Now that there’s no chance I can be blamed for trying to affect the outcome of probably the most expensive election in history, here’s some stuff I haven’t said in literally dozens of Facebook comment threads over the last few weeks.
I grew up in Memphis, and saw the sites where King was slain before I was ten years old. My mother was a Black Panther. I am aware of and respect every element of our struggle for freedom.
I will not vote.
I am not registered. I doubt I ever will be, and I turn 40 in January. I will not participate in this farce with crying Afghan orphans and the end of personal privacy and the shredding of constitutional rights and the rest. Bad enough I’m forced to pay taxes practically at gunpoint (especially when one of the candidates — under Democrats or Republicans — did not). History will be very forgiving of the current administration, which in fact has a laundry list of accomplishments as long as my arm.
History is more forgiving than I am.
I am not telling anybody else not to vote. I am not decrying the farcical nature of it (although in a blue state it would be easy to, even on the laughable propositions). I just won’t be a part of it. In the words of KRS, “I like to ask these politicians, ‘would Jesus vote?’”
He would not. He’d be in the streets making things happen. This tactic is not my tactic. This battle is not my battle, and all the pretty words and grainy 1960s photos and cross posts will not change it.
I do, however, find it all a fascinating story, almost as interesting as watching Homeland. As with all things, your mileage may vary, but I’ll be glad to see these exhortations in my timeline disappear.
Some of my reasons …
1) I will never do jury duty. Jury duty is exclusively for registered voters. I believe the criminal justice system of the United States is irreparably broken, and have spent my life avoiding any form of participation in it.
2) In the words of KRS-ONE, “whether you vote for the lesser of two evils, you vote for evil/politics and god are not equal.” I’m striving towards the concept of Dr. Ron Daniel, who posited the idea of pockets of Black people becoming “ungovernable” — exempting themselves from public services, standing secure without the “protection” of the police and so on. I’m not there yet, but plan to be before I’m retirement aged.
3) Moreover, let’s say I get all presidential. I could vote for the rapacious businessman or I could vote for the guy who did this.
I’m out. Don’t involve me in that foolishness any more than the taxes that I don’t have enough guns or paperwork to stop (yet). This election in particular isn’t important because of how many things the candidates share in common as centrists appealing to the more extreme elements of their parties. The Supreme Court justice issue? Meh. The idea of “balancing the budget” or fiscal responsibilty? Right, sell me another $400 toilet seat cover to hide the funds for your secret rendition facilities. Whatever.
4) In the words of Talib Kweli, “conditions in the ‘hood never changed with the president.” I had a friend from South Africa, who told me that even after the Afrikaans regime fell, “it didn’t matter if the boot on my neck had a Black foot inside or a white one, it was still a boot on my neck.” I feel similar. Presidents are just characters on another TV show.
5) “What about local elections? You can effect things there!” Meh. I’ve dated and known many people who worked in local government and see exactly where the money goes and what happens. I’d again be better served working towards becoming “ungovernable.” Or doing it the mafia way and just kidnapping and punching the kidneys of people the elected officials find valuable. Even when voting for something makes sense, it’s possible to get people to work against their own interests if you have enough money and determination.
6) “So many people sacrificed for you to have this right!” Thanks. They also — in effect — weakened the growing Black infrastructure that many in corporate America saw as a threat to their own economic hegemony by demanding integration while not reminding their constituents to maintain their own (would-be “ungovernable”) systems. My mom was a Panther. I get it. I disagree with their strategy while respecting their intentions. It is my belief that they fought for me to have a choice. I am using that choice. Dissent is a stance.
7) I don’t want to. I don’t want to vote for “my” next American Idol, I don’t want to vote to see if the Joker will kill Jason Todd, and I don’t want to vote for anything else, all of which (on a long enough timeline) matter about as much to me. I accept that I am a de facto prisoner of war categorized as a “citizen” (ha) but I’ll be damned if I’m gonna get Stockholm Syndrome and play along with the charade.
So there you have it.
Playing (Music): “Salute Your Solution” by the RaconteursBarack, lies, mitt, Obama, Obamney, president, prop 37, Romney, wasting time