race + gender + politics

Suffocating Suffrage

March 8, 2012

“Franky, our ancestors don’t seem much to brag about. I mean, look at the state they left us in, with the wars and the broken planet. Clearly, they didn’t care about what would happen to the people who came after them.” – Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Mockingjay is book #3 of The Hunger Games trilogy – a series I am completely engrossed in at the moment!! So many of my friends have been raving about the book, and are eagerly anticipating the adapted film‘s debut, I jumped on THG bandwagon along with them.Though Initially, however, it took some convincing, since I immediately lost interest upon hearing the series takes place during a post-apocalyptic era. Eh, no thanks. But then I read the book’s description – “In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.” 

Hook, line and sinker.

You see, this nation of Panem is ruled by a totalitarian government, regulating both public and private life, who force children – CHILDREN – to kill each other for entertainment and as a way of keeping the people in check, living in fear. Sounds horrible!!! Thank God we (Americans) live in a democracy right? Right?!

Well, the more I watch the GOP debates and elections, the more I ponder on just how much it would take for the USA to become Panem. It seems extreme to compare the two – one reality, one fantasy. Yet, every time I turn around, it seems as if certain political entities are pushing to take away more and more rights of American citizens. They want to control a woman’s womb and control who people can and cannot marry. You know, in the name of “small government.” (o_O)

In case you didn’t know, these very same political entities who want to control people’s private lives are also out to control who can vote. Sure, you may have thought we crossed all those pesky voting hurdles with the 15th and 18th amendments to the Constitution that now [supposedly] allow EVERYONE to vote in this country. But apparently, we’re regressing. There are 32 states who have passed1 or pending legislation that will require new photo ID laws2. These laws target and would disenfranchise some 5 million voters – namely the elderly, the poor, and students. The timing for this legislation is uncanny, right before the upcoming presidential election, as many of these voters are potential Obama supporters. #GoFigure. Based on the timing and supporters of these laws, it’s pretty clear that these laws are intended to suppress a very particular vote, not to ensure voting security.


I won’t go on a long tirade and get on my high horse to berate you into caring about the importance of voter right or the ridiculousness of these voter ID laws (and the idea that they are combating “voter fraud” – give me a break!). I could, I want to, I already kind of did on twitter, but I won’t. Instead, I urge you to educate yourself on the issues and take a stand against legislation that picks away at our rights, rights that our ancestors literally killed themselves over to gain. No, we aren’t in the post-Civil War, Jim Crow era, but these new tactics are eerily reminiscent.3

What happens if we think something like this is no big deal and do nothing? What happens if we allow the rich and powerful to dictate who can do what, and how? What other rights are we going to compromise on? What will it take for us to say, “enough is enough”? If we’re not vigilant, and willing to fight, our descendants may be saying the very thing in the above passage. That we left them neglected, impoverished, and broken, with no say in their governance.

I want to give the future more. I want my country to have better. I care about the people who come after me. I’m not ready to give up. I won’t let anyone take my rights from up under me. Not without a fight.

Both angry and sad,

1 Pennsylvania’s senate just passed the legislation today. *sigh* I kind of wish I was still going to be living in PA come November, so I can help mobilize voters in Pittsburgh. Oregon won’t be dealing with this nonsense.
2 To find out if YOUR state is on some f&%k s#!t, you can go to NAACP‘s site – they list each state’s Voter ID requirements and legislation. #thankmelater
3 Here is a great article that highlights our voting history in this country.

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  • Reply madscientist7 March 8, 2012 at 10:02 am

    i love everything about this post (and you said you couldn’t write about things like this). this reminds me of how black voters were intimidated in the south basically ending reconstruction. matter of fact i have a quote from a book you recommended.

    “By some measures, the freedmen made spectacular progress in South Carolina in the 1870s. In the election of 1872, African-Americans took four of the eight statewide elective offices, including lieutenant governor and attorney general; they captured 106 of the 156 seats in the legislature; they gained both the speakership of the House and the presidency of the Senate; and they won four of South Carolina’s five congressional seats. These political victories reflected blacks’ 60-percent share of the state’s population and their propensity to vote in extraordinary numbers.

    Given these facts, Martin Witherspoon Gary, an Edgefield planter, lawyer and former Confederate officer, devised a a plan of “terrorizing the negroes” to “redeem” South Carolina in the election of 1876. His strategy, known as “the Edgefield plan,” called upon each white Democrat to “control the vote of at least one negro by intimidation, purchase, keeping him away or as each individual may determine.” Remember, Gary counseled, that “argument has no effect of them: They can only be influenced by their fears.” The sixteenth point of his plan read: “Never threaten a man individually. If he deserves to be threatened the necessities of the times require that should die. A dead Radical is very harmless.”

    Fox Butterfield (All God’s Children)

    I think that people are too caught up in trivial matters to even care about what is going on the political front. voter suppression laws are real. the sad thing is i don’t even think they are necessary. i have an eerie feeling that minorities and liberals won’t show up to vote like they did in 2008. this along with voter suppression could make this election a lot closer than it should be and we all saw what happened when the race was close in 2000. **looks directly at florida**

    • Reply Wu Young, Agent of M.E. March 8, 2012 at 10:26 am


      Gary was a lightweight. One former governor, Wade Hampton, basically had an armed militia known as the Red Shirts to supplant every gain made by blacks during reconstruction. Essenstially state supported terrorism. Future govs like Pitchfork Ben Tillman openly boasted membership in the Red Shirts to gain favor while campaigning.

      • Reply madscientist7 March 8, 2012 at 11:21 am

        yeah its a shame how far conservative right wingers will go to suppress votes. soon it won’t be enough though. as the minority population continues to eclipse the majority all the covert and overt tactics in the world won’t matter.

      • Reply Wu Young, Agent of M.E. March 8, 2012 at 11:30 am

        I was listening to the Takeaway on my local NPR station this morning and a Muslim Republican was talking about how far Santorum was going to embrace the nutjobs with his caustic positions. He went on to say that the Santorums of the world will eventually fail due to the browning of the nation and his party.

      • Reply gemmieboo March 8, 2012 at 11:35 am

        please dont mention the S word on my blog. he makes me want to vomit. sickening individual.

    • Reply gemmieboo March 8, 2012 at 10:51 am


      yep. everything you said.

  • Reply Wu Young, Agent of M.E. March 8, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Good post Gemmie,

    The recent b.s. debates about women’s or voter rights reminds me of a long-standing truth- You may not be interested in politics but politicians are very interested in you.

    Measures like voter I.D are gateways to more fuckery if one right is infringed upon others will follow. As for the birth control debates that is pure right-wing, male sexism. If men carried children the morality, legality, or cost of birth control would NEVER come into question. Looking back at that meeting in DC the lack of women (none) on that panel reminded me of when the European powers divided up Africa in the 1800’s, Poland just about every year until the late 80’s, and Czechoslovakia in 1938. The common characteristic was that none of the people who were to be affected had a chance to speak for themselves

    • Reply Wu Young, Agent of M.E. March 8, 2012 at 10:22 am

      *hit send to early*

      Basically anytime someone decides your fate for you, you will be marginalized to the point of breaking. That’s how I see the right’s views on women and other minorities.

      • Reply gemmieboo March 8, 2012 at 10:58 am

        exactly. Panem happens mayne, im tell you!

    • Reply gemmieboo March 8, 2012 at 10:55 am


      dont even get me started on the birth control debate. the whole thing is just plain idiotic.

      Measures like voter I.D are gateways to more fuckery if one right is infringed upon others will follow.


  • Reply Larry March 8, 2012 at 10:46 am

    Great post. Love The Hunger Games reference. Just finished the series a couple days ago. That quote stuck out to me add well.

    • Reply gemmieboo March 8, 2012 at 11:02 am

      thanks. i initially wasnt going to write the post. and then i read that quote. and i couldnt keep silent anymore.

  • Reply Phidelity15 March 8, 2012 at 11:04 am

    How many times can you like a blog post?!? This would get like 50 fb likes for real. Its frightening how unaware people are of the changing laws and the f*ckery that is going on in OUR government. People we’ve chosen (or let get chosen for us, if you don’t vote) to represent us are sailing us on a ship straight to our past. Like those were the good old days. F*ck outta here man!!

    And that whole panel on women’s rights without ANY women present…listen, there aren’t any kind of words to describe how bogus that was. We are slowly rolling backwards and people need to wake up and realize that if we don’t stop even the little injustices, we soon won’t have a voice at all.

    SN: I wanted to read The Hunger Games, probably will, but the whole book and series reminded me of a short story by Stephen King *wiki link here—> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Long_Walk * I did read a review that SK liked hunger games..but I wonder if he read it and said “hey I wrote that already!” *google break* yeah he did pretty much say in his review that people would recognize the story line if they’ve ever read The Running Man, The Long Walk or Battle Royale.

    • Reply gemmieboo March 8, 2012 at 11:13 am

      SAY MUHFUGGIN WORD!!!! yes yes and more YES!!!! thanks for commenting and liking lol 🙂

      like it blows me (and now in a good way) how mindless ppl are or can be. some one on FB said “how hard is it for ppl to get ID. you need ID for everything” and all i could do was (O_O) and think, as a white male, i wouldnt even expect you to BEGIN to understand who and what is at stake here. im seething just thinking about it all.

      SN: i dont really read SK so i would have never known. that said, i still recommend you check out the series!

      • Reply Phidelity15 March 8, 2012 at 11:31 am

        I don’t think people realize that you need id to get id. And everything has to be current. Lord forbid you go to the dmv with an expired photo id…you need Jesus, Mary, Joseph ya mama and ya cuzzin too to say you are who you are and please put that on laminate. A birth certificate doesn’t hold weight any more and if you’re not working or going to school you probably won’t have any of those ids or a bank/credit card.

        Its tough as hell so I pray whoever is talking that ish never loses, lets their id expire and become poor. See how easy it is then.

      • Reply gemmieboo March 8, 2012 at 11:39 am

        don’t think people realize that you need id to get id. And everything has to be current.

        AGAIN FOR THE CHEAP SEATS!!!! privilege blinds folks. its not easy for the AVERAGE person to get ID, you really think the poor and elderly are going to be able to get ID no problem?? gimme a damn break.

        and your last paragraph? i basically told him that. “hope nothing happens for your rights to get infringed upon. good luck” smdh

      • Reply Wu Young, Agent of M.E. March 8, 2012 at 11:49 am

        “i basically told him that. “hope nothing happens for your rights to get infringed upon. good luck”

        I made a similar point on Tunde’s blog yesterday. If you don’t stand up for others who are being oppressed there won’t be anyone around to stand up for you when your time comes. Again, THIS IS A PRIVILEGE thing.

      • Reply gemmieboo March 8, 2012 at 11:51 am


  • Reply miss t-lee March 8, 2012 at 11:28 am

    As we spoke about this last night on the twitter, this bullsh*t has been going on in my state. They pushed this through, but what I love is that the Justice department said “hold on, not so fast mayne!!!”
    Especially when it’s obvious in my state that this law was brought up to prevent “voter fraud” read: we don’t want them brown illegal folks tryna vote. Like that would ever happen, but I digress.
    Here’s an article about the latest goings on here in Texas.


    Love the post, btw chickie. You said you couldn’t write like this. *side eye*

    • Reply gemmieboo March 8, 2012 at 11:45 am

      girrrrrrl. the PA Dems are already talking about taking this bill to the courts once it passes in the House with the Senate’s amendments. i cant wait. and ill be actively working on voter education in the process while they figure this out. cant have focus uninformed any more than they already are smdh.

      thanks for the link on N. Mexico. looks like my state aint much better off than yours #tragic (hehe)

  • Reply Panama Jackson March 8, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    Good post Gemmie. I would elaborate on why but the truth is, you kind of said it all. Also, I saw the previews for The Hunger Games movie…i’m totally sold on it. I probably won’t read the books b/c reading is for suckers. But I’m ’bout that movie life.

    • Reply gemmieboo March 8, 2012 at 3:10 pm

      thank you for stopping by, Peej. im honored.

      THG is going to be the sh*t. we’re going to see it premiere night – VIP seating. im so excited!

  • Reply simplysope March 8, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    Excellent post, YET AGAIN! You pretty much snatched the thoughts directly out of my mind on your Panem parallel. As I read that book seriously terrified about how close it is to where we are now. Like you said, those of us who are priviliged who currently aren’t affected by these attacks perpetuated by the GOP need to wake the hell up. If you allow another person’s rights to be snatched away yours aren’t too far behind. Privilege is not bullet proof, and like Tunde said, those who aren’t white and rich need to be extra careful because like in the Hinger Games, who you think they are going to send as a tribute?

    • Reply simplysope March 8, 2012 at 3:00 pm

      Typos galore. I typed this w/my thumbs, and I was too excited to wait till I was at a computer, lol.

    • Reply gemmieboo March 8, 2012 at 3:11 pm

      exactamente. thank you for commenting! (even on your whack-ass-berry hehe)

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