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To the Editor: Everything begins with a vote

To the Editor:

I thought last week’s editorial went right to the heart of the matter about what makes someone a real community leader instead of one in their own mind.

Rev. Eugene Rivers took some deserving heat recently for talking about political power in Boston’s African-American community while himself reportedly having been AWOL from the voting booth for over 30 years.

In his second Boston Herald commentary, he acknowledged his shortcomings about forgetting to vote while stating that “that mistake in no way affects my determination to continue serving the poor that many of my critics have ignored.”

Obviously, Rivers seemingly has forgotten that actions always speak louder than words. Before you can get candidates from within communities of color to work together to advance political clout, you need voters to vote them into office. Stop spinning and start by voting yourself. There is no such excuse as “I forgot to vote.”

While educating candidates for office on embracing and exercising electoral discipline, Rivers was expressing displeasure with candidates of color unable to come together for the recent preliminary election for mayor. He wishes them to put the community first, but first he and so many others need to vote, which is something he apparently forgets.

His last paragraph shows some arrogance as he basically states that when the above happens, “I promise to go out to the polls and cast my ballot.” Does that mean he will be AWOL again on Nov. 5?

Too many people have died and too many lives have been altered in the civil rights struggle for anyone to be forgetful about the right to vote. The list is endless, with the real heroes like Dr. King, Medgar Evers, Rosa Parks, three little girls inside a church building, three civil rights workers along a roadside ditch, the Edmund Pettus Bridge, police dogs and fire hoses.

Today, in Boston, the list is the voting list. Everything starts there.
Voting is the bottom line. Thank you to the Dorchester Reporter for so clearly pointing that out.

Sal Giarratani
East Boston