Duty, Privilege or Right

OpEdThe other day I was speaking to a young woman I have been friends with and a professional mentor to for several years, during the course of that conversation she revealed she doesn’t vote. I was and remain stunned by her revelation; especially given her reasoning, which was, she did not trust our voting system or believe her vote counted. I believe I got a bit heated with her, Michelle Bachmann and her idiocy was invoked more than once during the remainder of our conversation as my friend is from Minnesota. I explained to her, the reason idiots like Michelle were elected because seemingly smart people like her stayed home with ignorant excuses like, “I don’t believe my vote counts”.

Heated might be the wrong word, I was passionate and inflamed. Men and women died for our right to vote. For any one of us to stay away from the polls, whether during a federal election or a local Milhousdrawingelection simply shows both our ignorance and our apathy. For any citizen to fail to get up off their ass during an election and spend the time it takes to exercise their duty as a citizen, yes I said it, their duty as a citizen and vote is why we have the dysfunctional government we have today. I say it constantly as do many others, when good people fail to vote bad people win elections; when Democrats / Liberals / Progressives fail to vote Republicans / Tea Party / Conservatives win elections.

The problem we have right now, in this nation today in Congress and in many States since 2010 is we believed what the media told us, we believed we had already lost the House, the Governor Mansions and we failed to carry our asses to the polls and vote. Because we were so damned apathetic, we lost the House, we damned near lost the Senate, we lost many states and we handed this President a Congress he could not work with, a Congress that would not work with him. We, the people of this nation, the so-called Progressives of this nation did this and we deserve what we got for sitting it out.

We, the Progressive / Liberal / Democrats of the United States of America voted twice to put Barack Obama into the office of President and then we hampered his presidency with this Congress. We are perfectly willing to whine about them, we are willing to sign petitions on the internet, we are willing to send Meme’s around Facebook and on our blogs, what we aren’t willing to do is exercise our right, our duty to vote when the time comes to do so.

We, all of us, every single last one of us must stop handing over our rights as citizens, turning away from brutality and ignorance and begin taking back our nation from those who would strip us of our rights simply because we are too apathetic to stand up and stand against them. We must never forget those who came before us and fought, even died to gain the right to vote, the right to have a voice for us. We must, especially those of us who were left out of the original Bill of Rights and Constitution, we must stand up, stand in line and do what it takes to VOTE every single time and in every single election. We must not spit on those who fought for our right to do so; we must not turn our backs on history forgetting what it required of those who laid down their lives, their bodies, their social standing to gain us all the right to VOTE.

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We must not allow our rights to be stripped away, our history to be rewritten simply because we are too lazy to do our own research into how our government and voting really works. What voter fraud really is and thus we willingly believe our vote doesn’t count, staying home along with millions of others making millions of votes not count, millions of voices go unheard. The goal of those who would fix the outcome is achieved when good people stay home and don’t vote. Every single election cycle sees us losing ground to big money and nefarious agenda’s when we believe the hype, when we believe the race already won, when we believe our vote doesn’t count.

Make your voice heard; some of the races won in 2010 and 2012 were won by narrow margins and those uncompromising, unethical and directionless members of Congress are now out to destroy this nation for their own ends and without the least concern for you or me. The same will be said this year, 2014 will either see us taking back the House and winning a majority in the Senate, taking more Mansions in the states or we will sit it out because we will believe the hype and sit it out. I refuse to sit it out, I will vote.

One thing to consider, I hear this all the time and it simply yanks my chain even harder than I thought possible is when someone says the following:

It doesn’t matter, it is only choosing between the lesser of two evils.

No, dammit, no it is not and even were this the case isn’t it better to choose than to allow others to choose the worst evil for you, allowing you the opportunity to mitigate the potential for real harm, real evil and the fight for another day. Gad, how much ignorance, hate, bigotry and nastiness are you willing to live with before you say enough? Truly, if you are not willing to fight, with your voice at the polls than you do not have any cause to bitch at the results. You cannot complain when you are discriminated against in the workplace, when you are paid less, or don’t get the job, or lose your healthcare or don’t get a mortgage, or a car loan, or for that matter don’t get an apartment or a mortgage; you simply don’t have the right to complain. I don’t want to hear it when your taxes take your paycheck because your ass didn’t get off the couch to vote. I don’t want to hear it when your child is turned away from a school. I don’t want to hear it, not any of it if your life is harder because your rights and privileges are lost, when you failed to do what you should have done and fought to keep them.

Get your ass off the couch. VOTE

 

 

http://www.splcenter.org/civil-rights-memorial/civil-rights-martyrs

2012 Election Results: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/election-map-2012/house/

2010 Election Results: http://elections.nytimes.com/2010/results/senate

Voting statistics: http://www.statisticbrain.com/voting-statistics/

FISA and all that Jazz

soapboxpileThere has been a great deal of bitching, whining and otherwise raising the roof regarding the loss of our civil liberties lately. I am all over this issue, I don’t like it and neither should you. In fact, we should be storming the halls of Congress, raising our voices on the lawn of the White House in protest; demanding a reinstatement of our Constitution. Power once given is difficult to take back, authority once ceded is nearly impossible to demand returned to the powerless.

Let us all admit it, when the planes flew into the towers on September 11, 2001 we were all shocked and dismayed. We had been attacked, successfully by what we considered unsophisticated enemies. American lives were lost and we mourned, it was a terrible day. In the midst of our mourning, we were bombarded by fear mongering, more attacks were coming and none of us were safe not in our homes, not in our places of work, nowhere. The ‘Terrorists’, they were coming to kill us all!

Enter The Patriot Act of 2001, signed by President George W. Bush on October 26. Approved by a nearly unanimous House (357 to 66) on October 23, with Democrats the largest portion of the dissenters.  The700.hq Bill moved onto the Senate where it passed on October 25, with a vote of 98-1. This Act opened the floodgates, giving law enforcement the right to search, seize, listen and otherwise trample your civil liberties granted under the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution.

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

The Patriot Act has been reauthorized twice, once in 2005 by George W. Bush, once by Barack H. Obama. Those who are screeching about FISA, undue seizures, wiretapping and the loss of privacy must go all the way back to 2001 and remember their willingness to give up their civil liberties for the bullshit idea of safety from those terrible terrorist hiding behind every corner and down every dark alley.

The reality is this; you are more likely to die in one of the following ways:

Falling in Bathtub, Drowning or other injury since 20021 – 3,000

Talking, Texting and otherwise acting in ignorance on your phone while driving2 – 54,000

2nd Amendment Homicides (1 decade of carnage 2001 – 2011)3 – 130,347

2nd Amendment Justifiable Homicides – 5,924

2nd Amendment Unintentional Homicides – 4,764

2nd Amendment Suicides (1 decade of why not leave this mess) – 195,096

Death by Lightening (2003 – 2012)4 – 418

Here you go a picture just to put it in perspective –

killrates

If you remove the horrible September 11, 2001 event from the average on Terrorism, this number is reduced to two (2) per year. Even lightning has a better chance to kill you if you are stupid enough to stand out in a storm.

I loved the idea of death by weather; well I had to give you this one –

Weatherkill

Weather Kills, certainly more on average than Terrorist but still not more than Azzhats with Guns

Amazing isn’t it? On the 6-month anniversary of Sandy Hook today, we haven’t done a damned thing at a federal level on Gun Sanity. Those morons in Congress, couldn’t even pass a Federal Background Check, not even that in 6 months, yet look at the numbers.

Some state governors’ struggle, weighing their party line with the will of the people of their state. Only yesterday Governor Brian Sandavol of Nevada vetoed a bill sent to his desk to strengthen background checks, call in support indicated the people of Nevada supported this bill overwhelmingly 86% to 13%, didn’t matter he chose party politics and vetoed.

Since Newtown, there have been 5,047 gun deaths in the US. These are what we know about, sometimes these numbers are hard to get. I love this chart:

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/crime/2012/12/gun_death_tally_every_american_gun_death_since_newtown_sandy_hook_shooting.html

Despite the Boston Marathon bombing, which was tragic you are more likely to be murdered by a toddler than killed by a terrorist in the US (list provided by Opposing Views).

  • Jan. 10: 6-year-old playmate shoots and kills 4-year-old Trinity Ross, Kansas City, Kan.
  • Feb. 11: 4-year-old Joshua Johnson shoots and kills himself, Memphis, Tenn.
  • Feb. 24: 4-year-old Jaiden Pratt dies after shooting himself in the stomach while his father sleeps, Houston.
  • March 30: 4-year-old Rahquel Carr shot and killed either by 6-year-old brother or another young playmate, Miami.
  • April 6: Josephine Fanning, 48, shot and killed by 4-year-old boy at a barbecue, Wilson County, Tenn.
  • kidswithgunsApril 8: 4-year-old shoots and kills 6-year-old friend Brandon Holt, Toms River, N.J.
  • April 9: 3-year-old is killed after he finds a pink gun that he thinks is a toy, Greenville, S.C.
  • April 30: 2-year-old Caroline Sparks killed by her 5-year-old brother with his Cricket “My First Rifle” marketed to kids, Cumberland County, Ky.
  • May 1: 3-year-old Darrien Nez shoots himself in the face and dies after finding his grandmother’s gun, Yuma, Ariz.
  • May 7: 3-year-old Jadarrius Speights fatally shoots himself with his uncle’s gun, Tampa, Fla.
  • June 7: 4-year-old fatally shoots his father, Green Beret Justin Thomas, Prescott Valley, Ariz.

Should we be worried? We absolutely should be worried, we should be damned worried for our own future and future generations and more Civil Liberties are eroded, more economic opportunities are lost and Civil Rights are contracted rather than expanded. We should be shaking in our boots. Then, when we are done with our whining about what we have given away, we should put on our big girl and boy panties and get to work.

We created the Tyrants currently filling up Washington and spewing the bile. We continue to elect them. We allow them to abuse this nation with their arrogance and ignorance. We do this with our failure to take action and thus we have no one to blame but ourselves for the outcome. Our legacy to future generations?

  • Economic Failure of a once brilliant nation
  • Rampant poverty, including homelessness, starvation, rise in disease
  • Joblessness
  • 3rd world nation status.Bridge Collapse
  • Unbreathable Air
  • Undrinkable Water
  • Failed Infrastructure
  • Widespread Illiteracy, failed education systems
  • Theocracy and Feudalism replacing Democratic Republic

We are well on our way to all of these. In some cases, we are already there. Is this the legacy we want for our children? So FISA courts through the continued reauthorization of The Patriot Act, allow your e-mail, phone records and all sorts of other personal information to be combed. The Second Amendment seems to be the only piece of the Constitution anyone gives a good damn about, I mean really who doesn’t want to shoot’um up in the streets just cause you look different, strange, odd, or by damned you might by an f’ng terrorist or a kid with skittles.

Worried? I know I am and so should all the rest of us be. I have a far better chance of being shot in the street by an azzhat with an attitude than being killed by a terrorist attack, but this nation spends $750 billion on The War on Terrorism while bridges are falling down.

Think about it, when will we be marching again to regain what is being stolen from us?

1 Bathtub accidents statistics gathered from a variety of sites, used 300 per year as the average.

2 Statistic gathered from a variety of sites, texting has been available since 2004. Included standard phone use in calculation, which has been available far longer. It is estimated accident rate is increasing by 4% per year. Used 6,000 per year as the fatality rate.

3 http://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/region/united-states

4 http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/stats/03-12_deaths_by_state.pdf

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