This OTYCD post originally appeared in June 2019.
Believe It, You Matter, Part XIV: Feel your feelings and vote anyway.
Hi, I’m Sarah Jane. I write all the Believe It, You Matter entries. I’ve long since forgotten what Roman numeral I’m up to so I apologize if I’ve used 12 before.
Anyway. I’m here to talk about voter suppression, in part because the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) bizarrely (and irresponsibly, IMO) threw up its hands (well, five of the nine did) and essentially said it couldn’t do anything to stop gerrymandering, not even the ludicrously extreme gerrymanders drawn to explicitly corral and nullify the votes of one party.
This is the latest bit of news that could dispirit us. And hey, it’s OK to feel dispirited about such a thing. But please, please, do not let it stop you from voting, ever.
No matter what, show the fuck up and vote, and help others vote, too.
Republicans know, and have known, they can’t win if they can’t stop people from voting. Blatant, flagrant cheating, such as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis attempting to defang Article 4’s re-enfranchisement of more than a million felons by requiring them to pay assorted fees before they can cast a ballot, is one such move.
But the vote-suppressors work in subtler ways as well, ways that get less attention.
One of those ways is fostering despair and disgust with the whole voting process.
They try to make people feel that voting doesn’t matter, and it’s not worth the trouble.
It does, and it is.
As we advance into 2020, be alert to attempts to dispirit you and yours about the act of voting. It’s already happening, it’s happening in particular on social media, and not all of it is the work of bots, btw.
They’re doing it because it works, even if it’s kind of oblique and hard to quantify. The vote-suppressors don’t have to get everyone to stay home, or specific people to stay home. They need just enough people to stay home to make a difference.
You need to carry on talking to you and yours about the importance of voting, and removing obstacles to voting, both literal and figurative.
You need to tell people they matter, and their vote matters, and there are people out there who want them to give up and stay home. Fuck those people.
Now, when you talk, you should be straight with them. Acknowledge that fuckery is likely in 2020. Trump has explicitly said he would accept information foreign governments offer him about his opponents, which prompted the chairwoman of the Federal Election Commission to issue a statement saying that accepting anything of value from a foreign government is a crime. Mitch McConnell has consistently refused to advance bills that would protect the integrity of the 2020 election.
Republicans, in particular, are doing whatever they can to suppress the vote.
Go out and vote anyway. Go out and vote, faithfully and always, and help others vote, too. Every time. No matter what fuckery abounds.
Hell, go vote IN SPITE OF the fuckery. Flip the bird by throwing the lever for a Democrat.
Also, keep talking to your friends and family about the importance of voting.
Talk about how excited you are to vote for specific candidates, and say their names, out loud, often.
Do this even if it feels like it’s not enough.
Do it even if you feel like no one is listening to you.
Do this even if the crisis du jour is turning your mood grim. If you need to take a break to work through your feelings, do it, and come back.
Vote even if the Democratic candidates look like they’re running away with it.
Vote, because you matter, and your vote matters.
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