Rev. Al Sharpton's Weekly Blog

We Are Your Constituents; the Lobbyists Are Not

Aug 17, 2015

If you've turned on your television lately, you've likely seen an ad or two blasting the historic Iran nuclear deal. The reality is, millions are being spent in a lobbying effort to destroy an agreement that has been reached after extensive negotiating and diplomacy between world powers (P5+1) and Iran. Instead of recognizing this global achievement that actually prevents Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, lobbyists would rather destroy any notion of peace. It's quite simple really, voting against the Iran deal would virtually guarantee that we go to war yet again. Because we -- Blacks and Latinos -- are often on the front lines of battle, we do not want another senseless war. Perhaps it's time our Senators and members of Congress listen to us and not the lobbyists.

This weekend at my National Action Network rally in Harlem, I urged Black ministers to go to their pulpits and tell their parishioners to call their elected representatives and tell them to vote yes on the Iran nuclear deal. In cities and towns all across this country, young men and women of color sign up for the armed services in very high numbers. Whether it's out of patriotism and love of country, or it's for economic reasons and increased opportunities, minorities (and the poor for that matter) join and account for an extensive proportion of our military. They risk their lives; they fight on the ground; and they get killed or lose limbs while their representatives walk comfortably in air conditioned corridors in Washington, D.C. or back in their home districts.

How many Senators and members of Congress do you think have children who are currently serving in the military? The answer is, very few. They must remember that we are their constituents, and not groups like special interest groups and lobbyists, which are pouring in millions in an effort to destroy this agreement. Elected officials, especially Democrats, should keep their base in mind when voting on this globally negotiated Iran deal. They should vote for us, and not for special interests. We do not want another war, we do not want more death and destruction, and we do not want to ship more of our young men and women off into harm's way.

People sometimes assume that an August recess means everyone is on vacation and no business is being conducted in the nation's capital. Nothing could be further from the truth. Every single day, groups and lobbyists are pressuring leaders that are supposed to represent us to vote against what would be in our best interest. An unnecessary war like the Iraq war cost us thousands of American lives and trillions of dollars. We would rather see that money spent here at home, in our communities to repair our schools, roads, infrastructure and invest in more businesses that give our children opportunities. There is plenty of work that must be done here, and it's time those tasked with leading this country do their job for the citizens of this great nation.

The misinformation game is in full swing against this unparalleled nuclear agreement. As the President has reminded us repeatedly, this deal is the best bet to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear arsenal. The White House highlights that "Iran won't garner any new sanctions relief until the IAEA confirms that it has followed through with its end of the deal. And should Iran violate any aspect of this deal, the U.N., U.S., and E.U. can snap the sanctions that have crippled Iran's economy back into place." So what is the problem with giving diplomacy a chance?

The naysayers would have you believe that this deal is just between the United States and Iran. It is actually an internationally negotiated agreement that includes several world powers; if we were to walk away, what would be the option? For Blacks and Latinos, we do not want to sacrifice the lives and well-being of our children for wars that can be prevented with negotiations. To all of our elected officials who will soon be returning to Washington, keep us in mind as you make your decision on the Iran deal because we will definitely be keeping you and your record in mind the next time we hit the voting booth.