By Paris, August 7, 2004
Like the child who cried “wolf!” too many times and was eaten when he really needed the help of people who had grown to ignore him, the media and Bush administration are faced with such massive lack of credibility issues that we now must adopt a contrarian stance when taking what they say into account, especially when it comes to terrorism.
From the degrading and deplorable Abu Ghraib Iraqi prison scandal, to the wag-the-dog-like U.S.-implemented and staged beheading of Nicholas Berg, to the recently expressed desire for war with Iran, it’s apparent that the Bush Administration is scrambling to create further diversion and feelings of fear and division to rally support behind its wicked and out-of-touch policies.
So what can we do? Well, aside from community outreach and living by example, one of the best solutions is voting. The trouble is, I’ve read a lot of articles and heard a lot of discussion lately from people in our communities openly questioning whether or not we have any business voting. We do.
The simple fact is, if you can’t offer a concrete, tangible alternative to us exercising our rights and becoming a part of shaping decisions that affect us, then you have no business being opposed to galvanizing young people and people of color as a unified political force at the polls. Besides, y’all ain’t ready for revolution. So before you go saying how I’m “buying into the system” think about what it is exactly that you would do differently – and then ask yourself why you don’t. Like I said – it’s only a part of the solution. The strategy we must adopt is one that employs all of the tools that we have at our disposal to progress. Voting is one of them.
Are we are too lazy or disillusioned with the process that we won’t exercise rights that people who came before us died for? Voting doesn’t cost anything, so we can’t say that we can’t afford it (even though elections are held on Tuesdays, during work hours for many). Of course, it’s easy to say “f**k voting,” spark up the weed and turn on 106 & Park, but at what cost? We’ve seen the results of not voting – an illegitimate impostor in the White House, rollback of Affirmative Action legislation, poorer economic conditions and lack of employment opportunities, reductions in budgets for education and social services and increased instances of violence and police brutality – so why not opt for change?
Now I know you might not feel either of the major presidential candidates, especially with our recent discovery that they’re related – many don’t. But voting is larger than just the presidential race. What about the economy? Record unemployment and underemployment? Out of control gas prices? Shitty and unequal education? Lack of affordable housing? Why give conservatives and the existing powers that be an easy way out by not participating? They vote, and have an often unified support base that stresses the importance of participation to maintain their quality of life, often embracing policies and supporting politicians that don’t represent our best interests. It’s important that we participate too.
If we aren’t effective and our voices don’t matter, than why do they feel the need to cheat? To steal elections and keep us from the polls illegally? To establish a conservative media network? To keep us feeling disillusioned and disenfranchised, that’s why. To keep us thinking that we don’t matter.
How many people have you heard say that they’re not political? Here’s a news flash for you: you don’t have any choice but to be political nowadays, because everything is politicized. Politics is now pop culture, so you’d better adjust and become aware of the way things really are and what you can do to change our condition.
Opposition to voting often comes from the same people who don’t see the value in a college degree. Why is that? By not having the necessary credentials we give other people an easy out when it comes to dealing with us. As a rule, use every tool, every angle and every resource you have available to you to get ahead. As a people, we don’t have the luxury of adopting a stance of non-participation in anything that can be potentially beneficial to us. For too long we’ve sat by and allowed others to dictate the terms and conditions of our lives in our own communities.
We constantly hear commentary from conservative pundits on the state of things – barking about why it’s not right to question our “leader” during wartime – and calling anyone voicing dissent “treasonous” (and getting wealthy in the process). Think Sean Hannity (of Fox News) represents the everyman (he makes an 8 million dollar annual salary)? Or Bill O’Reilly (6 million)? Think again. (Funny how they dis easy-to-pick-on rappers but never discuss the profanity and imagery on Fox’s own Nip Tuck, the racism of COPS, or the misogyny of The Swan – but that’s another article.) These people vote. And they rally others who feel the same as they do to vote too.
We hear them say how much worse life was under Hussein in Iraq, and how U.S. troops are fighting to protect our freedom. But WE WERE NEVER IN DANGER from Iraq…and U.S. troops are being used in the worst way. They are there only to protect the big business interests of Bush’s buddies in high places – they ARE NOT protecting our freedom. The fact that Bush just signed a $417.5 billion wartime defense bill with an addition $25 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan pretty much drives my point home.
The world is full of dictators, but, luckily for them, they don’t have oil. Sorry-ass Saddam and his weak country would still be among the living nations if they had not had oil. Also still alive would be over 900 American servicemen and women, tens of thousands of Iraqis and hundreds of thousands of wounded-for-life people.
This is especially important to us because we’re the ones who die, and we’re the ones the military places a disproportionate amount of focus on recruiting as was evidenced in Michael Moore’s excellent movie, Fahrenheit 9/11, which I encourage everyone to go out and see.
And while we’re on the subject of Fahrenheit 9/11, let me say that there have only been 3 points raised by those in opposition to the movie, and they are that 1. Moore never mentioned Great Britain in the “Coalition of The Willing,” 2. that Iraq was misleadingly portrayed as a utopia before we decimated it, and 3., that Moore is racist because of his portrayal of the countries willing to stand by the U.S.
There are still no other valid arguments against the points raised in the movie (all of which, coincidentally, were detailed on Sonic Jihad and on www.guerrillafunk.com 2 years ago). The rest is true and cannot be refuted, and Moore has even publicly considered offering a $10,000 reward to anyone who can find a factual error, according to TIME magazine.
What it really boils down to now is that we are at a point in time where people simply believe in what makes them feel comfortable, even if the facts presented to them point to the contrary. If people know something is foul and needs to be set right, they agree that there needs to be regime change here. If, however, they are uneasy and in denial about the fact that the Bush Administration is full of @#%$, has lied to us, murdered people unjustly here and abroad for profit, reduced our civil liberties, is in bed with those we are supposed to be at war against, had a hand in facilitating the events of 9-11, and actively solicits young people of color to use for its war machine, then they tend to agree with the lies of the current White House occupants.
Only the evil or the misinformed are supporters of this administration, and they are the same people who don’t flinch when their conservative heroes are caught lying and give that standard bullshit “I take personal responsibility” speech. You know the one – the speech that’s designed to shut up detractors in a hurry (Tony Blair just gave it about WMDs) – as though saying it makes things A-OK.
Let’s all take our own form of personal responsibility and vote this November.
Register online here at http://www.guerrillafunk….eral_info/x_the_box.html, and stand up and be counted!