The debate comes
up time and time again. Why vote? Nothing seems to matter, and politics are
corrupt. Besides, our voices don't make a difference anyway, right?
Our voices absolutely
make a difference, and they are needed more than ever right now. Aside from
the fact that people died during the Civil Rights Era to allow us the ability
to vote, the situation in politics is so grave right now that I believe our
immediate objective should be to remove and/or keep the worst-case scenarios
from office, rather than focus on putting the best folks in.
Ordinarily I would
hold out and vote for the candidate that best reflects my beliefs. But in this
instance, desperate times call for
desperate measures. Conservatives vote, often as a unified force, and rarely
is their collective voice as splintered as that of progressives. This lack of
focus serves to weaken significant opposition to the conservative agenda. I
believe that in this instance, we, as those seeking change, must adjust accordingly.
Sure there are
people who exist who closely echo the sentiments of many of us. But can they
really win this time, given their inadequate funding and relatively low profiles?
And can we afford to waste votes in this climate where we've seen the results
of a worst-case scenario (Bush)? Like it or not, voters who embrace a moderate
platform are needed to ensure the success of both the progressive and conservative
agendas, respectively. And like it or not, the truth is that there are differences--major
differences--between the main political parties (i.e. Supreme Court Nominations).
Am I beholden to democrats? Absolutely not.
But I'll take them over republicans any day, as long as things exist the way
they do. Read on. The fact that the media has
decidedly conservative bias is what tilts most in the middle towards conservatism.
It's easier for the average, no-opinion-having, non-reading American to parrot
the Newspeak on everychannel USA then it is for them to do independent research
and analyze information on their own. But given the state of the [http://www.guerrillafunk.com/general_info/economy9_26.html]
economy and the fact that global war is being waged on
people of color for [http ://www.guerrillafunk.com/thoughts/doc2846.html] profit, it's necessary for us to develop our own
of the agenda of the conservative political base has been their success in generating
confusion and spreading misinformation, thereby making many of us so disillusioned
with the system that we refuse to participate in it. We've come to believe that
things will never really change no matter what we do. This belief often allows
the very small percentage of people who vote to shape policies, and thus control
the destinies of the larger collective. It's all really quite easy for them
to accomplish through the propaganda they release on outlets they manipulate.
In fact, let's dissect an example of this propaganda. Yesterday, a story ran
showing that CNN Gallop polls say
Things Look Good for Schwarzenegger." The story ran
all over the media--so much so, in fact, that it seemed as though the media
had it's own agenda. He was on every television news program and on the cover
of every daily. View this in contrast to the coverage of Bush's recent [http://www.guerrillafunk.com/general_info/admission.html]
admission that there exists no concrete link between
Saddam and 9/11, an obviously much more newsworthy story in light of the fact
we're killing--and being killed--on a daily basis in Iraq. What admission, you
say? The one that was all but swept under the rug. The one that flies in the
face of the administration's objectives and official story up to this point.
The one that was too much truth for the public, I guess...
But back to the
poll. Did they ask you any questions? No? They didn't? Well guess what, they
didn't poll me either, or anyone I know. And where did they poll these mystery
folks, and how many did they poll? Most of the polls are between 500 and 1000
people. This is significant because, at least as far as this instance is concerned,
there are 37,000,000 people in California. These polls are definitely not representative
of the entire voice of the state. Understand that the media can craft the desired
results of these polls by selectively choosing their polling demographic - if
they even conduct the poll at all (who knows?). For example, if I go into Oakland
or Hunter's Point in the San Francisco Bay Area and ask 1000 residents what
the number one problem in their community is that they'd like to see addressed,
it'd be safe to assume that black-on-black crime would be at the top of the
list. But pose that same question to residents in Simi Valley, California and
the answer would be completely different - probably something along the lines
of complaints about property taxes or excessive real estate expansion.
The more the media
clouds the issues, the easier it is for conservatives (people who actually band
together and vote) to shape policy.
But why complain?
Does it really do any good? Well, more often than not, it doesn't. But voting
does, if enough people do it. The problem is that we've effectively been led
to believe that we can't make a difference on an individual level. Of course,
the media doesn't help. They tell us that the electoral process is corrupt,
and they rarely provide adequate and equal coverage of all of the candidates
and their respective positions.
So that leaves
it up to us. The fact is, if more of us became involved, minor snafus in the
system wouldn't matter as much. But they matter greatly when candidates run
neck-and-neck and the margin of error is as slim as it's been in recent elections.
Add to this the
element of celebrity and the dynamic of everything changes completely.
to say that although Americans have the right of free speech, celebrities should
"keep their pie-holes shut," since they not only aren't knowledgeable
enough to be in politics, but that they unabashedly use their fame to lure the
nai"ve media into reporting their views. The celebrities "are abusing
their stature [and] need to be put back in their place [and] need to understand
where they are in the great food chain of life," said John Kobylt, talk-show
host at radio powerhouse KFI-AM in Los Angeles.
But aren't media
pundits celebrities? And what about Arnold? What makes our views any less important
or knowledgeable than those of Ronald Reagan, Sen. George Murphy, Sen. Fred
Thompson, Reps. Fred Grandy and Sonny Bono, Mayor Clint Eastwood, or Charlton
Heston? The entire Fox News line-up? Dennis Miller, Laura Ingraham or Ann H.
They're just afforded the ability to be heard by the press, that's all. And
when they speak, the neo-con pundits rejoice! Whoopee! Go America! To hell with
asking questions as unemployment and death tolls rise, "Let's Roll!"
What we need to
do now more than ever is become involved. Don't allow your contempt for politics
and the way things are push you into not wanting to be a part of the system.
We can bang on the system by changing it from within. If we, as the disenfranchised
class and hip-hop generation, all voted and became a political force, that would
be nothing short of revolutionary--without ever having to pick up a gun. Why
let someone else determine our destiny? There's nothing more appealing to the
ruling class than an ill-informed population of consumers. The maintenance of
a working class of obedient sheep is the number one priority of the corporate
elite. Why else would policy makers, who represent their interests, continue,
generation-after-generation, to undermine education through lack of funding?
DO NOT allow yourself
to get caught up in the allure of celebrity. For the record, and in case you
don't know, Arnold
Schwarzenegger is a republican who has tip-toed around elaborating on his positions
on specific issues. Forget his celebrity, or what may appear to be his likeability
- he represents a party that has proven itself to be exclusionary and racist,
and beholden to the predatory special interests of major corporations. Sure,
he says he's pro-choice, supposedly believes in limited gun control, and seems
to believe in educational reform. But he also seems to be developing the same
disturbing pattern of race-baiting that others before him have exhibited. In
fact, he is currently running an ad in California complaining that Indian Gaming
Tribes pay zero taxes. Why? They're not supposed to.
But perhaps he'd
like to see their Sovereign status revoked? That would be in line with the intolerant
policies of other high-profile
republicans in California who have preceded him, and would undoubtedly galvanize
his conservative constituency. Besides, he endorses the death penalty and 3-strikes
laws too--laws that disproportionately affect poor minorities--and line the
pockets of the prison industrial complex, so don't buy for a minute the "compassionate
conservative" description currently going around about him.
Do you really think
that, after Prop. 209, Prop. 187 and the introduction of Prop. 54, we're supposed
to believe that republicans
represent the collective voice of the general public? It's amazing how intolerant
the supposed majority becomes when the economy gets bad. The racism always comes
to the forefront, as cries of "they're taking our jobs," and "we
need to close our borders" echo incessantly in the conversations of both
those who introduce this ignorance and those who are influenced by it. Jobs?
We're taking their jobs? What planet are these people from? Most people I know
are going through it right now.
And speaking of
Proposition 54, how many of us really know what it is?
would ban the collection of ethnic or racial data by any state or local agency,
or by any entity that receives state money. That would tie the hands of anyone
working to reverse decades of discrimination in housing, employment, or countless
other areas, and would transform education in California, making it illegal
to gather statistics that illustrate the achievement gap.
Without these statistics,
it will be harder to push for the kinds of programs - like preschool - that
can level the playing field. It would make it illegal for the government to
keep track of the ethnic makeup of its own employees.
This, of course,
like Prop. 209, would leave the door wide-open for discrimination, because it
would remove the ability of people to have access to ethnic or racial data at
all. This again puts America on the "honor system" with regards to
racial parity - a test that it continues to fail miserably when left unchecked.
Prop. 54 would
also have terrifying public health implications, making it virtually impossible
to do the kind of research that uncovers which ethnic groups are particularly
susceptible to certain diseases or illnesses - research that is instrumental
to public health campaigns and invaluable to physicians. This would put California
at a serious disadvantage when competing for research grants, many of which
require the consideration of racial and ethnic data.
about politics and the media, become politics and the media. Speak out, and
let your voice be heard!
Why do these politicians
continue to favor policies and viewpoints that represent people opposed to us?
Because they VOTE, that's why. Maybe if we voted more often (at all?) we'd have
somebody in office who represents our interests too.