I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.
If young people on and outside this website want to get pumped about voting, let them. That’s cool. I’m excited for them too. Each of us was politicized at some point, and this election cycle may be their moment. The problem is when we let young people fall into the voting trap, the myth that the project of a radical new world is BEST sought through the ballot box when it’s just not. Voting becomes the apex of political engagement in a world where the narrow parameters of “resistance” are allowed to be defined and policed by the oppressing class, the class whose uproot and overthrow lie at the very foundation of our project. Herein lives a contradiction. We cannot expect to uproot that which every election cycle we give our tacit support to, that which we legitimize, and still expect to see progress toward an oppression-free world. Real push-back then means making clear that anti-oppression means also anti-statism, which means recognizing and illustrating how limited voting really is. It means challenging those politicized through the ballot box to move beyond it into political work like community organizing/coalition building, prison and police abolition, labor organizing, radical education, care work (mutual aid), divestment, decolonizing methodologies, and so much more. I want to be clear here about what it doesn’t mean: It doesn’t mean shamming, belittling, or hazing youth via social media because they see value in voting. That’s messed up. Go vote if you want, just don’t stop there.
This is very exciting for me. One of my core values as an author is to write poems that are clear, accessible, and beautiful. The respect of critics, while wonderful, is less important to me than being a source of joy and comfort for the reader. To be nominated for an award that is chosen by popular vote feels like a huge honor.
Please, if you like, vote and share. As always, your support of my work means the world to me. Thank you.