Michelle Tea is an author whose books include Valencia, Rent Girl, and Rose of No Man's Land. She is also the founder of RADAR Productions, which runs the monthly RADAR Reading Series, the Sister Spit performance tour, City Lights imprint, and an annual writers' retreat in Mexico.
(Photo: Ariel Dunitz-Johnson)
REASON 50: Globally, fewer people will suffer with Obama in office.
The stakes in this election feel so high to me that it’s hard to understand why anyone would shrug off voting, but I get it: voting doesn’t change anything, the system is corrupt, either way we get some dude who supports capitalism, the military, ‘God’ and all the other things that make our country a menace. By opting out of voting, there’s less blood on your hands. Which would maybe be true if America’s impact on the rest of the world wasn’t so profound.
In a just world, every country on the planet would be invited to cast a vote for America’s president, and the election would be in Obama’s pocket. The world in many ways is still reeling from eight years of Republican policy that pulled half the earth into war. We can’t know what the Democrat’s reaction to 9/11 would have been, but I doubt it would have been the fabrication of ‘weapons of mass destruction’ and initiating a sham war that to this date has seen between 108,824 and 118,910 Iraqi civilians killed. In September alone there have been over 227 civilian deaths. If through the mysteries of life on earth you’d wound up a citizen of Iraq and not the United States, chances are pretty good you or someone close to you would be dead right now. In Afghanistan there have so far been 1,145 civilian deaths this year, and people are psyched about it, because it’s better than last year. That is a grim thing to be psyched about.
Obama put an end to the combat mission in Iraq and has removed hundreds of thousands of American troops from the country. He signed a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with Russia, the most comprehensive one in decades. He fronted an international effort to support the independence of South Sudan. He has supported the work of the people of Libya to revolt against their government without sending American troops in there in fuck everything up. Just that one act of restraint has probably saved ten thousand lives.
The amount of suffering both globally and right here at home will be reduced with Obama as president. Period. To have the opportunity to cast a vote against a party of proud warmongers and not use it because it doesn’t synch with your immediate ideologies feels like classic American arrogance with stakes this high. If your life isn’t going to change that much regardless of who is in power, even more reason to cast your vote on behalf of the people whose lives may be in the balance.
San Francisco, California