Thursday, October 21, 2010

Su Voto Es Su Voz (Your Vote Is Your Voice.)

Aye. . .
It’s election time again.

A couple of years ago,
I posted a video in this blog
that I thought was most ingenious
for many reasons
which I then detailed.
many in the offline world
accused me of supporting
the candidate who was the topic of the video.
You know,
we need to learn to say
when one political party
or candidate
is doing something right or good,
even if that’s not the party
or candidate of our choice.

I have never stated
in this blog
what party or candidate I support.
Because I think most people
should decided that for themselves.
This blog isn’t about
mixing religion and politics
or about
getting people to vote
in one way or another.

As I am living in this world
I have a responsibility to this world.
And a part of the responsibility
is choosing
who my leaders will be.
That is what this blog entry,
what previous blog entries
about elections
are about.

election time is upon us.
as usual,
everyone tries to tell me what to do,
how to vote.

I don’t mind some things.
For example,
a leaflet arrived in the mail just yesterday
explaining the proposals.
That’s useful information for people to have.
How many in Michigan
even know
that we have a proposal on the ballot
about a revision of the State Constitution?
Or a proposal about felons holding office?
that leaflet is most useful.
Would that more information like that arrive
maybe people would not just assume things.

I’m sick and tired
of people assuming
that I will vote in one fashion
and then
try to convince me
to vote the other way.

As I woman,
I must be voting this way,
so there are those who try to make me
vote another way.
Or worse yet,
there are still those out there
who behave as though
a woman cannot make an informed decision.

As Christian,
I must be voting conservative,
so some will try to make me liberal.

As a Latina,
I must be voting liberal,
so some will try to make me conservative.

A daughter of blue collar,
I must be voting Democrat,
so some will try to make me Republican.

Employed by the Church,
I must be voting Republican,
so some will try to make me Democrat.

I often wonder what people think
when they say certain things,
when they send me emails
or comment in social networks.

Do people think I am uninformed?
Do people stereotype me
and then send me comments
solely based on those stereotypes?

Do people think I don’t think????

I grew up in a very politically active household.
My father would register people to vote.
And then,
he would drive anyone who needed a ride to the polls
just so they could vote.
Although he clearly supported one political party over the other,
that really didn’t matter to him.
He just made sure
that people who wouldn’t otherwise get to the polls
got there and voted.
“Su voto es su voz,” he would say.
He even had a bumper sticker that said the same.
“Su voto es su voz.”
He would tell us that everyone needed to be heard,
even if we stood somewhere else.
“The important thing,”
my father would say,
“ is to get informed and
stand somewhere.”

Stand somewhere.
Boy, could some people use that advice today.
So much political jello.
Just get informed
and stand somewhere.

My father would take care of the poll workers, too,
bringing them coffee in the morning.
And then their lunch.
And drive people to vote in between, before and after.

I remember when he bought the Suburban.
From the outside,
people surely thought it was to
tote his kids around town.
From inside the house, however,
we all knew it was so he could drive
even more folks on election day!

If he believed in a candidate
he would give them his utmost support.
He even had all us kids involved, too.
I’ve past out literature on several occasions
and have even done
more than my fair share of phone banking.
I can honestly say
that even the grandchildren
have gotten involved.
My cousin, Amelia,
is behaving today
much like father did back in the day.
My dad’s actions
and words,
“Su voto es su voz,”
touched not only us, his kids,
but even the extended family.

He made sure that if he knew someone
was going to be out of town
that they got the absentee ballot.
I voted absentee for the last presidential election.
And I can honestly say
that I thought of my father
and his words,
“Su voto es su voz,”
as I filled in the form,
and again when I took the form in,
and again
when I watched the election results
on a tv monitor at the airport
as I waited for a connecting flight.
“Su voto es su voz.”
I can honestly say
that I felt like a part of the process,
no matter how small my input may have been.

To do this day
I cannot go through an election day,
any election,
without thinking of my father
and, and most especially, what he taught us:
“Su Voto Es Su Voz.”

I always find much humor in elections,
in the ads and in the debates.
I’m certain my father
is looking down from heaven
shaking his head
and laughing with us, too!

“Where in the Constitution
is the separation of Church and State?”

“The Rent is too damn high!”

“I’m you.”
(OK. . .
I chose the parody instead the actual video
for that link,
but she made me laugh anyway!)

And Sarah
made us laugh more times than I can count.

But I digress again.
My point is,
some politics
just makes you laugh out loud.

But I must say
that I’m just plain sick and tired
of what has happened
to the politicking in this country.

I am sick and tired
of racism
that tries to hide quietly under the veil patriotism.

I am tired of those
would promote a patriotism
that promotes hate.

I’m tired of those who would promote freedoms for some,
and take it away from others.

I’m tired of those
who talk a good game of “family values”
and would then rip a child from
a loving parent’s arms.

I’m tired of politics
that behaves as if
certain segments of the population
just don’t matter,
as though they are optional people.

And I’m just plain sick and tired
of negative ads.

You know,
negative ads can tell you a lot.
I find that the negative ads
have a reverse effect.
I think negative ads
reflect upon those
who created,
those who support those ads.

Some ads are just plain wrong.

“Don’t vote.”
That’s what one ad is saying.
that’s about as asinine
as it gets.

The ad is clearly targeted
for a specific group of folks,
as there are versions in Spanish
and in English.
And the topic is immigration.
don’t even get me started on immigration.

I have two relatives,
one of whom lives in my household,
who are processing immigration papers.
I have sat, many a time,
in the immigration office
located on Jefferson and Mt. Elliot.
I have stood in line,
a line that extends for many city blocks,
at the American Embassy
in Mexico City.
I have an immigration attorney’s phone number
always at hand,
programmed into my cell phone.

I went there:
the immigration topic.

I find it humorous
when people say that English proficiency
must be a requirement for citizenship,
as if it weren’t already,
so obviously uninformed.
I find it humorous
when people state
that drug lords and criminals
are the ones crossing the border illegally.
Do these folks even have any idea
what is going in Ciudad Juarez?
Again, so uninformed.
It makes me laugh out loud
when some people state that knowledge of the American government
should be a requirement for citizenship
(as if it weren’t)
and then some of those same folks
can’t even name their own reps.
I digress.

My point is
that this “don’t vote” video
is clearly targeted
to those folks
who so desperately
want and need immigration reform
to keep their families intact.

“Don’t vote.”
Why, on earth,
would anyone say that?

Would not a more logical video
say “don’t vote for them, vote for us????”

But no.
The video clearly states, “Don’t vote.”

Did they mean,
“Don’t vote because you don’t matter?”

Or maybe they meant,
“Don’t vote because you are optional to this country?”

“Don’t vote. YOUR family doesn’t matter.”

“Don’t vote because, well,
we don’t want to you to support those guys,
but we really don’t want you on our side either.”

“Don’t vote because we don’t want your voice heard.”

“Don’t vote because you are really aren’t an American anyway.”

“Don’t vote, just go away.”

This is far from political empowerment.
Telling people not to vote is not activism
(though it could be considered another kind if “ism”).

All this technology at our hands
and what are we doing with it?
What can we do?

we need to return
to a simpler time.
we should do what my father did.
Do little things.
Register people.
Drive people.
Feed people.
And say simple but profound things:
“Su Voto Es Su Voz.”

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Pedro Martinez; Ruega por nosotros.
Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception,
Patroness of the United States; Pray for us.


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