by Rev. Jeremy J. McCants, MDiv.
“In 1980, [President] Reagan won Massachusetts by 2,500 votes. There were over 100,000 students unregistered, over 50,000 Blacks, over 50,000 Hispanics — he won by 2,500. Rocks just laying around.”
This statement was the first of a succession of voter statistics that Rev. Jesse Jackson had researched when he led a political rally at Tendley Baptist Church in 1984. He titled this speech “David & Goliath,” and rightfully so. As we stand on the brink of another critical midterm election season, we are faced with similar statistics and realities of people young and old not finding power in their right to vote.
Rev. Jackson likened unregistered voters, whether by choice or denial, to rocks laying around. The Bible story of David and Goliath focuses on David, a young boy, and Goliath, a giant from the Tribe of Philistine. When David decided to try and take down Goliath, he rejected Saul’s armor and chose to fight Goliath with a staff, slingshot, and five rocks. One by one, he fires them off, and finally on the fifth one, David is able to bring down Goliath. This would not have happened without David’s dedication to his mission, combined with divine intervention from a Higher Power.
Today, we face a giant Philistine by the name of “white supremacy,” framed in the face of the President of the United States. Not only does Trump stand in our way, but he has put together a ragtag army of public officials that are doing everything they can to dismantle the basic human rights of the American people, especially Black and Brown Americans.
The odds are not in our favor. We cannot win this battle naturally. Rather, we must have a supernatural occurrence: one rooted in a theology of engagement, but more specifically voter engagement. God is calling us to mobilize in this very moment. The question is not what are our rocks, but who are our rocks? Who are the rocks that have been laying around unseen and unheard? Who are the rocks that have been locked away in cages and ripped from their families? Who are the rocks who have served their time and debt for their crime but yet are denied their right to vote?
Yes, we may be facing a giant, but, like David, we have some rocks laying around that will take out our obstacles if we believe in their power. As we are getting ready to mobilize these rocks into our “slingshots,” we want to make sure that three of these rocks are named.
First, we have to get up and mobilize our rocks; second, we have to educate our rocks; and finally we have to get out and vote on Election Day! Help LIVEFREE take down our respective giants, whether local, state or national—Sheriff, Prosecutor or Governor. Help us get up, get out and do something in order to bring down these giants, so that we can build on a victory that will lead us toward a Beloved Community.
Rev. Jeremy J. McCants, MDiv. is the Executive Assistant to Pastor Michael McBride, Director of Urban Strategies & LIVEFREE Campaign.