Why Voting Matters: Barack Obama, I Got You
By Brandon Lacy Campos
November 5, 2012
I have written a number of blog posts about Barack Hussein Obama (30 mentions to be exact). Last May, I wrote a blog titled Why I Will Be Voting for Barack Obama, and I stand by all that I wrote in that blog as well. If you want to know why I am voting to support our President, please check out one of those two links above.
I am writing today to talk about the practice of voting itself. Yesterday, I posted this status on Facebook:
I stand by this Facebook status emphatically, but I want to explain a bit more about why I believe voting to be important even within this broken system, particularly after receiving some well thought out and meaningful push back from a former colleague and someone whom I adore as a human and as a thinker: Patrick Barret from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. You can read Patrick's full discourse on my Facebook page by scrolling down a bit and clicking on the comment feed under the above status. But one of his comments struck me in response to my statement that we have an obligation to participate in democracy via the minimal act of voting:
I agree with Patrick. The system is broken. Democracy is limited more now than at anytime since the official dismantling of Jim Crow era poll taxes/lit tests/etc. Using the vehicle of the prison industrial complex and restrictive ID laws and courtroom shenanigans, the vote is either directly or effectively stripped from millions upon millions of mostly people of color and poor voters. That, of course, is not coincidental since a working poor/oppressed class of folks that see themselves as having a legitimate opportunity to use the electoral system to effect change would buck the two party system and create a much fairer system (as fair as can be possible while still operating under capitalism). It would be a democracy that was at least multi-party if not explicitly socialist in its leanings. That's my belief, and the trends of the '60s broad-based radical social groups hold this up as does the union organizing of previous decades. So, it is in the interest of power to limit the franchise as much as possible for those who have some particular interest and investment in the current system. It is easier for the working poor to see themselves in cahoots with a struggling and shrinking middle class that identifies with the American dream aspirations rather than having the working poor and middle class seeing themselves as fundamentally the same as the working poor and having the middle class risk what small privileges still exist for a chance at a revolutionary democratic movement that would pay out real liberation dividends via a time of struggle.
Yet even with that broken reality, I believe that our system is not yet so monolithic and gone that the two parties are one party from rhetoric to recent history WE KNOW THAT TO BE UNTRUE!
The system is broken. It needs to be fixed. But the reality is that who sits in the White House DOES matter. It matters to those of us living with HIV if the President in the White House is going to fund Ryan White (and at what level), Medicaid and other social programs. It matters to working-class people of color and poor whites if the President in the White House is going to rush to or manufacture a war for political and financial gain. It matters who is in the White House when it comes to basic human rights protections for queer and trans folks. It matters for many reasons who sits in the White House.
HEAR ME CLEARLY! No person in the White House is going to give us our liberation, but I do not ascribe to the notion that who you vote for in this corporate democracy doesn't matter. Eight years of Bush and the Great Recession that followed proved, unequivocally, that, in fact, it does matter. It matters in a cost of lives. Mayhaps I am not as "down," as those who are willing to suggest that voting doesn't matter because the system is inherently flawed. Voting doesn't matter in the way that it should. I spent years working with Patrick Barret, David Cobb and others on just these issues. And I continue to advocate for real and meaningful democratic practice. And if I need to do so, I will continue to repeat that voting is only your most minimal obligation to democracy. But I will vote tomorrow. I will vote for Barack Obama. And I encourage every one of you to vote, attempt to vote or raise Hell in one way or another if you find your right to vote denied while at the polling station ... and then ... no matter what the outcome of the election tomorrow night, get ready for the real work of democracy that comes each and every day afterwards.
Queer, Poz and Colored: The Essentials
Brandon Lacy Campos
Brandon Lacy Campos is a 32-year-old queer, poz, African-American, Afro-Puerto Rican, Ojibwe and Euro (smorgasbord) poet, playwright, blogger, journalist and novelist (that last one is slowly coming along). In 2009, MyLatinoVoice.com named him the #2 queer, Latino blogger to watch. In 2006, the Star Tribune named him a young policy wonk for his political shenanigans. His writing and poetry have appeared in numerous anthologies including, most recently, Mariposas, edited by Emanuel Xavier and published by Floricanto Press. This fall, his work will appear in the academic text Queer Twin Cities, published by the University of Minnesota Press. And, one of these days, Summerfolk Press will be publishing his first solo book of poetry: It Ain't Truth If It Doesn't Hurt. Brandon is hard at work on his first novel, Eden Lost, and he lives in New York City with his partner, artist David Berube, and his boss, Mimzy Lacy Berube de Campos (their dog).
It's with heavy hearts that we share that Brandon passed away unexpectedly on Friday, Nov. 9, 2012. He was 35 years old. Read memorials by Brandon's friends and colleagues.
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November 5, 2012 - Why Voting Matters: Barack Obama, I Got You -- A Blog Entry by Brandon Lacy Campos
October 16, 2012 - Volttage: A Dating and Hook Up Site for POZitively Sexy People -- A Blog Entry by Brandon Lacy Campos
August 6, 2012 - What Do Justice for People With HIV, the Working Poor, People of Color and Women Have to Do With Christine Quinn? Absolutely Nothing: A Blog Entry by Brandon Lacy Campos
June 9, 2012 - Meds Today: A Blog Entry by Brandon Lacy Campos
June 6, 2012 - An HIV Nonprogressor Starts Meds; or HIV Sucks: A Blog Entry by Brandon Lacy Campos
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