by Brian Foulks
So today is voting Tuesday around the country and people are all hyped about voting. I read tweet after tweet of people getting up early to vote and standing in line with pride. I see Facebook post of condemning people for not getting out to vote and a mass of other stuff concerning Election Day.
I am not sure how I want to digest this moment right now. I am proud that people are exercising their right to vote today. I am glad that people intentionally made efforts to get out early to vote. But I sit in the midst of the economic downturn as a man that is not fully employed without any benefits. I am the man that was unemployed for 6 months and had to get an unemployment check.
So am I enthused about the Obama camp?-by no means. But on the flip side, I see where Romney does not have my best interest in mind as well. He wants to provide legislature that will benefit him as a rich man more than those caught in the midst of this struggle. I am not what you would consider poor but I am part of a working class that is on the brink of losing many of their personal assets because of job loss.
So I have no confidence in the government as it relates to voting one or the other into office. I do not buy the concept of the “lesser of two evils” nor do I surrender to the voting clichés. Yes, many ancestors died for our right to vote but it was just that our right. So if one has the right to vote; they also have the right not to vote. I have seen the rhetoric of some who in so many words have called others stupid because they choose not to vote which goes against the very ethos of the voting privilege. Yes, I think people should vote but if a person chooses not to vote then that is their right as well not to do so.
Those who are for Obama turn a blind eye to the fact that he has not fulfilled many of the promises he said he would complete in 2008. If the tables were turned they would be all over the other candidate for not fulfilling their promises. Those in the Romney camp know good and well that Romney will run America like a business. He will balance budgets but at a great expense to those who need the programs that will be cut. So in the big picture both have holes in the campaign for me. Simple and plain folks just need to be real that they vote for cultural reasons more than political ideology. If I said I was voting for Romney and gave facts why- then many would call me crazy. So this is just not a question of voting but a question of voting for your candidate of choice.
At the end of the day -poor people are ostracized, children are poorly educated, women are still viewed obtusely, gays are left in limbo, Hispanics (or what we call Hispanics) are still considered illegal, soldiers are still in warzones outside of America- and blacks are housed in every one of those categories at alarming rates.
But you just want me to vote for the sake of voting…come on.
The Reflective Response
So today is voting Tuesday around the country and people are all hyped about voting. I have been repeatedly admonished to vote and some have even smirked in condescension as they layer my indifference with their subtle passing of judgment.
I refuse to be among the herds that use civic duty as a cliché and propose that a black man in the White House has to be the best of all possible outcomes for black people. What happened to the best of outcomes for all people? What about Obama makes him a black man? I’ll digress on that subject only to focus on the systemic regulation of mankind that seems to assert itself when the impetus for activism falls under the umbrella of “everybody’s doing it.”
Today reminds me of Christmas. Surely my daughters will not ask if I voted but who I voted for, assuming that Obama is the logical gift under the irreverent American tree. I’ll gladly get them what they ask for only in an attempt to protect them from 37 years of removing myself from the abase nature of society in an effort to reconcile myself to that for which being abased is truly rewarded.
I am both Romney and Obama, seeing myself fit for any office to which I am assigned as long as the assignees have no real sense of the balance between my impotency and that of the position. I am the smiling, eloquent businessman with the suit to match any persona I choose for that day. The cool customer slinging barbs to put you at ease along with the dispassionate pat on your back. I, better than the voter, know the difference between what you need and what you need to hear and if you’re patient I’ll make your mind cause the two to align.
I would love to insert a paragraph about government here but it may lead too many to believe that elections are about that. It’s not about candidates, issues, states, or even race. It’s about the illusion of empowerment. The same effect that the notion of “choice” has on so many believers, it gives one a belief in rights that are free (fictionally) from the selflessness that is required to “believe” in the first place. The power vested in the verisimilitudes of an incomplete reality that only makes “Sandy” real when it’s seen on TV. Having two options will force you to choose out of necessity, thus emboldening the voter by default. The long lines and racial tension are added fuel that leaves one on an indefatigable high, only to be proffered with sterile promises and hope capped by another four years of momentum; you choose the direction.