Heather L. Barmore
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    Change In Action at Babble Voices

    Tuesday
    Nov022010

    Why we don't vote*

    *this post was meant to be elsewhere but now it's not. It's a long-ish rambling post about why women don't vote. Tomorrow I'll be telling you why I do and always will vote. Happy Election Day.

    “People often say that, in a democracy, decisions are made by a majority of the people.  Of course, that is not true.  Decisions are made by a majority of those who make themselves heard and who vote - a very different thing.” - Walter H. Judd

    There is something to be said for writing a piece on the apathy of young women voters mere hours after a rally for a congressional candidate (featuring Mr. William Jefferson Clinton) where I whooped and hollered and cared just like all of the men folk did. Crazy, right? But it is what the pundits are saying these days; young women are not interested in this election. Better yet, young people as a whole, are disinterested as are minorities which makes me a political anomaly. An anomaly who plans to be up at 6 AM, when the polls open on Election Day, so that I can get in some canvassing later in the morning.

    CNN recently asked “What is pushing women away from voting?” My response (to my laptop screen) was, “Do you want like, a list? And how much time do you have?” Because in the time it took me to get to the bottom of the page I could think of at least five reasons:

    1) Politicians aren’t engaging women voters.
    2) Women don’t feel that candidates are speaking to their issues.
    3) The fighting. Oh my God, the fighting. See also; unnecessary violence.
    4) Women don’t feel connected to the candidates. Even the female ones.
    5) Too much information being thrown out there; it’s hard to sift through and find out the truth and what is really going on.

    I hate to say but I think that the pundits are correct. We ARE apathetic. We are apathetic because we don’t feel connect. I’m guessing here but as a (young, black) woman, I can definitely see why my peers feel that what will happen on Election Day will affect them. With a 24/7 news cycle you would think that the stakes of this election would be more apparent but you would be wrong. Instead of informing viewers on what is at stake not just for young women but for the entire country, we are bombarded with the incident du jour. Instead of factual pieces we get the analysis of YouTube videos showing the extreme cases of what this election has wrought on this country and it isn’t pretty. On the evening news bad behavior and scandal is given precedence over the work that women candidates are doing not just for themselves but for all of us. Krystal Ball is giving a face to the adversities that young women face when running for congress and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is giving a face to how we can be wives and mothers and elected officials.

    For the candidates: We young women are pretty savvy. I cannot believe I have to remind people of this but it’s true. We like to talk with you, not be talked at. When given the facts instead of facade we’re pretty good at forming our own opinions. No, we aren’t a monolith and shouldn’t be treated as such but when it comes down to it, being a woman unites us more than it tears us apart. We are inquisitive and like to be informed voters but so many of us feel uninformed and disengaged. It seems as if our opinions and needs are only required towards the end of this monumental election. Only in recent weeks have candidates come out to do events focused on women as if they’ve suddenly noticed that we are a large part of the electorate. We are not a ‘Hail Mary’ pass but we are people that would like to be engaged 12 months of the year. That, THAT, is why we are unenthusiastic. Speak to us. You’ll be amazed at how much you might learn.

    And for the women: Not voting isn’t the answer. Not voting just says that you don’t care about our futures and where we are headed as a country. It’s not about who you vote for or the R or D next to their name. It’s about putting your proverbial hat in the ring and making your voice - our voices - heard. So my request of you is fairly simple: Vote. It’s easy. You might get a sticker. One of my favorite quotes reads, “People often say that, in a democracy, decisions are made by a majority of the people.  Of course, that is not true.  Decisions are made by a majority of those who make themselves heard and who vote - a very different thing.” Your mission is to prove the pundits wrong and make yourself heard.
    Sunday
    Oct312010

    2 Days

    "There are too many people, and too few human beings."  ~Robert Zend

    I have hit my saturation point. Then again, I think it’s safe to assume that the next time that a canvasser knocks on your door during dinner requesting that you vote for Candidate X, you might skip on the politeness and head straight towards flipping the bird. We’re all pretty much done.

    My realization of just how annoyed I really am with EVERYONE and EVERYTHING was a few weeks ago when  a Tea Partier made a comment on Twitter and my first reaction is to flinch and go on the offensive. For how dare someone make claims against all Progressives as if Progressives should be treated as a cohort. As if we’re not individuals with our own thoughts on the (tragic) state of the country but of course not to a Tea Partier because all of us with a voter registration card with a D on it are exactly the same. Exclamation point!!11!

    Now imagine that last sentence being said in one breath with a dash of hysteria for good measure.

    We all get a little bit crazy at times. Especially when after six months of non-stop, in yo’ face campaigning. Campaigning complete with the occasional death threat among accusations of fascism with a little bigotry on the side. The First Amendment has never proved so necessary as it has during this election.

    I work in politics and it has something that I have always been passionate about. I always have to encourage friends of mine to vote and pay attention because this shit is important but they’re so disinterested because God forbid there is a difference of opinion, as your brains might be all over the sidewalk courtesy of an overzealous volunteer. Clearly these are the extreme cases but it’s the extreme cases that get the most attention hence the apathy. Its really difficult to get involved when someone is threatening to kill your children if you vote for Sharon Angle.

    So yeah. Tuesday is almost here. I’m not looking forward to the outcome but I am looking forward to a little breather from the bullshit. And if that doesn’t happen there’s always Canada. Or maybe Guam. Am I right or am I right?
    Monday
    Oct252010

    Post Sanity

    "She had heard someone say something about an Independent Labour Party, and was furious that she had not been asked."  ~Evelyn Waugh

    Soooo, buddies, what are your plans or next Saturday early-evening(ish)? I already know that during the day on the 30th of October you will be attending the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Keep Fear Alive but what about after that? I don’t know about you but I’ll probably want a beer or actually a Glenlivet o I’m going to take my progressive yet sane self to the bar at the Beacon hotel and imbibe. Do you...I don’t know...would you like to join me? A total old-school hang out post rally to just chill. Hell, you don’t even need to speak to anyone just show up and get your martini on.

    5PM
    Beacon Bar & Grill
    1615 Rhode Island Avenue, NW (you can take the Red line to either Dupont Circle or Farragut North)

    I’ll be there. I think that Laurie and Kristen will be there. So it’ll be a good time.

    See you then!