dominate the discussion. In fact, I only w
ant to learn more about the South Florida Haitian community. So I simply highlight them and add my personal comments to only a few of them. I hope that others will join in this discussion of vital importance for Haitian-Americans.

[quote]I truly feel that as a member of the Miami Dade community who participated in the voting process this year that the whole thing was rigged from the get go. Many of the problems in Broward county including some of the computer malfunctions were designed to intimidate folks to stay away from the polls. I found the entire process to be stacked against the disempowered.[/quote]
Thanks for voicing your personal concerns. Do they reflect those of the Haitian-American community as a whole, in the Miami Dade community, in other South Florida communities where there are a lot of Haitians? I expect that there are few among us who can be effective spokespersons for our regional communities, but perhaps we could gather other individual responses, such
as those offered by Empress Verite, to arrive at a precise understanding of how Haitians impact [and are impacted by] the U.S. electoral system.

I imagine that in northeastern Haitian communities, that lean much more to the Democrats than the Republicans, such as Boston, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, the experience is not the same as those of our South Florida communities. Perhaps they coincide generally with the experience of the larger African-American or even White-American populations. That is not a statement of fact, just a supposition and I would like to hear from people who have distinct views on this subject.

[quote]And there was voter intimidation at the polls. Several people tried to trick me and I persevered and went on to do my civic duty. I voted and I felt thankful that I did not suffer more violence.[/quote]

[quote]Nevertheless, I truly feel that the Democrats could have won Miami Dade county if they had done a better job at ral
lying their base at the grass roots level. The Kerry camp did not reach to the bottom nor to those folks who had been disenfranchised in 2k.[/quote]

[quote]One of the most obvious ways that this was done was the fact that the Republikkklans had a commercial on HTN but the Democrats did not. In fact, this could have been done for free had the Kerry camp sent someone as a guest on one of the HTN political shows such as Frontline Avant Garde or the special news programs that were aired to educate the Haitian voters prior to the selections.[/quote]
Very curious about this... Did HTN, as a media corporation, take a stand on the outcome of the U.S. elections or did they stay purposefully neutral rather than try to influence their viewers in favor of the Democrats or that of the Republicans?

Similarly, on the political situation in Haiti, does HTN stay neutral or is it an active agent in the community?

Please understand that I am not asking for names, and I
am purposefully not asking for people to tell me the political affiliations of HTN's management. Sincerely, I think that we do way too much of this sort of negative identification and I am NOT interested. What I am simply asking about is the orientation of the programming at HTN: does it tend to be neutral? ; not neutral, but well-balanced? ; if not balanced, in favor of which party? (Democrat, Republican, Independent -- Christian Right or Christian Moderate, Conservative or Liberal -- and the various shades of political affiliations in Haiti). I know that I have just said it, but I will repeat again, I am truly interested only IN ACTUAL PROGRAMMING, not in extrapolating thoughts based on who is this and who is that.

Since I don't live in South Florida, and I have only caught glances of HTN (and some other Haitian TV programs on a station other than HTN), I truly would like to find out more about the impact of Haitian TV.

The same can be said about Haitian radios in South Florida. Would so
meone care to comment about the general influence of that media sector as well, in terms of encouraging Haitian-Americans to exercise their civic responsibilities and in which directions?

[quote]The new black voters who supported the Republikkklan party this time around were to a large extent encouraged to go that way because of misguided moral values. The supposed homophobia and heterosexism that exist in our minds and hearts as well as plain old wanna be mentality has to be destroyed because it is killing us.[/quote]
Interesting observation! We all know by now about the impressive growth of fundamental protestantism among Haitians. Overall, churches tend to be well financed and are not averse to taking political positions. along such Christian fundamentalist issues like abortion and gay rights. Those issues have been thouroughly exploited by the Conservatives in favor of a pandering Republican Party.

Do the above observations mirror what has happened in our comm
unities, based on religious affiliations? Have those issues had a divisive effect among Haitians? Have our spiritual leaders or church pastors leaned on their followers to support this or that political party?

[quote]There were many tricks and we have to analyze them all. The powers that be which seek to prove that black folks are ignorant of the political process and that we need to educate ourselves and contribute more money are just trying to become members of the status quo. These are sellouts who want to downpress their own kind for some basic gains. [/quote]

[quote]This entire thing is a sad situation for Haitians who have to struggle for another 4 years with a situation at home that is not good at all and who are suffering in foreign lands. I pray for the best for all of us and that we can survive these turbulent times. [/quote]

Empress Verite

Thanks Guy:

Post by Empress Verite » Fri Nov 05, 2004 12:10 am

One and Respe Guy:

In addition to your letter and Michael Moore's and some feedback from folks in the Media I have had no sympathy about the loss that we just experienced. This is so detrimental for us as a group of people. In addition, the scariest thing for me is the fact that they are outrightly encouraging not just one but 4 supreme court justices to RETIRE! I don't think that we can survive the onslaught of this new court. They will outlaw all civil rights that we have been fighting to maintain for decades. In addition, Haitians will be the ones to suffer the most. We are already at the bottom of the social strata in terms of economic standing, educational attainment and other things such as housing or real estate and even political clout. Our power base is marginal and it will be even more so if this new court is established. I am seeking citizenship ELSEWHERE unfortunately, as a Nyabinghi Rastafarian and an outspoken w
oman with the Pierre last name (you know the rock that the builder refused...it was the pebble!) I do not feel that Haiti would be the place for me to go to at this time.

I would like to know if there are places in Europe, Asia or possibly in Africa that I could go hide or rebuild in for awhile until I can return again. I believe that ultimately, white supremacy has reigned its ugly head and thsi has forced everyone to adhere to a racist hierarchy of race that places white folks at the top and blacks at the bottom. And I don't need to outline it all for us here because we are aware of the social capital or lack thereof attached to our ethnicity. Being a Haitian in the world and specifically in the United Snakes in the 1980s was the most hated thing that one could be. I would have chosen an identity as a serial murder Jamaican or Martinican or African rather than what I was and am proud to proclaim...Haitian. Condoleza Rice has said that the French deserve to be punished for taking a stance against th
em on Iraq. And now they will be promoting her to a cabinet position as defense secretary! This means that for us Frenchies who already experienced the bad end of the stick the past few years it will become unbearable. Therefore I as write these words to you now I am planning my escaoe to find a new home or a safe haven for me and my tribe.

I thank you guy for responding to my statements about South Florida Haitians and the electoral process in 2004. In addition, I should mention that HTN primarily airs various programs, some entertainment and talk shows. There are a few news programs that are political. Gerard Latortue and some of his ministers used to host one on sundays where they discussed Haitian politics. This show has been taken over by new hosts. His old show, L'Invite still airs and in it he usually interviews notable figures in Haitian life and culture. This show is very interesting and I used to like the information and the folks on it. There is also a news program that reports news from H
aiti and from South Florida. We also see the French news. The shows are diverse and I enjoy the videos too and the frontline avant garde which shows both sides or the duopoly political viewpoints.

In all I would say that HTN tries hard to present a balanced view since there are religious programs too. I don't feel that they pushed one perspective over another. Rather, I feel that they are more sympathetic to those with the money and power. There are the avant garde centrist like Philippe Brutus who co-host the Frontline show. He is a representative and a lawyer. He represents the monied democrats. The new left does not have a voice in the political arena. Their outputs are more readily seen and depicted or portrayed on shows like Nicky Mix and Connection. On those programs, we hear the views of activists on the left who are not yet part of the establishment. These tend to be artists, entertainers and poets. Some of these same folks appear as graphic or visual artits on Chache Atis Yo. This program wa
s hosted by Elizabeth Guerin the co-owner or runner of HTN. She tries hard to be everywhere and she has her pulse on whose who in the community of artist in South Florida and elsewhere. She encourages the folks on her show to be themselves and to express their honest views. It usually works and some of them have said SERIOUS stuff about the condition of Haiti and Haitians.

I like HTN and I hope that the programming continues to depict the polyvocal character of our community in South Florida and elsewhere. It is good to see Haitians presented in this complex fashion instead of as needy boat people with AIDS or with problems that stem from bad politics and poverty. I look forward to more Haitian movies and serials to be shown on HTN and also to more Haitian networks to spring up. I am thankful that they had voter education because it really helped me to get out and vote. And it also gave me the courage to go and do my civic duty.

I hope that this answers some of your questions about the program
ming at HTN. I enjoy their shows and I look forward to their continued growth to reflect the greatness of our community in South Florida and elsewhere.


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Post by admin » Fri Nov 05, 2004 8:27 am

Empress, thank you for all that information! What can I say... I am glad that you REPRESENT on this forum, because so few have taken the time to contribute meaningfully. I would like to hear your views on Haitian radio as well, if you listen to it.

By the way, I think that very few unfortunately understand the grave assault on civic liberties that is bound to be waged by this Bush administration. They will not get it until it hits them right between the eyes.

This administration fully intends on seeding the Supreme Court with ultra conservatives. It did not have the opportunity to name any in the past four years, but we may see a bonanza of such nominations in the next few years. They will likely be young, and ethnically diverse (most certainly an Hispanic). Papa Bush showed the way with Clarence Thomas!!! Who could accuse him of being a racist? He nominated a black to the Supreme Court, did
n't he? Similarly, who could accuse this President Bush of being a racist? He had a Black man as Secretary of State and a Black woman as National Security adviser. Apparently, it does not matter that he tried to shut down a major source of opportunities for black people to go to college. As long as we have tokenism at the highest level, why should it matter that more black men of college age are in jails rather than in school? Who knows, we may even see another Black à la Clarence Thomas in the Supreme Court. This President just loves us to death.

A lot of people do not realize that successive Democratic administrations may not be able to undo the damage at the level that will likely be inflicted by a remodeled Court. Those Justices are there with us for a lifetime!

I know what you mean by seeking citizenship elsewhere, but I believe that the battle must be waged right here, in the heart of the Empire. Regardless of whom we vote for on Election Day, we should join the ranks of the labor
movement(s) and deal away with the timidity of the Democratic Party. The Republicans, by words and by deeds, have been far from timid and far from inclusive. Bush, sort of "in your face", refused to accept an invitation from the NAACP to address African-American concerns prior to the elections. They even threatened to revoke the NAACP's favored tax status. They have their enemies' lists, both national and international. Are we simply going to let them get away with it? As Bill Moyers correctly stated: "This is the fight of our lives."

We are on the border of the precipice, and it's do or die, not just for America but for most of the World. We need to educate people, before it's too late!


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