Introduction to TFW Voting Forum

October 23, 2012

Over the course of this election season, TFW has wrestled with the idea of issuing political endorsements. As a Collective, we are committed to a future that makes human flourishing possible. For us, this future is one that depends on radical self-reflexivity, naming the insidious workings of racisms, sexisms, heterosexisms, and nationalisms, alongside acting in our worlds with a politic motivated by our critical analyses.

In many ways as Collective members, we share a vision of a liberatory future, even as we understand the route to that future differently. For example, each one of us comes to the question of electoral politics with a distinct perspective. Likewise, what we are doing in response to the current elections–Presidential and otherwise–ranges widely. Some of these differences are due to citizenship status, geographic location, particular forms of disenfranchisement, and even age. Not all of our Collective members meet legal voting age requirements. Yet, not even those of us amongst the Collective who carry the status US citizen approach the act of voting in the same way and, in fact, we do not collectively agree about who deserves our endorsement.

The “undecided voter” looms as a demographic category operating throughout media coverage and political strategizing. Certain questions persist. Who is the undecided voter? What are core issues are candidates insufficiently addressing? Are undecided voters politically apathetic or systematically disenfranchised? And ultimately, what makes undecided voters, decide?

In the context of elections that are too close to call with any certainty, the category–undecided voter–is so thoroughly interrogated because election results often hinge on those votes. While analyses of those yet decided can tell us something about who is likely to be elected, the focus on being undecided leaves the act of having decided relatively unspoken for.

As those with critiques of politics and economics writ large, it is the case that many of us among the TFW Collective are decided. Yet, some of us might be described as reluctant or vexed voters, as we bring our critical lens to bear on the politics of those candidates deemed “liberal” or “progressive.” Alternately, some of us are choosing not to vote and are investing our energy towards efforts that we believe are more responsive to undermining injustice. Others of us have wrestled with the glaring silences in political discourse and made a certain concessions, choosing to invest in mainstream candidates, while others vigorously support independent parties. All of these approaches to electoral politics are worthy of reflection, we think.

Our purpose is twofold. First, TFW’s mission is explicitly invested in exploring interventions that facilitate well-being and social justice. For many, voting is this kind of intervention. To be sure, not all of us agree, but given how voting operates in so many spaces explicitly oriented around social reform, it is worthy of our collective reflection. Secondly for our readers who are looking for some practical guidance as they sort through their own relationship to voting, we offer this forum for your consideration as you wrestle in these coming weeks.

Tags: , , ,

Comments are closed.

Follow The Feminist Wire

Arts & Culture

  • Remembering and Honoring Toni Cade Bambara Sanchez

    Sonia Sanchez: What are we pretending not to know today? The premise as you said, my sister, being that colored people on planet earth really know everything there is to know. And if one is not coming to grips with the knowledge, it must mean that one is either scared or pretending to be stupid.

  • Hunger Kwame Laughing Foto

    They say you had the eye; they say you saw
    into people. They say you came before as shaman
    or bruja and returned as priestess; they say you were
    stonebreaker. But for me, you were a big sister
    feeling for a lonely brother with no language
    to lament, and you gave me more days, and
    more days. Yes, they could have called you
    Grace, Bambara; they could have called you that.

  • Stroller (A Screenplay) Black families and community

    Roxana Walker-Canton: Natalie sits in her own seat in front of her mother and looks out the window. Mostly WHITE PEOPLE get on and off the bus now. The bus rides through a neighborhood of single family homes. A BLACK WOMAN with TWO WHITE CHILDREN get on the bus. Natalie stares at the children.

Princeton University Post Doc: Apply Now!