#BlueNoMatterWho Is #AllLivesMatter for Dems by Chris Thompson

Bernie Sanders standing on lectern surrounded by people

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#BlueNoMatterWho Is #AllLivesMatter for Dems

The first time a white person came out of pocket to tell me that I’d “better” vote was in 1992. He also told me that I needed to get a job and not hang around doing drugs…I had never seen a narcotic at the time, I was an honor student at the time, I could not legally work, and I was not old enough to vote. I was minding my damn business at the bus stop. But it is not unusual for white folks to overestimate the age of black children (it is actually quite a problem that deserves its own essay). He just thought he was kindly imparting “wisdom”. 

The second time a white person came out of pocket to tell me that I’d “better” vote was in 2018. I was with a bunch of my friends as we were processing the end of Black Klansman while the credits ran. We were obviously not in a good state, but a white woman walked up to us and said, “Make sure you vote, so something like this doesn’t happen again!” She had a big “friendly” smile on her face while doing so. As with many instances of friendly racism, I was taken aback for half a second too long. Fortunately my friend rejoindered, “Tell your people that”, which was perfect, since 53% of white women voted for donald trump over their autonomy. 

The third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh times white people came out of pocket to tell me that I’d “better” vote were last week and this week, when I jokingly (not jokingly) said “#NoDude2020”, when I criticized some of Biden’s career accomplishments, and when I explicitly stated that I would sooner walk into a police station blasting NWA’s dedication to cops before I vote for Bloomberg. I’ve been told that I shouldn’t waste a vote, that it is “silly and childish” to not vote for someone just because he’s a man, that we can’t have a repeat of 2016, so I’d “better” cast a vote against trump. 

The thing is, I never said I wasn’t voting. In fact, I’ve voted in every election I could since I was 19. The first thing I do when I move is register and figure out my polling place. There is no way I’m NOT voting. However, for some reason, when Black folks express their disdain for a candidate, say, one who put a name to violating Black and Brown people’s rights in the name of “public safety”, it is read by some white folks as, “I’m not voting at all”, and then we get brow-beaten by these “well-meaning” white folks who don’t want us to squander our right. The irony is palpable, since people have been doing their damnedest to prevent Black folks from voting since the birth of the nation. 

“There is no way I’m NOT voting”

A lot of us are not content with our political choices. We never will be. There will never be a “perfect candidate”. I was disappointed that all of the women dropped out of the 2020 Presidential race, even though I can identify at least three red flags with each of them. I was disappointed that Biden seemed to jump in last minute, and then I was livid when Bloomberg jumped in laster minute. There is no way I would vote for Bloomberg. Now that Bernie Sanders is out of the race, We are down to Biden or trump. My choice is an elderly white man who is likely a sexual predator who claims to love black people while simultaneously making measures that exponentially harm black and brown folks, or an elderly white man who is likely a sexual predator who claims to love black people while simultaneously making measures that exponentially harm black and brown folks. I am not excited about this, and I have reservations about voting for either of them. 

For those of us who enjoy the ability to vote with little impedance, we like to talk about politics and candidates. Our disdain for one does not equate to abstinence from the process. How little do you think of us that you would think it does? I will never trust Mike Bloomberg with anything beyond selling his magazine. Also, his recent tactic of buying Negroes to endorse him does not endear me to him. He is NOT getting my vote. That does NOT mean I am not voting. The whole time Kamala Harris was running, I heard more than a few people call her a “cop” or bring up her past record, and not once did I think, “Well that must mean Tyler isn’t voting”. We are not 1’s and 0’s. Black folks have the ability to talk about things and not go to the extreme if we don’t like a person’s policies. 

For those who think we “blindly” vote Democrat despite their spotty history, you are just as bad. You claim that Republicans are “the party of Lincoln” and that the “Democrats were the party of the KKK”. You are right, but BOTH parties are/have been racist. Lincoln said some terrible things about Black folks. Also, FDR’s New Deal had some great things in it for Black people, even though it paved the way for practices like redlining. And don’t get me started on the Southern Strategy. Neither party has a spotless history in race relations. Your mistake is thinking that Black folks vote party line. We vote survival line. If Republicans want more Black folks to vote GOP, then perhaps stop tokenizing the ones you have, and listen to us and our concerns instead of trying to shut us up by taking away our polling places. 

And Democrats can stop with the #BlueNoMatterWho narrative. That is not happening. If a racist, sexist billionaire becomes the nominee, then I will vote for someone else. I will write in someone. I don’t care. We have had more than enough rich white men who disrespect women and black folks as presidents. I am not doing that again. Democrats need to stop taking our votes for granted. Voting third or fourth party is not throwing away our vote. More people abstained from voting than voted third party. Direct your anger at those who had the ability to vote but stayed home. 

Did you know that free Black Folks could vote in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, long before the Civil War? Even though we were still 3/5 human, we (at least the men) had a whole vote to be counted. White folks didn’t like that, though, so New Jersey rescinded that right in 1808, and Pennsylvania did so in 1838. In New York, Black folks could still vote, so long as they were property owners. When the 1857 Dred Scott v. Sanford case decided that Black people are not citizens, that put the nail in the coffin of any Black folks getting further voting rights in any future states. You’d have better luck witnessing a full blown war before another Negro could vote…oh wait… 

After the Civil War, Black folks enjoyed a brief period of voting during Reconstruction, and they even elected Black senators and Congressmen. However, once Andrew Johnson halted Reconstruction and allowed Southern States to enact raced based laws, obstacles to voting listed the hundreds, whether they were inane laws or 100 actual people surrounding a Black person’s house, ready to murder them for voting or helping others register to vote. Today, it is a little bit more civilized. Now white folks hide their disenfranchisement tactics under the guise of gerrymandering and “voter ID” laws. So Black folks have BEEN trying to vote. You don’t need to tell us to do so. You have no business telling us for whom to vote. You need to collect your people trying to stop us. 

About Chris Thompson

(he/his/him) Chris Thompson is an engineer, writer, comedian, and activist who made Rochester, New York his home in 2008. In addition to his role as Contributor for 540Blog he currently writes the Chronicles of Nonsense segment for the Almost Tuesday show on WAYO-FM 104.3, and regularly posts and writes on his own on Instagram and Twitter at @ChronsOfNon.Additionally , Chris is a Food Writer for Rochester City Newspaper. His blog is http://www.chroniclesofnonesense.com

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