Filed under: Commentary
Almost 5 years ago, I received a sticker in the mail that read “Pro-Choice, Pro-Obama” from NARAL pro-choice New York. I was 17 or 18, ready to vote Democrat in my very first presidential election, and proud to display this for the world on my vehicle.
It made so much sense to me. It was that simple, that straightforward – If you are pro-choice, YOU ARE pro-Obama. Some of my friends were voting Nader, and I wouldn’t have it. Obama was our man – we believed in Obama! Hope! Change we can believe in! Soaring rhetoric! And at the time, he was the most liberal guy around, and I was feeling it. I thought that window decal was pretty radical, and if someone honked at me or gave me a dirty look on the road it sometimes occurred to me that they were anti-feminist pro-lifers or Republicans.
I voted (via absentee from college), I celebrated on the Syracuse quad when he won (a moment that I will never forget, and one of my most moving experiences of my life), and I even went to the inauguration (slightly more stressful).
These days, the connection isn’t that simple for me. I’m afraid I don’t believe in our government like I did at 18. Obama did a lot of awesome things, but he also didn’t. A lot has changed, and so much hasn’t. I’m not an expert, I can’t really quote statistics; I admit that. But four years later, I’m much more critical of the two-party system, and I’m reluctant to put all my eggs in one Democratic basket.
I’ve grown a lot more radical the past few months. A lot more anti-capitalist, a lot more anti-racist and sex-positive. And a lot more unapologetic about it. I’ve also become sort of connected to a socialist feminist presidential campaign. I live in New York and I have the opportunity (privilege?) to write-in a protest vote without really being worried about where my state is headed in November. And the Durham-López platform includes a lot of things I agree with, and very few that I don’t. I feel pretty cool about voting for candidates who are unabashedly Feminist. It’s not as simple for me as “pro-choice, pro-obama” was 4 years ago. It’s not as simple as the Unite Against the War on Women march (or any other mainstream pro-choice rally) where the takeaway was “Now go home and VOTE! For Democrats!” As Betty Maloney put it at our panel last week, “The Democrats are half the problem.” As far as the wars, the deportations, gay marriage (ahem), abstinence-only education funding, the war on drugs, corporate backing and funding, etc etc. “The lesser of two evils” is the option we’re given. The only option. And if you’re under 18, you get no options at all. It’s defeatist to think that This is the only say we’ve got. I want radical change, I want revolution. I want something more than the lesser of two evils.
The other day, in a moment of strength, I peeled off that window decal.
The problem now is that I’ve got nothing to replace it with. If my grandpa (who bought me this car 6 years ago) saw that I was proudly supporting socialists, I’d have a problem. I’m sure that old leftist sticker was about as radical as he figured I could be.
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