I'm Voting For These 5 Reasons. What About You?
I promise not to bore you with yet another angle on what has already been written about the 2018 US midterm election. The internet is already so saturated with opinion pieces and memes. I also promise not to insert any “preachy outrage” towards those who choose not to vote; specifically, young people who don’t feel energized about the election. I get it. Shaming you will not make you act differently… And yelling at you to “VOTE” won’t either.
I do want to share the reasons I am voting tomorrow. But first, a little background… I have voted in every election in which I was eligible, since I was 18. Even if that meant writing-in a candidate or crying while leaving the polls (due to the disdain I had for the candidate I voted for). My politics have evolved in so many ways over the years and they are still evolving. Once upon a time, I had a year-long fellowship with a US Senator and considered myself a Big D Democrat. As a progressive, I now think the mainstream Democratic party is out of touch with its base AND I have renewed hope that it will evolve in the future (due to grassroots organizing).
Ok. Moving forward...
The 5 Main Reasons I’m Voting in the Midterm Elections (in no particular order):
My Immigrant Parents: I vividly remember my parents’ naturalization ceremony in 1986 and I remember voting entering the voting booth with my mom during every election when I was a child. Voting was viewed as a requirement during my formative years and it has somehow stuck.
Black-Americans: I have many friends whose families were part of The Great Migration. Their *parents* (not great great grandparents) were unable to vote due to literacy tests and Jim Crow laws that were and are still present. This book beautifully illuminated The Great Migration for me. If it were not for Black Peoples’ collective struggle via the Civil Rights Movement, which led to the 1965 Immigration Act, my parents (and I) wouldn’t be in this country.
Social Justice Continuums: I view politics and elections on this continuum. In order for a progressive shift to occur in our country, movement needs to occur at different points of the continuum.
But first, what is a continuum? It’s a continuous sequence where adjacent elements are not perceptibly different from each other, although extremes are quite distinct (i.e. progressives on the far far left vs. Mainstream Democrats). The easiest example I can give you is MLK Jr. and Malcolm X. Malcolm X understood what his role was. There has been so much written about Malcolm X and Coretta Scott King’s secret conversations, where Malcolm sent MLK Jr. messages of encouragement and solidarity that he wanted kept secret from the public. For example, when Malcolm X told Coretta, “I want you to convey to your husband my deepest respect for him and that I am not trying to undermine Dr. King’s work. My goal is to be to the left of Dr. King, to challenge institutional racism so that those in power can negotiate with King. That’s my role.”
The social justice continuum is why I respect hardcore Hillary-ites even though I vehemently disagree with them. On the flip-side, it’s also why I respect people who are so disgusted with our politics that they refuse to vote, even though I vehemently disagree with them (i.e. Colin Kaepernick).
These continuums require praxis and the midterms are a critical juncture in the praxis of the Left. Once we align the heady political theorizing of the Mainstream Dems who reside at the grasstops with the lived realities of low-income and disenfranchised folks at the grassroots, change WILL happen. Democrats have not yet succeeded on this point in the way Republicans have (somehow the Right has created a coalition composed of Evangelicals and Fu*& You Evangelicals).
My Kid’s Future: Enough said.
Women of Color: Please understand, I’m not trying to pit WOC against white women. It’s just that AS A VOTING BLOC, white women have not been doing us any favors as of late. Black women, specifically, are the key to our progressive future.
What are you voting for? Why?