The Duality & Unity of being T
Why Trans* should vote for our own self interest
By Sabrina Samone, TMP
To vote for what seems to be in the interest of yourself, your family and community is not a new concept. Though some believe in a paradox of voting (i.e., Downs paradox), that for a rational, self-interested voter, the costs of voting will normally exceed the expected benefits because the chance of exercising the pivotal vote is minuscule compared to any realistic estimate of the private individual benefits of the different possible outcomes, the expected benefits of voting are less than the costs. Let’s not forget so soon the pre-election 2012 media blitz, where so many people appeared to be voting against their own self interest. Or did they?
I believe, though many will argue, that a percentage of republican voters (the percent is debatable), chose to vote for Romney, simply because he is white or even better simply, to attempt to vote the black man out. We may want to argue amongst co-workers, or social media that, that wasn’t the case, but in the quiet of your own solitude you know examples where this is true. For that percent that did, they were voting for their own, may even be called bigoted but regardless, their own personal self-interest. So many in media were in awe of the number of lower middle class people that made fewer than 250,000 a year, which would vote for a candidate who was obviously supporting those that made above that. But they were voting for their own self-interest, just not the one that would support their financial situation, but their interest of not re-electing the black man as their leader. Whether it was covered by fanciful doubts of origin of birth, or his religion, or re-invented political economic systems. He was often called a socialist communist, a contradiction, though both are in opposition to capitalism, they are totally two different economic philosophies.
As in the meaning of Downs’s paradox, the cost of voting will normally exceed the expected benefits. Basically, my interpretation, this is what people do when they cast their vote. No matter how pety their interest are, or whether based on bigotry, social issues, regional connections, we all express our own self-interest. And why not, if you feel those that may support your causes get elected, you may see some gain. That ofcourse, no one knows for sure, but the desire and belief is there.
This year several people are running for different levels of office. Mel Wymore, a Trans-male is running for city council in New York City’s upper west side. In Houston, Jenifer Rene Pool, a Trans-female is running for a city council at large seat. The gay and lesbian victory fund is an organization that does just what we propose here, electing those to represent our own self interest. This may be better stated in their mission: To change the face and voice of America’s politics and achieve equality for lgbt Americans by increasing the number of openly LGBT at all levels of government. They provide a list of candidates that they endorse, granted only one of the three Trans candidates are on their website. Their mission to support lgbt candidates is something we should, as lgbt people, take notice of. Why shouldn't we do, as mainstream society does, and vote for our own self interest.
Of course some will disagree that just because someone is lgbt is no reason to vote for them. Obviously, you should see where each candidate stands. And be aware that just because a person is lgbt, that will not guarantee sweeping new reforms for all of us all and each should not be expected to be saviors of our community. But just as we look at heterosexual cis-gender politicians like, Elizabeth Colbert-Busch, a moderate democrat running for congressional district one here in south Carolina, whose supportive of lgbt issues, we do expect them to be supportive or at least sympathetic to our cause.
After last year's historical election and the recent historical inauguration, we as lgbt people, now more than ever, need not to decide to become complacent or continue political apathy. With current debates over trans* issues and gay marriage, now is the time to be more involved and determined to vote, but to vote for our own self interest and those that at least show compassion and consideration to what it means to be LGBT.
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