When Pennsylvania and Georgia prove the black vote counts
Never have I ever thought, “I need to know everything going on in Nevada.” Since Election Night, I’ve gone to sleep thinking of Nevada and woke up with Nevada still on my mind. I even set up Twitter alerts for @NVElect so I could know what was happening by the minute. I have no idea what will happen by the time Veteran’s Day (my birthday) rolls around, but this entire voter count is so very 2020. Never did I humor the idea of Pennsylvania, Georgia or Arizona going blue. More importantly though, I hope watching the anticipation in real time shows young, African-American voters (or even cynical older ones) just how much their votes count — the popular vote and electoral college votes.
While I’m blasting Field Mob and Jamie Foxx’s “Georgia” after I’m done rapping along to Eve’s “Philly Philly” on repeat, I’m refreshing my laptop screen from PBS’ Electoral College Map and CBS Election Results. And thanks to this tweet, I’m pausing those songs long enough to watch “Creed” for the thousandth time.
“We ain’t open up the door. We knocked that bitch up off the hinges.” -Beanie Siegel (“Philly Philly”)
“We some ATL thrashers. Sculpt your pumpkin and smash ya. We’ll come through your hood worse than a tsunami disaster.” -Ludacris (“Georgia”)
Look on Twitter and you can find your favorite music quotable — from the “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” TV theme opener to any song by Meek Mill. But besides scrolling through Twitter and cheering on battleground states that I did not expect to be making Donald Trump lose his absolute mind, I hope this moment in history allows 2020 graduates (who just turned 18) and others who are new to elections to fully understand the historical weight of exercising your right to vote. (I’m also hoping all these people dancing and cheering in Philly and Atlanta streets aren’t bandwagon riders who didn’t vote at all.)
While there will always be naysayers who will swear we’re picking between two evils (comparing a 1994 Crime Bill that was supported by African-American leaders and Biden, who outright confirmed it should’ve been done differently) to the White House tenant who is calling white supremacists “very fine people” right at this very minute in 2020. My personal vote went to the guy who had zero problems under the leadership of a black man from 2008 to 2016.
While we wait for the results, I’m muting Bernie Bros harping on election’s past like the ex-boyfriend/girlfriend who just cannot get over old relationships. I’m also dead tired of the “you ain’t black” white protesters (i.e. Trump supporters behind the voting booths), specifically considering entirely too many hadn’t said one thing about Black Lives Matter or African-American rights before election season. And black folks know what Joe Biden said was true. (We also know Lil Pump’s name isn’t “Lil Pimp” — although he did get pimped by Trump as much as Chrisette Michele did.)
So what made me vote for Biden (without the Obama link)? If I hold grudges against every politician (or person) for every decision (s)he made 26 years ago, I’d vote for no one ever. Even in my own life, my opinions at the age of 13 don’t mirror my views at (as of next Wednesday) 39; it’s called “living and learning” from your mistakes — something Trump still refuses to do, from the Central Park 5 full-page ad and onward. He got older, but he definitely did not get wiser. Still though, if you went the Ice Cube and Isaiah Washington route, to each his own.
More importantly, I want young black voters (and minority voters overall) to realize the consistently — and unapologetic — pattern of what Trump and other GOP members are continuing to do when it comes to the voting process. Anytime someone tries to force you out of mail-in votes while using mail-in ballots, redlining districts so the votes in your neighborhood don’t hold as much weight, outlawing you from voting in an election even after you’ve “served your time,” and Congress had to create actual amendments (15th Amendment, then 19th Amendment) to make it OK for you to walk your black self to a polling place, those are more than enough hints to prove how significant your vote is. If the swing of black votes in cities like Atlanta and Philadelphia (and Native American votes in Wisconsin) in 2020 don’t prove how essential your vote is, then I’m not sure anything will. But the next time the nonvoters get ready to complain about how “voting doesn’t change anything” and it “doesn’t count,” please serve yourself a nice, hot mug of STFU and let the voters who care about you more than you do enjoy this hopeful moment in what has been a horrendous year.
Would you like to receive Shamontiel’s Weekly Newsletter via MailChimp? Sign up today!