No illusions that a billionaire’s ball is either a reflection of popular will or a mandate for what is to be done; no dreams that pulling a lever fulfills my ongoing responsibility as a socially engaged person or could possibly realize my most hopeful vision of a just and joyful world; no fantasies that the process is either clean or fair or honest.
But I voted.
Because it’s a fundamental right. Because people who are denied that right demand it and fight like hell for it all across the globe. Because I remember the courage of African-Americans on the courthouse steps in Mississippi and Alabama enduring hatred and humiliation, risking violence and death for access to the ballot. Because the right to vote is secured with blood. Because the right to vote is, then, sacred.
But four billion dollars? Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Finance, Big Military, Big Prison. That’s not democracy. That’s an oligarchy.
As Emma Goldman once said, “If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal.”
Oh, and they did.
The Onion got it right: “Republicans poised to retain control of Senate.”
Gloria Ladson Billings commented: “Republicans are going to party like it’s 1865.”
I mentioned this important book a few days ago. Here is an interview I did with Maya Schenwar that appeared in Truthout today:
An urgent new book about America’s gulag, and how it destroys democracy and hurts everyone’s humanity:
For years, in addition to her tireless work running Truthout, Maya Schenwar has written on the impact of prisons in the United States – the devastating effects this system of incarceration has on individuals, families, communities and the country as a whole.
As more and more people recognize the US prison system as a pressing issue, her work has appeared not just at Truthout but also The Guardian and The New York Times. Now we are very proud to announce the release of Maya Schenwar’s debut book, Locked Down, Locked Out: Why Prison Doesn’t Work and How We Can Do Better.
Locked Down, Locked Out is a deeply personal and unflinchingly honest book, drawing directly on the experience of Schenwar’s own family, as well as extensive research and interviews with those who are incarcerated and those who are working to find better alternatives to incarceration. Through the stories of prisoners and their loved ones, Truthout’s editor-in-chief looks at how prison breaks apart families and communities, creating a rippling effect that touches every corner of our society. With an eye always on the practical, she explores how we can provide healing and resolution to victims while building public safety in communities – and ultimately, how we can create a safer, more just world.
Locked Down, Locked Out has already been acclaimed by everyone from Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow, to former Congressman Dennis Kucinich, and from Bill Ayers to Angela Davis, who says it contains “brilliant juxtaposition of abolitionist imaginaries and radical political practices.”
Published by Berrett-Koehler, Locked Down, Locked Out: Why Prison Doesn’t Work and How We Can Do Better will be in stores on November 10. But you can get Maya Schenwar’s book ahead of time, shipped directly from Truthout, by making a minimum donation of $25 today!