Episode 7. Jason Amos

What Voting Means To Me

12-06-2020 • 1 hr 27 mins

In this episode we hear from Jason Amos, a gifted violist, who tells us a beautifully complex story of how his own musicianship, upbringing, and living as a black gay man in America has shaped his perception of what it means to engage in a democracy. Jason and Mara discuss how the act of making music in collaboration with others can be deeply reflective of what it feels like to engage in deliberative democracy. They muse over whether Barack Obama is a better viola player than Jason, and bond over their shared love of Mara’s Congressional Representative in Connecticut, Jahana Hayes, and Jason's in Massachusetts, Ayanna Pressley. Jason talks about how, despite growing up in a middle-class black neighborhood, he still felt the sting of racism as a child, being constantly on alert for how his presence made white community members feel. Jason opens up about the existential dread he feels every time he is pulled over by the police, and the generational trauma his family experiences today as a result of police brutality. Jason expresses worry that too many people are voting out of fear, willful ignorance, and greed. As for himself, he ultimately sees his vote as an act of great hope, and looks to cast ballots for those he feels will deliver more just and equitable outcomes for American democracy. With Jason’s permission, and in solidarity with and recognition of the protests happening all around the world in response to the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and far too many others, there are 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence before the interview with Jason begins. This is the amount of time it took to end George Floyd’s life. Mara encourages you to sit in this silence, notice what you feel, sit with any discomfort, and breath deeply into it before journeying into Jason’s story.