As I listened to the words of my friend and expert Saquan Jones, I was saddened but empowered by the passion displayed. As he spoke eloquently to African American voters who vowed not to vote and did not vote, I was reminded of a lesson I learned we all learned as a child:
Pouting Punishes You!
Having 5 children, I have the honor of watching this play out. On any given outing, we could have to watch a child restrict themselves from fun because they are unhappy about something that has occurred or is planned. While the others continue to have fun, we plead with the child to join the others and not punish themselves because things are going their way. We point out the happy faces and jovial voices of those who have accepted what is, and have learned how to enjoy what has or will transpire.
Sometimes, Pouting is Pointless
As a child, we didn’t have a choice. Nope! No vote! Our opinion didn’t matter! We were relegated to the back seat! No Poll was taken, no suggestion was solicited. We heard the dialogue (sometimes)! Prayed for the decision we preferred! And braced for the results! They would round up the family and give us the plan for the day or evening, and we were forced to go along.
As kids, we couldn’t wait to grow up! One day, we would have a voice! We would have a say so! We could influence the outcome, and argue for our position. One day we dreamed, that not only would our voice be heard, but our opinions would carry weight with the matriarch and patriarch. As Kids, we realized:
Pouting without Power just Expends Energy
We knew we needed not only to be able to voice our opinion, but we needed to be at the table to participate in the decision making! We need a vote! Without this vote, our Pouting, we realized, was just Pouting! It lacked leverage. It lacked influence. Without this vote, we were dependent on the mercy of the voting class to throw us a bone.
As an older sibling, we have all watched a younger sibling literally whine and cry themselves to sleep; missing the entire outing! Now as adults, we watch our peers wine and cry themselves to sleep; waking to complain about the outcome! The energy that could have been used to have fun was expended in a temper tantrum, and in the end, nothing was accomplished, and the moment was gone.
As Saquan poured out his wisdom, I thought, There is no way that little child in the back seat or breakfast table would imagine a circumstance where they would have a voice and a vote and not use it!
Then I smiled! I thought to myself, why criticize those who Pouted! Maybe they were just mimicking what they were watching?
Yep, for the last 8 years, these new voters and young voters watched as a corrupt group of pouting old men sat on their hands for 8 years because the people placed in power one they didn’t choose
Because they pouted; we all lost! We lost their voice and wisdom which could have aided product and policy that could have “Made America Great.” But much like the 2 year old in the back seat, they only wanted “America Great” on their terms with their ideas.
Sometimes Your Pouting Affects Others!
Pouting does not punish the one you are upset with, but it often ruins it for the others along for the journey! One of the worst things that could happen to an outing was the pouting of one, leading to the canceling of an outing causing us all to suffer! Get it together!!!!!!
The truth is, many of us sat this one out, thinking, “I’ll show you!” We kept our power in our pockets, choosing to use only our voices to speak to the ruling power. And yes, there will be some riots and protest, but they will make little change and will last only a short time. And while many of us sat at home, the ruling glass watched with glee. I bet they were thinking,
And after the results, they were thinking,
Just because you have a vote, doesn’t mean you will always win!
There will be times when you vote that you will be outvoted. Times that you will not get your way. Times you will not be represented. Times you will have to be strategic. Times when your options will be ones you would prefer not to choose. Even in these cases, your vote still counts towards something.
Voting is not about winning! It’s about voicing your opinion to affect the outcome and direction of the whole.
It is Power to Change, not just the Freedom to Speak.