January 27, 2004
Six Steps To Winning The White House
BUZZFLASH GUEST COMMENTARY
We need to stop singing to the choir. We've already got it. We know all too well what's wrong and what needs fixing. Now we need to reach the citizens who refuse to see and don't want to know.
If we're serious about bringing about a change, we need to put aside our frustration, our anger, and stop reinforcing our agreement that we need to save our country and start talking to the citizens that don't know.
We already know that most of us would agree we'd vote for almost anyone or anything as long as it isn't Bush.
We're already aware of the carefully woven threats to our liberty and our individual personhood secreted in and encompassed within, the US Patriot Acts, The Victory Act, Homeland Security Act, The Anti-Terrorism Bill, Free Trade Act, NAFTA, Fast Track, TIPS, Terrorist Threat Integration Center, and the U.S-Middle East Free Trade Area proposal.
We already know we've been lied to, misled, and deceived. We already know that our pre-emptive war against Iraq violated U.S. domestic law and international law and that it was a war of aggression that conflicts with our Constitution.
We already know that this administration is guilty of war crimes as set forth in the Geneva Convention. We know, too, that the sanctions against the innocent men, women, and children of Iraq were crimes against humanity and should be punished as such under the Nuremberg Charter, Sec. #2.
We already know that the victors of post-war Iraq and Afghanistan are the 70 American companies and individuals that donated most significantly to the campaign of George W. Bush and the Republican Party. We also know that the number one victor is a Halliburton subsidiary.
We already know we need a leader and representatives who will re-instate the Excess Profit Tax, to prohibit excess war profiteering. We know for sure that this president will never enact such a law. Nor will he stop the corporate take-over and privatization of Iraq. We know we need a president and a congress that will.
We already know that our media is owned by a handful of conglomerates and that our news is nothing more than a watered-down, paltry resemblance of the 'people's right to know'. We know too that these same media moguls have met with the FCC behind closed doors more than 70 times to relax laws regulating media ownership.
We also know about the $715 million lobbyists spent on wining, dining, and otherwise influencing our elected officials to weaken or obliterate gun laws, and the proposed global treaty to regulate tobacco sponsored by the World Health Organization. We already know that British American Tobacco, the $40 billion company, is conspiring behind the scenes to prevent the treaty, while they smugly simultaneously pretend they are the face of social responsibility.
We know all this -- and much more -- it's the blind-sided citizen that believes that this president can do no wrong that doesn't. There's little hope they will open their minds and take off their blinders. But there is a whole lotta folk out there that know none of this and have lost faith completely in our democratic system. They don't participate, they don't read, their lives are dominated by their personal realities, and they have long given up on exercising their citizenship. We need to reach these citizens.
We know we need to turn the tide, change the direction, and move our country toward a more socially, humanistic, conscientious, and fiscally responsible entity. The question is how?
Well, it just so happens I have a few suggestions.
Number One: Election Day
Let's make it easier for the citizenry to vote. We should propose and work to have Election Day made a National Holiday. No one works, every one votes!
Every voting citizen will be given proof that they voted upon signing the voter registry. They can then turn that proof into their employer. It would earn them a paid holiday -- without the proof, no pay.
It's a win/win situation. It eliminates any difficulty in finding the time to vote -- and the paid day would encourage every citizen to exercise their right to vote.
Number Two: We must register all unregistered voters.
There is an estimated three-million plus workers unemployed. Nine-million altogether, if you count those who aren't being counted anymore. These are the disenfranchised, the forlorn, the outsourced, unemployed, and unemployable.
They're bright, thirty to fifty-ish, disheartened, disillusioned, disgusted, and in many cases depressed. Their situations are dramatic and tragic.
Their unemployment has run out; they were discharged without a severance package or so much as a 'thank you'. They're losing their homes, their insurance, their savings, and they can't afford to feed their children, or pay for medical care. In too many cases, they've given up.
We need to reach these individuals. We can begin by standing outside every unemployment office in every city, town, and state. We need to register every unregistered unemployed worker. We need their vote. They need to know that their vote can make a difference.
Younger voters aren't exercising their right of citizenship either. They are also the most disenchanted of our voters. We need to help them understand the dire consequences to their freedoms, their liberties, and their way of life, if they do not participate in changing the direction of our country. We need to talk to them about the issues that concern them. We need their vote.
We have hundreds of thousands of non-voting citizens in the poorest sections of towns and cities all across America. In too many cases, these individuals are embittered, disinterested, indifferent, and distrusting.
We need to reach these voters by talking about issues that they can relate to and are concerned about. We need to go to their homes, their community centers, their houses of worship, and wherever they congregate. We need their vote.
Number Three: The under-used, very important, Absentee Ballot
Absentee Ballots have traditionally been used by concerned citizens who may be out of the country. It is, however, an under-used, yet excellent tool to invoke one's citizenship without exerting an iota of extra energy.
Today, we live in a time when life often becomes overwhelming. Some citizens have the best intentions -- they really want to vote, but they're just too tired -- or traffic was too much. There are a multitude of reasons why some citizens seem unable to make it to their polling place. These voters need to utilize the Absentee Ballot.
Seniors, as a group, are serious about voting, but they may also have extenuating circumstances that prevent them from getting to their election office. The weather may be inclement, they may not be feeling well, or they might even be in the hospital. We need to assist these seniors in getting an Absentee Ballot.
We need to go to the Nursing Homes, Assisted Living Centers, Senior Centers, Rehabilitative Hospitals, and anywhere that citizens may be temporarily or long-term, and we need to help them get their Absentee Ballot. If necessary, even mail them for them.
We need to create commercials emphasizing the Absentee Ballot. We also need to inform every new voter about this option. We need volunteers willing to call every person who has requested an Absentee Ballot to remind them to fill it out and mail it.
We need ads about Absentee Ballots on TV, on billboards, in newspapers, and magazines. Every volunteer group across the country needs to encourage voters to use the Absentee Ballot.
But the most important reason for an Absentee Ballot -- particularly in this election, where there is mounting proof that the Diebold touch-screen computerized voting machines can be tampered with and alter our votes.
Absentee Ballots are counted by hand. We need a fast and furious campaign to get every voting citizen an Absentee Ballot. This is the only certainty for a paper trail.
Number Four: We need to reach the senior voters.
This is a huge voting bloc and they are the most susceptible to being misled. This year AARP, the largest organization created for the 50 plus citizen as their advocacy group, and affordable insurance carrier, sold out, lied, and misled their members.
AARP recommended that their members support the president's drug program -- but they neglected to tell them, that this new program was designed to disallow competition of the drug companies.
Furthermore, no longer will seniors be allowed to save money by getting their medications from Canada. AARP advertised on television and in their magazine without divulging the full truth.
AARP bamboozled all but the 49,000 members that dropped their membership due to this recommendation. This constituency needs our help and our guidance and we need their vote.
Additionally, many seniors cannot comprehend the complexities of what is happening in our country. They lived, participated, and worked, in a far simpler day. Today they rely on their children, their religious leader, their neighbor, and regrettably, their favorite television personality, a/k/a newscaster, to explain the issues. Considering their advisor could be misguided, misinformed, or a champion of this president, they can easily be led astray.
We cannot let this happen. We need their vote.
These are our parents, our grandparents, our aunts and uncles, we need to talk to them, and we need to talk to their friends. We need to mobilize them to work for the common good. Many elders have an abundance of time and they have a yearning, burning desire to do something of worth. Let's put them to work. Who knows, they may be the very citizens that can reach our next group, our largest bloc.
Number Five: The largest voting bloc is the 18 -- 30-year old.
This group identified as the largest voting bloc may be the most difficult to reach; their cynicism is rampant. In our last presidential election, a dismal one-quarter of all eligible voters exercised their right to vote. But, all is not grim.
After President Bush took office, teens told CNN they would judge his success "…on whether he lived up to his campaign promises of being 'a uniter', not 'a divider'." They also said regarding the workplace, "If the economy doesn't continue to be prosperous, if it falls into decline, it could be catastrophic to our generation."
Clearly, he has failed miserably on both accounts.
Civil liberties, education, political infighting, and profiteering, were their other concerns.
Considering his deplorable job on all these important issues, we have a good basis for a beginning dialogue. We need to talk about these issues that concern them.
Imperative to the success in reaching this voting bloc is the need to reach them on their turf. We need to listen, then we need to educate them about the loss of our civil liberties, the frightening future for American workers, and the horrific battering our economic picture has taken under the watchful eye of President Bush.
They need to know that their life is going to change even more drastically if this president remains in office.
We need to demonstrate the importance of exercising their citizenship. We should utilize the Internet, their favorite performers, their idols -- whoever they may respect -- we need to use all our available resources to make an impact. We need to go to the college campuses; the technical schools; their clubs; their houses of worship; their coffee houses; and wherever they gather.
Then we need to motivate them to talk to their peers about the issues. We need to produce commercials that speak just to them and they need to be aired on their favorite programs.
We need to let them know the consequences if we stay our present path. They need to know if they thought they could make a livelihood as an IT specialist, a computer programmer, or any of the hundred's of jobs that have been outsourced to other countries, that they better go back to school and learn a different skill because those jobs are gone.
They need to know if we stay this course, there will be but a handful of jobs left to American workers. They need to know if our president doesn't add one more penny to our already trillions of dollars of debt, that no matter what they earn, their taxes will eat up their take-home pay.
We need to instill in each of these younger voters that if we continue in Iraq, and this president will, that they can count on the draft being re-instated. We need to let them know that if a woman has an un-wanted pregnancy, if this president remains in office, her choice over her body, will not be her choice after all.
We need their vote. They can make a difference.
Number Six: We need to reach the citizens Compassionate Conservatives Leave Behind.
This president shuns the revered Constitutional Amendment that defines the Separation of Church and State as our framers so carefully instilled. The very dangerous course that this president is embarking upon is the very same destination that our forefathers feared most.
His Faith-Based Initiative has concerned many clerics. Some of their very real concerns include: Discriminatory hiring practices; inappropriate religious queries to judicial positions; faith-based correction facilities; voucher subsidies for religious schools; the disallowing of selective faiths from funding; forcing states to support religious education, and the list goes on.
This is a huge voting bloc that needs to know we embrace them. We need their vote and we should invite them to join us to take back our country.
In this same pre-eminence of religious superiority, in his State of the Union address Bush called for a defense of the 'sanctity of marriage' against activist judges who are attempting to redefine marriage by court order. He asked the people to help him save the 'sanctity of marriage'.
This condemnation is directed to a large sector of alternative lifestyle partners. These couples are no less loving, no less devoted to one another than the 'sanctified' couple's President Bush referenced.
Without the legal union these impugned couples cannot avail themselves to a single one of the 1,049 laws and benefits automatically entitled by marriage in the Federal system including: entitlement to bereavement leave; automatic inheritance; domestic violence protection; immunity against testifying against their spouse, joint bankruptcy; wrongful death benefits; or loss of consort benefits.
No president should be entitled to determine who is a couple and who is not; nor should the Federal Government or individual states, for that matter. We need to embrace every citizen and fight for their individual rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This should embody loving relationships residing as a married couple no matter the sexes that comprise a couple.
Alternative Lifestyle Couples need to know that we will support their right to the rights of marriage. We need to actively seek their participation to help us take back our country.
Our president wants to prevent 'frivolous' medical lawsuits. 'Frivilous', in this case, refers to limiting the amount of money an injured patient or the family of an injured or deceased patient can sue for medical malpractice or a doctor's incompetence.
This does not belong in the office of the president. This is a legal issue and should be decided in our courts, or at the very most, at the individual state level.
This president wants to 'use school drug testing as a tool to save children's lives'. Giving schools this ability has the capability and probability of great abuse and it should never become law.
We are in a fight for our liberty. A fight to be protected from an over-zealous police force, to be protected in our home, in our business, and our person; we are in a fight for our basic human rights, our civil liberties, and our personal sovereignty. We are in a fight for the right to work, to keep our social security and Medicare programs secure, to reduce the largest deficient in the history of our country; we are in a fight to have a president that honors and lives by truth, who won't put us or our children or our loved ones in harm's way unnecessarily, or based on a lie.
We are in the fight of our lives.
We need to turn our fear into action. It is time for every citizen to embark on the road to recover our beloved principles, and to once again feel pride in the honor that was once, not so long ago, ours.
We need to reach out to our unreachable, undecided, and unaware citizens. We need to stir their hearts, open their eyes, and show them the way. It is imperative that we engage our fellow citizens in the importance of voting. We must make this election count. We dare not let numbers on election night be open to interpretation. We need a slam dunk!
Each of us needs to do our share if we truly want to take back our country. It is up to us, each and every one of us. If not, the alternative is very bleak indeed.
A BUZZFLASH GUEST COMMENTARY
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Norma Sherry is co-founder of TogetherForeverChanging.org, an organization devoted to educating, stimulating, and igniting personal responsibility particularly with regards to our diminishing civil liberties. She is also an award-winning writer/producer and host of upcoming television program, The Norma Sherry Show on WQXT TV.
Email Norma: firstname.lastname@example.org
© Norma Sherry 2004
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