an anonymous flier circulating in african-american neighborhoods in philly says that voters with outstanding arrest warrants or traffic tickets will be taken into custody by undercover policemen if/when they show up to vote on election day. of course, the authorities are doing everything that they can to reassure everyone that this claim is completely and utterly false -- but unfortunately this incident has kerosene all over it.
who knows where else this is happening in the country?
americans want to believe that we live in the land of the free and the home of the brave but anyone that's paying attention knows that this isn't the case. truth be told, this great land of ours has always had a long-standing tradition of keeping certain basic inalienable rights away from very nearly everyone, while a particular segment of the population has always enjoyed those rights. a part of what it means to be american is to not only acknowledge that those rights are for all of us -- not just the priveleged few or those who feel that they are especially entitled to them -- but to actively do something about it when everyone isn't accommodated.
i have often wondered if there were ever a moment in this country's voting history when absolutely every american went to the polls and voted for the president of their choice without having to deal with any kind of voter intimidation, threats, violence or abuse. i have often heard stories from my 92 year old african-american south georgia-born father about what it was like in the rural south of his childhood when it was election season, and what they did to us -- how they terrorized us. in my mind, our national african-american museum (that's right -- we don't have one!) would be filled with video commentary and testimony from him and his contemporaries, so we could all hear the stories that fill my parents kitchen/den whenever my father waxes somber and reflects at length about What Happened Then. wouldn't that be something.
think about it: white men are the only people in this country that have always had the right to vote and own property. even when they were indentured servants -- over half the white people who came to this country in the 17th and 18th century from places like england, scotland, and germany were indentured servants -- those basics were given to them as a matter of course when they worked their way out of their debt contract, if they were men.
and yes, i could go on about white women and white privilege and white entitlement but that's another conversation.
all i want to say is ths.
we don't live in a democracy. we live in a corporatocracy with neofascist overtones -- one that has everyone running around looking for parking, eating their way into a pre-diabetic coma with fried, heavily processed foods and hating on minorities, immigrants, people of color and anyone else that's "different." while we distract ourselves with the garbage we eat and the garbage we watch on television and the garbage we listen to on the radio, the economy goes to hell and hundreds of thousands of people go to the war that is hell.
now, who's going to be the national commentator to call george w. bush a neo-fascist? who's going to run the word "jingoism" up a flagpole and let it fly right next to the stars and stripes? (if you look hard enough, you'll see it there anyway.) who's going to toss a 2 for 1 coupon for that new chicken bisquit from mcdonald's into the garbage and have a shot of wheatgrass and a healthy salad instead?
i'm convinced that real change amongst the people starts with diet and excercise. you know what the first sign of malnutrition is? apathy.
let the games begin.