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We Tried to Tell Y’all
COMMENTARY

January 29, 2022by Antjuan Seawright, Founder & CEO, Blueprint Strategy LLC
We Tried to Tell Y’all
Virginia Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin arrives to speak at an election night party in Chantilly, Va., early Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021, after he defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

There is an ancient African American proverb that we’re all familiar with from t-shirts to internet memes: “We tried to tell y’all.”

Of course, it gives our ancestors heartburn whenever it’s repeated because, while we learned the proverb, we didn’t learn much from it.

The same is true about, “There is no education in the second kick of the mule” — as we say in the South — and the famous Maya Angelou line, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

We may have learned the line. But we didn’t learn anything from it. If you don’t believe me, just look at Virginia.


Now, let’s be honest. While November’s voter turnout was strong in Black precincts, college towns and across the board — with 25% more votes cast than in any Virginia governor’s race — Republicans won the Virginia’s governor’s office, lieutenant governor, attorney general and the House of Delegates majority for two reasons:

  1. Rural voters came out in droves, driving rural turnout to near presidential levels.
  2. GOP candidates performed well with minorities, with Glenn Youngkin winning 13% of the Black vote and Winsome Earle-Sears getting 17%.

Now, despite their campaign focus on “kitchen table issues,” Gov. Youngkin and company are ready to blow a hole in the commonwealth’s progress, making it clear to anyone who cares to see that he’s not the common-sense suburban dad he tried so hard to sell. He’s just another modern-day Republican trying to bojangle voters.

But don’t just take my word for it. Following his election, Youngkin claimed the GOP victory was a result of “kitchen table issues” like public safety, education and job creation being pushed to the background in favor of political distractions.

But in the weeks since he took office, he’s shown his true colors with an agenda that cuts wages, rescinds voting rights and expands open carry. He also rescinded a statewide school mask mandate.


Explain to me how scrapping a raise in the minimum wage improves the economy.

How does allowing guns in parks and government buildings, against the wishes of virtually the entire law enforcement community, make our neighborhoods safer?

Are voter ID requirements and cutting early voting what you would call “kitchen table issues?” How about attacking a woman’s right to choose?

Does promoting the critical race theory race bait improve the public school classroom? How about overstepping the governor’s authority by a state law meant to protect children from a deadly pandemic and getting sued by the parents whose children you’re putting at risk?

We tried to tell y’all.

This is what happens when we don’t show up. This is what happens when we pretend that this time the mule won’t kick. This is what happens when someone tries to show us who they really are but we refuse to listen.

This is what happens when we learn the proverb but we don’t learn anything from it, and if we’re not careful, it will happen again.


Luckily, this November, we’ll have another chance to get it right and, this time, it isn’t the Commonwealth of Virginia that’s at stake. It’s the nation.


Antjuan Seawright is a Democratic political strategist, founder and CEO of Blueprint Strategy LLC, and a CBS News political contributor. Follow him on Twitter @antjuansea 

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