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Here’s a juicy, educational tid-bit…sort of.

Voter Registration.  If you’re a student at a college or university, odds are you’ve come across folks poking these forms at you as you pass the major points of pedestrian traffic.  Outside of that, though….how does one register to vote?  I like to consider myself fairly knowledgeable about such things, but I’ve racked my brain and the only way outside of the above described scenario that comes to mind is my very first voter registration process – at the DMV.

By now I am sure a lot of folks have realized that *they* do not want us to vote, to exercise that civic duty/right that I too battle between loving and hating.  But I thought, surely, that the campaign to register folks was a little more robust than just hoping they wandered into the DMV (and even then I have no clue what the protocol really is) or onto a college campus during a strategic point in a major election.  But it’s not really.  There are, however, more ways to register than I knew.

Check it out:

“In addition to the printable voter registration application accessible on this website, voter registration applications are available at county boards of elections’ offices, public libraries, high schools and college admissions offices.

Further, the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) requires certain agencies in this state to offer voter registration services. Voter registration services are offered at the following agencies:

  • North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV): A person may complete a voter registration transaction at any driver’s license examination office when conducting official DMV business with that office (applying for or renewing a driver’s license, I.D. card, etc.).
  • Public Assistance Agencies
    • Departments of Social Services (DSS)
    • Departments of Public Health (WIC)
  • Disability Services Agencies
    • Vocational Rehabilitation offices
    • Departments of Services for the Blind
    • Departments of Services for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing
    • Departments of Mental Health Services
  • Employment Security Commission (ESC)”


Now it might not be an aggressive campaign or anything, but it’s something to be aware of and to spread knowledge of to any and all folks.

Important also is that you register at least 25 days before the election in which you wish to vote. 

Now I’m not one to pretend that this process is perfect or that it’s the means to the ideal end that I envision, but it is a potential stepping-stone.  As is stands, far too many folks vote against their interests, are lied to by major media outlets, are deluded into believing that a 2 party system is a superior voting system, and believe that the presidential election is the make or break of this nation’s future.  The things we could do with proper representation, however, are beautiful.  We could elect representatives who put THE PEOPLE first in their legislative processes.  We could have representation that conveys our interests in, ya know, FOOD AND SURVIVAL, and education for all and human-centered solutions to the alleged problem of immigration across imaginary, stolen borders.  That could be a thing.  We could have universal healthcare.  We could change our laws and agencies and protocols to eliminate their “need” to incarcerate, dehumanize and otherwise attack and brutalize communities of color.

We can do this because, while the process is flawed, we are still in control.  We can use our votes for what they are worth and continue the fight on the 364 other days in the year.  We can use our votes to communicate the needs of the folks in our communities who are being denied the right to vote themselves.  I’m talking about felons, children, undocumented folks – anyone whose voice is intentionally drowned out by our current laws and ideology – consider the folks in the countries the U.S. constantly invades!! Who speaks for them in the U.S. government? Is that what we want? the wanton murder of folks in the name of imperialist strategy and positioning? NO!

But who will we vote for? Who is there to accurately represent these perspectives I’ve just listed?  Can we trust anyone of these majority white, male, wealthy, career politicians to do right by our communities once they have our initial nod?  Probably not.  I mean, maybe we can, but why take that risk if we don’t have to?  Radical folks – rise up!! Run for local office!! Yes, there are limitations to who can make it through the arbitrary list of initial requirements, but it can be done.  Locally elected officials have a real chance to impact the day-to-day lives of the folks in our communities.  Change to the systems we loathe can come from the inside AND the outside!  We can strip away the pretense and the hierarchy one official at at time.  IT WILL BEND TO THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE!!

But yes, so that’s what I learned today and I hope you found it interesting.  Let’s continue this conversation, though, because resources are important and I haven’t covered everything by any means in this short rant.  It’s just something to start/keep thinking about.  I was inspired by the existence of countries with low levels of SES inequality and excellent health outcomes who still use similar processes electorally speaking as the U.S. does.  They also manage not to invade multiple countries per decade. Really sparkling resumes and shit.


Oh – PS. Total afterthought but needs to be discussed also — *they* don’t want us to vote and so *they* have implemented a Voter ID law to make it more difficult for the populations to which they wish to deny rights.  This isn’t going into effect until 2016 – so let’s…I dunno..raise so hell, or…appeals,….or….beat them at their own game and make new legislation that requires the gov to provide these IDs free of charge and at the voter’s convenience, or…I dunno. Something.

Thoughts? Feelings?


Good evening, feminists!

So I know that today is election day, and I know that as a radical feminist I should be fighting this particular system of voting -since no one who will take office in January could ever possible represent radical feminist interests to the extent necessary (any) to gain my support/blessing/whatever – but I come to you today with a confession:  I totally voted within the system.  I’m not proud, but I’m still growing and developing in terms of my radical political affiliation.  Maybe next election I will act differently.  I dunno.  Maybe the scare tactics won, or maybe I just see an Obama victory as more conducive to the next step in the process of dismantling this distorted system, I’m not entirely sure.

What I am certain of is the importance of engaging in politics and, thanks to Michale Ferguson, the importance of forming political judgments.  This is a new concept to me, as I am in the habit of parroting a lot of political thought, but have never genuinely grappled with an original idea and come out victorious, confidently presenting a judgment or stance to public.  No, indeed, every time I form a judgment, I am sure to keep it well hidden, at least until I find already documented support of something similar, and then slowly that  anxiety melts away.

One thing Ferguson discusses in “Choice Feminism and the Fear of Politics,”  is the reasoning behind this sort of inaction.  Fear! Fear of rejection or fear of criticism/critique, fear of the sheer force of the power within, even! Ok, I added that bit, but still.  I speak from a place of personal experience when I say that there seems to be an assumption of incompetence with regard to a woman’s ability to form judgments that are sound, reasoned, and of any realm prior to now (or even still) deemed male.  This includes, but is not limited to, politics.  And not just your parents’ run-of-the-mill, boring debate, politics, either.  I speak now of even the so-called “progressive” political realm of which I am a part.

It seems that no matter what choice a woman makes, she’s not being “progressive” or “feminist” enough in her choices.  Now, true, voting for Romney in such a hostile political environment (you know, one that has attempted literally THOUSANDS of anti-choice legislative efforts in the last 2 years) is decidedly a poor move in terms of feminist thought, but then again, there is an entire branch of DREAMers who support Romney in name because of Obama’s deportation policies, so…there’s a lot going on.  With regard to the current election, this has manifested itself as the derision of any progressive/feminist woman’s “choice” to vote for Democrats in an attempt to protect Roe v. Wade from being overturned by a Republican dominated U.S. supreme court.  I use the term choice here lightly, because of the manipulable nature of this voting system.

The argument, of course, is that the Obama administration has been nothing more than an oppressive force for all people (that includes women), in any given country deemed “worthy” of U.S. intervention a.k.a. SALVATION AND FREEDOM! and that a vote for this administration is inherently anti-feminist.  Hell, participation in this intentionally limited system given ANY candidate who makes the cut is inherently anti-feminist.

What I will say about this simplified version of the argument is that I couldn’t agree more with the premise!  I mean it!  Of course the Obama administration is an imperialist, capitalist, farce!  It’s inherent in the position of President of these United States.

What I am tired of is being told how to be a “good feminist.”  According to some, there is no room in the discussion – Roe v. Wade is small potatoes in comparison, and can’t we see that?  if we really care –yeah, that’s right, IF we really care, we should be more global in thought.

Here’s what I have to say – that’s right- my very first PUBLIC ASS political judgment:

Step 1: Vote, Don’t Vote, Vote however you want.  If you think a vote AGAINST Romney is a vote towards progress, if you think voting for Roe v. Wade is the safe bet to protect your rights to abortion, if you think, like me, that Obama’s administration will be easier to work with in terms of progressive legislation or human rights initiatives, DO IT! Do it loud, do it proud.  After all, in a country where MOST PEOPLE don’t vote, and where marginalized populations are STILL fighting for that right, not voting at all IS NOT a revolutionary act.  Voting for the candidates that have been pushed from the limelight like JILL STEIN for instance, is arguably  revolutionary, but if you think that a vote for Stein at this juncture is a vote FOR Romney in terms of realistic outcomes, then do what you think is more important.  Make that choice for yourself.  Educate yourself, sure, but don’t let some uterus-less white man tell you that imminent rights to birth control “aren’t important” enough to be the basis of a vote.  After all, regardless of the outcome of this election, the rights of women around the world will remain in peril.  That won’t change.  But the legal status of abortion in this country very well may.

Step 2: Now – after you do all of that voting, non-voting, strategic, manipulated voting, or what have you, take a moment to reflect. Did anything change? How did it make you feel?

Step 3: And this is the really important one – Realize that election day, especially this sort that comes only once in four years, will only ever do so much.  As lovely as it would be to see change stem from the current political system, the old adage probably remains true: If voting changed anything, it would be illegal.  I do leave an exception for local elections, of course, because these elections in particular have the potential to enact changes and policies that will have real effects on the constituencies.

In terms of national and global politics, however, if you have gone through this grueling process of deciding who, why, when, where, at what costs?!?!? because of how much you care, because of issues that matter, because of your interests in a better future for your children, you would be remiss to begin and end your political engagement every year on the Tuesday after the first Monday every November.

As history has demonstrated over and over again, the power lies with the people.  We cannot continue to put our hope for real societal change in  group of wealthy career politicians,a majority of whom are straight, white, men.  Sure, they are there.  If we can codify something and push for a paradigm shift ever so slightly in that manner, it certainly won’t hurt, but rest assured that this will not be the path by which we achieve social justice.  This will not be the path by which we will obtain a humanitarian ……..

So yes, vote.  But what about the other 364 or 365 days of the year?  What will you do to encourage progress in the interim? The one thing you will do if you really care, is stay involved.  You will seek out coalitions in your area.  If there are none to be found, you will start them.  You will disseminate literature and exercise your ability to engage in the formation of political judgments.  You will engage in radical/progressive discourse.  You will start a radical feminist knitting circle at a locally owned bread and coffee shop.  You will question your own choices and actions.  Are you unintentionally reinforcing messages that you actively speak against? Examine that shit.

You don’t have to give up your life as is and transform everything about yourself, but you do have to find a way to keep these conversations going.  If the personal is political, then every choice you make is a vote for something.
UPDATE:  As a bad ass comrade of mine so eloquently put it today:

“Democracy exists when engaged citizens practice it every day, when we organize our communities and let the voices of the marginalized be heard loud and clear. We like to say that we know democracy in this country, but it is not true, we have so much to learn, and going to the polls today is just the first step.”

-Ana Maria R

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