A couple of days ago I had a twitter conversation about why ‘voting’ is/is not important. It stemmed from the statement that rapper Lupe Fiasco made about Obama being a terrorist.
[Lupe] followed up his comments about terrorism by explaining why he doesn’t vote, saying that casting a ballot for a politician for him is an endorsement of everything that person does. He won’t do that for any presidential candidates because “I don’t want you to bomb some village in the middle of nowhere,” he said.
Although, there are some points in Lupe’s opinions that I agree with (not a fan of war in general), I really wish that Lupe hadn’t talked about why he doesn’t vote. His words has consequences. There are young people who will listen to what he says and agree, feel validated and follow his example.
The Tweeter I had a conversation with declared that he agreed with Lupe, saying that voting only endorses the status quo (a system that doesn’t work) and we can’t change things until we change the system. The young tweeter (the word Young is in his handle so I assume he is young) went on to say that essentially this system is run by corporate entities. Politicians who have the most money are elected, who once elected end up doing whatever they want (ie committing terrorist acts).
That’s a pretty accurate assessment. So how do you tell someone they are wrong when their opinion is pretty much correct?
Everything the young man and Lupe are saying is pretty much true, yet seems so wrong to me. I’m almost hurt by it. Our ancestors faced horrible violence just so that we have the right to vote and participate in a system that has systematically oppressed us for so long. We now have the opportunity to make real change. To throw it all way by not participating makes me really sad.
The attitude behind not voting just declares defeat to me. “The man is going to do whatever he wants to do so why should I bother?” Imagine where we would be today if young blacks had that attitude in the 50 and 60’s.
Mind you, the Tweeter did say that not voting is only a gesture and not a complete solution, the solution is to bring down the system. So how do you do that? This system has been in place for long time and what do you do in the meantime?
In my opinion, not voting gets the system off the hook. I applaud Lupe for speaking out in such a public way because his voice is out there and people are listening. However, the opinion that counts is one that is taken at the voting booth. People will talk about him, the news will cover him, but at the end of the day a real difference won’t be made.
A lot of people don’t vote. The system keeps going anyway. The system only needs enough people to vote in order to get things done. If you want something done then you get enough people behind you and your candidate to put them in a position of power to make change. You can’t stop there, either. You have to hold that person accountable. You have to participate in the process. You have to keep writing, and protesting, and voting and organizing and supporting.
I think this is where we failed Obama and ourselves. We put him into office and just hoped for the best. We did nothing to support him in his efforts, so in the end he had to make compromises.. even some that he didn’t want to make. Now we are disappointed and complaining. It doesn’t have to be that way.
Lupe should keep going. He should sign petitions, he should start his own PAC. He should go to congress and speak at the committee hearings. He should get all of his followers to organize boycotts of companies. He should put his money where his mouth is. Money does make the world go round. If you put your money in the right direction, you can change the world. You can change the mind of a politician- even the President.
The President campaigned on the idea of change. Change requires work from all of us. I wish our people would understand that. The Tea Party did..and look at what they accomplished.
I asked the tweeter to take the time and go to a city council meeting. I would like for him to learn the process. To learn how he can participate and make the change that he would like to see. I hope that he does. He could be the one that could really end terrorism for good. 🙂