WARNING: This post contains encouragement to participate in electoral politics, as well as an argument against the “participating in the system always creates complacency and assimilation” position. (If you want to argue with me about these things, I’m up for it, but let’s do it in person or on the phone if possible, yeah? Thanks ) “IF YOU WILL SURVIVE THIS ELECTION, and its supreme court appointments and lower judiciary appointments, WITH YOUR FUNDAMENTAL NEEDS MET NO MATTER WHO WINS, PLEASE LISTEN TO THOSE WHO DON’T HAVE THAT PRIVILEGE, BEFORE DECIDING WHAT YOU WILL DO.
Voting is a communal act. To love something- a community the size of this country included- is to honor it, to listen to it, to seek for its whole health and thriving as conditional to, and collaborating with, one’s own.” – facebook post a couple months ago
Privilege often means not having to depend on stop-gaps for survival. If you survive, you get to write the world. Stop gaps, reform, don’t have to be the central end-goal, but without them, only the privileged survive to write the world. That is not liberation. That is not justice. That is not accessible revolution. Many people do fight for and establish that survival outside of this system, or in direct confrontation with it. Their ability to do so, as we have heard again and again from movement leaders, is nonetheless directly related to who is in office.
If you can wait out any repercussions of any candidate in this election, and the generations of repercussions that follow, know that that is a privilege that is not available to many people. This isn’t a theoretical position. This is about the survival of people’s bodies, lives, communities, health, movements. When you say “vote your conscience,” who is included in the morality that conscience speaks for? Is it ideals? Is it people? Is it people right now, so that they can have a voice in tomorrow?
NO, the two front-runner candidates are NOT “equally bad.” If your experience of them now and their time in office will in fact be “equally bad,” you are one of the privileged few. That is not how it will be for most people.
I know, I hear, I feel what it is to long for so much more than is being offered. To see it in those around you, in the incredible folks working for change, and to feel the pain of the compromise. Please, please take the love behind that longing. Take the power behind your privilege. Use it. Voting is an act of love. The office of president is not the end goal. Stop-gaps are not the end goal. But they are tools that can make or break the safety, the access, the survival of so many people to the actual end goal: to write our world into liberation, together.
The water protectors at Standing Rock are under attack. I feel furiously humbled to learn about what it really means, looks like to love the land you are from. To love the people down stream, in both space and time. There is always someone down stream. Everything is a commons, eventually. What incredibly, humblingly, fiercely courageous acts they are taking, on behalf of water. On behalf of the grandchildren of people they will never meet. A conscience the size of a river. Even conscience, a commons, connected to the ones down stream.