While we are hypnotized by the rise and fall of the stock market and shamed by the inability of our national leaders to combine revenue sharing and program cuts, there are people locally and at the state level deciding who our representatives will be.
Based on U.S. Census figures, the number of constituents in several larger districts will be reduced and the number of constituents in smaller districts will grow to maintain a certain population number.
That means some of us will soon have different representatives on the Urban County Council, in the Kentucky legislature and in Congress.
The Rev. L. Clark Williams, associate minister at Shiloh Baptist Church, says we need to be more educated about those upcoming changes and about the slate of candidates who will be courting our votes this fall.
That's why he and others are issuing a wake-up call to refocus our attention on the political issues swirling around us.
Williams is a founding member of Operation Turnout, a non-partisan group established a year ago to "engage the minority population of Central Kentucky in the political process."
Operation Turnout is sponsoring a kick-off program at Shiloh Baptist Church on Aug. 21. Some government officials, the state president of the NAACP and several gospel choirs will try to energize and educate people to get involved in the political process.
"We want to focus on voter registration, education and commitment," he said. "And we will bring up other issues including council redistricting and the reconfiguration of districts, and restoration of voting rights" for ex-felons.
"We are non-partisan," Williams said. "We can discuss issues and bring information about those issues to the fore."
Operation Turnout began last August when a group of individuals discussed the lack of involvement of minorities in politics.
"There was a great deal of complaining but a higher level of complacency," he said. "After we complain, we don't do anything. This is a response to that, but it is not the be all and end all."
The number of individuals quickly grew into churches and organizations. Now there are about 25 churches and eight organizations represented and involved in the group, Williams said, including Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, and the Interdenominational Pastoral Fellowship of Lexington & Vicinity, which sponsored the well-attended Black Educational Summit recently.
"We want to do all we can for people to make educated choices," Williams said.
Operation Turnout is another example of the black church re-establishing its role in civic affairs. Throughout the civil rights era, the black church was the source of most political education and action. The churches empowered and enabled their congregations to speak out and get involved in decisions that affected them.
Williams doesn't want us to forget that.
"We want to highlight why this type of work is important and why it is important for the church to be involved," he said.
During the kickoff, organizers will announce an October candidates' forum at which state and local candidates, including the gubernatorial hopefuls and contenders for attorney general, will be asked to speak.
Although the event is being held at a church, don't worry about an offering plate being passed.
"We're not doing that," Williams said. "We want people to invest in their community."