I voted for Obama before, but I will not sell my soul for an ideal or a symbol. While I damn sure am not a Republican, I’m also not a Democrat, so even if the 2014 midterm elections had turned out in the opposite direction, I would not be jumping with glee.
Let’s not forget that the Democrats have held majorities in the House and Senate in recent history, and while it may be better than having a Republican majority, it would not be much better, and it certainly would not be a source of Great Hope for the country.
(see chart above, esp. from Reagan until today)
While exercising one’s right to vote can sometimes make an impact, at least on the local level, it is certainly not the primary means for changing the structures and institutions that affect us most. Let’s not forget that Mass Incarceration and the crack epidemic which decimated communities on the margins were also brought to us by Democrats who Americans voted into office.
Let’s not forget that Democrats are in control in Ferguson, MO, and that our Democratic President has deported more undocumented human beings than any other president in history.
In fact, Democrats have played a major role in buttressing Mass Incarceration (Clinton’s 3-Strikes law, for example) and in instituting neo-liberal economic reforms such as “changing welfare as we know it (Clinton)” and in so-called “free trade,” which really just meant greater outsourcing and exploitation of workers elsewhere while marginalizing working people here (NAFTA, 1992, Dems were majority in house and senate).
It is sad, but Republican and Democratic Party politicians are not that different in their treatment of the People on the margins of society. Not only that, those margins are getting larger and larger.
I’m not saying the answer is the GOP, but there has to be a better way than the Democratic Party. They’ve failed the People too; it’s not all the GOPs fault.
STILL, just because the greater of two evils seems to have gained ground today, it doesn’t mean we should stop pushing for a better world.
It won’t be easy, but breaking up this two-party system is both possible and necessary. Don’t just get out there and vote. Get out there and organize!
To any condescending comments about people not voting, I say: if voting is your primary, let alone your exclusive method of political engagement, then you are not affecting real sociopolitical, economic, and cultural change, yourself.
If you truly want a better society for all, get out there and influence the consciousness of your immediate community, influence the consciousness of your family members and your broader social networks. Don’t stop fighting the daily fight of resistance. Get out there and disrupt the status quo as they are doing in Ferguson.
Literally, with your bodies, get out there and “Shut Shit Down,” as the Ferguson chant goes.
That is, despite whoever gets into office, I believe I still can and must shake up the status quo through a plethora of direct actions, so long as I am in direct solidarity with those who are on the margins. So long as I remain in solidarity with those who are on the margins, I still can and must make political demands and stay vocal and active, everyday.
Finally, progress isn’t linear. Sometimes it takes a crazy turn, and we digress a bit (as our government has done, again), but we who believe in freedom, justice, and equality for all must keep on fighting—no matter what. We must broaden our scope of what it means to be politically active. We must become radical in our political engagement, and think beyond just voting.
In short, we who believe in freedom, justice, and equality for all must seek ways to connect with and join local organizers who are fighting structural racism, classism, homophobia, heterosexism, nativism, and all other undemocratic and inhumane systems of oppression near you. This is my commitment, which no midterm election results can ever deter.