Rock the Vote: 7 Reasons Why You Need to #Vote
I'm gonna be honest, I'm not feeling particularly inspired this election season. Negativity is rampant. The candidates are well, I don't think I have to tell you about the top two contenders. And while I love Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka's platform, I'm in a swing state, is it practical for me to vote for a third party? I don't know the answer yet, but I will be voting for someone.
When I feel the pull to give up and disengage from politics (as I watch Selma for the umpteenth time), I'm reminded that blacks didn't fight for me to sit silently and be a disengaged voice in this country. They fought for all of us to have a voice. A voice in this country, a voice in the electoral process and the subsequent administration.
If you're on the fence about voting or if the current electoral process has left you feeling powerless, I want to remind you why you need to use the biggest weapon in your arsenal this November.
- Voting gives a voice to the issues important to you. The other side is mobilizing to shape the country in its image. Don't want police shootings? Not a fan of stop and frisk, mass incarcerations or the criminalization of communities of color? Then vote against any persons proposing legislation that goes against your interests or that of your community. Vote, in every election, to change the direction of the country or you will be forced to live in a world shaped by others.
- Voting is a civic duty. It's your right as an American. It was fought for by people who gave their lives to change not just their present but the future. We are that future. Don't belittle their sacrifice by squandering your vote. Voting should be mandatory. We have this perception that voting doesn't change things but it does and it can. Al Gore lost the 2000 elections because 13% of Democrats voted for George W. Bush. Bush won Florida by 543 votes. Lesson learned - every vote counts!
- High turnout reminds politicians of the power of marginalized people. Minority turnout determined the 2012 elections, with blacks playing a key role in the outcome. "According to the Mcain Institute, a 2013 Census Bureau’s report trumpeted the historically noteworthy finding that black turnout rates in 2012 exceeded that of whites for the first time. This, in an election when white turnout declined significantly and Hispanic and Asian turnout inched down modestly from 2008."
- Accountability. A strong electoral turnout has the ability to push our issues to the forefront. If people of color band together, and show up at the polls in record numbers, we can hold can candidates to their promises. Our votes helped you win and we will hold you accountable for the completion of the promises made.
- Squash the hateful rhetoric. Do you have kids? Do you want children? What kind of world do you think your children will thrive in? If you are concerned for their future, then not voting isn't an option. Voting is your chance to squash the hateful rhetoric that's permeating this election. Can you deal with four years of people chanting "build the wall" or "extreme vetting of inmigrants"? History has shown us that scapegoating is never the answer; as it adversely affects people of color. Vote, so we can push the government to work towards solutions that benefit all of us, instead of criminalizing us.
- In not voting, you forgo you're right to complain about the outcome. Don't complain if you didn't participate in the electoral process.
- The Central Park Five...read their story. Watch their documentary on Netflix. Unjustly convicted for a crime they didn't commit. Teenage boys of color, who could be your sons, brothers, or cousins. Years after the overturn of their conviction, these now grown men are still being politicized, for what? To popularize the notion that we need law and order in communities of color.
Complacency, disengaging or stewing in anger doesn't change anything. Being an active citizen is the only way to bring changes to issues important to you.
Do your research.
Learn about all four candidates.
Then go VOTE.
Image from CreateHerStock