author – activist – faculty – mom
I am sorry to report that, yes, our ancestors did die so we could vote for problematic and uninspiring politicians like Hillary Clinton. And whatever uninspiring Democratic candidates might be on your state and local ballots in the next several weeks, months, and years.
This wasn’t their endgame or ultimate goal, but our ancestors who lived through slavery and sharecropping and Jim Crow knew that they had to compromise in these oppressive situations to move things forward. I hope we can learn that lesson. Obama and other gains for our community have gotten our hopes up. Compromising is bitter and painful, especially when our people are being gunned down by cops and Nazis in the street and our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico are being left for dead by this administration. But if there’s one thing that Tr*mp has taught us, it’s that there are worse things than uninspiring neo-liberal white women politicians. And we need to keep that in mind when we use voting as a strategic tool. Like campaign operative Jessica Byrd says: we vote to create the best possible set of conditions in which to organize our grassroots movements for freedom.
Steve Phillips‘ amazing book Brown is the New White says: we currently have the numbers for people of color and progressive whites to elect Democrats to any office, provided that the Democrats stop chasing the center and take bold progressive stands. It’s not easy to move entrenched racism and politics as usual, even among liberals. But we need to hang in there.
Many people have created a false dichotomy between people of color and the working class, but we know that most of us people of color are working class, and that racist white working class people have been manipulated by the right wing to serve owning class and corporate interests. As racism, misogyny, anti-Semitism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, and xenophobia intensify, we need to use every political tool at our disposal to shift this country.
I look forward to a future where we have truly inspiring candidates to vote for. But we’re not there just yet. Help get us there. Vote.