The Ballot is No Silver Bullet
Dear Diddy, I suppose I am choosing death.
In 2008, I voted for the last time. I will not be voting tomorrow. Two years ago, while many were swept up in the whirlwind of hope and change, I cast what will probably be my last ballot. I didn’t vote for Obama; I didn’t vote for McCain. I voted in an effort to get another party some permanent recognition. It didn’t work. So I’m going to use my voter registration card for something else. Like scraping eraser shavings from my desk, because that kind of thing really bothers me.
I am not apathetic. I care about what happens in this world. After all, I live in it. Yet the argument that folks who don’t vote don’t care neither resonates with nor makes sense to me. It’s a terribly large logical leap. I don’t have to vote every two years to prove that I have a stake in what happens as the worlds spins. Moreover, not voting doesn’t even suggest that I don’t have some kind of investment in democracy. What it shows is that I no longer have an investment in this version of democracy. In fact, perhaps to vote is to express a kind of apathy. We could argue that the act of voting, in this country, implicitly advocates for a government that perpetually ignores poor, black, and brown people domestically and sends many of those same folks to wage war on poor, black, and brown people living in other parts of the world, under the guise of protecting “our freedom.” Democrat or Republican, politicians drop bombs. Hence, I’m am dropping my ballot and choosing to channel my political energy elsewhere.
I am not disrespecting my elders. When I was a kid, I’d get really excited to go vote with my great-grandparents. This had nothing to do with them exercising the franchise. Rather, I was mostly excited about having them in my school, because that’s the kind of thing that eight-year-olds get excited about. It was the same year that I made a Bush sign in class–because I preferred elephants over donkeys. That digression aside, I know that black folks and women fought persistently for the right to vote in this country. Susan B. Anthony, I’m happy for you and I’ma let you finish but…I cannot let that history burden my present decisions. There is a remarkable difference between not being allowed to do something and choosing not to do something. Those who have attempted to use the “black people died so you could vote argument,” have heard this retort from me. No, black people and women did not die so that I could vote. Black people and women marched and protested and died so I would have the right to vote. And from now on, I’ll be exercising my right not to vote. So someone tell Barack Obama to stop leaving messages on my house phone (yes, I still have a line) telling me how important it is for me to vote on Tuesday. Such acts are only significant if I have interest in which conjoined twin maintains power. I don’t.
I am not uninformed. Last week, Tamara posted a link of Waka Flocka Flame on 106 and Park. Apparently the hosts thought they were interviewing someone else, because they asked a non-voting high school drop-out about the importance of staying in school and voting. To some eyes, WFF just looked like a dweeb. Perhaps, but only because his people failed to get a copy of the questions the hosts were going to ask before the show. Still, the hosts did a horrific job of rescuing a guest from looking ignorant because he doesn’t see the point in voting. Well, Wacka, I’m with you. In fact, the more informed I am, the less inclined I am to vote. Call me a pessimist, but there is no such thing as a different kind of politician outside of a political advertisement. “Free election of masters does not abolish the masters or the slaves,” – Marcuse. Word to Obama.
I am not voting. Sometimes there is more power in not doing something. If I were to vote tomorrow, I would not be honoring the life of James Chaney. I would be explicitly agreeing with the folks who claim to speak for constituents like me. I have no faith in the folks who assert a desire to represent me within this system. In fact, I am suspicious of them. A vote tomorrow, for me, would signal to the government that I want them to continue with duping as usual. I can no longer think and feel the way I do and just vote as symbol of–something. There are no moral ballots, especially if I question the ambitions of every name that appears on them. Besides, I have better stuff to do on Tuesday morning-like watch Oprah.
P.S. I will not be seeing Tyler Perry’s for colored girls… adaptation when it’s released on Friday. If this film is financially successful, Perry will receive permission to make more films (like this). Personally, I’d rather keep my money. More on this Monday.