I’m going to attempt to explain my frustration with the myriad posts I’m seeing of people not wanting to vote for Biden or at all. This is my frustration alone, and it is absolutely your right to vote however you like. I just need to get this out.
I’m going to start with a bombshell first to white people: In my view, it is white privilege to actively choose not to vote this November. (Actively choose as opposed to systemic disenfranchisement preventing you from voting).
What I mean by this is that you’ve witnessed the last four years, you’ve seen what a Trump administration is doing to people of colour, LGBTQ+ people, impoverished people, chronically ill or disabled people, undocumented immigrants, women, and other groups I’m sure I’m missing out. You know what this administration is doing and many of you openly decry it, condemning the administration, its appointments, and its decisions. Some of you want a revolution, and some of those some are even working towards one.
I get it, I’m with you, I want it, too. I want to tear down the whole system and start over. I want to figure out how to dig the America I believe in out of the bastardised, abused, disgusting wretch that it is now. Our country has never been perfect, but it is our charge to create a more perfect union which Americans have worked for incrementally in the past be it through amendments to give more people rights they should’ve had from day one or through laws and regulations or through economic policies. The changes necessary, however, are not happening fast enough, and I am with you that some things (like the police and incarceration) have to be completely removed in order to build something better, stronger, more equitable. We need to reimagine what a modern society looks like and we need to have an actually intersectional conversation about what that looks like.
I am frustrated, too. I don’t like Biden, I’m not crazy about Harris, but these reforms or revolutions are not happening today or even by November or January. You can be upset about that, but you can’t be upset if the revolution doesn’t happen or gets put down swiftly by secret police as is already happening and Trump is still in power because you didn’t vote. You can’t be upset when human rights atrocities continue happening on the daily if Trump is still in power because you didn’t vote.
I understand that voting Democrat is very, very similar to voting Republican, but Trump is actively and openly embracing fascist tactics and ideals. He’s openly harming citizens; he’s deploying unidentifiable federal agents to kidnap people; he’s already claiming a fraudulent election months before it even happens and is actively disenfranchising voters daily. Biden and Harris are not ideal, but at least we can stop Trump and his active, daily assaults on all of the groups I mentioned above.
If you’re not voting because “it’s all the same,” “they’re all just fascists in red or blue,” “my vote doesn’t matter anyway, it’s all a conspiracy,” I need you to talk to some people of colour and some LGBTQ+ people, some disabled people, some chronically ill people, many people outside of your demographic and truly reflect on what you’re saying when you actively choose not to vote. You’re banking on a revolution making everything right some time in the future because you have the comfort of believing in a future, but many of these communities have daily life-threatening, bankrupting obstacles every time they open their front door under both this administration and all those before it, but especially right now. Some people don’t have the luxury of looking forward to a revolution when the attempt at one this summer was met with police brutality, secret police, and widespread stripping of a basic democratic right to vote.
I agree that we need drastic changes in the US: social, economic, legal, prison, political, cultural reforms or complete changes. But it is a privilege to be able to choose not to vote because you have the time to wait for the rest of the country to get on board with a revolution. You can work for BOTH. You can vote for the immediate changes we can have confidence in seeing while also condemning the (hopefully) incoming administration. You can rally for a revolution while also doing the bare minimum of using your right – that so many are actively being deprived of right now – to vote for an end to this immediate assault on so many people. In my view, your protest vote can wait until the immediate, life-threatening assaults on our citizens are even slightly mitigated by this regime being deposed. Things will not be immediately perfect and there will be tonnes of work to do to build a better country, but at least Trump’s ever-looming threat will no longer be an additional thing holding our citizens hostage.
In my view, it’s a vote for compassion. I am working towards both.
Written by @gvaughnjoy