Monday, August 1, 2016

Apple #734: To the Bernie or Busters Who Plan to Not Vote

I'm breaking from my usual M.O. to deliver what I think is an important public service message.

To those of you who ardently supported Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary campaign, kudos to you for turning out, for making your voices heard, to surprising people all around the country with your will to carry on.  Now that your candidate did not make the final cut -- and yes, I've seen the reports about the dealings of the DNC; welcome to politics -- many of you are saying, Screw it, this country's politics are rigged, I'm not voting for either of those corporate shills [or insert other insult here], I'm not voting for anybody, I'm staying home.

My response to you is, really?  That's your revolution?  The guy who lit the fire in you didn't achieve his first goal, and so now you're giving up?  Did you only believe the things he said because it was Bernie who said them, or did you believe the things he said period?  Did you agree with him about the need for reform, about the need to do something about the increasing gulf between the 1% and the rest of the country, about campaign finance reform, actually addressing climate change and energy production?

If did agree with all that, and you're going to stay home and not vote, then it must be you sure change your mind in a hurry, or else you give up way too easily.



You showed up for this, how hard could it be to show up at your polling place and cast a ballot?
(Photo by Benjamin Kerensa on Flickr)


The contest for the President of the United States will not be the only item on your ballot come November.  Depending on where you live, there will be races for Senate seats, or House of Representative seats, or representatives in your state government.  There may be local initiatives about how your schools are funded, or your libraries, or your police and fire department.  By staying home, you are saying none of those things matter.

If you think those local contests don't matter, pay attention to how you are treated the next time you go to renew your driver's license.  The next time you go to your public library.  The next time you pick your kid up from school.  The next time you turn on the water faucet in your kitchen sink.  Then tell me that local politics don't matter.



Water from a faucet in a Flint hospital, October 16 2015.
(Photo by Joyce Zhu, sourced from Common Dreams)


Maybe you have decided to not vote because you don't want to support a candidate you disagree with.  OK, that might sound high and mighty, but in reality, by not voting, you are letting somebody else decide for you.  Hasn't Bernie's campaign been all about taking control, using your voice, making sure you're heard?  And now you're just going to drop that whole idea because you didn't get your way in this one race this one time?  You are going to be the one to silence yourself?

People fought for centuries for the right to vote.  If you are a woman or a minority, those who came before you sure as hell fought two and three and ten times as hard for that right.  In some parts of this country, people still have to fight to be allowed to cast a ballot.  And you, because your feelings are hurt, are going to stay home?

How would Bernie have become a Senator and gotten the chance to speak up as he did if people had stayed home and not voted for him?

Maybe your response is, Well, the Democratic machine stole the nomination from Bernie and gave it to Hillary, they just do whatever they want, so what difference does it make how I vote in anything?  To that I say, that's sour grapes bullshit.  It's true, the machine of politics is not a white-glove business.  Scores of TV shows -- House of Cards, Scandal, The Good Wife, etc. -- have been telling us this for years.  But another truth about how politics works is that the fewer people involved, the easier it is to mess with it.  The more people who vote, the more people who actively participate, ask hard questions, investigate what happens and how it happens, the harder it is for others to get away with crap.

If you're so convinced that it's all nefarious back-room dealings that are doing you wrong, then you are doing exactly the wrong thing by throwing up your hands and walking away.  The best way to respond to double-dealing is to stay in the game and make sure it doesn't happen again. In fact, according to this article from the FiveThirtyEight, by showing up to vote in those little elections, or by voting in those smaller down-ballot contests, you might actually be sticking it to the DNC.

I'm not going to tell you which presidential candidate to vote for.  You can vote for your mom if you want to.  (Literally, you can vote for your mom.)  There are all sorts of arguments people make about how a vote for this candidate is really a vote for that candidate, or my vote is going to be canceled out by this other person's vote--blah blah blah, talk to the hand.  The important thing is that you vote.  All those Trump supporters turned out and voted, and look what happened. 

You have the right not to vote, of course. That is a choice you can exercise.  But keep in mind that if you don't vote, if you don't participate, then you are guaranteed to get back exactly what you put in, which is nothing.

There's a lot of time between now and November, so you've got a lot of time to think.  In these coming months, ask yourselves this: was Bernie's revolution about just one man, or was it about something bigger than that?

If you think it was about something bigger, imagine what change you can bring if you vote for candidates and issues that affect your neighborhood streets, your city schools, your state educational system.

Maybe you could still have your revolution.



See all the people in this photo?  They are the reason Bernie got heard for as long and as often as he did.  They -- you -- are the people with the power, whether you know it or not.
(Photo from Wikimedia)




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1 comment:

  1. Dear Apple Lady--this is an extraordinary message that matters so much. And, as usual, it is full of fantastic bits of knowledge that one can use. While passionate, it is also thoughtful and informed; it can't be argued that you're in the bag for anyone, just a firm believer in letting the process work as it is intended: to be used. Thank you!

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