Dr. Zekeh S. Gbotokuma

By Zekeh S. Gbotokuma

In July 2022, Maryland voters carried out their civic duty. They drove and walked to polling stations to vote for candidates running in a variety of political races.
Voters had their say on who should get a political party nomination for offices such as comptroller, attorney general, governor, and Congress. The early voting dates for the primary election were held from July 7 to July 14, with Primary Election Day on July 19.

Personally, casting my votes for the candidates for Congress, governor, and attorney general was easy due to my foreknowledge of many of whom were running for office. I knew them on various occasions from events on Capitol Hill, like Language Advocacy Day on Morgan State University’s campus in Baltimore, and AFRAM 2022.

After two terms of a Republican governor of Maryland, it is an understatement to say that there is some appetite for change- not because Gov. Larry Hogan was bad for Maryland (he was pretty good to tell the truth), but because there is a natural and logical expectation to preferably have a Democrat as a Blue state governor.

The state was blessed with a plethora of good candidates for governor, new and old faces. From the primaries to Election Day, it was clear that the choice for governor was between the politically best known and veterans, Peter Franchot, Tom Perez, and less politically known and novice Wes Moore. Despite their political seniority, I never met Franchot or Perez. My wife and I briefly met and chatted with Moore for the first time at the AFRAM 2022 festival just a few weeks ago in Baltimore City.

I jokingly suggested a campaign slogan to his campaign staff after asking one of them to take a photo with the candidate. The suggested slogan was, “B’More. Vote for Moore.” As an educator, I liked when he kept talking about a “good education.”

His endorsement by the Maryland State Education Association (MSEA), The AFRO American Newspapers, Oprah Winfrey, etc., caught many Maryland voters’ attention. As a scholar and author interested in global poverty (see Gbotokuma, Obamanomics and Francisconomics, 2022), I appreciated his poverty alleviation-related work and authorship of titles like “The Other Wes Moore.”

Four days after a relatively tight Maryland’s triumvirate race, Moore was named the Democratic primary champion. He will face Trump-backed GOP nominee Dan Cox in the general election in November 2022.

I am delighted to join my fellow Maryland Dems in congratulating Wes Moore. His message of unity versus division is of utmost importance in a country that looks more like the “Divided States of America” than the “United States of America.”

During these critical times, there is a fierce urgency of transformative leadership that promises an Obama-like hope and change we can believe in. Moore looks and sounds like that kind of leader. During his initial July 23 from his Baltimore headquarters, he said this election is “a choice between a future built on hope and optimism versus a future built on cynical policies and fear. It’s a choice between the values that we embrace as Marylanders and Donald Trump’s divisive and dangerous MAGA movement.”

In addition to our determination to overcome racism and divisiveness, it is equally imperative to deal with some of the local and urban issues that affect our community, including but not limited to crime and poverty. We can tackle these issues with the most powerful tool at our disposal, that is, education.

Indeed, “Maryland is the second-most educated state in the country. Maryland ranks third for educational attainment, with 40.2 percent of residents having at least a Bachelor’s degree and 17.6 percent have a graduate or professional degree, the second-highest percentage in the country.
Maryland also ranks first for its “quality of education.”

Regrettably, Baltimore is Maryland’s largest city, and it’s the second most crime-ridden area in the country. Crime is one of the biggest issues that the next governor and Baltimore City leaders will have to address. To deal with crime, we must deal with poverty. To deal with poverty, we must deal with quality education. The second-most educated state in the country should use its excellence in education to fight the wars on poverty and crime. This is my message to the next governor of Maryland, who is very likely to be Wes Moore. That is, if “we all vote,” if all votes are counted correctly and if no losing candidate behaves “strangely” in a “Trumpian” and lawless way.

Best wishes for the November 2022 Elections. B’More. Vote often. Vote in the general election. Vote Moore. Vote Better. Our democracy is under assault and it is in our power to defend it.

Zekeh S. Gbotokuma is an associate professor of Philosophy at Morgan State University. Gbotokuma is also the author of several novels, including, “Obamanomics and Francisconomics: A Call for Poverty Alleviation, Fairness, and Welfare” (Europe Books, 2022) and “Democracy and Demographics in the USA” (2020).

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