You don’t have to take a population’s rights away in order to suppress them. You can just nullify the rights. We’ve been doing it in this country a long time. For instance, Black peoples’ right to vote is on the books, but literacy tests, poll taxes and gerrymandering are all tactics used to nullify that right ever since we attained it. While those are all great tactics, they’re not the best. The absolute best way to nullify our vote is to not give us a candidate who actually represents our interests. Problem solved.
This brings me to Mayor Pete. As of this writing he’s neck and neck with Bernie in the disastrous Iowa Caucus recount and he may well be the front-runner very soon. He did this by moving from a progressive candidate to a moderate candidate. While that move may have worked in Iowa, it doesn’t work on me. And by judging from his polling numbers, it doesn’t work on anyone who looks like me.
Some people see becoming moderate as a smart move, but I don’t. I see it as disingenuous. It means he’s not a man out to bring his vision of the country to the people. Instead he’s someone who’s interested in presenting himself to the world, and he’ll tell people whatever he thinks they want to hear in order to do that. That on its own is bad enough, but it’s actually much worse.
Right now the Republican Party is more openly racist than any other time in my memory. Mayor Pete’s lack of Black support leads to him becoming more moderate which means he’s trying to get Republican votes. In other words, including Black folks is too hard, so welcome in the racists!
The thing is, it’s actually pretty easy to get my vote for president. All you have to do is say what I want to hear. That’s what the whole system is based on, unanchored promises. Unfortunately for Pete, you have to listen to people in order to tell them what they want to hear. While he seems to have no problem doing that with “moderates,” he doesn’t really do that when it comes to Black people. Not to put too fine a point on it, but now is when it’s actually easy to support Black people. Now, when it’s just listening and unanchored promises. If he can’t even do that now, what chance could we possibly have if he’s actually got to face down the bigot army of Mitch McConnell? And now as I look at the potential for Nominee Pete, I think about walking into the voting booth, and having to choose between two motherfuckers who prioritize racists over me. Again. I think about all the white liberals who would want me to vote myself into oblivion for the sake of things like climate change despite their silence while people who look like me suffered under its causes and effects for decades. I think about voting on every other race and issue and just leaving the president boxes blank. Then I think about how some people would view that as not doing enough, as though voting for president could in any way fulfill your social obligation in 2020 America. Then I think about the 4.4 million people who think just like me and I genuinely wonder how long this thing can actually hold together.
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