7 reasons why we can’t date if you don’t vote

Maiysha Kai, The Root | 3/30/2016, 12:42 p.m.
Not voting says a lot about what kind of mate you would be.
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“Vote your heart ... unless it’s evil,” my homegirl laughs, taking a sip of her drink.

I can’t help but laugh, too, despite the loaded conversation. After all, my friend, a steadfast supporter of the “other blue meat,” is right: This election cycle—more than most in recent history—has the potential to move our country forward or back at least a half-century. Attention must be paid.

But while black voting rates have steadily increased (pdf) during the last two voting cycles in the U.S., we are still voting at embarrassingly low rates proportionate to our populace—and potential voting power. Perhaps because there seems to be no singularly motivating candidate (damn, I already miss Bam), many of us are sadly apathetic this campaign season.

For me as a single woman exploring her options both politically and personally, this has become a newfound concern in my dating life. In years past, the phrase “I don’t really read” was the one most bound to give me pause (because ... how, Sway?). Today it’s “I don’t really pay attention to politics.”

In a political climate that is more polarizing and potentially devastating than it has been in over 40 years, that kind of ambivalence is downright dangerous. I mean, if you stand for nothing, how in the hell will you be motivated to stand up for me, if or when necessary?

I firmly believe in voting your values, whatever they may be. Granted, if Dr. Ben Carson is your homeboy, we won’t go together, but at least you’ve chosen a side and a candidate and are exercising your rights in the voting booth. We both know where we stand, even if it’s on opposite sides of the issues.

But if you consider participating in the democratic process optional or beneath you, understand that your choice to muffle your political voice also speaks volumes about your partnership potential. Here’s why:

1.) Voting Is Your Right—and Responsibility

Let’s just get this out of the way: If you are a black person eligible to cast a ballot in 2016 and you choose not to, you’re just plain disrespectful. It’s offensive, both to our predecessors who fought (and often died fighting) for your right to vote and to those of us who exercise that right. It demonstrates that you don’t value the contributions of others, even when they benefit you.

2.) Apathy Isn’t Sexy

“I really love how he/she really doesn’t give a damn about me, or any thought to our future,” said no self-respecting adult, ever.

Yeah, sure, most of us have fallen for the too-cool-for-school girl or guy at some point, and many of us still prefer our prospects to play a little bit hard to get. But ambivalence about the future of the country in which you live doesn’t make you mysterious or above it all; it makes you immature and/or clueless. If you won’t invest any energy into considering how the electoral process may determine the course of your personal destiny, it’s safe to assume that a potential mate might find you less than invested in his or her destiny.