Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Voting Lessons for Our Children...Enigma's Voting Story Continued...


There are lessons for all of us this Election.There has been alot that has happened in the past 8 years, much has changed within us and around us. This Election is more important than ever for so many people.There are no Second Chances,this is no time for the comfort and solace of apathy, because there is too much at stake and too much damage. This is our last chance to repair what has happened and mediate any of the Damage. There can be no Healing until this Election is resolved with Honesty, and Justly.

Much has changed in the 8 years since the First Bush Election. I was overwhelmed with the damage at an odd moment last week, as I cleaned a closet and stumbled across a dusty old London Fog Rain Coat. It was an odd moment filled with chilling memories and deep thought. I was filled with the memories of my son, a Sick Chicken, my Bassatt, and Voting. Eight years ago it was the coat I wore to vote for Gore, in the pocket there was still a crumpled "I Voted Sticker". I stood in the rain for hours with my friends and neighbors from little Northwest Neighborhood and waited to Vote, with my son by my side. My Husband stood ahead of me in the line about 100 people between us. Another neighbor ordered Pizza for the line after we had been there for about an hour. We all laughed at our creativity to have pizza delivered.

It was a wonderful Northwest Neighborhood full of college students and working people, teachers and nurses, and young lawyers, and community organizers. Thinkers and Dreamers and wonderful neighbors. In the years to come I would learn that only one of their Votes was counted that fateful night......Only One. ( and it was not mine). Yes, I would learn about Caging.

That night I walked home with my son, and he sat out on the porch with our Bassatt Hound Abby and sat by the cage of our Wounded Chicken we were nursing. He sat and told Henrietta all about Voting and how he had voted with me in Every Election. He was 9 years old, to this day he claims he "remembers" Voting for Clinton. She sat with her bandaged head and looked at him with her bright beady eyes full of trust and love. I sat on the front porch bench and listened to him explain about Voting and the Constitution. I realized that he understood and appreciated the process. That Damp Rainy Night as it started to rain, I was filled with pride as my son taught a Chicken about The Value of Voting. As we went inside he covered her cage with the raincoat, and Abby licked her injured head in a Good Night Gesture. And we all went inside to drink Hot Coco To celebrate The Vote. And by Morning ......all those "Lessons" would be thrown to the Wind.

By 2004 my son and I would living many miles away, and the night of the Vote would be long past. But we would learn about Caged Voting. In California I had trouble registering as my previous Vote of 2004 could not be located, so I was forwarded to an Investigation by the Justice Department Rep in a Senator's Office, and ACLU and Human Rights Organization. I learned in June 2004, that my Vote like most of my nieghborhood had vanished, the Only Vote found from that fateful night of 2000, was that of Mr.Enigma. The Investigator asked me if I knew the other Voter of my street, and I said yes, but that was the only Vote she could find that was registered or counted. I have written before about how disgusted and stunned I was. My son said, "well, atleast we know now that they are problems, and you reported it, so it can't happen again."

So I voted again in a new place and my son went with me. And I have written before, that I again have not been able to verify That Vote either. Something so simple has now become Something that haunts me, worries me. Yet now I am no longer alone with this fear. We now know that in both Elections Thousands of People were Discounted and rendered Invisible.There are books and studies about people being disenfranchised, it is no longer a silent hidden problem.

This year there is a difference. Senator Obama's Campaign has worked hard to improve Voter Rights and address problems for Voters. I had read this on his site and even heard him speak about it. And I was impressed, and my son was moved by it. Said "See , this is someone that takes this seriously." I nodded and agreed, and offered my own reassurance. But I still was only half hearted. Well, low and behold My Registration ran into Problems again. The First week in October, I learned that the State site had me registered and the County site did not. I assumed that my Divorce and Name Changes and 2 Moves had caused problems ( as it had taken the Social Security Administration under Homeland Security over 20 Monthes to "correct" my records.)

I emailed the Obama Campaign and while driving to the Election Center, A rep from the Campaign called me back and asked for details of my situation and said that they knew there were problems in Ohio and if I had any problems to call them back and they would send a Lawyer to the Election Center. This was the first time in 8 years ANYONE had offered Help or acknowledges that this Problem Needs Fixing, that it Matters. I thanked him, and told him I felt Invisible Again. He reassured me that Obama has lawyers and Voting Advocates ready , that No One should experience that Again. No One. No One should feel Alone and Invisible.

I drove to the Election Center and fixed the problems with my registration, after parking a mile away and walking to the Center. I watched ACORN helping people register outside at a table, helping people fill out the Form and explaining What they needed to bring with them to Vote. ( and now weeks later the GOP has targeted this Advocacy Group as something Evil and Illegal, yet that is far from the Truth).

As I stood and stroked the battered old raincoat in the Closet I realized how naive I was, and that in the years to come I would learn so much, about Caged Voting and people being disenfranchised, and how such a Moment could alter the History and Lives of Millions...I remembered watching my 9 year old son and how he sat on the Porch that Damp Night in November 2000 explaining to a Chicken about Voting. He told Henrietta that Voting Required people to be Brave, not a Chicken, and he laughed. He told her how Voting Brings Changes in Times of Trouble, but that it is a Chance for Each and Every Citizen to have a Voice. But he also told her how through the ages people had Fought for this Right, and that it is a Right worth Fighting for. That Night he asked " Is it a Right Worth Fighting For. " I had said Yes at the time. But now as he is almost a man, I know now more than ever, that Right is Worth Protecting and Fighting for, and never taking for granted.Lives depend on Our Votes.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Beautiful Video by Bet Williams about Voting for our Children....

Updates sent by others about Voting:
Click the title to read article that Dusty found....And Read more about the Voter Fraud Myth that the Repugs have been trying to perpetrate...

14 comments:

Robert Rouse said...

I like the fact that there are thousands of lawyers who have volunteered to work for the Obama campaign to fight against voter disenfranchisement and fraud. I actually took a photo of the voting machine as I cast my vote for Obama.

Robert Rouse said...

PS, I've just returned to blogging after a bout of blog fatigue. Hope you come by my place. I'm actually writing again.

enigma4ever said...

Hey there..
sorry about the Blog Fatigue- it happens..no worries ;-)

I will be by..I have been not out and about much...just trying to keep my head up and blog the campaign...have not been able to blog as much as I wanted...( work)
'
take care of yourself...don't tire yourself out....

about the lawyers...so true...I was going to work as an observer- but I don't think I can...sadly....so I will be here with 6-6....

( and yes, all of us should photo and video our votes...)

Mariamariacuchita said...

They would send a lawyer??? Amazing!!

That's what I call responsive government.

Your experiences have been the opposite of what voting should be...it makes me wonder how common this is, and how many others do not say anything.

Dean Wormer said...

Enigma,

Thanks for sharing your experience voting. This election is making me reflective towards where I was 8 years ago as well. The Gore thing was such a mess and such a black mark on this country.

Thank goodness for all the people fighting this time around.

Lady Rose said...

I have been worried a lot about what the republicans are and will be doing to suppress votes like they have done before - it's so good to know that Obama's team is on top of things.

**big virtual hugs**
hopefully we will be celebrating together by midnight Nov. 4

Ingrid said...

I only voted once when I was 18 back in the Netherlands. I got a card in the mail with the address and location of the nearest voting station and was told basically to go and vote. That's it. The government knew I was of voting age and that was all there was to it.
Why oh why does everything have to be so difficult or freudulent here?
sigh..
Ingrid

enigma4ever said...

Hey Lady Rose:::
many hugs back at you...someday we will get this System fixed..we are running out of time..

Ingrid::
well, hopefully one day you will be able to vote here
;-)

And hopefully one day it will be less of a mess...and about the fraudulent mess and soooo difficult..I have not a clue...WHEN it will be fixed...

D.K. Raed said...

My early vote experience this week went smoothly. The poll workers said there has been a fantastic turnout ... in fact, they wondered if there'd be anyone left in the county who hadn't voted by Nov 4. I was NOT reassured by seeing the DIEBOLD machines, but ours have a little roll of paper running alongside the machine that allows you to see & verify that the paper trail matches the way you voted on the screen.

It was very touching how your son explained voting to the chicken. So amazing that even young children can realize the value of every person having a say in who is elected. And I'm so very sorry that your & many of your neighbors votes disappeared.

I have much more confidence about this election because of the sheer numbers of voters. It'd be pretty hard to flip a large turn-out for one candidate, but of course they could still make it look like a close election to try to compromise the results. Still, to take a page from GWB (gag), 51% = my way or the highway; 49% = no power.

enigma4ever said...

DK:::
thank you...I know I have told different parts of my voting story...but It really hit this year...how he has grown up with not really any honest elections ( he swears he remembers me voting for Clinton......
he would sit and talk to Henrietta on the porch...poor Henrietta- she has a whole chapter in my book- because my son and the Bassatt loved her so....)

He used to want to talk about politics and science- and not many 8/9 year olds want to talk about it...poor guy- so Henrietta was fine company and she would sit and tilt her head and listen- wonderful porch company and she would make little cluckcluck-cooing sounds...

About the electiion...I think that it would be very difficult to disenfranchise 11 million...right ? yeah...
and are the Repugs going to try ? yes..but also alot of repugs are voting for Obama..and that makes it kind of tricky...

so have hope and faith....a week from now...this will be over....let the People have made a statement about this Country...

landsker said...

The american process of voting, along with lifestlyes, seems to be complicated and corporatised, like most nations, the electorate get a voice for just one day, then told to be silent until the next time...
Anyway, not that it`s so different over here, perhaps after close examination, I`d say that socialism is marginally preferable to capitalism, and if the U.S. embraces a leftist ideology, who knows what might happen!
Good Luck!!

HelenWheels said...

Wow, Enigma. What a touching and nostalgic story. I can't even remember voting at that election, although I did, I was so (at the time) luke-warm about everything and was not crazy about Gore (I like him much more now). But I voted, and like everyone else, was horrified at what ensued. But, i told myself, I hadn't worked to get Gore elected, so I had only myself to blame for being so apathetic.

That is mostly why I blog, and have become such a huge activist. And I think that's what did it to most of us lefty bloggers. And we helped turn the tide.

I am so glad to hear the Obama campaign's response to you. That is just unbelievable.

What a great story, your son is a gem.

enigma4ever said...

Helen::
thanks...I think many of us ended up blogging because of all that happened...I did not feel like I did enough for Gore or Kerry- I did a little on each campaign...but not like this time....

Landskr::
I hope we get it right....I hope that we have an HONEST election this time...it's about time...

enigma4ever said...

Helen::
thanks...I think many of us ended up blogging because of all that happened...I did not feel like I did enough for Gore or Kerry- I did a little on each campaign...but not like this time....

Landskr::
I hope we get it right....I hope that we have an HONEST election this time...it's about time...