After Kenosha, Don’t Tell People to Just “Vote”.
In Kenosha, Wisconsin, 17 year old Kyle Rittenhouse from Illinois arrived at the scene of the protests over the police involved shooting of Jacob Blake wearing plastic gloves, armed with an AR-15, and looking to kill. The domestic terrorist got his wish, killing two leftists protestors and injuring another. Moments before, the police were giving him water and telling him they appreciated him being there. After gunning down protestors he walked past a line of police, and drove himself home. Anthony Huber, one of the activists who lost his life, had rushed the gunman in order to protect the other protestors. He was shot in the chest, and left to bleed out by the police. He leaves behind a significant other and a stepdaughter. Meanwhile, the President of the United States is sending in federal troops to crush the protestors.
As Beth said on Twitter:
“I understand that some of you are pacifists, understand that I am not.”
While it is certainly terrifying and incredibly sobering to think about, I’m not sure it has ever been made more clear that America probably missed its chance at a nonviolent revolution.
Words cannot even begin to describe the amount of rage and pain I am currently feeling, and the thought of people just telling others to “vote” is in all honesty enough to put me over the edge. What exactly is a vote going to do for the protestors on the frontlines who saw three people gunned down by a white supremacist right in front of their eyes? What is that going to do for Jacob Blake, who is now unable to walk? How has it worked for them so far? The ballot box is not going to be enough to fix centuries worth of ignored prejudice, hatred, and discrimination. The ballot box is not going to fix the fact that the most prominent cable television host in the country is on Fox News responding to the murder of these protestors, saying:
“how shocked are we that 17-year-olds with rifles decided they had to maintain order when no one else would?”
The most influential cable news pundit on television just made “maintaining order” synonymous with killing people and domestic terrorism, and people still expect that this will be solved with an election? This is not going to be solved with politics as usual, and the sooner we realize that the better. Petitions won’t solve this. Vote shaming won’t solve this. Neither will a march, and consistent infighting between progressives and leftists certainly won’t, either.
Jack Califano summed it up brilliantly on Twitter, saying:
“This country is going to break simply because it has refused to bend for a very, very long time.”
I’m still trying to process just how quickly everything is spiraling.
At this point, the sense of hopelessness hits with such an intensity sometimes it feels as though I can’t even breathe. From the bottom of my heart, I wish it wasn’t coming to this. I can’t even pretend to have any sort of viable solution, and I genuinely wish I had something even remotely constructive to say about the fact that once again, the American people have been left to fend for themselves. But I’m doing my best to make peace with the idea that sometimes the full-blown reality of what’s happening is so intricate, ugly, and complex, that the answers are next to impossible to find. It would be nice to find solace in the hope of an upcoming election, but with each passing day it becomes more and more obvious that we are being pushed well beyond that point.
I just wish I knew what’s coming next.
My intent with these words is not to discourage people from voting altogether. That being said I just can’t shake the feeling that the longer we use calls to vote as a reactionary response to even the most sobering, horrifying realities of where our electoral process has gotten us, the worse everything is going to get. It’s going to take a lot more than going to the voting booth on November 3rd to fix just how fundamentally broken this nation is, and the sooner we accept that the better.