Showing posts with label 2012 election. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2012 election. Show all posts

Friday, October 12, 2012

Initiatives: Melissa Etheredge joins Coloradans in Likely Approval of Legal Weed

Colorado voters may make that state the first jurisdiction to fully legalize marijuana since cannabis in all forms was prohibited almost a century ago.

Not just medical marijuana.  Not just industrial hemp.

But good old-fashioned Weed.

Current polls in Colorado show that 50% of the public support the initiative (known as Amendment 64), while 40% oppose and 10% are undecided.

Adding a last minute push behind the measure is singer-songwriter Melissa Etheredge, who released a YouTube ad yesterday in support of legalizing marijuana.

Etheridge was diagnosed with breast cancer in October, 2004 and underwent chemotherapy. The singer made a memorable appearance in early 2005 at the Grammy Awards, where, bald from the chemotherapy  treatment, she performed a cover of Janis Joplin's "Piece of My Heart." In a 2009 CNN interview with Anderson Cooper, Etheridge said she instantly noticed a difference in her pain after using marijuana.
Etheredge says,

 "The nauseous, the pain, it was terrible.  Prescription drugs were not helping. The only thing that allowed me to function and regain my strength was marijuana and I'm grateful for the relief it provided me. You know before I needed to use marijuana I just accepted the laws that treated marijuana users as criminals. But it's funny how a serious illness can give you a new outlook on life…I now see that it's wrong to arrest adults for using marijuana and it's even more wrong to allow gangs and cartels to profit from selling marijuana. Instead we should allow adults to possess limited amounts of marijuana and we should regulate marijuana sales in order to generate tax revenues for public schools construction and other community needs. To me, regulating marijuana is simply the right thing to do. Please vote yes on Amendment 64."

Proposals to fully legalize marijuana are also on the ballot in Washington state and Oregon.
  Police chiefs from all three states are frantically seeking to involve U S Attorney Eric Holder in the campaigns to oppose the measures, but so far Holder has been silent on all three.

Since marijuana is illegal under federal law, it is unclear what effect the ballot measures will have, even if passed.  The Obama administration has actually accelerated raids on state-legal medical marijuana dispensaries in California and Montana, but growing public support for legalization is now fairly significant on the east and west coasts and in the western mountain states.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Will an East Coast Strike Derail Obama's Re-election Bid?

 Historically, followers of presidential campaigns have looked for an “October Surprise” – a news event with the potential to change the course of the election.  Over the past few decades, the “October Surprises” have included a false announcement of the Vietnam War winding down by then-President Johnson during the 1968 Humphrey-Nixon-Wallace contest; Henry Kissinger’s announcement that a Vietnam peace was “at hand” just before the 1972 Nixon-McGovern election; the 1992 (Bush-Clinton) breaking of the Iran-Contra affair; and the release of George W. Bush’s drunken driving arrest just before the 2000 Bush-Gore election.

But sometimes, the ‘surprise’ comes from elsewhere…such as when Iran announced that they would not release the American Embassy hostages just before the 1980 Carter-Reagan election.  And that could well be the case this year.

Yes, Mitt Romney might release his Tax Returns (or they may be released to media sources by hackers claiming to have obtained them).  

Or perhaps Benjamin Netanyahu will decide to launch a surgical strike against Iran’s nuclear complex, forcing President Obama into the position of taking a hawk-like military stance (which will disappoint progressives, but not be good enough for Neo-con Republicans).

Or maybe it will come in the form of a looming longshoremen’s strike that has somehow evaded news reports, but which could shut down 14 ports and 95% of all shipping traffic on the east coast.

On September 30, the employment contract between the U.S Maritime Alliance (representing container carriers and port operators) and the  International Longshoremen’s Association expires.  Talks for a new contract broke down on Aug. 22 over wages and benefits, with no clear path to agreement in view. The union had requested a "last best offer” from Management, and the Alliance Management refused.  The union said last week that it was now “making preparations” for a possible strike on Oct. 1.

At the urging of the Retail Industry Leaders Association and the National Retail Federation, President Obama has ordered mediators to reopen talks between the groups.  The breakdown in talks comes in the midst of a concerted effort by Philadelphia area port operators, in an alliance with Del Monte Brands, to transfer dock operations away from ILA workers and towards lower-paid laborers.   

“Many companies are making contingency plans, but clearly even the best plans will be problematic in the event of a full- scale shutdown at East and Gulf Coast ports,” said Peter Gatti, executive vice president of the National Industrial Transportation League this week.  “Even the potential shift of that freight will put extraordinary demands on all modes of transportation, particularly for rail.”

In 2002, U.S. West Coast ports closed for 10 days after the Pacific Maritime Association locked out members of the International Longshore and Warehouse union, who it said were intentionally slowing down work.  President George W. Bush ordered an end to the shutdown under the Taft-Hartley Act, but the short lock-out cost the U.S. economy more than $1 billion a day. 

The resolution – or not – of this situation could well be the “October surprise” for 2012.  If the President is able to secure a negotiated settlement, it will earn him political capital.

But if an agreement is not reached, it puts the President in a no-win situation: as long as the strike continues, the economy will be further depressed, and Republicans will seize on the opportunity to criticize the President and unions.  If the President steps in and orders the dockworkers back to work, he will be seen as betraying blue collar workers, unionists, and progressives.

I fully expect Obama to win re-election, based on today’s numbers and sentiments.

But if this is the “October Surprise,” all bets could be off - especially in the three critical coastal swing states of Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida...and heavily unionized states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Wisconsin.


Thursday, September 06, 2012

Elizabeth Warren: Full Text of DNC Speech

Thank you! I'm Elizabeth Warren, and this is my first Democratic Convention. Never thought I'd run for senate. And I sure never dreamed that I'd get to be the warm-up act for President Bill Clinton—an amazing man, who had the good sense to marry one of the coolest women on the planet. I want to give a special shout out to the Massachusetts delegation. I'm counting on you to help me win and to help President Obama win. 

I'm here tonight to talk about hard-working people: people who get up early, stay up late, cook dinner and help out with homework; people who can be counted on to help their kids, their parents, their neighbors, and the lady down the street whose car broke down; people who work their hearts out but are up against a hard truth—the game is rigged against them. 

It wasn't always this way. Like a lot of you, I grew up in a family on the ragged edge of the middle class. My daddy sold carpeting and ended up as a maintenance man. After he had a heart attack, my mom worked the phones at Sears so we could hang on to our house. My three brothers all served in the military. One was career. The second worked a good union job in construction. The third started a small business. 

Me, I was waiting tables at 13 and married at 19. I graduated from public schools and taught elementary school. I have a wonderful husband, two great children, and three beautiful grandchildren. And I'm grateful, down to my toes, for every opportunity that America gave me. This is a great country. I grew up in an America that invested in its kids and built a strong middle class; that allowed millions of children to rise from poverty and establish secure lives. An America that created Social Security and Medicare so that seniors could live with dignity; an America in which each generation built something solid so that the next generation could build something better. 

But for many years now, our middle class has been chipped, squeezed, and hammered. Talk to the construction worker I met from Malden, Massachusetts, who went nine months without finding work. Talk to the head of a manufacturing company in Franklin trying to protect jobs but worried about rising costs. Talk to the student in Worcester who worked hard to finish his college degree, and now he's drowning in debt. Their fight is my fight, and it's Barack Obama's fight too. 

People feel like the system is rigged against them. And here's the painful part: they're right. The system is rigged. Look around. Oil companies guzzle down billions in subsidies. Billionaires pay lower tax rates than their secretaries. Wall Street CEOs—the same ones who wrecked our economy and destroyed millions of jobs—still strut around Congress, no shame, demanding favors, and acting like we should thank them. 

Anyone here have a problem with that? Well I do. I talk to small business owners all across Massachusetts. Not one of them—not one—made big bucks from the risky Wall Street bets that brought down our economy. I talk to nurses and programmers, salespeople and firefighters—people who bust their tails every day. Not one of them—not one—stashes their money in the Cayman Islands to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. 

These folks don't resent that someone else makes more money. We're Americans. We celebrate success. We just don't want the game to be rigged. We've fought to level the playing field before. About a century ago, when corrosive greed threatened our economy and our way of life, the American people came together under the leadership of Teddy Roosevelt and other progressives, to bring our nation back from the brink. 

We started to take children out of factories and put them in schools. We began to give meaning to the words "consumer protection" by making our food and medicine safe. And we gave the little guys a better chance to compete by preventing the big guys from rigging the markets. We turned adversity into progress because that's what we do. 

Americans are fighters. We are tough, resourceful and creative. If we have the chance to fight on a level playing field—where everyone pays a fair share and everyone has a real shot—then no one can stop us. President Obama gets it because he's spent his life fighting for the middle class. And now he's fighting to level that playing field—because we know that the economy doesn't grow from the top down, but from the middle class out and the bottom up. That's how we create jobs and reduce the debt. 

And Mitt Romney? He wants to give tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires. But for middle-class families who are hanging on by their fingernails? His plans will hammer them with a new tax hike of up to 2,000 dollars. Mitt Romney wants to give billions in breaks to big corporations—but he and Paul Ryan would pulverize financial reform, voucher-ize Medicare, and vaporize Obamacare. 

The Republican vision is clear: "I've got mine, the rest of you are on your own." Republicans say they don't believe in government. Sure they do. They believe in government to help themselves and their powerful friends. After all, Mitt Romney's the guy who said corporations are people. 

No, Governor Romney, corporations are not people. People have hearts, they have kids, they get jobs, they get sick, they cry, they dance. They live, they love, and they die. And that matters. That matters because we don't run this country for corporations, we run it for people. And that's why we need Barack Obama. 

After the financial crisis, President Obama knew that we had to clean up Wall Street. For years, families had been tricked by credit cards, fooled by student loans and cheated on mortgages. I had an idea for a consumer financial protection agency to stop the rip-offs. The big banks sure didn't like it, and they marshaled one of the biggest lobbying forces on earth to destroy the agency before it ever saw the light of day. American families didn't have an army of lobbyists on our side, but what we had was a president—President Obama leading the way. And when the lobbyists were closing in for the kill, Barack Obama squared his shoulders, planted his feet, and stood firm. And that's how we won.
By the way, just a few weeks ago, that little agency caught one of the biggest credit card companies cheating its customers and made it give people back every penny it took, plus millions of dollars in fines. That's what happens when you have a president on the side of the middle class. 

President Obama believes in a level playing field. He believes in a country where nobody gets a free ride or a golden parachute. A country where anyone who has a great idea and rolls up their sleeves has a chance to build a business, and anyone who works hard can build some security and raise a family. President Obama believes in a country where billionaires pay their taxes just like their secretaries do, and—I can't believe I have to say this in 2012—a country where women get equal pay for equal work.

He believes in a country where everyone is held accountable. Where no one can steal your purse on Main Street or your pension on Wall Street. President Obama believes in a country where we invest in education, in roads and bridges, in science, and in the future, so we can create new opportunities, so the next kid can make it big, and the kid after that, and the kid after that. That's what president Obama believes. And that's how we build the economy of the future. An economy with more jobs and less debt. We root it in fairness. We grow it with opportunity. And we build it together.
I grew up in the Methodist Church and taught Sunday school. One of my favorite passages of scripture is: "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." Matthew 25:40. The passage teaches about God in each of us, that we are bound to each other and called to act. Not to sit, not to wait, but to act—all of us together. 

Senator Kennedy understood that call. Four years ago, he addressed our convention for the last time. He said, "We have never lost our belief that we are all called to a better country and a newer world." Generation after generation, Americans have answered that call. And now we are called again. We are called to restore opportunity for every American. We are called to give America's working families a fighting chance. We are called to build something solid so the next generation can build something better. 

So let me ask you—let me ask you, America: are you ready to answer this call? Are you ready to fight for good jobs and a strong middle class? Are you ready to work for a level playing field? Are you ready to prove to another generation of Americans that we can build a better country and a newer world? 

Joe Biden is ready. Barack Obama is ready. I'm ready. You're ready. America's ready. Thank you! And God bless America!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Obama vs. Romney Electoral Map: Sept 1 Update

As the Republican Circus winds down in Tampa and the Democratic one gets ready to roll in Charlotte, we have decided we need to make four changes in our Election prediction map since last month. The hammering Romney has taken over his taxes and the fiscal ice-water that runs in his veins was only exacerbated by the choice of Paul Ryan as Veep. Ryan's scorched-earth approach towards government programming has even normally Republican seniors sitting up to listen...and independent seniors furious.  The pandering to Ryan, darling of the Tea Party, and the adoption of a platform on social issues (abortion, marriage equality) that is so conservative Ronald Reagan wouldn't have been able to abide by it, cements the GOP ticket as an image of a party captured by the lunatic right.

Accordingly, we switch two states from red to blue:

FLORIDA:  The Senior citizen vote is critical in Florida, and the choice of Ryan was, in effect, a surrender of the Sunshine State by the Republicans.  Add to that the embarrassing voiding of a GOP-lead voter suppression law by the courts, and the endorsement of President Obama by former Republican Governor (and now-Independent) Charlie Crist, who stated, " "I didn't leave the Republican Party, it left me."  Momentum is clear for Obama to overcome notorious elections in Florida to take the state. Color it Blue.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Another state with a sizable retiree population that votes in its own interests. A closely watched 'swing state,' New Hampshire Democrats are energized by a Gubernatorial primary that pits two popular Democrats against each other in a contest that has been relatively upbeat and above board.  The Republicans, meanwhile, are beginning to show their deep fissures, as Paul-leaning libertarians, Christian fundamentalists, and old-tyme establishment Republicans find it increasingly harder to convey a common message to the voters. We tilt this one, ever so slightly, Blue.

On the other hand, there are two states we are finally resigning to the GOP:

ARIZONA:  It appears that in this election, in spite of the outrage among liberals, the young, Latinos, and many independent women at the Republican establishment, they do not command the votes to overcome a significant GOP registration edge.  This was a state that I thought might end up in the 'swing' column, but it is clear now that it is Red, at least for the next election cycle or two.

IOWA: This state has gone back and forth, but the most recent polls seem to show that the Republicans are uniting and the Democrats are growing tired and weary of this fight.  It seems likely to slide back into the Red column in 2012.

This gives the election to Obama by an electoral vote of  326-212.

And now, the Sleeper Surprise State:  

GEORGIA: A Deep South state, many have simply written Georgia off as a Red Republican state like her neighbors Alabama and South Carolina.  But Georgia is changing: the metropolitan Atlanta area commands a huge portion of Georgia's electorate, and these are no good old boys.  In addition, the minority population of Georgia is growing exponentially: as of the 2010 census, only 56% of Georgians were non-Hispanic whites,  while 60% of those under the age of one were minorities. The minority vote will factor in strongly here.  Lastly, Georgia has a recent history of breaking for Democrats, such as home-state candidate Jimmy Carter in 1976 and Bill Clinton in the 1990s.

The latest polls?  Romney is still ahead...but only by a 3% margin.  I still expect Georgia to go Red, but it will be fascinating to watch the margin of victory; with Obama having won North Carolina and Virginia last go-round, and his expected victory in Florida in 2012, it is possible that 'the Solid South' is becoming a competitive landscape.


Friday, July 13, 2012

Green Party's Jill Stein chooses Cheri Honkala for VP

Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein announced at the Green Party National Convention this week that she has chosen Cheri Honkala, “the nation’s leading anti-poverty advocate,” as her Vice-Presidential running mate.

The Green Party expects to be on the ballot in 45 states this election, and, along with Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson,  could make the difference in key swing states such as New Mexico.  In 2000, Ralph Nader did well enough as the Green Party candidate to anger many Democrats who thought he took key votes from Al Gore, thus throwing the election to Bush.  The Green Party, with a thoroughly ‘pedigreed’ Progressive platform, may also take votes from Barack Obama, who has sought to placate liberals while keeping a Clintonesque centrist stance on many issues.

Stein and Honkala promise a “Green New Deal,” that like FDRs original New Deal, would create 25 million jobs, as well as downsize the military, restore civil liberties lost under the Patriot Act and NDAA, legalize marijuana, and guarantee college education for everyone.


Honkala is the national coordinator for the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group led by poor and homeless people. She ran for sheriff in Philadelphia last year.
“Compelled by her own experience as a homeless, single mom, Honkala has spent nearly three decades working directly alongside the poor to build the movement to end poverty, and has organized tens of thousands of people to take action via marches, demonstrations and tent cities,” Stein’s campaign said in its announcement.

Honkala said, “It’s immoral that children are hungry and homeless in the richest country in the world. It’s time for the 99% to stand united to serve our collective human needs instead of selfish, corporate greed. The Green Party is the only one standing up to Wall Street, and Jill Stein’s Green New Deal is the best plan for saving this sinking ship. I’m honored to fight beside her.”

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Feds, County Election Supervisors Stop Purge of Voters in Florida

On Martin Luther King Day this year, we reported that Republican leaders have responded to a shrinking party base by across the country by throwing up obstacles to prevent the young, the elderly, and naturalized citizens from voting  (Republicans Seek to Suppress Voters).  One of the most extensive efforts to purge voting rolls of democratic-leaning voters has been taking place in Florida under the direction of Gov. Rick Scott.

But on Thursday, the federal Justice Department insisted that the purge of voters from Florida voting rolls cease immediately, as the program violates federal law.

County Elections Supervisors agreed. In response to the Justice Department order, Ron Labasky, the general counsel to the state's 67 county election supervisors, issued a memo recommending

 "...that Supervisors of Elections cease any further action until the issues raised by the Department of Justice are resolved between the parties or by a Court.” Accordingly, all 67 County Supervisors have ceased implementing Scott's Purge.

Those Elections Supervisors have been pushing back against Scott's efforts, as they have discovered multiple errors in the Governor's purging system. The Palm Beach Post quoted Martin County Elections Supervisor Vicki Davis, president of the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections, as saying that the errors found in Scott's program, present in every county, made the planned purge "undoable."

Governor Scott has until June 6 (Wednesday) to respond to the Justice Department.

Monday, January 16, 2012

On MLK Jr. Day: Republicans Seek to Suppress Voters

What’s a Republican to do?

As the South Carolina Primary approaches, Republican Presidential candidates are falling over themselves trying to prove that they are the most viciously anti-gay candidate. Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich have all signed the NOM Pledge to end Marriage Equality in any state that chooses it.

And yet, Gallup Polls report that “…a majority of Americans (53%) believe same-sex marriage should be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages.”

In August, at the Iowa State Fair Mitt Romney openly argued that “Corporations are People.” And yet, Hart Research Associates found that 87% of Democrats, 82% of Independents, and even 68% of Republicans support a constitutional amendment to eliminate “corporate personhood.’

The New York Times has found that the majority of Americans – including Republicans and those earning over $100,000 annually – support slashing Executive pay at companies receiving bailouts. Meanwhile, Republicans continue to mumble on about supporting free enterprise and opposing limits on pay.

At every campaign stop, the GOP candidates have promised to repeal “Obamacare;” and yet, the provision of that act that guarantees that individuals with preexisting conditions can be covered by insurance is supported by 63% of the American public, who agreed that insurers “absolutely must” cover such people in a recent Wall Street Journal poll.

With the Republican Party so completely out of touch with Americans on issues of health care, the economy, growing wealth disparity, corporatism, and social issues – how can they expect to win the 2012 Presidential election?

By suppressing voter participation.

Since the GOP can not win the majority of votes based on issues, they have turned to making it difficult – or impossible – for the most ‘contrary’ demographic groups to vote at all: racial minorities, the poor, the elderly, and college students. Since the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. devoted his life seeking the right to vote for all people, it seems appropriate on the holiday on which he is honored to expose these Republican efforts across the states.

Denise Lieberman, senior attorney with the civil rights organization, Advancement Project," stated:

“Heading into 2012, we are seeing the largest assault on the right to vote since the post-Reconstruction Era. This is an unprecedented attack on voting that could affect more than 5 million voters in 2012; in states that represent nearly two-thirds of the electoral votes needed to win the presidency. Twenty new laws and executive orders in 14 states stand to turn back the clock and make it harder to vote. In 2012, two-thirds of the states introduced legislation that could impede voters and more is on the horizon for 2012.”

The GOP Plan:

1) Require Government Issued Voter ID Cards with Photos

New in 2012, a non-expired, state-issued photo ID is needed in Alabama, Kansas, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin. In Texas, 34 counties lack the required “Department of Public Safety Offices” to issues the required IDs. Four of those counties have Hispanic populations greater than 75 percent.

Additional legislation has been filed in North Carolina, Nebraska, New Jersey, Maine, Minnesota and Missouri. It is particularly hypocritical in New Hampshire, where Republicans fought against the federal “Real ID” photo/drivers license program, but voted to implement the same obstacle to suppress votes, a bill that was vetoed by the Governor. In defiance, election officials in the Town of New Boston, NH, posted a huge “Photo ID required” sign at the entrance to the polls last year, in spite of the fact that no such requirement exists.

Those who do not drive are the least likely to have such an ID: minorities, lower-income people, seniors who no longer drive, those with revoked licenses, and students (College ID cards are not valid). NYU Law School has estimated that up to 11% of all otherwise eligible voters – 21 million Americans - do not have the requisite ID.

In order to get an official ID, the poor have disproportionate hurdles to overcome: In addition to fees, individuals are asked to provide birth certificates, passports, or other documents. While many Americans have these, those who have been thrown out of their homes, women or young people who fled after having been involved in abusive situations, those who have lost their homes to foreclosure and have documents in storage units, those who have lost documents in fires in substandard housing, those living in nursing homes, and those lacking personal autos to run to government offices to obtain the documents – are far unlikely to be able to assemble the required documents in a timely fashion. In addition, Arizona, Alabama, Kansas and Tennessee now require proof of citizenship, a tactic meant to intimidate Hispanic and other naturalized citizens.

2) Restrict New Voter Registration Drives

Florida and Texas now have enacted strict time periods for these drives, and impose stiff fines for honest errors. Similar legislation is now pending in Michigan.

For those states that permit same-day registration, the GOP tactic is to turn back the clock. In recent years, the trend has been for states to make voting easier, not harder. Since most election boards are operated by local citizens, these citizens are able to provide a 'check’ on unlikely but potential fraudulent votes. But this year, that trend is being reversed: Ohio and Maine (a state with a long history of same-day registration) eliminated same-day registration. The same legislation is pending in North Carolina.

3) Ban Felons From Voting

If you are convicted of a felony in Kentucky and Virginia, you lose your right to vote for life. In Florida and Iowa the Republican Governors have tried to emulate this by issuing Executive Orders eliminating the rights of former felons to regain their right to vote. 48 states (all except Maine and Vermont) prohibit felons from voting while in prison. This sets up a dangerous process: all a state must do is find someone guilty of a felony, and they lose a major avenue to challenge the very laws and policies under which they convicted.

In the United States, 5.3 million people are unable to vote due to a felony conviction. At least one-quarter of these convictions were for non-violent drug offenses, crimes for which black men are twelve times more likely to be convicted and jailed with a felony record than their white counterparts. There are more black men in prison today than there were black men enslaved in 1850 (source). The War on Drugs has been the single most effective tool at disenfranchising black voters.

4) Ban College Students from Voting

In 1979, the US Supreme Court ruled in The United States vs. Symm that college students may vote in the communities where they attend school. That decision states, "there is no requirement that a student, in order to establish that he is a resident of the place where he wishes to vote, establish that he intends to remain there permanently or for any particular period of time."

In the "swing state' of New Hampshire, College students often represent 15% or more of the vote in college Towns such as Keene (Keene State College), Hanover (Dartmouth), and Durham (UNH). Bill O’Brien, the Republican speaker of the New Hampshire State House, told a Tea Party group earlier this year that students are “foolish” and tend to “vote their feelings, voting as a liberal, because that’s what kids do.” In the statehouse, he shepherded new laws to prohibit students from voting from their college addresses, in direct violation of the Symm decision. In Wisconsin the state declared College-issued photos invalid, forcing college students wishing to vote to scramble to apply for new drivers licenses (requiring them to then re-register their autos, and obtain new inspections) – all at great expense – to vote.

In Selma, Alabama, in 1965, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King told marchers,

"Voting is the foundation stone for political action…The basic elements so vital to Negro advancement can only be achieved by seeking redress from government at local, state and Federal levels. To do this, the vote is essential."

Yes, the vote is essential... and Republican efforts to disenfranchise voters is antithetical to the America I was raised to believe in.