Part of the toxic discourse around this election has been the use, and the misuse, of the word privilege.
Vote for whoever you want. I’m not in the business of telling anyone how to vote, nor am I interested in shaming anyone for their decision. I hope that everyone that reads this votes in November and beyond. If you choose not to, I can’t entirely agree with that choice, but I respect your choice. Nothing positive will come from me shaming any voter, so I don’t waste my time shaming anyone’s choice. We can debate the pros and cons until Covid-19 finally ends, but I refuse to shame anyone for who they choose to vote for, or if they even plan on voting at all. I’ve written about voter shaming and alternatives to it recently, but I want to discuss a specific voter shaming tactic — the attack of privilege.
For any of us to have a choice of whether to vote or not to vote, we need to have the right to vote. Millions of people in this country do not have that right; therefore, everyone who can vote in America has privilege on some level. Many of us have the right to vote today because of the decades-long and, in some cases, centuries-long, activism and organizing of determined freedom fighters before us. If you can vote, then you’re privileged. However, someone disagreeing with you on who to vote for does not automatically mean their decision is rooted in privilege.
This discussion is aimed explicitly at virtue signaling Liberals. The idea that not voting for Biden is privileged is entirely absurd. Biden has had a significant hand in causing harm to the most marginalized people in this country. He’s harmed African-Americans with his Crime Bill, immigrants via mass deportations, and the overall working poor with cuts to the social safety net.
These are the same destructive policies that people criticize Trump over. Joe Biden has not climbed the ranks of the Democratic Party despite his harmful policies; he’s reached where he is because of them. The Democratic party incentivizes Republican-lite behavior from their members. To make matters worse, the people most harmed by their depravity are now told to vote for Joseph to save the country from Trump. The same country that couldn’t be bothered to stop Joe and company from causing them harm in the first place. Why is anyone surprised that people from these marginalized groups want to let it all burn?
I would understand this argument if Joe Biden was offering transformative reforms and actively courting our support, but he isn’t. Biden is going for voters whose lives epitomize privilege. Joe’s target audience has been white suburban voters, many of them Republican converts. Voters who haven’t been disproportionately targeted by police violence, and don’t live in fear of ICE raids every day. Instead, Biden is targeting voters that have been working comfortably from home this entire pandemic and can homeschool their children this Fall. The Biden campaign hasn’t tried to win the support of the Democratic Party’s multi-racial working-class base at all, because they believe they’ll have it regardless of what they do.
We don’t care that Trump’s obnoxious and inarticulate nature scares you. For us, Trump has merely exposed the ugliness of white supremacy that has always existed in this country. The Democratic Party’s response to a national uprising that demands police accountability and restorative justice is Joe ‘Lock the SOB’s up’ Biden and Kamala ‘Top Cop’ Harris. They’ve taken us for granted and dared us to let them lose. Not all of us get to care about cosmetic changes to our government that don’t make it less oppressive. If you’re ok with voting for that, that’s your right. However, you don’t have the right to dictate to people who’ve been under siege by their own government their entire lives who they can and cannot vote for.
The Democrats are playing a dangerous game. Their subservience to Wall Street and failure to offer the American working poor anything of substance during a global pandemic is risking the entire election. For those that plan to vote Blue, I respect your decision. However, I will not tolerate anyone trying to say I’m privileged for demanding universal health care during a pandemic. I will not apologize for wanting a habitable planet and I don’t feel bad for leveraging my support for a candidate on their fulfillment of fundamental human rights. Everyone else wants something in return for their vote, but when Progressives do it, it’s an issue? If Biden and the Democrats can’t guarantee basic human rights, then why do they need to be in power?
I fight for those that are less fortunate than me. I fight for people who don’t have healthcare, for those at risk of losing their housing during a pandemic. I fight for immigrant families all over our country that are living in fear. I fight for civilians in Middle Eastern countries that simply wish to exist without being routinely bombed. I choose to use my privilege to fight for the betterment of marginalized peoples’ conditions here and abroad. Joe Biden is not offering nearly enough of that, and if he continues his milquetoast tendencies, then he will not receive my vote.