A Powerful but Overlooked Way to Fight White Supremacy: Win Elections
The images are already seered in memory. White men waving confederate and Nazi flags. A camo clad group of white guys with intimidating assault weapons. White faces lit by tiki torches as if part of a lynchmob on an HBO set. The heartbreaking images of Heather Heyer and the frightening footage of her murder.
Add to this the newsroll of an American President failing to condemn racism and Nazism. Pile on “Unite the Right” and Patriot Prayer demonstrations around the country. The impact is overwhelming.
But we are taking action. The solidarity and love expressed in antiracism marches demonstrates true American values and sends an important message about both overt racism, and the systemic racism of which Americans are increasingly aware.
This is a call for more awareness of both the subtle ways that we perpetuate racism AND of our own power as political actors. In a world where we are surrounded by likeminded people, our voices and values need to reach beyond our social networks and progressive geographies.
Demonstrations and awareness of systemic racism are good steps, but they are not enough. We need political change.
To change course, progressives and moderates need to win elections and take power back from an increasingly extremest Republican party. We must find a way to turn our outrage into electoral action.
Because Republicans in state legislatures and congress are actively creating the conditions that led to the events in Charlottesville.
It’s Republican state legislatures that draw the gerrymandered districts that allow extreme right candidates to win and pass racists laws targeting the voting rights of minorities.
It’s Republicans in state legislatures that typically lead efforts to pass the open carry laws that permit white militias to intimidate African Americans with assault rifles.
It’s these same right wing Republicans who create a national political environment where racism is tolerated. And, it’s the semi-extremist Paul Ryans of the world who, fearing the backlash of their base, haven’t yet threatened to impeach our dumpster-fire President.
If we are moved to show our concern on social media and demonstrate against the raciscm on display in Charlottesville, I hope we’ll consider supporting groups that are putting their time and money where their mouths are and fighting against racist Republican gerrymandering.
Conveniently, there are crucial contests in Virginia that will be decided November 7th and need our support and engagement right now.
The entire Virginia house of delegates will be elected this November, and progressives can win the legislature and reverse racist Republican legislation. Hillary Clinton won in 23 districts that are controlled by Republicans, and Democrats need only 75% of those districts to regain control.
I’m supporting in every way I can. I’m volunteering (Flippable gives great volunteer options) and I’m donating (Forward Majority, is targeting the most important races with smart new tactics). Please do both.
If you prefer a diversified approach, I’ve created a basket of some of the best organizations working in Virginia this year. The group includes one candidate Donte Tanner (a candidate with a compelling story who needs our support), the NDRC (an org endorsed by Obama and led by Eric Holder that is fighting back against unfair gerrymandering across the country), Blue Virginia, and Flippable’s VA group. You can donate to this portfolio here.
Please. Act. In addition to protesting white supremecist rallies, I hope you’ll lend your voice, your time, and your money to these efforts now to send the message that racism, in all forms (including marginalizing minority votes) is wrong. Let’s send that message in a way that it can’t be ignored: by beating Republicans that have supported racist policies in Virginia in 2017.
Then let’s do it again across the country in 2018.