Lead, follow or get the Hell outta the way

As we move closer to the election of a new Mayor I’m astonished at words uttered by some of their supporters.

“If__________ doesn’t win I’m leaving.”

Another chimed in, “I have a young family and as an African-American in a city where there is no opportunity we can’t wait for another election cycle.”

Another who has a relative who always seems to get a good job with Democrats chastised Carmen Harlow and Alfonso Davis, “This is no time to play and they’re being used.”

Translation, stay on the political plantation.

I’m slowly getting to a point, where perhaps it’s time for some people to leave. If it sucks so bad here just leave! You and I can choose to become what’s good about our city and county or we can get stuck in the thought that change happens overnight or without political and personal loss.

Many African-Americans who grew up in Syracuse returned after graduating from college to become part of the solution. We were educated in rotten schools and withstood trickery from politicians who simply paid lip service to our escalating high school drop out rates. It’s no secret that there is a lack of real opportunity and a virtual lockout from those Syracuse and Onondaga County government managerial jobs that local black folk never seem to get regardless of education.

But still, in the face of insurmountable odds, some of us have decided to stay in perhaps a hopeless attempt to make life better in Syracuse and Onondaga County.

There are people throughout history who wanted to bring about substantive change. They didn’t quit, did not whine, did not waiver in their commitment to social justice and true equal opportunity. They persevered, they struggled and inch by inch there was improvement.

I guess what I’m trying to say to those who think this is too hard, “leave.” Just pack up your stuff and get out, click your heals, clutch your little Toto like Dorothy and go.

Imagine Coretta King saying to Martin, “You’re out every night trying to change the world, you have a family right here. Don’t go to Memphis, don’t march on Washington, just bring your behind home.”

It takes more than just whining to make change sometimes we have to face the dogs and fire hoses just as if Bull Conner were here in Onondaga County. Although, the dogs and fire hoses are now figurative, so there’s no footage for the evening news.

As the late Laymon Herring (Publisher of The Banner) used to say so eloquently, “Lead, follow or get the hell outta the way.”