After seeing news reports and first-person accounts online about long lines, broken voting machines, and other problems at voting locations yesterday, specifically in several metro Atlanta counties (including mine) in the State of Georgia’s election, I decided to see for myself what was going on. I rode my bike fifteen miles past six voting sites in my suburb-city (and numerous others I thought might be sites — some were moved due to COVID-19). Not one of them had a line out the door.
Hmmm. Interesting, I thought.
When I asked on Facebook why that was, a friend quickly said it was whiteness. Where I live is less white than many people realize, I replied, but okay, if that’s the reason, how did whiteness result in this?
Another said it was because many people voted early and mailed in ballots. I asked why that would be a differentiator here, as wouldn’t many people everywhere have voted early and mailed in ballots?
I was genuinely interested in unpacking the series of interrelated reasons why every single voting site in one place would be uncrowded while people were sitting in lawn chairs and ordering pizza after four hours on lines elsewhere.
But then a third person called the first friend’s comment ignorant and blamed comments like his for the current protests.
And that’s when I decided to deactivate my Facebook account.
I have close friends, family members, and trusted mentors who are willing to go through the intellectual and emotional journey with me to try to understand better why different outcomes happen in different places (continuing intentional work I have been doing for more than seven years now*), and what can be done to improve outcomes for all. I am choosing those people (and the strangers I meet while Traveling at the Speed of Bike), one on one, face to face (at a distance) rather than on Facebook, for awhile. In order, in all honesty, to stay activated.
* I have much to learn, and I make many mistakes.