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Wed Aug 5, 2015, 01:42 PM

Vote As If This Election Matters...

I have never gotten a ticket. I have been stopped several times in my life. And each time the po involved has given me a warning and sent me on my way. Why? I am not delusional. I know that it has nothing to do with my charming personality. I do not get ticketed because I am a feminine (looking) white woman. These cops are not on the road to keep the world "safe" from me---they are there to keep the world "safe" from those who have been declared society's "enemy"---Blacks, Latinos, gays, Muslims.

Being a young man of color in the US means being a perp until proven otherwise. Being an academic of color means being stigmatized as someone who only made it thanks to affirmative action "stealing" a university spot meant for a white person. Being a politician of color makes one a lightening rod for anger. Being a shopper of color means having the eyes of store security all over you--while the white woman shoplifts undetected. Being a motorist of color means that you may die in jail for failing to signal a lane change. Being a parent of color means worrying that the phone call at night is the one you have been dreading.

Being LBTG means being a pedophile until proven otherwise. It means being assaulted on the streets. It means being labeled "the devil" and the cause for acts of gods, like Hurricane Katrina. It means that you have to prove yourself fit to be a teacher or Boy Scout leader or foster parent.

Being Muslim means having your religion denigrated. It means being one of a small group for whom the Bill of Rights does not apply. Muslims do not have freedom of religion in this country. If you are a Muslim, you do not even have the right to fly on an airplane. You do not have the right of habeas corpus. Your coworker can wear a cross on the job, but you can't wear a headscarf, because someone might be "offended".

Being Latino means you had better have your ID handy at all times, because you could be rounded up and shipped back to a country you have never visited at any moment. It means that your breadwinner could be taken from you and your teen aged kids forced to quit school and go to work to keep the family going.

As a white, non-Muslim voter (who has had a hysterectomy), I know that no matter which party wins the election, my family is secure. I despise white privilege, but it will keep me safe, even as minorities see their voting rights chiseled away and watch their children die at the hands of those who are supposed to protect them, even as women die from back alley abortions, even as immigrant families are torn apart, even as mosques are fire bombed----

Vote as if this election matters, and you will vote for the candidate who can win. It isn't a cop out, it isn't weakness, it isn't laziness, it isn't out of "habit" or blindness or because someone told you to. It is because you can not afford to lose.

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