Democracy & dissent two peas in a pod.

Nov 12, 2012 @ 11:33 am | By TheFeministGriote | 0 Comments

It’s the day after Veteran’s Day. The day America sets aside to thank the men and women who give their lives, mental fortitude, and their limbs to ensure that we as Americans are not only physically safe, but we are safe to rage against the machine!  We are also a week from the historic re-election of President Barack Obama.

As a person of color, with ovaries, who was wasn’t born into 1%, and who is less than month away from graduating with an MSW degree, the election was a serious matter to me. I  put all my eggs in the Obama basket. When Rachel Maddow proclaimed President Barack Obama as being re-elected I ran around my house screaming thinking we narrowly escaped austerity of the worst kind. Although, I and half of the American population got the President we voted for and deserve, there is still much to criticize about the process and the man.

It’s been said, “there is no democracy without dissent” and therefore allow me to dissent if you will.

  • Too much money was spent on the election-6 billion dollars was spent on this election. Freedom isn’t cheap, but I don’t think it costs 6 billion dollars either. Although, people power won against super PACS one can argue that we got lucky. If the GOP wasn’t so fringe and extreme in their rhetoric who knows if big money would’ve decided this campaign. Now that President Obama is still the President, he will be able to appoint new Justice(s) to the Supreme Court who I hope will undo Citizens United.
  • Voting is a right and not a privilege- I am happy that the myriad of voter suppression tactics that were employed by fringe members of the GOP didn’t suppress the vote, it simply encouraged more POC and women to vote. However as democrats we can’t be quick to call this victory. Voter suppression is here to stay and so are the voter id laws. Also we’ve always suppressed the votes of ex-felons. Nineteen states disenfranchise ex-felons from ever voting and 10 states restrict persons with misdemeanors from voting. This, by design, shrinks the voting body. In many states where voting with an id is the new normal it means that transpersons will suffer. This is already a segment of our population that experiences great difficulty in acquiring id that speaks to their gender identity and presentation. The homeless also are discounted from the process.
  • Uniform voting initiatives- I think as a country we need to have uniform early voting dates. As a Floridian, I can honestly say that my vote counted; however I don’t know if it was prudent or necessary for me to have to be in line for four hours. On election day the lines were monstrous. Long lines can be a deterrent for voters. Although we are society that stands line for Black Friday sales and whenever Apple releases a product, in terms of our democracy we should expect a more streamlined process.
  • The language on ballots should be in plain English- Before I went to the polls to vote I did my research and researched all the amendments that was on the ballots. However, I was still blind-sided and unprepared for the bevy of other questions that was on the ballot. Now I can read and have a college education, but I still found it hard to understand what the questions were asking of me. This made me think about people who weren’t formally educated how did they manage the process? If we are serious about democracy then we must pass laws that the language on ballots be written in plain English where a person with a 5th grade education level can understand it and also we need to shorten the length of the questions on the ballot.
  • The two-party system is not King-There is currently over 314 million people in the United States. All these people can’t neatly fit into two parties. Although, President Obama and Mitt Romney were vastly different from one another I am sure there are many Americans who weren’t moved by either one of these candidates. America needs to have other, more viable political parties. This means there must be major campaign finance reform in order for this to be achieved. One shouldn’t have to be a multi-millionaire to run for President. Although President Obama is not a multi-millionare and was able to parlay his experience as a community organizer to harness the power of social media, which made him a force to be reckoned with, the two-party system is not sufficient enough to fully capture the diversity of the American voting society.
  • People’s civil rights shouldn’t be on ballots-Three new states have passed same sex marriage laws. These states being Maine, Maryland, and Washington state have sanctioned the rights of its gay citizens to have marriage which is awesome, but I don’t think civil rights issues should ever be left to a popular vote. If slavery and women’s suffrage were left to popular vote I doubt where I would be at this present moment in time. Gay men and women across the United States deserve uniformity as it pertains to their civil liberties. No human being’s right should ever be on a ballot.

I truly hope that in this second-term President Obama will do something about Guantanamo, suspend drone attacks, and mention the poor with the same voracity and frequency as he does the middle class. I am looking forward to the second-term of President Obama and what it will mean for United States as a whole #FORWARD.



Categories: Mind Over Chatter

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