Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Democracy Today

I was raised in Minnesota. As long as I have been alive, Minnesota has had the highest voter turn out in the country, and it has continued to increase general election after general election. In my neighborhood back home, the question wasn’t, “Did you vote,” the question was, “When did you vote?”

Never in the 13 years that I have been an eligible voter, have I ever seen lines such as the ones I have seen today.

I am on my way to my co-worker Mervyn Marcano’s spot to have a Black Family Reunion viewing of the election returns. Since we are proud black folks, I volunteered to stop and pick up the fried chicken. God Bless Church’s, amen.

Across the street from Church’s Chicken on Park Boulevard is the Park Theater, which, tonight, is doubling as a polling place. The line to vote at 4:45 pm wrapped around the theater, into the parking lot, up the slope and to the front door of the automative supply store hundreds and hundreds of yards from the entrance to the theater.

There is hardly a street corner in Oakland that is not peppered with individuals waving signs advocating their positions on a number of statewide propositions: most notably Prop 4--which seeks to roll back the rights of women by requiring parental notification before a teenage woman can receive an abortion and Prop 8---which seeks to alter the California State Constitution to enshrine bigotry and hatred by removing the right of queer folks to marry. Violence over Prop 8 has sprung up across the state, largely as hate filled Prop 8 advocates have PHYSICALLY attacked LGBT folks and their allies going so far as smashing Yes on 8 signs into cars and ripping signs out of front yards. Apparently speech is only free when it is hate filled.

There is so much at stake today. And, because of the hegemony of the United States, not just for those of us that live here but for the entire world.

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