<!]]>If you live in California, today Monday (Oct 18 2010) will be your last day to register to vote. You can do that by going here.. http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/elections_vr.htm
For many, with a messed up economy, unmet expectations and seemingly out of touch and unresponsive politicians, this has been a pretty dismal year in terms of choices for some of the states major offices. For many of us whove been out of work or underemployed and have had to endure watching bailed out banks smashing hard, its real easy to say none of this matters. And on many levels maybe it doesnt, until its your public assistant dollars, unemployment benefits or government job gets cut to the tune of 45 thousand. This is being pushed by gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman..
Maybe it doesnt matter until we see more California jobs being sent overseas and with the full support of senatorial candidate Carly Fiorina who wants to give such companies bigger tax breaks.
Unfortunately, like it or not, someone will get into office and as cute as it sounds to say cliched things like theres it makes no difference who serves your community or state, there are stark differences, both immediate and long-term.
Theres a difference between the candidates running for mayor of Oakland and city council. Theres big differences on who will be District Attorney and who will be Attorney General. If you have loved ones impacted by one of the largest penal systems in the world, its best to check out who believes in rehabilitation programs and who doesnt. Its best to find out wants to fight the war on drugs with more police and who wants to go another direction.
Theres also a lot more folks on the ballot then the ones who can afford to buy expensive ads on TV.. You can check some of them out here http://smartvoter.org/2010/11/02/ca/state/state_executive.html
Dont make the mistake folks made back in 2004 when Prop 66 was on the ballot that wouldve repealed 3 strikes and if passed wouldve let out thousands of non-violent prisoners. We had a lot of hipster types running around telling us not to vote and how the system was corrupt and blah blah blah.. So many of us we didnt. We stayed home. The measure lost by a few thousand votes and loved ones remain incarcerated. More prison guards were hired , while less money was given to schools. It shouldve been a no-brainer to vote for that measure.
This year we have everything from Prop 19 to legalize weed which will have impact on the war on drugs here in Cali to Prop 20 which will decide who gets to redraw congressional district lines in our hood. Right now its in the hands of the citizens, but there are powerful forces pushing to make it go back in the hands of politicians . Folks need to weigh in on this and other proposition some of which will decide how money from your community should be used.. You can brush up on the propositions here.. http://www.citizenvoice.org/elections_project/prop_19.html
In Oakland we now have instant run off voting. For all the folks who have complained about the system locking out third parties and all that, this should be a dream come true. You can now vote for several people for mayor. They could be democrat, republican, green party etc. If Ron Dellums was wack as mayor heres your chance to to do something impactful.
Here in Cali we have early voting (its already started) so theres time to research issues and check things out.
Peep this throwback article that Bay Area rapper Paris penned.. It gives good food for thought..
By Paris, August 7, 2004
Like the child who cried wolf! too many times and was eaten when he really needed the help of people who had grown to ignore him, the media and Bush administration are faced with such massive lack of credibility issues that we now must adopt a contrarian stance when taking what they say into account, especially when it comes to terrorism.
From the degrading and deplorable Abu Ghraib Iraqi prison scandal, to the wag-the-dog-like U.S.-implemented and staged beheading of Nicholas Berg, to the recently expressed desire for war with Iran, its apparent that the Bush Administration is scrambling to create further diversion and feelings of fear and division to rally support behind its wicked and out-of-touch policies.
So what can we do? Well, aside from community outreach and living by example, one of the best solutions is voting. The trouble is, Ive read a lot of articles and heard a lot of discussion lately from people in our communities openly questioning whether or not we have any business voting. We do.
The simple fact is, if you cant offer a concrete, tangible alternative to us exercising our rights and becoming a part of shaping decisions that affect us, then you have no business being opposed to galvanizing young people and people of color as a unified political force at the polls. Besides, yall aint ready for revolution. So before you go saying how Im buying into the system think about what it is exactly that you would do differently and then ask yourself why you dont. Like I said its only a part of the solution. The strategy we must adopt is one that employs all of the tools that we have at our disposal to progress. Voting is one of them.
Are we are too lazy or disillusioned with the process that we wont exercise rights that people who came before us died for? Voting doesnt cost anything, so we cant say that we cant afford it (even though elections are held on Tuesdays, during work hours for many). Of course, its easy to say f**k voting, spark up the weed and turn on 106 & Park, but at what cost? Weve seen the results of not voting an illegitimate impostor in the White House, rollback of Affirmative Action legislation, poorer economic conditions and lack of employment opportunities, reductions in budgets for education and social services and increased instances of violence and police brutality so why not opt for change?
Now I know you might not feel either of the major presidential candidates, especially with our recent discovery that theyre related many dont. But voting is larger than just the presidential race. What about the economy? Record unemployment and underemployment? Out of control gas prices? Shitty and unequal education? Lack of affordable housing? Why give conservatives and the existing powers that be an easy way out by not participating? They vote, and have an often unified support base that stresses the importance of participation to maintain their quality of life, often embracing policies and supporting politicians that dont represent our best interests. Its important that we participate too.
If we arent effective and our voices dont matter, than why do they feel the need to cheat? To steal elections and keep us from the polls illegally? To establish a conservative media network? To keep us feeling disillusioned and disenfranchised, thats why. To keep us thinking that we dont matter.
How many people have you heard say that theyre not political? Heres a news flash for you: you dont have any choice but to be political nowadays, because everything is politicized. Politics is now pop culture, so youd better adjust and become aware of the way things really are and what you can do to change our condition.
Opposition to voting often comes from the same people who dont see the value in a college degree. Why is that? By not having the necessary credentials we give other people an easy out when it comes to dealing with us. As a rule, use every tool, every angle and every resource you have available to you to get ahead. As a people, we dont have the luxury of adopting a stance of non-participation in anything that can be potentially beneficial to us. For too long weve sat by and allowed others to dictate the terms and conditions of our lives in our own communities.
We constantly hear commentary from conservative pundits on the state of things barking about why its not right to question our leader during wartime and calling anyone voicing dissent treasonous (and getting wealthy in the process). Think Sean Hannity (of Fox News) represents the everyman (he makes an 8 million dollar annual salary)? Or Bill OReilly (6 million)? Think again. (Funny how they dis easy-to-pick-on rappers but never discuss the profanity and imagery on Foxs own Nip Tuck, the racism of COPS, or the misogyny of The Swan but thats another article.) These people vote. And they rally others who feel the same as they do to vote too.
We hear them say how much worse life was under Hussein in Iraq, and how U.S. troops are fighting to protect our freedom. But WE WERE NEVER IN DANGER from Iraq and U.S. troops are being used in the worst way. They are there only to protect the big business interests of Bushs buddies in high places they ARE NOT protecting our freedom. The fact that Bush just signed a $417.5 billion wartime defense bill with an addition $25 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan pretty much drives my point home.
The world is full of dictators, but, luckily for them, they dont have oil. Sorry-ass Saddam and his weak country would still be among the living nations if they had not had oil. Also still alive would be over 900 American servicemen and women, tens of thousands of Iraqis and hundreds of thousands of wounded-for-life people.
This is especially important to us because were the ones who die, and were the ones the military places a disproportionate amount of focus on recruiting as was evidenced in Michael Moores excellent movie, Fahrenheit 9/11, which I encourage everyone to go out and see.
And while were on the subject of Fahrenheit 9/11, let me say that there have only been 3 points raised by those in opposition to the movie, and they are that 1. Moore never mentioned Great Britain in the Coalition of The Willing, 2. that Iraq was misleadingly portrayed as a utopia before we decimated it, and 3., that Moore is racist because of his portrayal of the countries willing to stand by the U.S.
There are still no other valid arguments against the points raised in the movie (all of which, coincidentally, were detailed on Sonic Jihad and onwww.guerrillafunk.com 2 years ago). The rest is true and cannot be refuted, and Moore has even publicly considered offering a $10,000 reward to anyone who can find a factual error, according to TIME magazine.
What it really boils down to now is that we are at a point in time where people simply believe in what makes them feel comfortable, even if the facts presented to them point to the contrary. If people know something is foul and needs to be set right, they agree that there needs to be regime change here. If, however, they are uneasy and in denial about the fact that the Bush Administration is full of @#%$, has lied to us, murdered people unjustly here and abroad for profit, reduced our civil liberties, is in bed with those we are supposed to be at war against, had a hand in facilitating the events of 9-11, and actively solicits young people of color to use for its war machine, then they tend to agree with the lies of the current White House occupants.
Only the evil or the misinformed are supporters of this administration, and they are the same people who dont flinch when their conservative heroes are caught lying and give that standard bullshit I take personal responsibility speech. You know the one the speech thats designed to shut up detractors in a hurry (Tony Blair just gave it about WMDs) as though saying it makes things A-OK.
Lets all take our own form of personal responsibility and vote this November.
Register online here at http://www.guerrillafunk .eral_info/x_the_box.html, and stand up and be counted!