OK, so on the one hand, I understand that voter apathy and low voter turn out is not an individual, moral issue. Like wealth inequality, gender discrimination, and racism, this issue is an institutional one. Bred by the rampant commercialization of our media institutions, and perpetuated in ways big and small (voter suppression, I’m looking at you), individual voters shouldn’t be found at fault for the U.S.’s lack of turnout any more than individuals should be blamed for the global warming that’s caused almost entirely by a small number of corporations.
But also, holy sh*t, guys, can you please get your sh*t together? Because this is f—king killing us.
And when I say “f—king killing us” I mean that literally. There’s that whole institutional racism thing that allows police to significantly kill higher rates of people of color, usually without facing any consequences. There’s the whole taking away our health care rights, and killing us thing. And with the new appointment of Frat Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, there’s that whole chipping away at our right to choose thus making us die from unsafe abortions.
Which, if I’m being honest, is less of an “us” and more of a “them.” See, I’m a middle-class white woman with a passport and access to a large amount of credit. I also live in a state that would continue to guarantee my right to choose an abortion regardless of what Mushroom Dick and The Spineless Lackeys try to do to me. And because I have a full-time job with health benefits, I have access to medical care that routinely keeps me stocked in birth control so I don’t really need to worry about unplanned pregnancy (one more IUD, and I get a free tubal ligation!). Given that my race and class make me mostly immune to the dangers of the current administration, why should I give a damn?
Well, for one, f—k you. If you only get upset about inequality when it personally affects you, you’re a bad person, and you should think about what you’ve done. Also if you’re intentionally hoping that your approximation to white, straight, male power will keep you safe, Serena Waterford would like a word with you. But mostly, it’s because as horrific as the physical danger our socioeconomic system inflicts on people of color, women and the LGTB community, it’s the daily degradation that’s slowly killing at least half of the people you know.
And that degradation isn’t contingent on the outcome. I don’t actually need to be psychically harmed to experience the way our country treats anyone other than straight, white men as less than. One of the defendants in Judge Gaul’s courtroom on the Serial podcast pretty perfectly summed it up. Gaul wanted him to submit for the sake of submission. Gaul was exerting his power because he could.
Imagine it this way. You’ve worked your ass off at work for the past year. You’ve done everything that was expected of you and more. You did so even though they gave you a sh*tty table in the corner of the room instead of a decent cubicle, and even though your bosses refuse to make your work schedule slightly more accommodating for your personal/family life. You just came in every goddamn day, and did a great goddamn job. And instead of marching into your boss’ office and saying, “I’ve been working my ass off for a year, I brought in the Pearlman account, I’ve made you a sh*tton of money, and I deserve a raise,” you have to slink in and say, “Heeeeey, guys, I know I don’t deserve it, and I probably shouldn’t even be asking, but if it’s at all possible, do you think you could possibly find it in your hearts to give me a small raise? Not because I deserve it, but just because my rent’s gone up, and I know that’s not your problem, but if you could help me out, I’d really appreciate it.”
That’s how everyone who’s not a straight, white man lives every day. Constantly begging to be treated like a person.
This is why we can’t live with the current system just by making it a little bit more tolerant. If the system at all depends on straight, white dudes bestowing their tolerance on others, it’s not an OK way of living. I don’t need your mercy or your grace because what I deserve by the sheer fact of being a person, is justice. When we say that the current system needs to go, believe us. And vote out every single motherf—ker who would keep it in place. It’s the only decent thing to do.
Header Image Source: TBS