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Thursday, January 7, 2010

Why We Must VOTE!!!

Voting—Why We Must!!!

We really need to go far, far beyond voting, but voting--as often as legally possible--is a great place to start!! Ever since I turned 18 I have always voted. I am now 53. I’m not talking about when I wanted to or when I got paid to or when the feeling moved me, or what I was inspired, or when I got angry—I’m talking about in every primary, every major Presidential election, for every Mayor in the city I was living in at the time (Which has mostly been Philadelphia, but I now live 45 minutes away in New Castle, Delaware.) I have trudged through snow, sleet and hale, walked in the rain and voted just before the poles closed, although I usually vote early in the morning. Too many Black people and progressive people died in the struggle for us, as Black people, to get the vote in North America for me to sit at home on my fat butt and complain and do nothing. If you are of age you should be voting--especially if you are Black, Latin, Native American, poor, disabled and or Progressive. We need every vote because sometimes every vote we make isn’t counted properly like in the 2000 and 2004 Presidential elections. We was robbed!! If another 20,000 people had come out to vote in Ohio in November of 2004 and in Florida in November of 2000 we would have stopped George Bush Jr. from doing the multitude of things he did to stop our progress and renege on the promise & good temperament of what North America is suppose to be. Real justice, real freedom, real equality—they are all attainable if we start by voting as often as possible, but take it a step or two further. We can’t be let down when a candidate lets us down. We have to keep our heads up and move on. I don’t want to hear about how one vote doesn’t count. Look at the recent election of a Democrat in Minnesota for U.S. Senate for example. It took over six months for them to come up with a winner because Al Franken (the Democrat) was so close to losing. If the people who voted for him (say about 200 of them) stayed home that day, the turnout would have been different and that would have been a mess for the entire Nation… That Republican and all that it means to be a Republican was right on his heels. The whole Health Care debate would be another matter if Mr. Franken wasn’t in there on the Democratic side. If he had been a Republican Senator it would have made it that much harder for President Barack Obama and his Administration to get the bill through that they have been working on for all these many months—about Nine months if I am not mistaken.

There is a Black woman (Sister Cheryle Jackson) running for U.S. Senator in Illinois to take the old seat that was held by Senator Barack Obama. She is a progressive Democratic and very energetic. She has come out against the war(s) [in Afghanistan and Iraq] and will be the only Black woman and the Only Black in the U.S. Senate if she is elected. It will not be easy. Many right wing and racist forces don’t want to see a Black person get that position and possibly launch another career like our present President was able to. We have to get behind her and help her in whatever way we can. She is getting help from a progressive organization called Emily’s List. Emily’s List helps women get elected to high office all across the country by enlisting volunteers and financial support for the progressive candidate on their slate. I am praying for her, but if I get hold of some money I will also write her a check. Check out www.Emily’sList.org for more information on her and a few other sisters who are running for Congress.

Let’s take one nagging North American issue that continues to cause trouble for both conservative and progressive candidates alike. I’m talking about the abortion issue. (See Chapter 13 for a fuller exploration of the issue). Some Black people are convinced that Federal funds should not be used for abortion. I have to disagree. All that does is make access to safe and legal abortions for rich White women while poor White and Black women are faced with going to the butcher shop or stealing or borrowing the money for the procedure. This just adds to the stress and duress the woman is going through in the first place. It things were really fair women would have access to the procedure if they are rich or poor. I know this is controversial, but this is only the year 2010 and people still make mistakes around contraception, babies, condom use, pregnancy and so forth. When a poor Black woman is strapped with an unwanted pregnancy and eventually another mouth to feed it can have a destabilizing impact on the entire family. My feeling is that if you don’t want an abortion, don’t have one, but don’t tell the entire nation they can’t because of your religious belief. If they ever repeal Row Vs. Wade you will have back-ally abortions in North America once again.

The Democratic Party is by no means perfect and they need to be reminded of that every time they look over Black people for leading positions in the Party or when the Blue Dogs Down South rear their heads and take sides with the Republicans on what ever issue. We need to put pressure on the Democratic Party to let them know we want to see more Black candidates, more money for Black candidates and more support for the myriad of issues that the Congressional Black Caucus is touting as important and worthy such as jobs for the inner cities (especially youth and Black men); re-building the Nation’s infrastructure; money for small businesses; and ethnically relevant education throughout the country. The promotion of such issues has to do with how many progressive or liberal people are elected to Congress, the Nation’s City Halls, and U.S. Senate or other state and local races.

So Vote and don’t give the excuse that it is raining of it is too far to walk. If you are disabled call the local Democratic Party (I’m partisan, sorry) and tell them you need a ride to the polls. Or just ask a neighbor. Too many Black people were beaten, hosed, shot at, whipped, killed, discriminated against under Jim Crow, or otherwise dissuaded from voting for me to take my one vote for granted. The voting Rights Act was just passed in 1965!! That is recent history. You should, if you are young or old, read up on some of this stuff in the Net or get some books on Blacks and voting. You will be shocked at what people Down South went through to vote.

The 2012 re-election of President Barack Obama will not be easy. But if you are not is a habit of voting at every election, you will not be much help for him, the important issues we face as Black people or the other Black politicians seeking election or re-election to office. So Please vote!!

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