But not my vote, you creepy old fart.
We all know the issues people took into consideration when deciding who they would vote for. Even prisoners were nowhere near sheltered from the bottomless pit of polls and surveys detailing the political and social tastes of the American public. But what about my opinion? My campaign newsletter never came in the mail; Obama never canvassed this neighborhood. Asshole. What, just because I'm disenfranchised all of a sudden my political opinion doesn't matter?
OK, of course it doesn't matter, but I think I still have my freedom of speech, so I'm calling bullshit!
Since McCain/Palin '08 didn't feel it necessary to hear the voices of United States Penitentiary Terre Haute, I decided to do a survey of my own. Nothing fancy or complicated, just something which would serve as a crude barometer of how my fellow convicts would have voted and what issues were taken into consideration when making their decision.
My results? Well, due to my inability to create colorful graphs or informative charts (don't forget where I'm hand-writing this from), I will only say that my statistics showed Obama winning by more than 10% of the vote. By demographic:
Blacks: Obama 100%, McCain 0%The 10% figure reflects the racial mix of this institution.
Whites: Obama 0%, McCain 100%
Hispanics: Obama 0%, McCain 0%
And in case it wasn't immediately obvious, the primary concern of maximum security voters was race. I really shouldn't say race so much as blackness. It is no exaggeration when I claim that the blacks I spoke with would have voted for Lil' Wayne if it meant getting a black president just as the whites would happily elect Pee-Wee Herman for nothing more than his light skin. It all boiled down to either putting a nigga in office or keeping a nigger out of it, to use the respective vernaculars.
While our country as a whole may be making serious strides towards open-mindedness, I'm afraid our prison systems seem to be lagging far behind in that race. Pun intended.
Because skin color is such a talked about topic in our society, I'd like to point out a reported voting statistic I found both interesting and surprising. Because 98% or so of black voters chose Obama (no surprise there), I figured the turnout of this particular demographic would have been at least as large, if not larger, than the percentage of whites who voted. But according to NPR news (which has a level of accuracy second only to the atomic clock and a reputation for honesty akin to George Washington post-cherry tree), the black turnout for Decision 2008 was only around 13% compared with a little more than 10% for the Bush/Kerry election. Does this shock anyone else? But I may have misunderstood this figure; if someone has a more accurate one, please let me know. In any case it is true (and I'm confident of these numbers) that the black vote turned out at a rate of 95 percent of those registered and 60 percent of those eligible. Not bad. But then, the percentage of blacks who aren't even registered must be frighteningly high.
I know about as much about black culture as I do kazoo culture, so to get an "insider perspective" on this topic I asked "G," a gangbanger a few cells down with a mouth full of golds but a head full of common sense, what he thought about the low black turnout.
In our brief exchange G explained the proliferation of voter intimidation, lack of faith in the system, a lack of patriotic fervor, and the general feeling that their vote just won't count.
Of course this was nothing new to me. Although these are all legitimate hindrances which need to be remedied, their existence is by no means a secret. But I did realize one thing while talking with G: That I am totally sick of hearing about race. I enjoy talking about race about as much as I enjoy Jingle Bells being played for the millionth time by December 24th.
Look, I've never been prouder to be an American than right now, because my country proved to me that it could pick the better man for the job despite any racial barriers. But the barrier's been broken. The race card's been played so much I think I'm going to ask to play with a different deck soon. Isn't it time we bury the horrors of the past and begin a new culture of individual responsibility? But what can we call this new culture?