I Didn’t Vote

November 4, 2008

Obama's Hope, by Chris Milk

I rebelled.

I didn’t vote.

Well, let me be clear.

I didn’t vote for a Christian, a politician, a populist, or any major candidate.

I didn’t vote because Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and any other social spaces made me.

I didn’t vote because your profile pic, your text message, your constant blogs, and e-mails made me.

I didn’t vote because any particular candidates’ face was literally all over the place on Halloween, in the newsstands, on my television screen, or on some spiffy list.

I didn’t vote for “change;” that’s heavily dependent on who we’re looking at.

I didn’t vote for a Democrat or Republican, or a Black person or White person or male or female.

I didn’t vote on strategy either, because if I wanted to go with the strategy method, I could have chosen any number of campaigns or interested groups of voters, but I didn’t.

I didn’t even vote because I’m a teacher, and as much as I’ve griped about education and how I don’t like either candidates’ way of approaching us.

I didn’t vote because everyone else did it. I’m not usually one to just fall in line with those who generally share the same social interests with me.

I did it because I have a little boy in my math class who likes Barack, but thinks (and perhaps knows) that people want to kill him, so he shouldn’t even try because he’s going to get shot.

I did it because I have a young girl who, fiery and outspoken as she is, thinks John McCain himself wants to kill Barack and doesn’t believe that good people can come from either party.

I did it because I see the seeds are planted so students CAN be progressive and political at such an early age without discretion and without fear.

I did it because there’s someone else to look up to, away from the Soulja Boys of the world who give shout-outs to slavemasters or the Yung Bergs of the world differentiating between dark and light butts. They won’t follow those fools; they’ll follow Barack.

I did it because there’s nothing wrong with making a well-rounded family, loving one’s wife, and hugging your kids in public cool.

I did it because as much as the bitter man in me says we deserved Bush for 8 years since we didn’t fight hard enough against the maniac, the idealist believes that we didn’t, and shouldn’t, and this is the recompense.

I did it because, as I looked at and around the classroom, I was almost in (very quiet) tears knowing that these students would never be here if people didn’t literally fight to get into these establishments. Those fights help shift the national ideology, and made peace and progress in this country possible. From the schoolhouse to the White House, and we have the perfect man to bridge that gap.

I did it because, when my unborn children look up at me a few years from now and ask me what I did on this day, I can tell them,

“I voted for you to be whatever the hell you want to be.”

I didn’t vote for Barack the politician. I voted for Barack the man. And with him, I voted for his legacy.

jose, who will either be celebrating or mourning tomorrow. godspeed …

This post was written by...

José Luis Vilson is a math educator, blogger, speaker, and activist. For more of my writing, buy my book This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, on sale now.

For more about me, read here.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Sugarlips November 4, 2008 at 8:16 pm

Well said. Very well said.

Sugarlipss last blog post..sugarlips: Election Night Cheat Sheet. This is fun. http://is.gd/6lee


Whynot88 November 4, 2008 at 8:24 pm

Between this and that youtube I just watched, I’m in tears. Off to blow my nose, wash my face, and go to an election-watching party


dopegirlfresh November 4, 2008 at 8:40 pm


dopegirlfreshs last blog post..in boldface.


msladydeborah November 4, 2008 at 8:52 pm


There is a little boy in my Head Start class who is 3 years old. This child is a true Barack follower. He really doesn’t know what the POTUS does or why it is important.

But his role model at this point in his life is Barack. Not a rapper or an athlete. But a man who has captured his attention and imgination.

Who knows what impact this moment is going to have on the future generations of Americans?


JP November 4, 2008 at 9:20 pm

Whew! ……a beautiful level to reach


Luz November 4, 2008 at 9:27 pm

I never thought I would ever live to see this moment. When I voted today, I knew I was voting for a man who represents many of “us” today. It is not just about color and race but about the possibility of young people understanding that they can make a difference. I don’t think we can even begin to imagine what this represents to so many and the impact it will have in our nation.

Whatever the results will be at the end of this ride, the one thing we can be certain of is that we will not forget this day.

You captured many different sentiments so eloquently. Thank you.


CathrynMarie November 4, 2008 at 10:09 pm

I love this, although I disagree with the closing line – “I didn’t vote for Barack the politician” I feel a lot of people forget that he IS indeed a politician and are probably expecting too much of him as a man.

But I did greatly enjoy the opening :) nice pic, btw

CathrynMaries last blog post..Artist To Watch: Kevin Ross


Tracy Rosen November 4, 2008 at 10:13 pm

Nice Jose, nice. Our Canadian eyes are all eagerly looking south tonight. Hoping.

Tracy Rosens last blog post..Playing with Xtranormal Animation


Jose November 4, 2008 at 10:25 pm

Thanks everyone for your wonderful comments. I’d offer you all a tissue, but if Obama wins, I might need them all.

msladydeborah, I have no idea what kind of effect this will have on future generations, but this can only mean progress, and immense progress.

Luz, I thought I’d at least have to wait till my children were old enough to vote. We’ll see what this looks like soon.

JP, you’re tellin’ me.

CathrynMarie, I gotta say that, despite whatever skeletons he has in his closet, I really think that Obama’s image, and what he puts out there for the rest of us is an excellent example for young boys in the hood to follow. I know he’s not Jesus. He was born on the planet Krypton, wasn’t he?

Tracy, the world is watching, and I’m glad you’re one of ‘em.


Tricia November 5, 2008 at 1:00 am

I love this post. I have to remember to write that recommendation. I can only imagine the discussion in your classroom tomorrow…

Tricias last blog post..The Lord provides!


Hugh O'Donnell November 5, 2008 at 3:26 am

I voted for Barack Obama because he was the right man with the right words at the right time, whom I could believe in. That he was African-American is a wonderful coincidence, a double blessing for America.

Hugh O’Donnells last blog post..Help Upgrade [Ruben's] Classroom Library


Hugh O'Donnell November 5, 2008 at 3:27 am

Excuse my grammar, “that he IS African-American…”

Hugh O’Donnells last blog post..Help Upgrade [Ruben's] Classroom Library


Bam November 5, 2008 at 8:25 am

…and there it is.


m dot November 5, 2008 at 10:43 am

GREAT post written by a GREAT man about a SPECTACULAR moment in our lifetime.

m dots last blog post..Bleeding red, white and blue


Yobachi November 5, 2008 at 11:14 am

Nice work Jose. I guess you’re celebrating this morning.

Yobachis last blog post..Video Of Predident-Elect Obama’s Victory Speech (and McCain’s Consession)


Ms. George November 5, 2008 at 6:18 pm

Beautifully articulated! I was almost in tears looking at my fellow voters in line thinking, “We’re making History here!”

Ms. Georges last blog post..Election Day Eve Haiku


clyde November 6, 2008 at 4:24 pm

i’m a grown ass man and i may be a few days late.
but i shed some tears to this post….
and although i disagree with his education policy
and his view on same sex marriages
i think his election is monumental on how little kids
see themselves and their future

clydes last blog post..A Dream Came True..


mzvirgo November 18, 2008 at 10:02 pm

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