Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Something I feel strongly about

One of the people in Defiance, Ohio posted this yesterday on their website, and I agree with what he has to say. I urge everyone who reads this blog to at least consider his points. It is perfectly okay to wholeheartedly disagree with the things he brings up, but you should only do so after the entire thing is read. When people stop considering the other point of view and to not constantly challenge what they believe in they run themselves into a rut of ignorance and stubbornness to see any other opinion as viable. By challenging your ideals and listening to the other side you strengthen what you believe in if you disagree with what is said, and you allow yourself to consider and possibly accept new ideas if you agree with what is said. Being ignorant and stubborn to listen to others is the only thing I hate in people - not someone's ideals or actions, because no one should look down on another for what they do or believe in, but someone's refusal to use their mind for non-selfish reasons and to consider what the other person has to say.

This is not an attack on anyone, just me voicing my concerns/frustrations with what I feel, which seems to be very close to Geoff. If you want to talk about this stuff next time I see you, I'd be more than happy.


What Geoff Said:

Two nights ago, at our show in Bloomington, I talked about why I'm voting in this election and why I'm frustrated that many of my punk and activist friends feel like not voting somehow changes all the things that are wrong in our world and all the things that are problematic about electoral politics. As usual, I didn't feel like I articulated myself as well as I wanted to, but instead of trying to explain at greater length why I'm voting in November especially in the presidential race, despite realizing all the problems with many of Obama's policies and rhetoric and the shortcomings of electoral politics in general, I'd like to quote from Adrienne Marie Brown because she says it really well:


it scares me to feel even slightly authentic in my excitement about a candidate, understanding what i do about the history of candidate failures, disappointments, flip-flopping or sheer incompetence, the broken system, the inherent flaws of humanity...i will not hit the streets stumping for obama, i will not start a little fundraising page for him that spirits more money away from the projects i work on 365 days a year election or not. i will continue to pour my energy into election protection, and raise money to support grassroots organizations who make sure candidates who are willing to listen have organized bodies to hear from.

i specifically want barack obama to be the next president of the united states, in spite of all my doubts and cynicisms and fears. i like how he splits the difference on the hardest issues, i like his ability to find a common sense middle ground, and i like that he is passionate and visionary at a time when the easiest space to occupy is debilitating and isolating anger. rereading the transcript of his speech on race, delving into his organizing analysis from his early years in chicago, seeing parts of my story in his own, and wanting to debate him about those issues on which i deeply disagree with him, i confess: i want barack obama to be the next president of the united states.


I urge everyone to read the post in its entirety. What I love about it is that it shows that political engagement is not about a singular decision or moment, it is not about investing oneself fully in the promises or rhethoric of a candidate (or a grassroots movement for that matter). To me, politics have always been about the constant process of questioning and requestioning both the external and internal messages. It has always been about reconciling hope, fear, anger, cynicism, and accountability to my history, my family, my loved ones, my community, and the social work that I do.

The post she made can be found here, and discusses that while he is flawed and will not live up to what people are making him up to be, he is someone that we should consider rooting for:



lawrence-olivier said...

i like you max

people have died fighting (not war) grassroots movements to have the right to vote, for women, blacks, non wealthy landowners etc, giving power to people, although the system is still flawed not giving enough power to people, not using it is exactly what they would like, how ironic is it to hear "take back the streets" from kids who let the system take more power, boycotting the electoral system just lets those who vote have more power.
-rant from dad

willie said...

i don't know if you guys have discussed anything about this at all, but i figured that i'd like to throw in my opinion. there are only two points that i'd like to make.

first of all, not voting, to me, doesn't seem like an act of defiance at all because the electoral establishment doesn't want us to vote. they make it as hard as possible for the people who are generally more liberal to vote through many different tactics. not voting is exactly what they want from people like us. if we were able to successfully get all sorts of like-minded people to vote, then something might actually change. things don't change because they do such a good job at convincing us that our votes don't matter.

secondly, in this upcoming election, there is an actual chance that we, as Californians, can make a difference. i have passed over voting in the past when the ballot is just full of beaucratic bullshit, but this election coming up is different. proposition 8, if it passes, would successfully block same-sex marriages in California again. same-sex marriages have been allowed since june, when the California supreme court ruled them legal. if proposition 8 passes, then not only would same-sex couples not be able to wed, but all of the marriages that have happened from june until then will be nullified. i understand that a lot of people have a problem with the marriage system in general, but this is a matter of human rights. by allowing this proposition to pass without at the very least voting against it, you are essentially allowing the government to take away the rights of a minority. this is something that directly affects friends of ours, and i feel like this sort of legislature shows a basic inequality in america today, and here's our chance to at least do something about it.

i am very interested to hear everyone's opinions about all of this, so either post something here, or just talk to me when i'm home.

i'll be home soon.