It’s Election Day. Both the House and Senate are currently held by Republicans, though polls show the former flipping to Democratic majority and the latter with slim margins to stay Republican. Your vote could be incredibly vital in changing this incredibly monstrous era in politics. We at Talkhouse urge you to participate, to stand up those who might try to quiet you, by participating in the fundamental act of a democracy: voting. Here’s why it’s important, in the words of Talkhouse contributors.
— The Talkhouse Team
A reminder from Hutch Harris that your vote can help counteract the hatred that seems to be increasingly prevalent in the US:
“Donald Trump didn’t promise to just Make America Great, he promised to Make America Great Again. In the “Again” is where the heart of Trump’s true message lies. America was great once upon a time, but all the so-called “progress” has put the U.S.A. on the brink of total ruination in your eyes. You voted for Trump because he hates everything — and everyone — you hate. The only way to make America great again is, apparently, with hatred. Hatred for women, for minorities — for anyone black or brown or queer. If you voted for Trump, you voted with hatred, or for hatred, or both.”
And an urge from filmmaker Esther Robinson to act with love, both in life and in the voting booth:
“The documentary community turned out for canvassing nationwide and I was inspired all weekend by my friends’ actions and reports. A good life in general (not just elections) is built through action and love – my documentary community delivers on all fronts…”
A lesson from MC5’s Wayne Kramer and Domenic Palermo of the band NOTHING that “slacktivism” is not enough:
“Domenic: There’s a lot of talking and not much doing, and that’s what really pushed the gears for me to try to start moving this thing. There’s a whole lot of talking, there’s not much doing anymore.
Wayne: Yeah, we’re talking about more than just pushing a like on the computer. We gotta get out there and do something.”
And Wayne Kramer’s reminder that, if we don’t vote, nothing will change:
“Communities of color are demonized and people with limited economic means are demonized. We are the ones that go to prison. Rich people get richer and everybody else suffers.
Until the mass of the population takes action—and I don’t necessarily mean violent protests in the street, because I’m not sure how effective that is, but political involvement. Most people don’t even fucking vote! Until people start taking full responsibility and participating in the democratic process, things are going to stay bad. I mean, it’s not impossible for things to get better, but people are going to have to step up.”
In the wake of Brexit, British pop group Martha called for youth voters to stop letting the past win:
“I’m feeling very much like our generation has been set adrift by an older generation conned by fascists, careerist posh boys and the politics of selfishness. It’s caused huge rifts between families too, kinda feels like we’re the “sons (and daughters) of no-one.” It’s a huge feeling of betrayal.”
After the triumph of the 2008 election, Michael Skolnik transitioned from filmmaking to social activism; Here, he discusses the importance of taking a step back from your own life and partaking the progress of a nation:
“So, what to do after such a victorious election night? Well… I woke up the next day and decided to retire.
Although I miss making films, I feel like I am able to make more impact in the work that I do now. There is something beautiful about being able to be ahead of the curve and not constantly worrying about it passing you by because your project is taking too long. With the acceleration of the internet and social communication, I go to work everyday with excitement that we can make an impact at any moment. That is the difference between my old life and new one, and that is what motivates me to always be present, because you never know what the day will bring.”
Martha Shane discusses finding out Trump won while filming an immigration activist and DREAMer:
“I felt incredibly lucky to be filming with Jesus and the other activists at PACT on election day. For one thing, filming was a distraction from my own horror and grief at the results of the election. I didn’t want to stop filming because I felt that when we stopped filming, I would have to fully confront what had happened on my own. Secondly, PACT had won all their propositions, bringing positive changes to housing, education and criminal justice in the area, and Jesus cast the national election as a wake-up call. In this new country, there’s no time for complacency, he argued. There’s time only for the fight.”
Singer-songwriter Jenny Owen Youngs’ mantra for post-election self-care:
“In closing, a meditation on the sacred power of human closeness, a reminder to lean on your friends and to hold up those who lean on you, and a prayer for our future: please let us be fine.”
Finally, if you’ve already submitted your vote (or if you’re feeling inspired to take more action in service of progress), filmmaker Adam Baran compiled a list of foundations working to improve the lives of the disenfranchised:
“All of these groups do amazing work for LGBT people, women and people of color in both New York City and beyond. Please consider donating to these groups, become a monthly supporter, even at a small level, and share on your social media feeds. The bottom line is, even if you can’t do a lot, do a little. Because, I mean, fuck this fucking year, am I right?”
“Sero is particularly focused on ending inappropriate criminal prosecutions of people with HIV.”
“SONG builds a beloved community of LGBTQ people in the South who are ready and willing to do our part to challenge oppression in order to bring about liberation for ALL people.”
Fund Texas Choice funds Texan’s travel to abortion clinics, especially necessary in areas where individuals from lower-income families have little access to clinics or providers.
F2L are a group of community activists who work on behalf of queer and trans people of color targeted by the criminal justice system in New York state.
“In response to the catastrophic impact of Hurricane Irma on the USVI and sister islands in the Caribbean, the St. Croix Foundation for Community Development stands firm in its support of local and regional relief and recovery efforts, and it aims to work in partnership with organizations that are undertaking efforts to restore communities and families.”
“Our work for over 30 years has saved lives. But there is still a lot of work to do because of government negligence, unjust laws that stigmatize people living with HIV and pharma greed. Together we can help to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic.”