You can’t even have a conversation with me about politics, the government, or much anything else if you don’t vote. Seriously. I’m very civic-minded and dogmatic about citizens seeing voting not only as a right that others died for, but as a duty.
If you approach me complaining about Republicans or Congress or even President Obama (Warning: You liable to be cursed out if you think you can disparage Barack Obama in my presence. For real.), the first thing that I ask is “Did you vote?” If you say yes, we can talk. If you say no, then your complaint is invalidated and I turn a deaf ear to anything you have to say. If you don’t vote, then don’t complain because you are a part of the problem.
While canvassing in 2010, I had a black guy to tell me that he “don’t vote for no white dude.” I was stunned speechless. What the hell! So, I said, “But President Obama needs our support. If Republicans take over, he can’t get his agenda through.” He said, “Oh, I’ll vote for the brotha, but sista, I ain’t voting for no white dude.” There was absolutely no convincing him. But there it was, white racism in reverse. Some whites won’t vote for a black dude, and some blacks won’t vote for a white dude. As I was about to walk away, he said, “I’ll think about what you said, sista.” I said, “Okay, you do that. President Obama needs your help!” When I got in my car, I said out loud, “You are one ignorant muthaf****r.” Now every time I think about Democrats sitting out 2010, I think about that idiot and others like him that feels the way he does.
I had a relative and his girlfriend tell me that they did not vote. BOTH have a disability and organizations that support their disability are government funded. When I asked did they vote, and they answered no followed by some incoherent excuse that they only trust God and not the government, I had no more conversation for them. They were not people who could be convinced that the crap they were spewing was not in their best interest. I just turned away and said to myself, “What the hell, what the hell, what the hell!” I became so disengaged that I sent them upstairs to be entertained by my sister. When I told her later what had happened, she said, “I wish the hell you had told me because I would not have been up there entertaining them because I assumed they voted.” Well, you know what they say about assuming (It makes an ass out of you and me.).
When I taught eighth grade Civics, I created a card that I had my students to voluntarily sign (,which they all did,) pledging that they would register to vote when they turned 18 and become an active voter in every election. I expressed in no uncertain terms that it was their duty as a citizen to vote. I contacted many of them for the 2012 presidential election to remind them of their pledge. I was excited beyond words to learn that those that I was able to contact were already registered and planning to vote. I had done my job, and I wore a happy face for days knowing that I had influenced them to see voting as their duty, not just their right.
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