Today is November 6. Election Day!
Today is the day of salvation for the oppressed, marginalized and under-served people to make their stifled voices echo loudly as they #powertothepolls. What's at stake in these mid-term elections should never be taken lightly, but let's be honest, it happens!
For many citizens, voting carries a stench of hopelessness and disappointment. It speaks from the seat of defeat and despair, a 'nothing is going to change anyway so why is my participation necessary?' attitude. Blame it on my background as a mental health clinician; but, what I actually hear people saying when they retort this kind of rhetoric is "I am misinformed about politics and do not have enough knowledge to get involved to create the change I want to see" which brings me to talk about this very disheartening photo pictured above.
I was scrolling on Facebook today when I came across it. This young black man posted it on his page with the caption that read "Ya'll still trained to think yo vote matters." I couldn't decide which factor hurt me the most: his use of the picture to demean Black people for voting or the 10.3 thousand shares of the post to deter Black people from voting. Either way, there is a disconnect, and since we; the informed, are charged with the burden of proof, we must get BETTER about talking politics and explaining to people why voting actually matters. Someone who makes it a point to get across that they're "not into politics" needs to hear just how much their insurance company, landlord, employer, school district, down to the pharmacies they are buying their feminine hygiene products are into politics.
Instead, what I am witnessing is informed people bashing those who have not yet come into this truth: YES our vote absolutely matters! If it didn't, voter suppression ( the strategy to influence the outcome of an election by discouraging or preventing specific groups of people from voting) would not be a thing. Just today, voters in Georgia complained about the ID scanners not working, while others said that they were showing up in the system as either unregistered or as having already voted when they have not. I'm not a rocket scientist or anything, but why would the system go to such great lengths to keep people from voting or changing votes that "don't matter?" Please don't answer.
To be honest though, I used to be this guy. You know that stage of being "so woke" that you're actually sleep deprived. That is until I sat down and conversed with a few convicted felons who helped me to see just how much power I was relinquishing by choosing to hold my vote. Yea that's right... I used to preach the fake news gospel of 'vote for what'? Ummm....to honor our ancestors. Let's start there. You know the ones who were beaten and hung for the rights we don't care to exercise now. Their sacrifice was quite a levy for us to be so choosy and indifferent.
If you aren't moved by the plight of your own ancestors, then in the words of Chelsea Peretti "vote like a bunch of children were shot and a bunch of other children were put into camps indefinitely because they weren't white and like a journalist was murdered and like you are being lied to daily by rich liars who harrass/assault woman and won't renounce white supremacy."
If that still doesn't move you...
Vote for Trayvon Martin.
Do #SayTheirNames, but when you're done, make sure you #Vote. Not just in this election, but every single one that you're alive to participate in, and do it like your life depends on it, because, well.... it actually does!