Thursday, December 13, 2018

YOU! HAVE THE POWER | Dr. Ellen Brown

November 19, 2018 by  
Filed under Community

DR. ELLEN BROWN

Vote! Vote? Voted! Huh?

BY DR. ELLEN BROWN

Which of these applies to your current situation? I recently heard an interesting comment during a discussion on black radio regarding “get out the vote” efforts across America. It was a response to often-cited reasons for not voting — like “it doesn’t make a difference anyway.” Well, if it didn’t make a difference, then why are there so many aggressive efforts to suppress the black vote? They’re gerrymandering districts, imposing onerous voter ID laws, closing polling places in certain neighborhoods, and just plain destroying ballots.

When our First Lady Michelle Obama came to Las Vegas’ Chaparral High School on Sept. 23, she arrived with one very clear message: “Voting is a fundamental right!” She impressed upon the audience the significance of voting, by illustrating its impact on everyday things that we take for granted: everything from adequate public transportation to equality in education.

In a moment of humor, the First Lady compared failing to vote to letting Grandma pick out your clothes. How many of us would do that?” Good parallel. She went on to ask why we would we allow someone to make decisions for us when they don’t know or agree with us. Someone who does not live in the same spaces we do or does not care about our communities. Why would we allow that person to determine whether or not we have clean water, or safe places for our children to walk and play?

There is frustration, certainly, and it leads to decisions to just stay at home because you believe it does not matter. But as Michelle Obama said in her speech: “I understand, but here’s the problem: While some folks are frustrated and tuned out and stay at home on Election Day, many others are showing up. Democracy continues with or without you. They are voting in every election.”

Their votes then decide the outcomes of those elections. Mrs. Obama went on to conclude with, “When you stay home, you let others make key decisions about the life you are going to live.”

I’ll leave you with another piece of conversation from the black media — from a caller who admitted she would not be voting in this election.

She said, “I just trust God.” The host’s response? “Read James 2:14.”

Ellen Brown is an affiliate faculty member in the School of Contemporary Liberal Studies at Regis University and a retired associate dean and professor at Davenport University.

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