“I Voted.” Small sticker, precious step

Today I’m as powerful as Sheldon Adelson, Sean Hannity, Paul Ryan, John Roberts, David Axelrod or Elizabeth Warren.

My vote counts as much as each of theirs. And as I cast my vote today my heart lifted. I could feel it. For too many months I’ve been worrying and griping and moaning and arguing and living in fear of the unthinkable. An hour ago I took action. I feel empowered.

img_5163Our country has flaws. Disparity of rich and poor. Gross overconsumption of the planet’s resources. Poor education and a paucity of hope for too many. A system designed by those who already have the most to assure they get more. And our election system is far from perfect. Voter suppression. Hanging chads. Too much influence by the wealthiest. Gerrymandered districts that permit little challenge to incumbents.

But I just cast a vote that counts the same as Barack Obama’s. And it will be counted. The regular citizens who handed me the ballot and watched me slide it in the machine are the volunteer custodians of the dream the founders dreamed. My Uncle Bob died in World War II to protect the vote I cast today. John Lewis had his skull cracked to preserve the right of all of us to not just speak up about where we’re going as a country but to put our hands on the wheel.

There was a man standing at the corner of the street that leads to our local government center where Lisa and I voted. He was showing the world a life-size picture of Hillary Clinton behind bars. I firmly believe he’ll be disappointed a week from today. And as we drove past him I felt less of the despair I’ve been feeling for months, despair that the candidate he supports might actually, how could this possibly be true, win the election. I felt less depressed because I had just taken action. I had voted. To turn away that man’s vision and to bring my own closer to the light.

In a world full of despots I stood up and said to the preposterous, self-absorbed, ignorant, immature poseur who would be president: “I banish thee. Slink back under the foul rock you crawled out from. Begone.” Little old me, a guy of scant power, wealth or influence. But a guy with a vote.

In the car, Lisa and I did a Barack-Michelle fist bump. Is this a great country or what?

— Bruce Benidt

Dixville Notch Reports

i-voted“This just in….First-in-the-Nation Dixville Notch, New Hampshire has voted 15-6 for Obama this evening.  On the basis of those results, SRC News can now project that the winner of the 2008 presidential election is…”

Or not.  Dixville Notch is not predictive of either the state or the country.  Of course, this is the first time Dixville’s gone Democratic since 1968 (and, yes, that didn’t work out too well for HHH).

Get your ass to the polls.  This is one election that you’ll want to be able to tell your grandkids you voted in.  There’s a realistic chance we’ll get close to the 66 percent all-time record for turnout that dates back to 1908.

And, if the spirit moves you, post a note about your experience here.  How were the lines, the mood, the weather?  What did you see on the way there?

– Austin what is an invoice nice

Long Voting Lines — The New Poll Tax

The United States of America is not treating democracy as the precious amazing thing that it is. We are not that far removed from the discriminatory access to voting that marred this country’s promise for so many people for so many decades.

We listen and read the news and hear that people are waiting four, five, six, seven hours to vote in this election. And that’s early voting — designed to make voting more accessible. And the journalists and pundits mostly say “look how eager people are to vote” as if the lines are a good sign. One CNN journalist, after hearing a man say he’d waited five hours to vote in Florida, said this morning, “But they vote!” Meaning that, bully for them, they hang in, and isn’t that a wonderful thing.

But they don’t. They don’t vote. They can’t. Not the people who drive by on their lunch hour and see the long lines. Not the people who see the lines on television and know they can’t take that much time away from work. Not the person recovering from a car accident, the elderly person in a wheel chair, the frail person, the person with bad hips or bad knees. Standing in a line for hours isn’t possible for them. They don’t vote.

Voting in America is a patchwork of local laws and customs that restricts the precious franchise way too much. We’ve made progress, and in many states one-quarter to one-third of voters have already voted. But too many of those had to wait far too long. On South Dakota Indian reservations, voting can mean an hour’s drive or more, roundtrip. So if a Rosebud reservation resident wants to vote for a candidate who promises to free us from the chains of oil dependence, that person has to burn a lot of oil to cast that vote. We need 24-hour voting for several days, everywhere in America. How hard is that, really?

Rachel Maddow, on MSNBC last night, called the long lines a new poll tax. You have to give up five hours of wages to vote. It’s a fair point. We don’t learn much. The hanging chad election should have taught us something, right? No. Millions of Americans will be voting tomorrow, have already voted, on touch-screen machines that might reverse their intended vote.

Let’s get this right. Fortunately, in Minnesota we can cast our votes with confidence — paper ballots, optical scanners. How hard is it for the other states to follow this lead?

Remember how amazing it was to see the long lines of voters standing in the sun in the first truly free election in South Africa? That was a stirring sight. Long lines in America are simply pathetic.

–Bruce Benidt

(Photo — activerain.com) invoice templates nice