Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Simon Says Take 5 Giant Steps Backwards

"Democracy is not just the right to vote, it is the right to live in dignity."

~Naomi Klein

I like that photo you see above. I always feel a deep sense of pride when I vote. It's a responsibility. It's a privilege. It's a right of passage. It's a duty, and it's the most basic of rights. I don't take being able to vote lightly. I didn't always feel that way, much to my very liberal/progressive father's dismay. But you have to remember, my father and I had our first deep conversation about politics when I was 3 years old. Not possible you say? Well, you see, my dad was able to explain the world of politics in terms my 3 year old intellect could understand. And as I grew up, we continued our talks, and I really believe, sitting here right now, I am much more mature person because of those conversations.

Bill Clinton was the first president I ever voted for. When I look back at the fact that I could have voted during the Reagan administration, and didn't, is now as dismaying to me, as it was to my father. By the time George H.W. Bush ran for president, and it came down to him or Dukakis, I again chose not to vote. There was NO way I would have considered voting for Bush, but at the same time I had very little confidence in Dukakis. I saw no good choice. To me, voting for the lesser of two evil, was still voting for evil. So I sat that one out.

Four years later, I don't remember the exact date, I saw a fairly young politician, the Governor of Arkansas on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. That governor was, of course, William (Bill) Jefferson Clinton. He impressed me because he had some good ideas. He spoke intelligently, with confidence, and for once, in my lifetime, I found a politician whose ideas resonated with me. He had a sense of humor, and yet he had a seriousness to him that made his point, without scaring the shit out of you. He demonstrated to me that you can roll up your sleeves, and get a job done, without having to fear the sky would fall over the slightest of difficult issues. I was, and still am, proud of the fact that the first president I ever voted for was Bill Clinton. I wouldn't change my voting for him for anything. And if I can, I will be voting for Hillary Clinton for president in 2014.

Why am I on about all of this now? Well, yesterday, the Supreme Court Of The United States made the decision to kill section 5 of the Voting Rights Act Of 1965, in effect, making voting in the United States less fair for some. My father, and his father, never had to worry if they would be able to vote, but my father had lived through a time in this country when voting was not fairly offered to all, and he knew first hand how lucky he was. I understand right now, more than ever, about why my dad was so perplexed by my decisions to decline to cast a ballot. He didn't dictate my choices, he led me in the sense of the morals and values I grew up with, but when I became of voting age, it was up to me, and my conscience, to do what was right. Whatever right meant. I know it would have upset him terribly if I had become a republican, but he would have gritted his teeth and hoped to himself I would see the light one day. LOL.

And when I actually did become a republican... for 6 whole months... I eventually did see the light!


And my dad breathed a huge sigh of relief! LOL.

I have never had to worry about when or if someone would take my voting rights away. I know that I am lucky. It's disturbing that bitter people, people who decided if they can't win on the merits of their beliefs, principles and values, they will simply disenfranchise, steal, lie, or otherwise deceive their way into the most powerful offices in our nation. These people deserve very little, if any, respect. When I think of the fact that men and women have laid the lives down to protect the freedom of voting for all, among other freedoms we enjoy as Americans, only to have it stepped on, and disregarded as an archaic law is deeply distressing to me.

I never thought I would see America decline the way it has since 9/11. Our privacy is invaded. Our voting rights are being compromised. Politicians are opening campaign offices in our vaginas. Marriage is only for one group of people... the people who have a divorce rate of 50%. I could go on but why? I don't know how things will play out in my lifetime, but I think my main hope for the future is to see we in the U.S. return to a collective sanity. Sometimes it seems impossible, like I will never see a day when there isn't someone, somewhere blatantly lying and hating. It's depressing. I am just grateful that my father doesn't have to see what's become of America. I believe if he were alive today, he would be deeply troubled, and profoundly sad to see what has happened to the country my grandfather immigrated to escape this exact kind of tyranny.

It's so sad. We must return to a great country again. A country that recognizes each of it's citizens, and treats one another with dignity. We can be a great country, but we have a lot of damage to undue, and unfortunately it will not happen overnight, but with a little bit of work maybe I will see that country in my lifetime.

 The law had an immediate impact. By the end of 1965, a quarter of a million new black voters had been registered, one-third by Federal examiners. By the end of 1966, only 4 out of the 13 southern states had fewer than 50 percent of African Americans registered to vote. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was readopted and strengthened in 1970, 1975, and 1982.

~The National Archives 

"Bad politicians are sent to Washington by good people who don't vote."

~William E Simon

Mood: Reflective


1 comment:

jr cline said...

I will join you in hoping for a future where we see the U.S. return to a collective sanity.
Excellent blog!