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Last minute push to get the vote out in the DMV.

Don’t sleep the November 4 midterm election

By Bill Fletcher, Jr/NNPA columnist
On November 3, 2014

The November 4 election is next Tuesday, Nov. 4. Believe it or not, as of about two weeks ago, two thirds of the people in the U.S.A did not know that there is to be an election on November 4, 2014. As far as some segments of our society are concerned, that is just fine. They would rather that we remain asleep. We can’t.

The political Right is mobilizing forcefully. They are trying to make this election about Obama. With Obama hovering below 40% in the polls, the right-wing expects to wrestle control of the Senate from the Democrats while retaining control of the House of Representatives. With both the U.S. Senate and House in Republican hands, what do you think the fate of affordable health care, minimum wage increase, Black access to higher education, housing, same-sex marriage and immigration reform would be.

But the right-wing may be in for a surprise, if you get out and vote on Tuesday.

This election is not about Obama. It really comes down to two things. First, YOUR right to vote, and, second, what sort of future you really want. Unless you are interested in trying to turn the clock back to about 1950, you will need to be at the polls on November 4th. And call, email, or text your friends in North Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, Kansas, Arkansas, Kentucky, South Dakota, Colorado, Wisconsin and Alaska to do the same.

Beginning after the 2008 elections, sections of the Republican Party went about passing voter ID laws under the pretext of addressing voter fraud allegations. In Texas and Wisconsin, for example, their voter ID laws could have dis-enfrachised about a million voters on November 4, according to National Urban League President Marc H. Morial, if the U.S. Supreme Court hadn’t intervened and ruled the Wisconsin law unconstitutional. Sadly, the Court let the Texas law stand in spite of only two cases of voter fraud being found over the years.

The potential for voter fraud is less than the potential of being hit by lightning. Nevertheless, playing to racist fears on the parts of many whites (of African Americans and immigrants), the right-wing was able to invent a problem where none existed. They convinced many people that there needed to be more stringent requirements to vote, steps that tend to disenfranchise people of color, youth and senior citizens. In the 2012 elections African Americans and Latinos revolted against this effort and turned out in force. But showing up in one election is not enough. The aim of the political Right is to beat us down.

The future is also at stake. The political Right fears the demographic changes in this country. But they also fear real discussions about economic inequality, the environmental crisis, the rights of women, and, actually, the role of government. Their most articulate spokespeople openly talk about shrinking government which will mean that many things that you and I take for granted will disappear, such as social security, food safety inspections, fair tax systems, and a reasonable discussion about what to do about climate change. 

The right-wing ends up reminding me of the child bully who seeks to intimidate others and will only stop when we stand up to them. At that moment we come to realize that they are nothing more than pathetic cowards.

So, there you have it. We can sit home and pretend that the Nov. 4 elections don’t mean anything, or we can get to the polls and make it clear that we have no interest in giving up on the future or giving up on our right to make a statement. The choice really is ours.

Bill Fletcher, Jr. is the host of The Global African on Telesur-English. He is a racial justice, labor and global justice writer and activist. Follow him on Facebook and at www.billfletcherjr.com.

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