Jason is the Director of Education and Programs at MoPOP.
Be Heard—Vote! MoPOP Launches Effort Encouraging Voters to Be Heard at the Ballot Box
Voting, like so many other fundamentals of American life—baseball, driving cross country, graduating high school, mac and cheese, visiting the Grand Canyon—has long been a fascination of pop culture creators. From the movie Selma where Oprah fights (to no avail) for the right to vote in the Jim Crow south to Reese Witherspoon’s impassioned “vote for me” speech in Election to Warren Beatty rapping during his senate campaign in Bulworth, the struggle and drama of voting has become fodder for storytelling and creativity.
Though enshrined as a right in the constitution, voting has been fought over since the country's founding; perhaps why it appears so frequently in popular art. From the enfranchisement of Black Americans after the Civil War on film, to suffrage (tackled onscreen by icons from Doris Day to Meryl Streep), to the civil rights movement depicted in graphic novels, the fight to have our voices heard has been a battleground fought on screens, in songs, and across pages in popular culture for decades.
- Learn More: MoPOP.org/Vote
And now, in 2020, when politicians are as likely to come from careers in television as careers in the law, when Captain America has started an organization dedicated to teaching civics, and when pop stars and celebrities campaign with politicians, voting and pop culture seem more intertwined than ever. We see it in novels warning us about the death of democracy, or hear it in critiques of America’s inequities in chart-topping songs like Childish Gambino’s "This is America" or Kendrick Lamar’s "Alright," creators of culture can’t help but make their voices heard about political topics.
But regardless of whether your favorite pop diva is supporting your favorite candidate, or if a noteworthy comedian goes on a Twitter tirade about a politician, the most important thing you can do in an election year is to vote. And not because Michelle Obama and her squad tells you to, but because your vote has consequences on all of our lives. Who holds elected office and is in charge of the purse strings and holds the veto pen has a huge influence over funding for the arts, and for schools, and in securing the rights of creative artists to express themselves. And the folks you vote for have a say in all of those important decisions!
That’s why, in this important election year, we’re partnering with a number of organizations in the PNW to encourage everyone’s voice to “be heard” at the ballot box. On our 2020 election page, we've collected all sorts of resources to help our community find out how and where to vote, and learn why your vote matters.
Learn more about Be Heard—Vote! + for contests, the latest news, and behind-the-scenes content, be sure to follow us on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
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