Voices on Voting: It May Be Crooked, But It’s The Only Game In Town

by sp0ka

sp0ka is a loud radical queer in Houston, TX, who would probably like to ride bikes with you.

This is part of our continuing series on the topic of voting from a feminist perspective: Voices on Voting.

I have a tortured relationship with voting.

I am so far left at this point for an American that Republicans seem like a dark parody, and Democrats are what I expect Republicans would sound like in a more rational political landscape. To see tweets from people who are ostensibly liberal laud Obama for record corporate profits and dismiss his civil rights record hurts, makes me realize that we would not be on the same side of the fence if my rational landscape existed.

I live with anarchists. In the interim period between a lost lease and a construction project in a new space, Houston’s infoshop lived in my apartment. I have roommates who can passionately discuss pretty much any issue in a deep and nuanced historical context, who feel idealism so much more strongly than me that when I say, “It may be crooked, but it’s the only game in town,” about the Democratic party, they wilt in front of me in disappointment.

I don’t think they’ll vote this year (or maybe ever.) I don’t know if it’s because those with uteri don’t believe it can get worse, or because they are simply so checked out of the system (and trying to deal with scraping by without insurance they don’t worry about it anymore). For the cis straight white guys I live with, I’m sure it’s easy to get flippant about voting; they’ve been able to do it since America’s inception, more or less.

But I can’t be flippant, having only had the right for less than a hundred years, and I can’t look away any longer from the reproductive justice mindfuck that is our national conversation. I’ve voted every year since I’ve had the opportunity, but it wasn’t until my politics radicalized that I’ve felt like I’m in a chokehold against a brick wall, coerced into a “choice.”

But just because I have no choice does not mean I won’t register my acceptance of this fact, won’t provide what little resistance I can to the ever rightward march of American politics. In Texas, I consider voting Democrat the barest form of subversion: I’m Here, I’m Queer, My Heels Are Dug In, Get Used to It. I like ticking the box that keeps Houston purple, that makes local church leaders furious, that keeps that protester on the street corner coming out each week trying to get us to repent.

Because Democrat no longer means anything. In red states, it’s a form of subversion, a guerrilla vote, one that often barely matters in less contested territory like my homestate, Oklahoma. In blue states, it’s expected, proper. In the end, it still elects a corporate shill, someone who is totally disinterested in allowing Americans to walk around without surveillance and eavesdropping, someone who kills citizens abroad with very few bits of paperwork between the means and the end. It just happens to be one that also tacitly approves of my right to bodily autonomy and bothers to mention marriage equality when it’s politically convenient.

As the United States’ presidential election approaches in November, Flyover Feminism is investigating the topic of voting from a feminist perspective. We’re interested in exploring who gets to vote, how voting discourse is shaped by the media, how voting differs by geographical location, and how voting impacts different groups of people.

Our series, Voices on Voting, will include (but is not limited) to posts on the following:

  • voting rights
  • women and voting
  • minorities and voting
  • accessibility of voting
  • mainstream discourse on voting
  • why I vote
  • why I don’t vote
  • why I’m undecided

We want to hear from YOU! Chime in on any of the above suggested topics or send us something entirely different, expressing why voting is such am important topic to you.

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