After the confirmation of probably drunk and rapist Brett Kavanaugh, there has been an outcry from the broader left encouraging those frustrated to vote. While overly focusing on one single type of political action is problematic in other ways, what was particularly troubling was that many of these calls came in the form of demanding people vote instead of other types of political action.
One in particular that stands out is from Sikh poet jasmin kaur. Her poem, which begins by saying “scream, so that one day…” was edited to say “vote…” by a white Twitter user. While kaur posted a response arguing that the editing of the post was evidence of white “entitlement,” which is of course true, it could also be argued that it’s just wrong.
The use of the word “scream” is clearly meant to evoke the use of one’s voice, specifically to make those around a marginalization individual aware of that person’s marginalization. This is a type of political action, and a completely valid and useful one. More importantly, it’s not mutually exclusive with any other type of political action, including voting.
Another instance saw a slew of posts that encouraged others to stop confronting conservatives in real world, or protesting, or damaging property, instead just asking those upset to vote. As many individual so astute with their calendar usage that they could be nominated for the supreme court have pointed out, voting in the United States takes only one day a year, leaving a full three-hundred and sixty four days in which to engage in every other form of political action.
Another ridiculous aspect of this is that telling people to vote ignores that many would vote if they were able. The Republicans have engaged in a ruthless and effective campaign of disenfranchisement that spans several decades. Many either can’t vote, due to voter id laws, lack of polling stations, purging of voter rolls, etc., or have their vote essentially erased by the gerrymandering of districts. Plus, there’s the fact that the senate grossly favors small rural states, marginalizing the voting power of those in California.
Voting is useful, and as long as it’s still (partially) legal it should be utilized to minimize the damage the most reactionary members of society wish to impose. However, it’s far from the best or only political action. Direct action like protests are useful. Organizing, both along political and labor lines, is incredibly useful. Striking (including hopefully a general strike one day) would be remarkably impactful. Vote, but don’t stop there.
Dylan James Harper is the Political Editor for CSUITEMUSIC.com
Read more from Dylan at http://www.dylanjamesharper.com