Politics, Protest, and the [Lack of] Choices this Election Cycle
The options have been laid out for us. The past two weeks have given us an eye and earful of presidential hopefuls Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. The different tones of the conventions have demonstrated a deep divide between the two parties, and the Republican and Democratic platforms suggest very little tangible overlap between the two candidates. The Republicans have spun so far to the right, and, while the Democrats have been challenged to put forth a more progressive platform, the party remains committed to the center-left. The choices between the two parties seem as if they should be clear. But are they?
It seems we are choosing between two evils: a demagogue and more of the same complacent, anti-black policies.
Voters invested in justice and the abolition of the police state may feel that they should not have to make a choice between the ridiculous and racist Donald Trump and the same Hillary Clinton that supported her husband’s 1994 Crime Bill which kicked off an era of mass incarceration.
National electoral politics in the United States has a long history of one disappointment after another. African Americans have been politically ignored and overlooked by American presidents for years. While many of them have found a political place in the Democratic Party regarding policy and leadership, the party still falls short in many ways and uses black political capital to succeed, often without fully delivering for black people. These are reasons, certainly, to be skeptical of Clinton’s candidacy and national politics in general.
However, I think this is a clear choice.
For me, the law and order rhetoric on the right is too great to ignore. I deeply feel the existential threat posed by Donald Trump’s inane and unfair policies for black people, brown people, and women. I am not only fearful of his policies, but I am also fearful of a president that encourages outward evil and attacks towards people of color. One only needs to look at the assaults at his rallies and on the street that have occurred in the name of Donald Trump. I refuse to stand aside and allow this man to become president, to have a pulpit and draw out the greatest evils of our nation. Clearly, I will support Clinton and the Democrats.
But that is not all. I will do all I can to speak out and hold Clinton accountable for anti-black violence in her words and deeds. I will challenge a Clinton administration to put forth policies that rebuild and re-invest in black communities and provide the resources that black families need to thrive, not just survive, in the United States. I just don’t believe I would have the opportunity to do the same in the case of a Trump presidency.
You may feel differently. You may refuse to be complicit in the perpetuation of an anti-black government. That is your choice, and I won’t attempt to convince you otherwise.
Black people are often the first asked and expected to compromise, and it is our right not to do so. As for myself, however, I am resisting the temptation to be “pure” in my politics, whether electoral or contentious.
I recognize that this political system will carry on, with or without me, and I choose to speak out in every way I possibly can. Yes, my vote will be for Clinton. But my voice will resonate long after November for African Americans all over the nation as I strive to gain concessions from this government, for myself and for my people. This marriage of politics and protest is my key to resistance.
Photo Credits: Twittter