We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes
Struggling myself don’t mean a whole lot I come to realize
That teaching others to stand up and fight is the only way my struggle survive
I’m a woman who speaks in a voice and I must be heard
At times I can be quite difficult, I’ll bow to no man’s word.
- Ella’s Song, Sweet Honey In The Rock
With all the talk about the Iowa caucus, the upcoming primary elections, and Barack Obama kickin a** in the polls, I revisit a conversation I’ve had with myself often over the years since my 18th birthday:
To vote or not to vote, that is the question.
As simple as it sounds, ain’t nothing simple about it. The presidential election process of this country is one of the most complicated, well-crafted, manipulative, corrupt, autocratic, antiquated systems I have ever heard of. What is the point of me casting a ballot only to have it not counted because the majority of my state did not vote the same way? What is so wrong with counting all the apples together and all the oranges together the way we learned in kindergarten? How bad would this society really be if hard working, tax paying folk had a say in the way their money was being spent?
I could do the usual Dark & Stormy statistical breakdown but I’m not in the mood for numbers today. Today I’m just feeling like plain common sense and belief that a true democratic world could exist.
The first time I voted, I was proud to become a part of history. I was inspired by knowing that I was honoring those who gave blood, sweat, tears, and even life so that I would have such a privilege. I felt like a real adult doing adult things. Taking an active role in my community and the world around me.
Then one day I woke up. Circa 2000 presidential elections to be exact. I witnessed highway robbery on the primetime news. The nation watched with horror as the true rulers of the “free world” flexed their muscle and let us regular folk know just how much power we really have.
When ’04 came around, non-partisan groups everywhere tried to rally people to register to vote and convince them that their vote really mattered. They used the argument that the close results of the previous election was proof that every vote is necessary.
Remember this foolishness?
Exactly. Some things need not be treated as the latest fad. What started out as a great idea turned into yet another minstrel show. I chuck it up to poor execution. Inspiration and admiration are not synonymous. But I digress.
Are all these gimmicks necessary? Does it even matter? Why waste my time? These are the questions I ask myself. I'm the first person to preach to folks that they cannot evoke change within the current system without first using it and understanding it. That it's best to jump off the revolution from the inside. I've always believed that it was my right as a tax paying citizen to vote. That I will honor the 15th amendment to the United States Constitution even though I think it's bullsh*t.
Something has changed within me because I am contemplating waving my white flag on this battle. Or is it just my being a lil' more wiser and a lil' less greener?
Maybe its just that nightmare I had last night about a brown presidential hopeful becoming yet another martyr for the cause.
Dark & Stormy