For 220 years, every presidential election in the United States came down to two old white men.
Then, miraculously, we had three back-to-back elections where one of those white men was swapped out for an alternate — first Barack, then Hillary.
Obama won twice and went on to deport and bomb as many brown people as he could before abandoning his base.
And the rest is repulsive orange history.
After 2016, America fell off the diversity wagon and returned to the familiarity of deciding which geriatric white supremacist man-child would best serve the interests of the few, at the expense of the many.
But the presidential elections between 2008 and 2016 did have one unintended side effect: They allowed voters to realize supporting old white men isn’t our only option. They broke the spell of electoral mediocrity and nepotism that has been ingrained in us since the Birth of this Nation.
And many voters made the decision that, from this point forward, we are done voting for old white men.
I came to the personal decision that for every presidential election from here on out I’ll be voting for a Black person killed by the State. Specifically, the individual whose death causes me the most turmoil and pain in a given election year.
I’m sad to say, for 2020, that person is Breonna Taylor. I’m absolutely politicizing Breonna’s murder, because Breonna’s murder was political.
So here’s why she’s getting my vote for President of the United States:
1) Most of Our Presidential Votes Don’t Count, Especially if You’re Black
If you’re like me and live in one of the 44 states that don’t have a legitimate say in determining the president thanks to the electoral college, you’ll realize that most of our votes are essentially “protest votes” anyway.
As with most presidential elections, the 2020 election will be decided by six swing states. Outcomes from the remaining states are all but predetermined.
I’m not going to argue about it. Those are the facts. So if my vote doesn’t count, why wouldn’t I use it to highlight victims of state violence?
Maybe if enough candidates lose by the margin of people voting for Black lives lost to systemic violence they’ll finally do something about it.
And even if I did happen to live in a swing state, that only gives my protest vote even more power. Maybe if enough candidates lose by the margin of people voting for Black lives lost to systemic violence they’ll finally do something about it, and I don’t mean by requesting that police shoot me in the leg.
Contrary to popular belief, old white men don’t need to hold political office to influence change in this country. When they start wielding their power and privilege to dismantle oppressive systems, then we can talk about how I cast my vote.
Until then, I can do bad all by myself.
2) Dead or Alive, Breonna Taylor is a Better Candidate
There’s no doubt in my mind that Breonna Taylor would be a better president than either of the candidates running this year.
Breonna Taylor never committed tax fraud. Breonna Taylor never incarcerated people for minor crimes. Breonna Taylor never voted for endless war. Breonna Taylor never RAPED anyone, and wasn’t repeatedly accused of sexual misconduct and impropriety.
I know it’s taboo to vote for someone simply because they’re far and away the best candidate, but even the ghost of Breonna Taylor would do a better job governing than any candidate on the ballot — and that includes third party candidates who do NOTHING all year to build community power but then show up begging for 5% support to gain access to public funds.
I guess they didn’t think we noticed.
3) I’m Not the Only Person Voting for Breonna Taylor
I’m in a group chat with like 20 Black women organizers and we’re all voting for Breonna Taylor. So are half the people on the #DoneForDiDi reparations team. So is my editor. So is my therapist.
So there’s that.
4) Victory is Guaranteed
If organizing has taught me one thing, it’s that we have to define victory on our own terms. Winning an election is not a victory to me. Especially when our elections don’t even follow basic rules, such as, “The person with the most votes wins.”
So if the Founding Failures got to frame victory however they saw fit, why can’t we?
Victory for me is justice for Breonna Taylor and all marginalized people suffering under Capitalism — especially Black non-men and children. That’s it. Anything short of that is death, literally.
I refuse to pretend anything about this election is normal.
Voting for Breonna Taylor keeps Black women at the forefront of this conversation, and makes my priorities as a citizen and voter clear to those in power. Isn’t that the point of voting? To get our concerns uplifted and REPRESENTED by the politicians who claim to represent us.
And if I can do that while figuratively “Saying Her Name” on the most controversial and coveted document I’ll be submitting for the next four years, it’s a win/win.
Voting for Breonna Taylor isn’t a gimmick or another attempt at Breonna’s “memeification,” as discussed by Feminista Jones. It’s an act of political resistance meant to make society uncomfortable while applying pressure to those who view my willingness to vote as the height of civic engagement.
There’s no rule that says I have to vote for a politician simply because they need my vote. There’s no rule that says I have to vote for a “lesser” white supremacist to prove my loyalty to oppressed people. I can vote for whoever I want, or not vote at all, and the burden of gaining my vote is on those who wish to win elections.
5) There Are No More Rules
This year’s election is somehow more ridiculous than previous years. There’s a global pandemic. Nearly half the country is unemployed. 40 Million Americans are facing eviction. And our choices for president are between a Nazi rapist and a slightly more subtle Nazi rapist.
I refuse to pretend anything about this election is normal. I refuse to believe that standing in a line full of COVID carriers in early-November is the best way to protect vulnerable people. This election has proven that the entire system is a farce, at best; or a strategic attempt to keep Americans from burning everything down, at worst.
Because there’s never been a clearer time in contemporary American history where an election shouldn’t be happening, yet here we are. There’s a non-stop choir of voices demanding that we participate, as if that’s not completely dangerous given the circumstances, and even illogical given the overwhelming evidence that voting simply doesn’t help people who look like me.
If you want me to go along with this nonsense, I’m voting for someone I actually value. I’m voting for someone who I see myself in. I’m voting for someone who represents my struggle and my desire for radical and transformative change. I’m voting for someone who mattered, and who continues to matter.
I’m voting for Breonna Taylor.
Donations & reparations welcome to the author, but only if you got it like that.