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And telling the people of Ferguson, MO to "get out and vote next time" doesn't solve the current problem in the here and now, today.

The whole "but they didn't VOTE in the last election" trope about the people of Ferguson, MO, is really starting to piss me off.

There is nothing wrong with suggesting that people vote.
The problem is the follow-up to this trope, which goes something like this:

Oh, well, it's all their fault anyway because they didn't vote in the last election....f**k these people, they are getting what they deserve
The White Privilege reaction, if you will, becomes crystal clear, as the entire trauma is reduced to little more than a pedantic lecture on "civic duty". Whereupon some simply walk away and forget about the humanity of an entire city that is being brutalized by armed thugs. I have seen this reaction over and over and over again, whether it's actually put that way or not, but that's what's happening, IMO. And it is wrong and it in no way helps anyone.

Let me repeat--I am not upset at the suggestion that the residents of Ferguson must be more civic-minded and get to the voting booth. But that ignores two current realities:

1) Voter suppression and shenanigans, which are well-documented in precincts large and small, all across this country

2) The police are still armed thugs, armed to the teeth by the United States Department of Defense

 photo cdn-medianationaljournalcom_zps045597ad.jpg

I heartily cheer Walt Starr's diary on how the people of Ferguson could fix this "in six months". They can. The diary was pitch-perfect and provided a boatload of great information and facts about the structure of their government. But voting is not the only answer for the people of Ferguson, MO. And it is damned sure not going to bring Michael Brown back from the dead.

All I am asking is that we think that through, before it gets reduced to a huge write-off, little more than "a local problem", a problem for the people of a city who simply didn't vote in the last election. There is an opportunity for those folks to rise up at the voting booth in the future. Maybe even rise up in such numbers that things will change and Brown--and thousands upon thousands of others--will have not died in vain at the hands of the people tasked to protect them from harm. But that doesn't solve the problem we all have RIGHT NOW--streets of an American city, filled with armed thugs threatening to shoot people on film, and a population that is righteously pissed off.

THAT has to change, and that change has to start right now, today.

8:26 AM PT: I just realized that Photobucket seems to have edited my image here. I'll find one that is complete....

Dangit...I suck at photo-embedding, so I guess the current image will have to do, unless someone has an embed link of the picture with the mailbox included that they can share? Meantime, I wanted to highlight this amazingly astute comment by pat of butter in a sea of grits:

Even cities with high voting rates and progressive city councils have police forces that own surplus military equipment and may be following the overall trend toward suppressive behaviors. Just look at Officer Pepper Spray at UC Davis.
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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips for getting the order of operations right (29+ / 0-)

    We know full well what people have to go through in this country just to vote. That is not the only answer!

    "Counting on people having nowhere else to go is the logic of a slumlord."--Wolf10

    by lunachickie on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 08:17:19 AM PDT

  •  I think there are a lot of parallels (7+ / 0-)

    to the situation in Gaza, when it comes to people counseling these kinds of straightforward political solutions. When disenfranchisement, impoverishment, and criminalization of dissent are the tools of the oppressor, traditional solutions like the ballot box are much less effective.

  •  I expect the next Ferguson city council meeting (4+ / 0-)

    will be standing room only.

    Wonder if they'll move it to a larger venue?

    Notice: This Comment © 2014 ROGNM UID 2547

    by ROGNM on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 08:42:00 AM PDT

  •  Systemic issue of racism and racial ignorance (12+ / 0-)

    that is deeply imbedded in our country.  Many whites fail to understand this because we have not experienced it first hand.  Some of it is out and out racism and some of it is a complete lack of understanding in how many blacks in this country have been treated as second class citizens.  This poll by Pew clearly illustrates that fact.

    "I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~ Dr. Cornel West "...isn't the problem here that the government takes on, arbitrarily and without justification, an adversarial attitude towards its citizenry?" ~ So.Lib.inMD UID166438

    by gulfgal98 on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 08:42:42 AM PDT

    •  Thanks for the link (6+ / 0-)

      In my world, in my white world, voting would be the first thing that comes to mind. But I've never been systematically oppressed to such an appalling degree, if at all.

      We have to think before we just toss that off as an answer. It's a HUGE part of it, but it's not the only part. At all.

      "Counting on people having nowhere else to go is the logic of a slumlord."--Wolf10

      by lunachickie on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 09:00:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  When people rightly feel that the system (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lunachickie

        is unfair, they are less inclined to work through the system.  The system in the United States has been weighted against blacks and other minorities so it is easy to see why they do not trust the system working for them.

        "I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~ Dr. Cornel West "...isn't the problem here that the government takes on, arbitrarily and without justification, an adversarial attitude towards its citizenry?" ~ So.Lib.inMD UID166438

        by gulfgal98 on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 02:20:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Oh, for fuck's sake. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lordcopper, emelyn, jan4insight
    Oh, well, it's all their fault anyway because they didn't vote in the last election....f**k these people, they are getting what they deserve
    It's one thing to say that nobody should give the impression of believing that, but you can't stop there.  You have to say someone actually DOES believe that; in fact, you have to say LOTS of people believe that.

    So that you can imagine that use of voting to change government is just part and parcel of a pedantic white lecture?  Us and Al Sharpton and this lady?
    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    While you encourage to do something "Right Now" which is TBD?

    And somehow, you're insisting we don't believe you aren't against voting?

    I don't think you're against voting.  I think that you like to seem more activist and edgy than the dull business of democracy.  

    Someone actually admitted on DK, "Yes. If it pisses you and the other Greenwald-Tweet-pearl-clutchers off, it's smart." Wow. Just....wow.

    by Inland on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 08:44:02 AM PDT

  •  The time for a voter registration drive is NOW. (12+ / 0-)
    There is an opportunity for those folks to rise up at the voting booth in the future.
    While I understand that you don't want the people of Ferguson who don't vote to be blamed for the rioting and that voting won't immediately remedy the situation, voting is the only long term solution to the problem.  The odds are in favor of this being a win for the majority of people in Ferguson.

    Register to vote.

    Get out the Vote.

    Vote.

    •  Absolutely (5+ / 0-)

      correct and I hope like hell it galvanizes millions to register and vote.

       My beef is with a whole bunch of folks that I can see--on social media, on other blogs, on this blog--trying to gloss over this shit by suggesting that "those people deserve it because they didn't vote".  That's a lily-white cowards way out as a trope, and it needs to be stopped in its tracks right the fuck now, before its legs get any longer.

      "Counting on people having nowhere else to go is the logic of a slumlord."--Wolf10

      by lunachickie on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 08:51:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  quote someone saying "it's the only answer." (5+ / 0-)

    This comment is dedicated to my mellow Adept2U and his Uncle Marcus

    by mallyroyal on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 08:48:24 AM PDT

    •  Or that it'll resuscitate Brown. (5+ / 0-)
      And it is damned sure not going to bring Michael Brown back from the dead.
      I'm pretty sure nobody has suggested we can vote him back to life, although I'd love to hear the diarist's suggestions on alternatives that will work.

      Someone actually admitted on DK, "Yes. If it pisses you and the other Greenwald-Tweet-pearl-clutchers off, it's smart." Wow. Just....wow.

      by Inland on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 08:54:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Did anyone miss the words (3+ / 0-)
    It Goes Something Like This:
    Rec the diary or don't. It stands as is, until I find another picture with the mailbox included that I can embed here. Thanks for stopping by.

    "Counting on people having nowhere else to go is the logic of a slumlord."--Wolf10

    by lunachickie on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 08:56:30 AM PDT

    •  didn't miss them. (6+ / 0-)

      but does it "go like that" anywhere but in your head?

      seriously give me one example of people saying voting will fix every issue vis a vis the Ferguson situation.

      OR that voting will bring back Brown from the dead.

      both of these statements are DIRECTLY FROM YOUR DIARY.  OWN YOUR WORDS.

      I mean jeez.  you erect strawmen, don't be suprised when someone sets them aflame.

      This comment is dedicated to my mellow Adept2U and his Uncle Marcus

      by mallyroyal on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 09:12:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Then maybe you missed these (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cybrestrike
        I have seen this reaction over and over and over again, whether it's actually put that way or not, but that's what's happening, IMO.
        Meanwhile,
        I mean jeez.  you erect strawmen, don't be suprised when someone sets them aflame
        Others certainly seemed to have worked around your burning concern with no problem whatsoever. But thanks for stopping by anyway.

        "Counting on people having nowhere else to go is the logic of a slumlord."--Wolf10

        by lunachickie on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 02:08:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Agreed diarist. I think it was very constructive (7+ / 0-)

    to note the pitiful election turnout....but voting and elections is just one part of civics and necessary political participation. Obviously nothing will bring Michael Brown back, but getting the message across via the peaceful protests can affect short-term awareness and change.

    While you dream of Utopia, we're here on Earth, getting things done.

    by GoGoGoEverton on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 08:59:55 AM PDT

    •  Definitely worth noting (5+ / 0-)

      I imagine at least some of Ferguson's residents are kicking themselves, too, for not voting. But still, you get it...

      getting the message across via the peaceful protests can affect short-term awareness and change
      Thank you, seriously.

      "Counting on people having nowhere else to go is the logic of a slumlord."--Wolf10

      by lunachickie on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 09:11:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  FWIW (0+ / 0-)

        I think if particular folks here who seem to go out of their way to disparage the voting process and Dems, would instead put positive energy toward motivating toward direct action AS WELL AS voting, it would be far more helpful IMO. Food for thought.

        While you dream of Utopia, we're here on Earth, getting things done.

        by GoGoGoEverton on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 02:34:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Perhaps you're right (0+ / 0-)

          I would submit to you, however, that nobody really has to go out of their way to disparage the voting process anymore (or Dems, for that matter). All the shit rolling downhill--the systematic disenfranchisement, in particular-- has picked up steam since about 2000. And here we are, staring back at it in 2014, every day. It's hard to stay positive 100% of the time.

          I welcome the pot being stirred. It keeps you on yer toes and keeps you motivated. Or at least, it does for me, YMMV. Just sayin'  ;)

          "Counting on people having nowhere else to go is the logic of a slumlord."--Wolf10

          by lunachickie on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 02:47:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  They've Never Grown Up and Experienced a FUll (6+ / 0-)

    functioning civic life.

    You can't switch Jeffersonian democracy on like a light switch to a population that's been legally outcast and under-educated till just 2 generations ago.

    It's like fixing an optic nerve and telling a blind adult "OK you can see now, go out tomorrow and apply for these jobs as meat inspector, art critic and graphics design." Yeah she's got the sight now, but will need a long growth period to learn to use it.

    THere are lifetimes of tiny experiences and connections that go into support for effective democratic governance for and by the people. We tried "parachuting democracy" into peoples without the full cultural foundations, from Vietnam to parts of the Americas and the middle east, and its never worked very well.

    There have to be candidates worth voting for before it's worth showing up to an election. At the local level this means community party and other activist organizations to draft and create the kinds of candidates to fight to bring the improvements needed.

    CREATION of the better candidates for council, school board, mayor etc. is what has to start right now, and the payoff is only going to be gradual, except to the degree that there may be a few particular leaders able to be recalled and replaced quickly.

    Frankly, national progressives probably have more to learn from Ferguson than we do from reflecting on FDR and LBJ and so forth. We're much closer to Ferguson in a shortage of talent and infrastructure, and organizations to get into governance, than most of us seem to think at least to my eyes.

    The best reason for progressives helping support and for closely watching how Ferguson proceeds from here is to learn their lessons ourselves.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 09:00:40 AM PDT

  •  I think this is true, (5+ / 0-)

    I would also add that the culture of policing right now in general seems to be heading (or have headed) in a problematic direction. Even cities with high voting rates and progressive city councils have police forces that own surplus military equipment and may be following the overall trend toward suppressive behaviors. Just look at Officer Pepper Spray at UC Davis. Even if you get rid of the police force, they could be replaced by other people who go along with the national trends. It needs to be (and luckily seems to be becoming) a national conversation about what kind of law enforcement we want to have.

  •  A big part of Democracy is "transactional". (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lunachickie

    Elected officials don't propose policy simply because they believe said policy to be effective, and good for society.  There are a myriad of "interests" behind any policy prescription.  At the other end of the spectrum, voters don't vote simply to show "support", they can also use their votes to "punish".  Voters and politicians are free to engage in activities to build consensus for the policies they want (party building, candidate recruitment, developing issues and policies).

    The two ends of the spectrum act as a continual feedback loop where the politician is trying to take action that earns a majority of the vote, and the voter is trying to influence the candidate's actions.  I find the suggestion that the black community is "unable" to navigate this system in the same manner as other communities insulting,  particularly when they have the raw numbers to work with.  They simply need to be brought into the electoral system.

    "Because I am a river to my people."

    by lordcopper on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 09:43:28 AM PDT

    •   Without fear of losing income (6+ / 0-)

      Without fear of prejudice. Without having to stand in line for hours, only to be told they "don't have the appropriate ID" so they can't vote.

      I find the suggestion that the black community is "unable" to navigate this system in the same manner as other communities insulting
      I don't know that anyone here is saying that, but I hear you. Thing is, it's getting to be the norm, rather than the exception, that many minorities, including the black community, are being systematically disenfranchised, period, and by people who damned well know exactly what they're doing.  That is a serious problem in this country, and it is damned sure another reason why "voting" is not the only answer.

      "Counting on people having nowhere else to go is the logic of a slumlord."--Wolf10

      by lunachickie on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 10:02:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tipped/Rec'd. To fix the kind of problems that (4+ / 0-)

    took hold like mold or rot that won't go away voting is a good start. But it's part of the problem when people believe a quick trip to the voting booth is a one and done.

    I have faith in grassroots people. I doubt they need anyone to tell them to GOTV.

    The problems encompass bigotry but it's just one piece in a much bigger mosaic. I'm white and I've been instructed here about the failure of citizens where I live to elect better people. What I learned is that this is all some pundits can understand, or they deliberately turn away from the array of obstacles other people face.

    In the time it would take to hash it all out with the punditry that deliberately misconstrues, I could be doing something more constructive.
     

  •  vote for what? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lunachickie, chipmo, cybrestrike

    This article doesn't go far enough in my opinion. When you go to vote you are voting for candidates that have usually already been prescreened and preselected by a political party, and usually by elite members of that political party . They are often selected on the basis of their ability to raise funds, which simply exacerbates the problems of wealth inequality and the distortion effect it has on democracy. In this context, voting may not only be insufficient, it may be part of the problem. This is like candidate selection in the Democratic Party must be democratized.

    •  Absolutely correct (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Detroit Denizen, cybrestrike

      And that did occur to me. Still, I figured that would make a damned fine follow-up diary, so I kept the focus here on the immediate meme that is becoming all-too-common already. Because in reading various and sundry "MSM" in print, and hearing/seeing comments here and elsewhere these last few days about Ferguson, I kept seeing a multitude of variations of that kind of reasoning over and over:

      Turnout is down! Those people didn't vote! They're getting what they deserve! Fuck'em, not my problem!
      I really abhor that general trope anyway, the "blame the voters" nonsense. But in this instance, it's also supremely insensitive, insulting and it's flat-out ignorant, particularly if it doesn't take this into consideration, either:
      When you go to vote you are voting for candidates that have usually already been prescreened and preselected by a political party, and usually by elite members of that political party . They are often selected on the basis of their ability to raise funds, which simply exacerbates the problems of wealth inequality and the distortion effect it has on democracy.
      So thank you so much for taking the time to make note of it. A great point...

      "Counting on people having nowhere else to go is the logic of a slumlord."--Wolf10

      by lunachickie on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 11:39:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Candidates who run unopposed sounds like a joke (3+ / 0-)

      left over from the old Soviet Union but it's fairly common in local elections around the US. In the reporting on Ferguson, I saw that there were unopposed candidates in the local town council election.

      There's a whole story to be told in that direction. The system is rigged in more ways than people can even imagine and it's amazing how consistently it's not in favor of the overwhelming majority. If you live in Detroit, you don't need to hear it from me.

      •  You better believe it (3+ / 0-)


        Candidates who run unopposed ... In the reporting on Ferguson, I saw that there were unopposed candidates in the local town council election....There's a whole story to be told in that direction
        You should tell that story, if it appeals to you, you're way better at this "diary" thing than I am! If you don't, I hope someone else does.

        What I'd like to know, in particular, regarding "unopposed candidates" in places like Ferguson, is if there was ever "opposition" trying to get on the ballot, where the candidate was either "disqualified" somehow or "encouraged" not to run by certain "colleagues" or "city/county/borough/township/political party leadership".

        I never could believe, that in a country of well over 300 million people, that any ticket could go "unopposed". That's just nuts. I used to believe it was all about "apathy", but anymore, you can probably bet it's not just about that.

        "Counting on people having nowhere else to go is the logic of a slumlord."--Wolf10

        by lunachickie on Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 12:31:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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