One Person/ One Vote…no exceptions

October 31, 2008

You would think that everyone in a democracy, whatever their various political perspectives, would agree that free, unfettered access to the ballot box is a fundamental right, and that we can all  unite on that. Incredibly lots of political operatives and machine politicians spend huge amounts of time and money suppressing the vote—making registration tough or impossible, disenfranchising citizens with a criminal record, sending around false information about polling places, and more. This is why the electorate has always looked remarkably different from the citizenry, why presidential elections in particular are decided by a minority, and it’s why the voting booth  has been a site of struggle for over 200 years.

A robust and participatory democracy would mean that  every citizen could find a good reason to vote and would be assured that exercising the vote, a fundamental human and civil right, is an open and easy process which is visible and accessible. Every vote would count and every citizen could vote. Access to the ballot has been a long and hard-fought process, but full enfranchisement and unimpaired access is still far from a reality.

Full enfranchisement includes allowing former and current inmates to cast their ballots in local, state, and federal elections. Other countries do this. Incarcerated persons are still citizens; half a million incarcerated people are released each year, and they have a stake in the political process. Easy same day registration means that even demanding work schedules and family responsibilities will not impede access to the ballot. Campaign finance reform and public funding of political campaigns would allow someone who is not a millionaire to run for public office, and would blunt the influence of rich benefactors. The Electoral College is a living legacy of slavery and must be overturned in favor of a National Popular Vote. And instant run-off voting, in which voters rank their choices and it takes a majority rather than a plurality to win, can begin to break the strangle-hold of big party machines.

These changes would be baby steps toward making every vote count.

People, People, People…

October 31, 2008

Take a deep breath… breathe in the good air, breathe out the bad air. Feels better, right? Now eat some food– just enough, mostly plants– rest, sweat, hydrate. Keep breathing. Stand up and stretch. Mmmm, good.

A couple of notes on this site:

I get a lot of comments, and it’s taken some time to figure out how and what to post. Those that make me reconsider or rethink, those that extend or trouble my own taken-for-granted assumptions, are easily the best, and up they go. Those that respond to the post or to a thread, yup. Just flipping out without regard to anything said or posted seems silly, and I mostly pass on those. For example, lots of traffic on the presidential race, and lots of assumptions about where I stand and who I’m “backing,” all wildly uninformed, none of it based on what I write (as opposed to what’s written about me).

So, I try to balance the love and the hate on the comments here, just so we can all see what’s out there, but I feel no obligation to post everything flying my way– get your own spot and rant on. All whining about “censorship” is automatically out– the first amendment constrains the state (the government shall make no law…) but does not insist that Fox, to take an example, has to hand the mic to anyone who asks. I also can only read a fraction of what gets posted, so I’m sure I miss a lot. Sorry, but that’s it.

Keep breathing…


October 12, 2008

Choose one:

To Teach: The Journey of a Teacher (Teachers College Press)

A Kind and Just Parent:The Children of Juvenile Court (Beacon)

Teaching Toward  Freedom: Moral Commitment and Ethical Action in the Classroom (Beacon)

City Kids/ City Schools (The New Press)

Then make up your own mind, and send me a comment.