Tuesday, November 4, 2014

I Voted!

I once asked a former acquaintance if she was planning to vote.  I don't know why I was prompted to ask.  I just assume(d) as an African-American, Black or however one chooses to categorize oneself, barring physical, mental, legal or religious restriction--I don't get the latter either--that voting was/is an inevitability.  So I was shocked when she sucked her teeth, rolled her eyes and proclaimed, "No, I wasn't planning on it!"  To my knowledge, she is an American born citizen and rights were not stripped because of criminal action or incarceration.

I launched into the familiar cliché, "Do you realize that people DIED for you to have the right to vote?"  She retorted, "And Jesus DIED so that you may live."  True, He did.  And I determined that the best use of my energy wasn't to get into a bible thumping contest.  However I wanted to comprehend the mind of a person who proudly hocked political affiliated tee shirts while casually dismissing the right--necessity to vote.

After handing over my twenty bucks for the blinged out shirt I still sport today, I delved a little further.  I shot off a deluge of questions that I suspect she reluctantly answered only because I'd just purchased a slice of her time.  Her final answer shook me to my core.  "I'm not voting because God didn't tell me to vote."  I then asked, "Well did HE tell you not to vote?" She shook her head no.  So, in other words, what does that have to do with all of the tea in China? I thought.

The conversation spiraled onto the land of ignorance and I took a speed boat to the next island.

As an African-American, some days Black woman, that people died for me to have the right to vote is much more than a cliché.  Voting is much more than a right-- it is a cultural and moral obligation.  The democratic process is the structure and framework of the land in which we live.  While not infallible, Democracy is the system we have and not participating is tantamount to spiritual treason against our Ancestors.

More than not having the right to speak or complain about the process or any one who participates as a candidate or voter, not voting is a vote.  And most importantly, not voting is abdicating your choice.

This is Toni Staton Harris... Checkin' Up and Checkin' In on I Voted... How about you?

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