Author Kevin Sessums says Salman Rushdie tweeted him that he can’t vote for Barack Obama, but we can. Yes we can. Don’t worry world, we’ve got it covered.
I’m surprised that Mitt Romney never heard the expression, “Living well is the best revenge.” Maybe when you’re born rich and just get richer you never enjoy the satisfaction of surprising your critics by doing better than you were ‘supposed’ to. Poor Mr. Romney, deprived of this character-building experience.
But the terror of all the excluded people rising up with vengeance in their eyes and–gods forbid–voting, has moved the Republican party to a steady effort to make it more difficult to exercise this right of citizenship.
Because we can. Polls open at 7am tomorrow, state website has a guide to which are open.
I’m voting for Tom Coderre, because he was the only Presidential Primary delegate who bothered to robocall me. Also Herb Weiss, who is a friend and who reminds all his Facebook friends that 4/24 is election day. Julie Meyers is a strong advocate for marriage equality, and goes to my church. We get to pick 11 out of a list of 16, so do vote for your friends. It’s okay this time.
Not all polling places are open, go here to find yours.
Thought for the day before I head off to work–
I once read an analysis of an election where the losing candidate invested his personal fortune and major money in the campaign. Dividing that number by number of votes he got gave the ‘cost per vote’ figure. His opponent spent less and got more votes and won.
I have already been personally called by Wayne La Pierre of the NRA (National Rifle Association), though possibly it was a recording– I was on my way out and couldn’t talk to him. I also have Herman Cain of the NRA (National Restaurant Association) popping up on every web page I visit, begging for $999,000. Right now I don’t even have $9.99 to spare so his pleas are wasted on me.
I have not forgotten the election of 2000, and Florida’s Secretary of State Kathyrn Harris. I have not forgiven her flawed blacklist of banned voters that resulted in citizens being turned away at the polls because someone with a similar name appeared on her list. And I am not reconciled to states narrowing access to the vote in a witch hunt for voter fraud at the polls. Voter fraud is much more efficient at higher levels.
The deluge of money into our electoral process, amplified since the Citizens United decision, will result in the death of many trees and gazillions of kilowatts of screen power to direct our attention to the most well-funded candidates.
However, there is not a straight line between cost per vote and winning. The dedication of people who are Occupying worldwide is driven by a sense of urgency not owned by any political party or drummed up by advertising.
The cost per vote, really, is the sweat, blood and tears of patriots. When we defend our voting rights and the rights of others we are defending Democracy from the appeals to fear and apathy that serve the interests of the corporate persons who can outspend any mere human citizen.
No, not voter I.D. I’m saying that there are a lot of people who hang out at the polls, and not all of them are poll workers– some are poll-watchers, a longstanding political tradition and guard against voter fraud.
I was talking with a co-worker yesterday and mentioned the election.
“I don’t know if I’ll vote”, she said, “it doesn’t make any difference”. Of course I launched into a sermon about the urgent call for citizens to uphold our democracy and all that stuff.
Then she told me that the last time she went she was hassled, and treated rudely, and what’s more– saw other voters stepping out of line with no objections.
I told her that this may have been overzealous poll watchers, because the workers at my polling place are efficient and pleasant, but poll watchers may be poorly trained– they may get away with annoying voters unless it gets extreme enough to call the cops.
I privately wondered if she had been profiled by overzealous poll watchers who are hopped up on stories of illegal voters, and think they know what those voters might look like. They might make things just unpleasant enough to make a citizen think twice about taking time out of work to wait in line and risk more of the same.
So, vote as if you life depended on it. Vote for our troops who fight in our name for reasons increasingly unclear. Vote for every one of your ancestors who was denied.
And if anyone steps in to interfere with you– ask them for I.D.
UPDATE: I just voted, it was a breeze, but kind sad about that. Turnout is very light as of 9:30am. A neighbor was volunteering as a ‘poll spotter’. She was checking off names on a list of registered voters as they came in. She said that if anyone is treated with any less than helpfulness and respect, get their name and call the Secretary of State.
I want to acknowledge all the poll workers over the years who were always a help and are dedicated to the process.
One of those well-funded, innocuous-sounding advocacy organizations that has sprung up like weeds, especially since Citizens United, bought a hunk of time on Univision, a Spanish-language cable TV station. ‘Latinos for Reform’, a Republican group spent almost a million dollars in commericals. They urged Hispanic-Americans to make a show of strength by staying home on election day.
They say that neither party has solved the immigration problem, so it’s time to take a stand by staying home and keeping quiet.
They could have said, ‘vote Republican’ if their candidates had more appeal, but that’s a tough sell, even for an Asian-American like Sharron Angle.
Anyway, Univision is pulling the ads, maybe thinking that ‘don’t vote’ is a message that will come back on them when they’re painting themselves as community-minded.
It’s not just a right, it’s a responsibility.
If you don’t, you can’t complain.
Polls are open from 7am-9pm.
There’s one near you.
Long lines are unlikely– and what does that say to all the people we are ‘exporting democracy’ to?
If you need help, call the Board of Canvassers–
Say hi to your neighbors, enjoy the patriotic buzz, good weather today.
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Yesterday I spent a fine afternoon going door to door in the Smith Hill neighborhood urging people to vote in the upcoming elections. The canvass was sponsored by Organizing for America, just one of the organizations that works to increase voter participation.
I only do this kind of thing every few years, but I’m always impressed with the willingness of people to talk about our state and our politics. For the most part they are polite and pleasant, something I don’t take for granted when I am ringing their doorbell unannounced.
You know what they say, if you don’t vote you can’t complain, and complaining is a right I will never give up.
But it’s looking good. It’s been a nasty process, and I think the outcome will be some modest reforms of parts rather than a real reforming of the whole.
It feels like a battle for a principle– that no one in our great and wealthy nation should suffer or die for lack of access to medical care that we call the best in the world. People refuse to believe me when I say that I heard many people declare that it’s acceptable for some to die for lack of care. This is not the best of America. This is not the view that should win.
I’m not yet taking it for granted that the health care bill will pass, but I’m hoping. It’s a very diminished bill, a compromise of a compromise.
I was standing in front of the State House this winter, demonstrating for health care reform and talking with people there. A man told me that he runs a small business, but due to his age and pre-existing conditions cannot buy insurance. He was aware of all the deals made and the flaws in the legislation.
But he said that Medicare was a very weak bill when it first passed, and he hoped that beginning the process would lead to real reform that would make health care available to all Americans.
I’ve stopped biting my nails. I’m starting to hope. I’m thinking about working harder, because the real work is ahead.
Our own Senator Sheldon Whitehouse is praised on Washington Monthly blog.
But yesterday, Whitehouse didn’t hold back, blasting Senate Republicans for their “desperate, no-holds-barred mission of propaganda, falsehood, obstruction and fear.” He warned the GOP of a “day of judgment” by the electorate, which the senator said leaves Republicans “terrified.”
Whitehouse added, “When it turns out there are no death panels, when there is no bureaucrat between you and your doctor, when the ways your health care changes seem like a good deal to you, and a pretty smart idea, when the American public sees the discrepancy between what really is, and what they were told by the Republicans, there will be a reckoning. There will come a day of judgment about who was telling the truth.”
Glad I voted for him.
The bill we’re looking at is flawed and weak, and a huge disappointment, but I hope it passes. I was at a health reform demonstration, and a small business owner, middle-aged like me, said that Social Security and Medicare also started out small and weak. He hoped that passage would be a start, not the end of reform. I have to hope. There is no good alternative.
The present system is a mess that will get more expensive and exclusionary every year. But the proposed health care bill would come in as a mandate to buy into an insurance system that is dysfunctional. Dysfunctional, that is, in producing health over profits. It’s a painful dilemma.
I think the term ‘insurance reform’ led us down the wrong road. We don’t need insurance, we need access to health services. Insurance reform is a tiny step, I hope in the right direction.
I knew that Barack Obama would break my heart. It’s what politicians do. They politic. Expecting them not to is like expecting a dog not to bark. Politicians depend on the people to lead them. It would be a mistake to either think that the President will fix everything, or else that he has broken so many promises that we’ll just withdraw for four years.
The religious right does not wield power because our politicians are full of religious spirit– they wield power because they vote, and move votes.
Progressives have to do the same. Keep on calling, writing, blogging, demonstrating and especially–voting.