Don’t hate the players, hate the game
It makes sense that lots of people don’t engage with the political process. Our goal is to help them see a way out.
How do we expect people to vote for a government that was never representative of their ideas and is constantly neglecting their needs? The difference between a Republican and Democratic vote was never about who did what but more about who could sell a better lie to the public. Voters care more about the color than the motive behind the politicians. Before the November 3rd election, many advocated voting in the Presidential election in order to get Trump out of office. Although this idea sounds great, it should tell you about how corrupt the system is. We have to vote a horrible person into office just to get another horrible person out. In this case, why even vote? What is the point of using the “lesser of two evils” mindset, when you’ll still end up voting for a horrible person with horrible morals? There have been many people, specifically Black people, confessing how they won’t be voting in this election and many have shunned them. The voters have the mindset that our ancestors “died for our right to vote”, which is true, but not all ancestors are the same. I believe our ancestors fought for their right to vote; for us, they fought so we could have the option and power to vote against this system that does not include us.
At the beginning of 2019, I founded an organization on campus at Old Dominion University called Spectrum, and we worked to increase the youth voter turnout for upcoming elections. I believed wholeheartedly that getting the youth to vote in elections would help with the outcome of the country since we are progressive. My mind completely did a 180 when the multiple protests, riots, and looting took place this past summer due to the murder of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. I saw so many people my age disagree with how people were handling their frustrations with Black people getting killed just for existing and it did not sit right with me at all. A lot of non-black people were trying to tell Black people how they should handle the murders of Black people by gaslighting how we felt and our methods of coping. Thousands of companies were trying to form an allyship with Black people but we took notice of how long it finally took them to realize what was happening was wrong. That’s when my epiphany of going against this fictitious system happened.
Change is always necessary when beginning a revolution. The strategies, tactics, and beliefs of our ancestors paved the way to how we adapt and work in society today. On August 21st, 1831, Nat Turner led a rebellion that many believed was violent and unjustified, but it nevertheless got attention and helped spark the abolitionist movement. In the 1950s, many Black leaders and revolutionists went against the grain of everyone else to gain basic rights like voting for their Black communities. Many also thought this was provocative and too radical, but nevertheless, it sparked a movement. With this being said, our ideologies and values have to constantly be working to change the system, and if it’s still not how we want it, why are we still working within it? One author puts it this way:
“For those who died to vote, it was a means to end in a larger war that others like my grandmother were still left to fight and die in. A war we are still left fighting and dying in. And like any war, the rules of engagement are constantly changing. Like any war, some people are using the wrong strategy, and people make mistakes.”
We are upholding a never-ending cycle by constantly voting for Presidents that do not care about the needs of Black people because the Constitution never included or humanized us, meaning we were not written in the system to begin with. Changing your beliefs and ideologies is important when trying to be progressive. Yes, it can get extremely uncomfortable at times but change never comes easy. Gil Scott-Heron made valid points when talking about revolutions and how you have to change your state of mind before you change anything else. In order to be progressive as a whole, we must stop bashing radical ideas that make you uncomfortable. So instead of criticizing some of the Black demographic for not wanting to vote, we should open our minds up and analyze the method to their madness.