Not Voting is Not Selfish or Privileged

Not voting in 2020

Back in 2016 I was blissfully naive, convinced that America could be anything slightly better than hell for marginalized people should Bernie Sanders become president. Ha! What a fool! Voting at the time seemed like the most important step and I obsessively followed every state primary until his concession to she who shall not be named. Of course, I did and do support the majority of his stances on the issues, and I’m incredibly grateful for his two campaigns because I wouldn’t be as knowledgeable on my own. However, four years later, I know that not voting—even and especially in 2020—is valid and done for a plethora of reasons, none of which being privilege and/or level of care for others. Electoral politics, although important, is no longer the end all to enact change in my opinion. And for those reasons, I refuse to vote in the 2020 presidential election.

Ever since that cursed day in November 2016, H*llary supporters blamed Bernie fans, anti-capitalists, radicals, and everyone else for not voting, believing that America wouldn’t have a fascist leader if only “the others” had picked her. As if a woman locking up, bombing, and traumatizing Black and Brown people around the world is any better. And now, after the DNC stifled the wishes of the proletariat majority and instead picked their basically Republican figurehead as the candidate, they’re still pre-blaming the leftist opposition for the inevitability of devil orange man keeping his throne in D.C. I chose Bernie again as my candidate for 2020 for many reasons, and I rejected both Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for many others. For the sake of consistency, trust me when I say I’m not doing a 180 on my beliefs just because neither of them are D*nald Tr*mp or because my privilege protects me from 45’s outrageously harmful actions. Joe Biden would never ever ever be my choice for many reasons (only some of which are listed as follows): he wrote the 1994 Crime Bill that caused the explosion of mass criminalization/incarceration, which disproportionately locked up Black people (further investigation here that should cause much rage and here showing how he let cop unions contribute to the bill!); wants to increase police funding; he said he would veto Medicare-for-All should it be passed by Congress; does not believe incarcerated people should have the right to vote; strongly opposes the Boycott, Divest, Sanctions (BDS) movement in opposition of brutalized Palestinians; has the least innovative plan for housing; accosted anyone who dared to question his past personal and political behavior at his rallies, telling those inquiring that they should just go vote for Tr*mp; is still behind on Green New Deal policies; was accused of sexual assault by multiple women; is quite literally mentally unsound; and royally fucked up the Anita Hill investigation. There are dozens of other reasons why I’m not voting for Joe Biden, but those are just the first several that came to mind.

Choosing a former prosecutor—or rather—California’s former Attorney General and self-proclaimed “top cop” is one of the most idiotic picks maybe ever. Considering that national anti-police protests have taken place across America for months, the DNC nominating the architect of the mass criminalization bill that the California cop enforced makes not voting extremely understandable with the options presented. Kamala Harris bragged and laughed about locking up parents for truancy, which we all know would be targeting Black, Brown, and low-income families. She mocked and laughed at organizers who wanted to invest money in schools instead of jails, wanted to keep people who haven’t committed violent harms incarcerated; denied gender-reaffirming surgery to incarcerated trans folks; etc. Kamala Harris being a woman does not speak to me in the way that I’m sure the DNC hopes it will. She continues to brag about her prosecutorial record and experience as though that is what people who vote and don’t vote are calling for, especially in a time such as this. I’m not voting for two truly horrible candidates for the simple fact that they are not awful in the exact same ways as Tr*mp and M*ke P*nce.

Not voting is not me being too privileged or selfish to understand the gravity of who America has as president. I am well aware that America is a hell hole that is only getting worse by the day, but that’s not enough for me to cast a ballot for people who aren’t promising anything different or better than the absolute devil that currently occupies the White House. Assata Shakur wrote this extremely relevant passage in her autobiography (I wrote about it here!) that encompasses how I feel about the “resistance group” that doesn’t give a shit about nonvoters and/or leftists/socialists/communists, but will later blame us for Tr*mp’s inevitable re-election:

“I have never really understood exactly what a ‘liberal’ is, since I have heard ‘liberals’ express every conceivable opinion on every conceivable subject. As far as I can tell, you have the extreme right, who are fascist racist capitalist dogs like Ronald Reagan, who come right out and let you know where they’re coming from. And on the opposite end, you have the left, who are supposed to be committed to justice, equality, and human rights. And somewhere between those two points is the liberal. As far as I’m concerned, ‘liberal’ is the most meaningless word in the dictionary. History has shown me that as long as some white middle-class people can live high on the hog, take vacations to Europe, send their children to private schools, and reap the benefits of their white skin privilege, then they are ‘liberal’. But when times get hard and money gets tight, they pull off that liberal mask and you think you’re talking to Adolf Hitler. They feel sorry for the so-called underprivileged just as long as they can maintain their own privileges.”

I believe that true revolution will not come from the ballot box. We will not care for and free our communities because Joe Biden is president. Racism will not disappear when D*nald Tr*mp leaves office (also let’s be real, he’s not leaving unless he’s physically removed). Organizing within our own communities, showing up for and tending to the needs of our families and neighbors, fighting back when elected leaders of the racist capitalist state oppress us, and dedicating our lives to truly caring for each other is the only way we will find the liberation we all deserve. Joe Biden is not going to end racism, capitalism, or even COVID-19. If in some world he and Kamala Harris take over the White House, they will be just as focused on and complicit in “law and order” policing, deportations, imperialist attacks, caging immigrant and born-here families, and dedication to capitalism. Nothing will fundamentally change or improve for anyone outside of the bourgeoisie. So if you feel like you can’t vote in this election or any of the subsequent ones, don’t fret. Organize, build, struggle together, and strive for collective care and solidarity that can only be found in true community with others.