Today, Election Day 2012, marks a monumental turning point in our history. Will we as young people, people of color, and AMERICANS use our voices to make change and stand up for ourselves? A right that was fought for with blood, sacrifice and oppression. Or will we continue to live in hopeless apathy and allow our voices and rights to be silenced? No matter HOW you vote, your vote and voice will make a difference this year-- and the consequences (positive or negative) in the next 4 years will show it. AFROPUNK contributor Mark Corece gives his take and talks with New York City councilwoman Letitia James as well as regular young voices on the issues surrounding this years presidential race.
By Mark Corece
The election hype says we are in a dire place in the United States right now. With big decisions about the economic trajectory of the country—being a large factor for voters—and moral progression versus an out-of-sync status quo, it is clear the presidential election is taking center stage in the majority of our lives.
Even if one doesn’t read the news or watch any of the 24-hour news coverage, completely ignoring the political arena would be a tedious task within itself.
The polls are close. More so than they’ve ever been between two candidates in decades according to Economic Times. These particular numbers, however, have little to do with the sincerity or the real issues of the two major candidates, but, on the contrary, have more to do with socio-political interference. The impending economic doom has been used as a major scare-tactic (although a solemn reality for many), racial divisiveness, along with over politicization of decontextualized moments from events that have little or nothing to do with the track records of any of our countries leaders or their public roles.
Mitt Romney represents a very clear view (well as clear as one who acquiesces for the sake of pleasing his constituency on the daily can be) of the Republican Party which is fundamentally different from our current president Barrack Obama, who is the antithesis of his competitor from a direction closer to social equality, economic support for those who are at a disadvantage (rather than the popular narrative involving laziness and handouts), to peace with the world.
Although, neither candidate is currently talking about lingering issues—and the list is longer than this article allows—child poverty, transgender rights, government accountability, a national education agenda, immigration and so on. The likelihood of our incumbent president to reach farther than he has over the last for years, is much higher than an unabashedly biased Romney who doesn’t have many of the long-standing issues on the forefront of his agenda.
Regardless of the current stasis of our political structure, the adage about “not voting, is voting” remains true. The candidate farthest away from our political views will benefit from political disconnection more than anything else, well that and succumbing to a fear of the political system itself.
A democracy is like a healthy marriage; it’s about allyship and representation, communication and clarity. Reaching a common goal even if it means bending a little as an individual. Although it’s difficult, with more bumps than slick pavement, the point is the little bit of hope, when we are at the edge, is always enough to turn us around. Ironically enough, like marriage, democracy isn’t accessible for everyone. Systemically, it needs to be challenged and, often times, uprooted to remain true to an ever-changing people in a country with a diverse biosphere. Or else we are stuck and therefore deadened.
New York City 35th Council Member and political party member of the Working Families Party (WFP), Letitia James, spoke on the phone about Obama winning the seat for reelection. “Obama is going to win reelection because the other candidate [Romney] will radically change the government,” she inserts.
That is, of course, radical in a way that is in accord with some of the major changes that Obama has already made. And profoundly different from those the Romney, Ryan ticket plans to institute, or ratify—think Bush era taxes and guttural military responses.
The amount of “hope” for Obama has lessened. It feels like more of a far-off glimmer than the mountaintop shine it was before. “I recognize it was more energy, we need to search our souls. Government can be used as a tool for good,” Council Woman James explains.
Not only is it about voting, it’s about recognizing we have alternatives. On the ballad you’ll see local government is huge in New York like justices and citywide representation from Assembly People to City Advocates. Some big-ticket issues across state lines will include same-sex marriage, the legalization of marijuana and whether or not some states will raise taxes.
“I find it very contentious, says Cait Watson 25 year old NYU Graduate student for humanities and Social Thought, I’m ready for it to be over.” She spoke with AFROPUNK about the ills of the election and the undeniable difference between the presidential candidates.
It can be daunting, but, in a way, it’s meant to be. Like any race—whether we are actually players or important deciders of it—endurance is always put to test. Stragglers will be ill informed on the direction they truly want or nonchalant about what the real purpose is. Another tactic.
“I believe everyone has a right to healthcare, Cait makes clear, I’m all about universal healthcare and as a woman it’s even easier for me to make a decision [about who I’ll vote fore].”
We can never know enough about the place we live in. Whether it’s the people or our environment, knowing is growing. The intelligence of voters is often undeniable. Even if one knew Obama couldn’t keep all of his promises in one term, who wanted to miss the synergy the brought us closer to someone’s idea of a Utopian society, if only for a season.
What we do really know is November 6th is about survival for most people, and, while it’s about a minor financial inconvenience for a few, no one can say they didn’t recognize what’s really at stake.
Mark Corece is a radio personality for WWRL where he discuses world issues, he’s a film director, writer and a pragmatic thinker, among other things.