Voting as Activism

Vote! Did you know that when an informed person participates in voting, that person becomes an activist?

If there is an election in your locality today, take action: VOTE. Given the recent spate of Republican woes — Tom DeLay’s alleged dirty dealings, Scooter Libby’s indictment, Bill Frist’s blind trust, the continuing investigation of Karl Rove — today’s polling may be a minor referendum on Republican power in the US.

Be sure to keep your eyes on New Jersey’s contentious gubernatorial race between Democrat Jon Corzine and Republican businessperson (and “Bush’s man”) Doug Forrester. And Virginia’s, between Democrat Tim Kaine and GOPster Jerry Kilgore — the race will prove whether the damaged Dubya, who stumped for Kilgore, can still sway votes. Both contests are expected to go down to the wire.

Also meriting your attention: Seven states are considering ballot initiatives. In Texas, voters take on a redundant and cruel proposed constitutional ban on gay-marriage that threatens far more than Lone Star queers. Bigotry is on the ballot in Maine too, where people are considering whether to repeal the state’s antidiscrimination law. Meanwhile, California Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger will see his self-proclaimed “people power” put to the test as voters tackle four controversial proposals to cap state spending, boost Ah-nuld’s budget-cutting muscle, rein in state-worker unions, and take away lawmakers’ redistricting power.

The Associated Press reports that spirited mayoral races are under way in New York, Detroit, Houston, Boston, San Diego, and Atlanta.

In New York City, Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg held onto a clear lead against Democratic underdog Fernando Ferrer, who campaigned with the Rev. Al Sharpton and Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois.

Ferrer, the former Bronx borough president, had spent only about an eighth of the more than $66 million that the billionaire mayor has funneled toward winning a second term.

In Boston, Mayor Thomas M. Menino hopes to set a record for the longest serving mayor in city history, while challenger Maura Hennigan wants to become Boston’s first elected female mayor.

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was seeking another term while fending off allegations of misspending. Kilpatrick blames the fiscal problems on his predecessor, Dennis Archer, for whom challenger Freman Hendrix worked.

Allegations of ballot improprieties also have surfaced. A judge ordered Detroit election officials to oversee absentee voting after finding problems with the way the city clerk organized the effort. …

In San Diego, Donna Frye, a surf-shop owner and Democrat, was staging an uphill battle against Republican Jerry Sanders, who enjoys strong backing from the city’s business establishment.

So, take on the role of activist. If it is election day in your corner of the world, vote — and encourage every progressive you know to do the same. Barring the nefarious efforts of cheats and election thieves (they know who they are), voting is one sure way to make your voice heard. Get busy before the polls close.

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6 thoughts on “Voting as Activism

  1. The problem with voting is that too many people see that as their only voice, that it’s the only way they can enact change, instead of realizing that it is perhaps the weakest. I still feel it’s important, but it’s much more effective to get out there and mix it up as often as you can, not just one November day every other year.

  2. Thanks for the link, it is interesting. I am not sure how I feel about the idea of voting as activism.

    One thing I have been thinking about for a while, and mentioned it to Dennis Kucinich, is that if we thought of a voting block as an organizing tool. We ask friends of thought to vote together in a block, that is publicly known, and we as a group make a decision where to put those votes, with technology as Move On has done, is easy.

    I am thinking about it as a AndIf technology. You and I will do this, if we can get x number of people to join us.

    So I don’t think the act of voting is the activism, I think it can be used as a conversation for the activism…

    2 cents off the cuff. Best, Mark

  3. That’s great if one is willing to put aside one’s principles if they run opposite to that of the group’s. I can’t do that — must do what is right. I love Dennis Kucinich, but why he remains a Democrat eludes me. But if he is happy there, goddess bless him. If he ever gets a presidential nominee, he likely will get my vote, which I do consider as much activism as writing lawmakers, ,rallying in the streets, canvassing, etc.

  4. Thanks for the info about National Stand Down Day. I found it ironic, however, that at the top of the Web page was an ad for the U.S. Army Special Forces! Ah, the irony of it all.

  5. Hey Brad, I agree with you. But just because voting takes place only once every other year doesn’t make it any less a positive direct action. Of course, The Armchair Activist exists to encourage people to do more, and to do it regularly.

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