Open Thread: The Voter Dance

by Latoya Peterson

I watched the results trickle in from the Massachusetts Senate race last night, and it reminded me a lot the mood Maryland was in when my super blue home state elected a Republican Governor. We felt dazzled too, but that crap brought us Michael Steele, the STD that stays with you.

However, a friend sent me this hilarious article about the Senate Race as if it were taking place at a club:

And now I’m vaguely recalling that stranger across the room, the one in the barn jacket who kept smiling at me and seemed to know my name. Martha vanished for a while, and — is it bad that I’m saying this? — I didn’t really care.

Suddenly, that tall, handsome man was standing at my side doing something that Martha rarely did – offering to pay for drinks, chatting me up, curious what was on my mind.

Every time I ever tried telling Martha about my day, my hopes, my dreams, she shushed me up and said she was preparing a legal brief or watching Law & Order. And now there’s a stranger telling me he could change my entire world. [...]
Then, above the din and the music and the cheering, I distinctly heard someone ask, “How’s Martha going to feel about this?’’

And just like that, there she was, back at the bar, giving me that aloof prosecutorial look I knew all too well. I went back to her, sweaty and out of breath. Amazingly, she didn’t seem angry. She didn’t really show any emotion at all. She just pretended like nothing ever happened and tried to continue on.

Oh, but something did happen. I knew it, she knew it, and so did Scott, who was still beckoning from the other end of the bar, asking me to take a walk outside. And now it’s coming clear: I did. [...]

I needed to send a message. I don’t know much about Scott, and I have no idea how long he’ll be in my life, but I do know that nobody will ever take me for granted again.

My friend pointed out how Massachusetts managed to do what the women’s movement has failed to do – motivated a voting block to stop just taking what is handed to them and exercise their will at the ballot box. I wondered how this would apply to minority voters, considering our pickings are extra grim if we only look at the two main parties. But at the same time, the voters up in Mass did send a message. How can that type of political play be organized for causes important to people of color?