vote

“We Should Be In A Rage”

I’m sharing this Op-Ed piece in yesterday’s New York Times by Charles M. Blow. It’s important. Americans should read it. And share it. Then ask yourself: do you know people who don’t vote? – and what will you do to make sure they do vote in this year’s elections? So here it is, followed by the link. Bold emphasis is mine. (If I’m breaking any rules, NYT, please let me know.)

We Should Be In A Rage

Voter apathy is a civic abdication. There is no other way to describe it.

If more Americans — particularly young people and less-wealthy people — went to the polls, we would have a better functioning government that actually reflected the will of the citizenry.

But, that’s not the way it works. Voting in general skews older and wealthier, and in midterm elections that skew is even more severe.

As David Wasserman wrote on the Cook Report last year:

“Voters under the age of 30 were 19 percent of all voters in 2012, but just 12 percent of all voters in 2010. Likewise, voters 65 and up were 17 percent of all voters in 2012, but 21 percent of all voters in 2010. Herein lies the biggest danger for Democratic candidates in 2014.”

Now we hear murmuring that Republicans hold a slight advantage going into 2014, not strictly because that’s the will of the American people, but because that may well be the will of the people willing to show up at the polls.

There is an astounding paradox in it: too many of those with the least economic and cultural power don’t fully avail themselves of their political power. A vote is the great equalizer, but only when it is cast.

The strategy here is simple: Break the spirit. Muddy the waters. Make voting feel onerous and outcomes ambiguous. And make it feel like a natural outgrowth of tedium and bickering, and not a well-funded, well-designed effort. Make us subsist on personality politics rather than principled ones.

The greatest trick up the sleeves of the moneyed and powerful is their diabolical ability to render themselves invisible and undetectable, to recede and operate behind a front, one relatable and common. Our politics are overrun with characters acting at the behest of shadows.

These are the politicians to whom we have become accustomed — too much polish, and too much beam — which is precisely the reason they should warrant our suspicion and not our trust, the way one cannot trust a cook with pots too pretty and not burned black on the bottoms.

And yet too many people shrug or sleep when they should seethe.

We should be in a rage over the Roberts court’s seemingly implacable drive to vest corporations with the rights of people and unleash the full fury of billionaires to bend our politics to their will.

We should be in a rage over the widespread attempts to disenfranchise voters, from the gutting of the Voting Rights Act to the rise of the Voter ID movement — a near-naked attempt by conservatives to diminish the number of Democratic voters.

We should be in a rage over Republican efforts, particularly on the state level, to drag the range of women’s reproductive options back to the 1960s.

We should be in a rage over the extraordinary pressures facing ordinary families. According to The New York Times’ Economix blog, college costs have risen over 500 percent since 1985, medical and gas costs more than 300 percent. And, the Pew Research Center reported Tuesday that “in inflation-adjusted dollars, average weekly child care expenses for families with working mothers who paid for child care” rose 70 percent from 1985 to 2011.

And yet, a report last week from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that “some 69 percent of the cuts in House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s new budget would come from programs that serve people of limited means.”

We should be in a rage over the fact that people in this country can work a full-time job and not earn a living wage.

We should be in a rage that this country’s infrastructure is literally crumbling beneath us. The “2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure,” produced by the American Society of Civil Engineers, gave our infrastructure an overall grade of D+ and estimated that $3.6 trillion would be needed by 2020 to fix it.

We should be in a rage that we are spiraling toward cataclysmic, irreversible climate change with little interest or effort in averting it, with little coverage and less than accurate coverage.

But where rage should be, there is too often a whimper.

When will we demand the country we deserve: reflective of its people, protective of its people, simply of its people? When will the young and the poor and the aggrieved and the forsaken walk abreast to the polls and then to the public squares?

If we don’t like the government we have, we can change it. If we don’t like the path we’re on, we can alter it.

Democracy is durable, but not incorruptible. The very purity of the concept invites those determined to alter it, to tilt it toward oligarchy, to slowly, imperceptibly if possible, bring it to a calamitous end.

The drift of the boat seems inconsequential until it encounters the falls.

###

Link to NYT Op-Ed 9 Apr 2014:  http://nyti.ms/1kMtoTc

Link to featured image:

 

The End (so far)

 

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Tweet of the Day 04.06.14

 

Meanwhile, back in the ‘World’s Greatest Democracy’…

American women risk their lives – by not voting.

(Men, too. But c’mon: men can’t even put the toilet seat down.)

Ladies, your country needs you.

The inmates are running the asylum (Congress).

They are all up for re-election this November.

Make sure you are registered to vote.

Talk to your friends, and make sure they are registered to vote.

It is not difficult. CLICK HERE

If getting to your polling place on Election Day might be difficult (because you work, or have kids, or have a hard time getting around, or it might snow, etc) – just request an absentee or mail-in ballot. There is no charge for this. You’ll receive the ballot in the mail weeks before Election Day. You can take your time with it. Research candidates and issues online. Discuss it with anyone you like, or not at all. Drop it in a mailbox, and you’ve voted. Done.

votetwice

 

Tweet of the Day 03.19.14

The truth doesn’t get much simpler than this:

If Women Are So Smart…

… then why do almost half of them still refuse to vote?

It’s 2014. This nation has elected a black president. Twice. Marriage equality is the norm in half the country, recognized by the federal government, and coming soon to a red state near you. But 40+ years after the Supreme Court decided that women have a Constitutionally protected right to terminate a pregnancy, the mostly old, mostly white, mostly straight, mostly men of the Republican Party do everything they can to control you, your body, your life.  Women are no better than farm animals and men know what’s best for you. And when your neighborhood gets shot up and your children get hunted down and murdered in their schools, don’t you worry your pretty little heads! The old, white menfolk have the solution: more guns.

Women, you have a president in the White House who respects you, fights for you, and would sign into law any piece of legislation that empowers you and protects you and your family.

But you have a slim majority of Republicans in Congress which despises you, fights to keep you down, and would pass any law to maintain your second-class citizenship, and keep you at risk of rape and gun homicide, underpaid and subservient.

It’s 2014. It’s an election year. Every member of that House of Representatives is running for re-election in November. And YOU get to choose who stays and who goes. You. Little old you. Election Day is the only day on the calendar when women are the perfect equals of men. But you stay home on Election Day, year after year. Why?

Are you registered to vote? No? Don’t know? Doesn’t matter. Click here, on any word in this sentence, and you’ll be registered to vote in a couple of minutes.

voteAre you worried that you won’t be able to get to the polls on Election Day? It’s a Tuesday. You work? You’ve got kids? You’ve never voted before, you don’t know how? It’s a hassle? Then choose the vote-by-mail option and request an absentee ballot. One will be mailed to you. It’s free. You fill it out. If you need help understanding the ballot or who to vote for, ask someone you trust. Ask another woman. If the man in the dress at church tells you how to vote, then vote the other way. If all else fails, just vote for all the people who have a (D) next to their names! Mail it in before Election Day, and there – you’ve voted. You didn’t even have to leave your house. And if enough women do that, then you’ll have changed the world in a powerful way. Do you have a mother? sister? friend? neighbor? who don’t usually vote? Ask! Talk it up! Empower each other. Vote.

There are more women than men in this country. More women vote, too. But in any given election, 40% or 50% or 60% of women don’t vote. The same percentages apply to men, but here’s the thing: men don’t have nearly as much at stake as women do. Not even close. No one’s telling me what I can or cannot do with my own body! So yeah, it pisses me off that women don’t vote – because I’ve got to live in this world, too. And the same folks who think of you as so much cattle are bringing this country and this world to the brink of disaster.

Wake up, ladies. Vote!

votetwice

Why Democrats Lose

The political media is on fire today with arguments and explanations for Sink’s loss to Jolly in the special election to fill a vacant Congressional seat in FL-13.

But there is only one reason why the Democrat lost this election.

There is only one reason why ANY Democrat EVER loses an election, and that is:

Democrats – who are already registered to vote – Do. Not. Vote.

DEMS LOSE

So, Alex Sink (D) lost to David Jolly (R) by less than 3,500 votes.

140,000 registered Democrats didn’t bother to vote.

That’s all you need to know. And that’s all the powers-that-be in the Democratic Party need to learn from this defeat. Will they? Debbie Wasserman-Schultz @DCCC… are you listening? Harry Reid… Nancy Pelosi… are you listening? President Obama… do you really want your last two years in office to include Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell joining Speaker Boehner?! Where is your vaunted OFA get-out-the-vote ground game?! They could get a black-Muslim-Kenyan-communist-community-organizer elected – TWICE! – but they can’t win with a well-known Dem in Florida running against yet-another-moronic Republican? In a district that YOU carried in 2012? WTF?!

22% of the electorate in FL-13 is 65-and-older. That equates to potentially 100,000+ voters. How many of them are registered Democrats? How many of those registered Democratic seniors had mail-in ballots for this election? All of them? No? Why not? It’s not like you don’t know their names and addresses! They are r-e-g-i-s-t-e-r-e-d D-e-m-o-c-r-a-t-s.

Democrats left thousands, tens of thousands of votes laying on the table in this FL-13 election. The media is already calling the November midterm elections for the GOP.

Here’s the good news. You get a REDO in FL-13 in November. That’s right. Rep. Jolly has to defend his newly won seat in the fall. (Along with every other member of Congress and 1/3 of the Senate.)

And let’s not forget Wendy Davis in Texas. She’s got a tough road ahead of her, eh? That’s what we hear. Gee, if only we had the actual results of the last two elections in Texas… Oh! Here they are now:

TX.2010.2012.2016

Texas has a non-partisan voter registration system, so we don’t know how many TX registered voters are (D) vs (R). But what is obvious from this graphic is that there were plenty of non-voting registered Dems in 2010 to swamp Perry’s margin of victory… if only they had turned out to vote. Wendy Davis… are you listening?

We hear so much about the Republicans gaming the system with gerrymandering districts, blah blah blah. That’s just an excuse used by lazy Democrats! If (already registered) Democrats actually voted in the November 2014 midterms, we would EASILY keep the Senate and take back the House.

So, what are we waiting for? This country has been gravely wounded by the do-nothing, know-nothing, “I’ve got mine!” Republicans. But the GOP has been gravely wounded by its do-nothing, know-nothing, racist, sexist, bigoted teabagger faction. The time for the Democrats to strike is now. The President’s economic, military/foreign policy and healthcare initiatives have been remarkably successful – in spite of the GOP’s constant sabotage.

Democrats: Stop talking about Hillary and 2016. Stop talking about what an uphill climb 2014 is. Stop talking, period. Start doing. We have seven months until voters will start casting ballots in early voting in the fall. How many mail-in ballots can we get in the hands of registered Democrats? How badly do we want to turn Congress blue in November? And the governorship in TX? And GA? And MI, OH, PA, WI?

What are we waiting for?

Act Up! Fight Back!

It would be difficult impossible to overstate the peril faced by gay folks as the 80s dawned in America. Harvey Milk had been assassinated just two years earlier. Ronald Reagan was sworn in as president. Gay men in New York and California were suddenly getting rare cancers and dying, no one knew why. And it is fair to say that no one much cared. Jerry Falwell and his Christianist hatemongers called the epidemic “God’s wrath”. Reagan would not even say the word “AIDS” until seven years into his presidency – while tens of thousands of Americans died. There was talk of quarantining – or even tattooing – people with AIDS.

Sorry for the gloom, but it’s important to set the context for what happened next. (After all, this is ancient history for some who will read this.)

I referenced “gay folks” above; not the “gay community” or the now-ubiquitous (necessary and dreadful) “LGBT”. That’s because we hadn’t yet coalesced into a single community; and the all-purpose acronym was still years away. The Ls and the Gs were off doing their own things in their own zip codes. The Bs were busy doing, well, everyone. The Ts had Renée Richards going for them, but not much else. Though much had changed in the decade since Stonewall, queer life was still Balkanized.

So, when gay men started getting terrible infections, diseases, cancers and dying in rapidly increasing numbers… When governments and gods showed themselves to be untroubled by our immense human suffering and the horrifying death toll… a community was born.

WeWereHere film posterWe Were Here is a powerful, heartbreaking, uplifting testament to the response of the nascent gay community (and its allies) to the public health crisis of AIDS in San Francisco. The history is told through on-camera interviews with five people who recall the love, the loss, the victories – and the irresistible force of a community that is fighting for its life. This film is available via Netflix and Amazon. Click on this image to link to the We Were Here website where you can stream a rental for $3.99.

Who should see this film (which was released in 2011)? Everyone. But especially all the good people who want to stop the gun insanity death toll in this country. All those “Moms” and “Mayors” who give tv interviews… who fill our inboxes with petitions to sign and emails asking for money so they can do… more petitions? There have been 30+ school shootings since Newtown. Another 10,000+ gun homicides. Do you think you’re working hard enough? You haven’t even started.

If that makes you angry, good! You should be angry. You can’t even send your kids off to school in the morning, or to the mall in the afternoon, or to a movie in the evening, without wondering if they’ll be next. So get angry! And channel that anger into real, direct action. You say “there are 80 million Moms in America!” Really? I don’t think I’ve seen 80 women (or men) gathered anywhere, doing anything, since Newtown. Have you?

1.lighting candles

Begin…

As the first anniversary of the Newtown massacre came and went, I heard a tv discussion about our failure to achieve gun control in this country. Someone suggested that if you want gun control, then look at how the gays fought for marriage equality and equal rights. It’s not a bad idea.

Gun control is (still) way more popular than gay rights. But we have marched in the streets, raised money, campaigned for like-minded politicians and relentlessly lobbied lawmakers, filed lawsuits, rallied voters, discussed it in polite (and not so polite) company.  We have done this for years, without losing our nerve or our hope. We have kept up the pressure, we have fought ignorance with intellect, cowardice with courage. And we are finally turning the tide. It’s been some time since we lost a battle, and we’re well on our way to winning the war.

2.candlelight march

Fan the flame…

I don’t mean to single out the Moms Against Guns. Every liberal/ progressive political goal would be more quickly achieved if leaders stopped the absurd flood of online petitions and solicitations… and challenged their millions of supporters to take direct action. Sometimes, I wonder if the Koch brothers aren’t secretly funding Credo and Move On – to sap any real initiative by giving people a false sense of having done something every time they click the “Sign the Petition” button. That is not participatory democracy. Make some noise! Hit the streets! Act up! Fight back! Not in dribs and drabs, but by the hundreds, by the thousands, by the millions.

If I received an email from the “Moms” asking me to join a gun control march in my city next weekend, I’d drop everything to be there.  But more than a year after Newtown, I still haven’t got that email. And that’s my point.

3.candlelight march

Ignite a movement…

Whether you want to raise the minimum wage, or guarantee voting rights, or protect a woman’s right to control her own body, or reform immigration, or tax the rich and the corporations, etc… Nothing succeeds like excess. Remember ACT-UP? When FDA was taking forever to approve new AIDS drugs, these creative and in-your-face protests drew lavish media attention and focused political pressure like a laser beam. They weren’t afraid to be angry. People were dying. The “die-ins” stopped traffic. The barricade crashing made people uncomfortable. But new drugs and treatments went from a trickle to a fire silencedeathbuttonhose, and many lives were saved.

We gays had to fight for our lives in this country. And as a community of activists, we won. But 650,000 people have lost their lives to AIDS in America since 1980. That is eerily similar to the number of gun deaths during that time. And always, always:  silence = death.

After you’ve had to fight for survival, it’s relatively easy to move on to battle bigotry and ignorance (DADT, DOMA, ENDA, the GOP, the teabaggers and the faith-hurling wackos)… You just have to be alive to do it.

Here we are in 2014, an election year. The entire House and 1/3 of the Senate are up for grabs. Plus many governorships and legislatures and ballot measures. The media will declare the elections ‘over’ before they even begin. Gerrymandering! Voter apathy! The parties are all the same! Voter suppression! Oh look – it’s Justin Bieber!

4.candlelight march sf

Set the world on fire!

It doesn’t have to be that way. Get yourself registered and then help someone else register. (Click on Blog the Vote below.) Think of it as multiplying your vote. Volunteer to GOTV (Get Out The Vote) during early voting and on Election Day in November. Drive someone to the polls. Or offer to babysit. Have a mail-in ballot party. Because the fact is, without an enormous and sustained effort, less than half of the eligible voters in this “great democracy” will bother to cast a vote in November. But that sad fact presents an opportunity. We flip 20 House seats, we take back control of Congress and… a lot of life-saving laws and policies get done in Obama’s last two years in office. If not, we keep fighting like hell. Until we win.

Unless there is something more important you have to do?

BLOG THE VOTE 2

[019] CCCDIC

If you’ve removed your shoes and are trying to calculate that Roman numeral, relax. And pull up a spoon.

Because CCCDIC = Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream.

benjerry.cookiedough

Hey, the only rule in this game is What makes you happy? (And by ‘you’ I mean ‘me’.) Yesterday I gave you 30 years of Macintosh. Today, it’s a scoop (or four) of ice cream. What kind of ice cream? That’s right: chocolate chip cookie dough. Ben & Jerry’s is a particularly delish version. But they all work for me. Posh or not. In fact, tonight I’m enjoying the Safeway Select store brand. The verdict? Guilty! of murdering my taste buds with joy.

I almost chose my runner-up happiest thing of the day – which had been my happiest thing of the day until 9:32pm, when I remembered there was chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream in the freezer. That other happy thing occurred at one o’clock this morning, as I watched Netflix in bed.

“MITT” is a new political/anthropological documentary that spans not one, but two! failed Romney bids for the White House. Be still my heart. The Romney family gave some A/V geek total access (we even see Mittens in his hotel robe at one point, which is just gruesome) for six years of their political lives. Which just proves that they really have no idea what an unattractive bunch they are.

Mitt-618x400

The film opens as it ends, with Klan Romney gathered in a hotel suite in Boston, watching the 2012 election returns. The camera never blinks as it pans the room from one stunned and saddened face to the next. Ann “You people” Romney never disappoints with the trademark death rictus affixed to her matronly mug. No explanation is given for HOW these 10 (20? 750 counting the grandkids?) people were the only ones left on Earth that night who did not know that Barack Obama was cruising to a big victory. Mitt Romney looks positively flummoxed and more than a little lost as CNN calls one toss-up state after another for Obama: Pennsylvania. Virginia. Colorado. Nevada. Wisconsin. Michigan. Ohio. “We’re up by 500 votes in Florida!” chirps one of the goofy-named sons. Tapp or Boff or Dikk or Fugg. Mitt considers that news for a moment, before his face falls. “Oh, that’s not good.” Really Einstein? This is the “brilliant captain of business” who was going to turn around the country?! “What do you think you say in a concession speech?” asks the now forever former Governor of Massachusetts… but no one is really paying attention to him anymore.

DRXWA

“So what do you think you say in a concession speech?” – Election Night 2012

And then the flick skips back to the family council in 2006 that voted to go for it in 2008. That ill-fated campaign can be summed up in two words: Crash. Burn. Which is ironic, since Romney was beaten to the nomination by Mr Crash & Burn himself, John McCain.

The bulk of this RomDoc is devoted to the ups and downs and downs of the 2012 campaign. (Note to progressives: make a double batch of extra buttery popcorn. This is what we live for.) We all know how it turned out. This country really dodged a bullet. And “MITT” inadvertently shows us why, as it fails almost totally in its obvious attempt to portray the Romneys as human beings. I mean, these people – and there are a LOT of them – can’t enter or leave a room without EVERYONE HUGGING EVERYONE ELSE! If you are a bellhop or campaign operative in the wrong place at the wrong time, you better check your wallet if you get out of that scrum alive!

Ann "You people" Romney

Ann “You people” Romney

But there is no warmth. Because these are not warm-blooded mammals. They are mannequins. Plastic. Shiny. WHITE. Unlike his 1950s-era social hygiene mentality, Mitt’s joints don’t appear to be fully articulated – his arms falling dead at his sides whenever he stands. And as he is almost always clad in a dark suit, the only prop that seems to be missing is the coffin.

The few scenes where Mitt encounters actual people on the campaign trail, in a diner or a fast food joint (because that’s believable), the result is agonizing for all involved. It would be painful to watch – if it weren’t so fucking fabulous!

I would also like to point out, as an astute observer of GOP + Xian hypocrisy, that every hotel room and conference room and green room and padded room inhabited by Romneys was also always full of cases and cases of Diet Coke and Coke Zero. And not the caffeine-free varieties. Just sayin’. LDS Sin Squad – you’ve just made your monthly quota. You’re welcome.

In the end, this unintended mockumentary does have something for everyone. If you voted for Mitt, you’ll love “MITT”. You’ll tear up as you see these good, decent, hard-working, god-fearing, tax-avoiding centimillionaires sacrifice themselves for the good of Murrica… only to have the election stolen by that lying, scheming, cheating, community-organizing commie Kenyan in the White House who bought all those votes with promises of food stamps and Cadillacs to the 47%. Yup, you wuz robbed. Group hug. (Make sure your safeties are on.)

BUT… if you cry tears of joy and Schadenfreude to see phony, greedy, nasty, small-minded bigots get their comeuppance in the full glare of the tv lights, as well as behind the scenes in the innermost prayer circles and toboggan slopes of Romneyville… then Christmas came a little late this year. But here it is. Exclusively on Netflix. Search your inbox for the ubiquitous “Free One Month Netflix Trial” offer. Sign up. Click play. And don’t forget the ice cream.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream makes me happy.
Day 019 #100happydays

A Cosmo Kind of Guy

How many times have you come face to face with it? Must be thousands. Standing in the checkout line at the supermarket, you look up and there it is telling you How to Lose 5 Lbs in 5 Mins! or What He Wants That He Won’t Tell You or Lipo: Is it for You? Cosmopolitan magazine. But I guess I’ve always been more of a People guy. “Cosmo” (in the vernacular) aims at a demographic target that is, as far as I can tell, the opposite of me. So, imagine my surprise when I clicked on the link in a tweet and landed on this. Of course, it’s not what you think. I have a newfound respect for Cosmo. And for Cosmo girls, if this is the sort of guy they shed lbs for.

The article highlights just one of the insanities in America caused by “mostly older white men… bullying women”. Look folks, there are two ways to get rid of these bullying “older white men”, and only one of them is legal. VOTE! (Click on the hot pink Cosmopolitan logo to get registered to vote in 30 seconds.) Then be sure to click on the link to the full article. And guys, if you live in a place where this shit happens, perhaps it’s time to consider becoming a male escort.

cosmo

I joined the army at 17 because I believe in protecting people’s rights. I believe in reproductive rights, but the reason I do this work is to stop these mostly older white men from bullying women who are choosing what is best for them.

Be sure to read this >>> A Male Escort’s Perspective: What It’s Really Like Outside an Abortion Clinic – Cosmopolitan.

 

UPDATE: Supreme Court (from behind the safety of its own 100+ foot buffer zone) has struck down laws allowing buffer zones for abortion clinics. (see HuffPost article here)

Get The Red Out: #2014

Here we are. 2014. An election year. What’s up for grabs? All of the House. One-third of the Senate. Governorships. State legislatures. Local ballot measures. The primaries begin this spring. The general election – Election Day – is 11/4/14. Just ten months away. Debates, advertising, social media chatter – the works. If you like politics, it’s a banquet. If you hate politics, you’re in hell.

Whatever your feelings about how this country does its politics, do not let that distract or dissuade you from participating in this democracy. Whether you color yourself blue, red, purple or tie-dyed, you must vote. Why? Because in this nation of 320 million, there are 537 people in Washington who make decisions that affect every aspect of our lives. That’s 435 Representatives in the House + 100 Senators + the President and the Vice President. There are others who wield great power (the Supreme Court justices, the Cabinet, etc) – but we only elect 537 people to run the federal government. A few thousand folks if you count all the governors and state legislators.

We have the opportunity – still rather rare in this world – to choose people who will represent us and our best interests. We open every sports event and every civic gathering with a solemn vow, hands over hearts, remembering those who have fought and died to secure our freedoms.

But every two years, we spit on their graves. Roughly HALF of Americans do not bother to vote. In presidential elections, that may edge toward 60%. In the “mid-term” (non-presidential) elections, it drops to 40%. And in some places less.

With voter participation that low, a close election can mean that only 20% of us choose the winner. 20% is a majority? When did we get so bad at math?!

Here’s a graphic that shows the reality behind two recent elections in Texas. A deep RED state, right? Maybe. Maybe not. But what we do know is that Texas is a deeply LAZY state when it comes to voting. The large gray squares = eligible voters in the 2010 and 2012 elections. The little red squares = the margin of victory for the candidates who won those elections. In 2010, Perry won by less than 1 million votes in an election where NINE MILLION REGISTERED VOTERS DID NOT BOTHER TO VOTE! They were already registered to vote. In 2012, Romney won Texas by 1.2 million votes. That year, SIX MILLION registered voters didn’t vote. You hate voting so much? Fine. But why would anyone bother to be registered if they won’t vote?

TX.2010.2012.2016

I don’t mean to only mess with Texas. (Or the mess that is Texas.) No state has bragging rights over voter participation. But in 2014, we have to save our governments from being run by people who do not believe in government! Texas will be one of the more interesting states to watch, with Wendy Davis running for governor and John Cornyn getting primaried by a certifiably insane RWNJ teabagger for his Senate seat. Georgia is going to be a wild ride too, with brawls for governor and an open Senate seat.

But it goes so far beyond the ‘sport’ of politics. Because Perry was re-elected in 2010, Texas has refused the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare, cutting off millions of the working poor from critical access to health care. It would not have cost the state of Texas a dime to implement this. Perry threw his own citizens under the bus out of pure political spite. And had Romney won the election, who doubts that we would now be at war in Syria and Iran?

Elections have consequences. Not voting does not exempt you from the consequences. It merely makes you a cog on someone else’s wheel. Get yourself registered. And when the time comes, vote.

You can start by registering here at Rock The Vote:

https://register2.rockthevote.com/?partner=25659

This Just In… Part Deux

Canadian-born U.S. Senator Rafael “Ted” Cruz (R-TX) has confirmed that he will renounce his Canadian citizenship. Canada’s reaction to this news was typically understated:

happy maple leaf

Unconfirmed reports suggest that Citizenship and Immigration Canada is exploring the possibility of renouncing the citizenship of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

Since it seems that Canada is pursuing a dastardly scheme to export its craziest political operatives to the United States, you can do your part to repel this invasion. Click on the Happy Maple Leaf to go to Rock The Vote and get yourself registered to vote! It only takes a few minutes. #2014 primaries are just months away… 306 days till Election Day in November. Let’s get moving, eh?

This Just In…

Rob Ford, the morbidly obese, raging alcoholic, crack-smoking Mayor of Toronto…

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford

has filed papers to run for re-election. That is all.

You can prevent electoral disasters like this in America.
Click on the mayor’s image and get yourself registered to vote!

The Easiest Resolution You’ll Ever Keep

Quit smoking? You should. I did. But that’s another post. Lose weight? Get in shape? You should. I’m trying. But that’s another post. Follow Steve’s blog? See how good you are at this?!

Most of the resolutions we make are difficult to keep. We are almost doomed to failure. We know that going in. We forgive ourselves in advance for not making it. There is one New Year’s resolution, though, that you’re not making. No one ever picks this one. But it’s incredibly important. Patriotic. Responsible. Necessary. Oh, and it’s bizarrely easy to do. Failure is damned near impossible. It’s free (in most places). And it feels good.

Register to vote. easy

That’s right. Get yourself registered to vote. If you are an American who has reached the age of 18 and who is eligible to vote, then you have absolutely no excuse whatsoever for not being registered to vote. At the end of this post is a link that will get you registered. You can register online; it only takes a few minutes. I was already registered, but I just re-registered (so I could recommend this way of doing it). I live in Los Angeles, and all that I needed was my Driver’s License (or State ID) number, the last four digits of my Social Security number, my address and date of birth. Presto. Done. I instantly received an email from the California Secretary of State confirming my shiny new status as a registered voter. Different states have different rules, but the Rock The Vote website whisks you through your state’s process. How’s that for an easy-to-keep resolution? You’re welcome.

I’m guessing most who read this blog post are already registered to vote. Once you’ve registered, you’re good to go until you move, or if you want to change your party affiliation. If you’re like me, you vote in every election. Every year, Election Day is the Tuesday after the first Monday in November. We elect presidents every four years. We elect all of Congress and one-third of the Senate in even-numbered years. There are state and county and municipal elections for candidates and ballot measures every year, along with the odd special election to fill vacant seats. And in the months leading up to the General Election in November, there are all those lovely primaries where the parties get to pick their candidates for the final contest.

So, you love to vote and wouldn’t miss it? You find something sacred in this most secular of rites. Whether you live in a sprawling city or tiny town, you love the unique coming together in your ‘polling place’ – the school gymnasium, church hall, fire station or library. You actually wear that “I voted” sticker proudly on your lapel or your smartphone case. Maybe you’re even a bit of a political junkie? Great. But you’re not off the hook. Here’s a resolution for the (small d) democratic overachievers like you: Find someone you know who is not registered to vote, and help her get registered. (You cannot legally do it for another person, but you can walk her through the process.) And then resolve to help her cast that vote in the upcoming primaries and on Election Day. Or in early voting. Or by mail.

Are you reading this and wondering whether or not you are registered to vote? My advice is to assume you aren’t and go through the quick process to register. Even if you were registered, the new filing simply ‘overwrites’ the old one. Can’t hurt. So go ahead, get yourself registered. And then go the extra mile and help someone else you know who needs to register and vote in this year’s elections.

Whatever your politics, whatever your priorities, the 2014 elections WILL have a significant impact on YOUR life and on those you love. I won’t tell you which way to vote. That’s another post. In 2012, 130 million Americans voted for either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney for President. That’s a lot of people… but still only 58% of the people who were eligible to vote.

2014 is a so-called “off-year election” because it’s not a presidential contest. It’s “only” the entire House of Representatives, 1/3 of the Senate, governors and legislatures in many states, and ballot measures to determine everything from your sales taxes, minimum wage, women’s reproductive health care, voting rights, gun control, who can marry, Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, et cetera. These are not small questions, nor dull topics. Whether you like it or not, you’ve got one or more horses in this race. But voting patterns for off-year elections are long established, and if they hold true in 2014, only about 40% of Americans who are eligible to vote will bother to cast a ballot.

votetwiceThink about that. 40 million people – who voted (D) or (R) for president in 2012 – are likely to just sit out the 2014 elections. Why? That’s another post. THIS post is about how we can change that. It’s not difficult. It costs nothing. We are going to get ourselves registered. We are going to help would-be non-voters get themselves registered. We are going to vote. And we are going to help would-be non-voters to cast their votes.

I am not going to donate or raise money for any candidate or party in 2014. Our political system is drowning in money. But I am going to work like hell to make sure more people vote for the candidates and causes that I support. And you should do the same. Think about it this way: it’s like voting twice. Or ten times, or a hundred. Without the slightest whiff of fraud. BOOM. There are “register to vote” buttons and links scattered all over my blog. Give it a whirl. You can click on the VOTE TWICE image or the EASY BUTTON in this post.