I’ve been extremely busy the last few months, splitting my time between work, traveling 2-3 days a week, momming, and being a super active volunteer for the Stacey Abrams for Governor campaign.
I canvassed (phone and in person), donated a ton of money, went to event after event, cheered her on at the debate, even rapped on MARTA. I met Stacey, heard John Lewis speak, high-fived Will Ferrell, and Obama even waved at me. So those things were pretty cool.
I also made an amazing friend, Brit, who runs Millennials for Abrams and is an absolute POWERHOUSE of a woman. I cannot wait to see where she takes things. As no indirect part of her efforts, young voters came out at 4x what they did in previous elections. 400%+ in Georgia. That’s freaking amazing.
But I can’t begin to even explain what we were fighting against. With the Secretary of State running his own campaign, you hear about suppression but it’s hard to contextualize without seeing it for yourself.
I saw it for myself.
I volunteered as a nonpartisan poll watcher at Booker T. Washington High School in Fulton County and I watched, slack-jawed, as 76 people–roughly 8% of the total voters–were forced to vote provisionally. 8 people were turned away to other precincts because the location had been begging for additional provisional materials that didn’t arrive until an hour and a half after they had run out. Every single person who voted provisionally was a person of color – almost all were Spelman students. This was happening all over the state, primarily for people of color and students.
The students and the poll workers did nothing wrong. The students were registered but simply had been purged, or never put, on the voter rolls. After the election, we have heard of thousands of provisional ballots going missing.
The machine numbers at Booker did not match the list of machines the county provided. One machine broke during someone’s voting process. A check-in machine was not functional during the first 2 hours of voting, when 40 people had lined up starting at 6:30am to get in the doors right away.
It was egregious. It was downright wrong. It was most certainly intentional and illegal. And it was all in the name of the guy running the election cheating to win.
I’ve heard a lot since he claimed victory (that is actually still out for debate as provisional ballots come in more and more every day). “Suck it up, buttercup” is a line touted by the Right, as is the idea that somehow we are cheating by wanting to count every vote (“He won fair and square!”). This is downright bullshit.
Seeing it all happen in front of my eyes–and also witnessing the total lack of surprise from everyone involved–was eye-opening, to say the least. My initial reaction was, “That’s just not fair!” Well, welcome to the world of everyone without privilege. Welcome to the world of every person of color. “It’s not fair!” Well, of course it’s not. It never is.
I wrote a little song to get my feelings about the situation out. It’s been years since I’ve written anything… it requires just the right mood and passion. But last week, I felt that passion. I felt that anger. I felt that fury and sense of injustice. And I can only continue to keep fighting so this never happens again.
Don’t give me reasons
For how you played the better game
It’s all just treason
When the candle lights the flame, baby
Fuck you and judge you
And give me reason to care
You fucking monster
Won’t let you haunt her
With your slow-cracking smile
You play the games of a child
I won’t let you win this time
As we wind down the ride
Don’t stand there stupid
Pretending like the crowd can’t see
You wrote the ballot
And then declared your victory, baby
Stay clean, we’re making
A case to show you who we are
Catch me on the other side
Milquetoast baby, rip this tide
I will take it all in stride
‘Cause you’ll find
We’re gonna fuck you up this time
We’re gonna catch you in the riptide