daisysusan: (Default)
[personal profile] daisysusan
It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone ever that I care a huge amount of the political process. I've been staying up late for elections since I was ... younger than my parents know. This is the first presidential election I've been able to vote in, and it's also an incredibly important one, so I think my investment is totally understandable. (As are my stress and worry and anxiety.) 

But here's the thing: I live in a state that's not going to go for Obama. I live in a congressional district where the wonderful politician I voted for is going to lose to a sleazebag who dumped millions of his own dollars into his campaign. And a thousand other things — good judges are going to lose because their names make it clear they're not white. Democrats across the state are going to lose because of gerrymandering from our extremely conservative legislature (which was a product of the Tea Party push in the midterm elections.) I'm not okay with any of this. I don't want good candidates losing races to horrible people, which is going to happen. I don't want to live in a state that has no rights for anyone, but that's what my state seems to be trying to do. 

Only I don't hate living here. There's a lot of things I dislike about North Carolina, and the fact that we somehow passed a cripplingly horrible constitutional amendment in May with something like 17% of eligible voters actually voting is definitely one of them. But I like living somewhere with potential for improvement. I like looking at my city and seeing the progress that's been made over the course of my lifetime.

Neither of those things is the point of this post, though. This is the point: today is not the day for your reductivist jokes about everyone in the South being a hick or a racist or a religious nut. I'm probably never going to laugh at those jokes, because most of the southerners I know aren't like that at all, but I'm about to spend a lot of time being in the "bad" part of infographics, and no one wants to have their opinions negated. In about nine hours, the electoral college is going to tell me that standing in a voting booth and checking the box next to "Barack Obama" didn't count for shit, and that's a hard pill to swallow. Don't pretend I didn't stand in line for an hour to do that—and vote for all the other people I support who aren't going to win. Are there hicks and racists and religious nuts who are going to polls? Absolutely. But don't pretend everyone living below the Mason-Dixon line is one of them, because we are emphatically not. 

Southerners contend with a lot of damaging negative stereotypes on a daily basis, and today we're all getting a very pointed reminder that those stereotypes exist for reason. So ... don't. This is my once-a-year reminder that my friends and (immediate) family aren't representative of the place I live, no matter how much I wish they were. This is my motivation to make phone calls for campaigns and sign petitions and argue louder.

It's not someone's punchline.
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April 2013

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