In the United States, November 4th is fast approaching and I had no idea that this election season 2014, would be marked by so much domestic unrest. In some cases, these challenges serve to overshadow the accomplishments of the Obama administration in pulling the United States back from its downward economic tailspin, which was inherited by The President in 2008. I reflect on this season with both fond and literally distant memory (being that I am currently in Chile) in relation to my experiences. First, as a member of a select group of persons chosen as Obama Organizing Fellows in 2008 and next, being invited to continue with the election campaign serving as a field organizer in the swing-state of Ohio during the historic election of Senator Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States. I remember back in 2007 when my daughter (than a Wake Forest undergraduate) introduced me to the campaign of then Senator Obama. I will never forget my political apathy (as I am sure she won’t either) when I informed her that I would not be “throwing away” my vote on a black presidential candidate running for the highest office in the land. In my defense, I remembered the enthusiasm my college classmates and I all held when Jessie Jackson came to our campus at the University of Akron. My old college boyfriend helped organize Congressman Jackson’s visit and rally in our newly erected JAR arena on campus. Chants of “Run Jesse Run” filled the air and the belief and enthusiasm, of minority students in particular, relative to his presidential campaign was palpable among the then young college students. We really believed it could happen and the subsequent disappointment of his campaign (and other personal indelicacies) left me for one, quite jaded about the prospect of people coming together as one on behave of democracy and true social justice change.
Notwithstanding, through my daughter’s encouragement, I began to listen to the plans of Senator Obama and watched a true international “rainbow coalition” form of both young and mature people energized to change the world. The fire that I believed had been quenched and simply satisfied with periodic voting in midterm elections was reborn politically a new. I tell everyone when recounting my experience as an Obama campaign field organizer that it was the best job I every held on both a personal and spiritual level. That is because I saw people from all over the world, from every level of socioeconomic classification coming together for a common good and a common purpose under the auspices of “Yes We Can!” and “¡Sí Se Puede!” ideals.
I am mentioning all this in a last minute effort to be a social justice advocate, albeit from abroad, to encourage all citizens to exercise their franchise on Tuesday, November 4th and VOTE!! It is to my everlasting shame, this season, that I did not have enough time to learn how I could cast my vote while abroad in Chile. I did not anticipate so many important social justice issues emerging like: hyper-militarized local police departments; seemingly unabated killing and assault of black citizens at the hands of self-empowered (and inept) law enforcement agents and vigilantes; and an increasing culture of violence that continues to allow young men, in particular, access to firearms; who then walk into schools and public spaces killing and critically injuring unsuspecting victims (e.g., the Sandy Hook babies). Increasingly, those victims appear to be women or females on college campuses who have rejected the advances of a self-entitled psychopath or an emotionally broken soul.
I write this blog post, not to necessarily look to identify the culprits at this time, but more so to encourage the feed-up and exhausted people like myself who want to see the madness end and real problem solving begin. People who like me that do not have millions and billions of dollars to purchase the favor and vote of morally bankrupt politicos. However, we do have one great equalizer that is still so valuable that this election season some have worked very diligently to “steal” it from everyday common citizens. The treasure of which I refer is the notion of each citizen being afforded the legal right to cast their vote, to make an impact, to let their voices be heard at the ballot box. So please, do not allow frustration, bad weather, stupid (flawed) political polling or ignorant news pundits to keep you from exercising your franchise this upcoming Tuesday. Democracy is still alive, but only when we take that occasional deep breathe and realize that our civic engagement matters, it matters now, and for the future. So please get to the Polls and VOTE. Literally begin that road to civic engagement, social justice and social change with this first small step; which in reality, is the greatest political step that each citizens no matter how rich, poor, or uneducated has the right to exercise equally, and only your participation can keep it that way.
#Love #Peace #Justice and #Vote 🙂 ❤