Vote For Our Democracy

Vote to cement your right to vote!

vote 2022 buttonsEugene Robinson recently wrote about a new study by Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) that polled citizens on racism.

The Parties and Race

The scale was 0 to 1, and the median score for all respondents was 0.45—just under half, the same as that for Independent voters. Democratic respondents scored a 0.27—barely above a one-in-four rate of negative racial attitudes. And to nobody’s surprise, Republicans scored 0.67—exactly a two-thirds rate, or two-and-a-half times as high as Democrats.

In other words, Republicans are, in general, far more racist that Democrats, and if they gain power over our government, they will enact the most racist policies seen in at least 60 years.

The Radical Six

Simultaneously, the right to make choices about pregnancy, giving birth, ending a pregnancy, starting a family, are under assault by Republicans. This summer the US Supreme Court’s Radical Six justices, all of them appointed by Republican presidents, eliminated women’s right to choose whether or not to continue their pregnancies—a right enshrined for 49 years, since 1973. Even though numerous Republican office holders and candidates—most recently Herschel Walker in Georgia—have been credibly accused of, or admitted to, pushing their girlfriends to have abortions, American women’s right to make that choice has been eliminated by the Radical Six.

Those same Radical Six justices have promised, or suggested, that they will next work to eliminate the right to use contraceptives—even for married couples. This is a right that has been enshrined since the court ruling Griswold v. Connecticut in 1965.

Yet if Messrs. Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and possibly Roberts, along with Mrs. Barrett, have their way, women could lose the right to use a patch or the pill—without their husband’s or father’s or a judge’s approval—and men could conceivably be prohibited from buying or using condoms to prevent pregnancy! (That change, of course, would lead to even more unwanted pregnancies and more abortions, but the GOP has never been known for using logic.)

Next on the chopping block: marriage equality for GLBTQ+ couples, and—as soon as Clarence Thomas is no longer on the Court—interracial marriage. In other words, choosing whom you want to spend your life with will no longer be up to you.

Low Turnout Hurts YOU

I point out these facts because the rate of voting—actually going out and casting your vote—is lowest among young people and Black men. African American women have been the backbone of the Democratic Party for decades, but their efforts can be fruitless if young men—Black, Hispanic, White—along with young women, don’t go out and vote.

There are many reasons for the lower turnout among Black men, perhaps most importantly the long history of legal disenfranchisement across the South. A felony conviction led to a life-long ban in many southern states and numerous hurdles in others. Southern racists made sure that any infraction by a Black male, no matter how minor, would be treated as a felony, ensuring that he could no longer vote.

For example, when crack cocaine became popular as a street drug among Black men, it was established as a felony; but the exact same amount and use of powder cocaine, preferred by White men, was listed as a misdemeanor. [Those southern racists were, from 1865 to 1965, Democrats; once the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts passed, most of them switched their registration and became Republicans.]

You CAN Vote; You MUST Vote

But in North Carolina, for the moment at least, even convicted felons who have completed their sentences can register and vote. And between now and November 8, it’s more essential than ever that younger Black men do so.

One reason, of course, is that it’s simply wrong to allow racists to overwhelm our system and elect their fellow GOP racists to public office; equally important, however, is that if they don’t, they might never again have the opportunity to do so.

Hanging in the Balance

If Republicans win control of the US Senate and/or the House, and if they gain a veto-proof majority in the NC Legislature, we will likely begin to hear the death knells of democracy. North Carolina will follow Alabama and Mississippi, Florida and Texas, as a state in which the rights of minorities are steadily, step-by-step, slowly or quickly chipped away, and the state becomes yet another where the new Jim Crow is the law of the land.

Assert Yourself!

Going to the polls might take an hour of your time, whether you vote early, use mail-in absentee voting, or vote on Election Day (Nov. 8). It could even take two hours if there are long lines. So balance those two hours against THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, and do what you need to do.

Be proud that you are asserting your rights as a citizen, as an American, as a Black American, as a leader who can make a difference. And that includes convincing your friends to do the same.

Three Simple Steps

First, get registered. Download an application at NCSBE.gov. Fill it out, sign it, and mail it to your county Board of Elections.

Second, CHECK your registration. Use the Voter Search Tool at VT.NCSBE.gov/RegLkup. At that search tool, you can also look at the sample ballot for your precinct, to make sure you’re familiar with the candidates.

Third, VOTE.

For US Senate

  • Vote for Cheri Beasley for US Senate.

For US House

  • Vote for Jasmine Beach-Ferrara for US House.

For Local Seats

  • Vote for every Democrat on every ballot in your precinct (vote for your choice of three Asheville City Council candidates out of six, and one mayoral candidate).

For NC Supreme Court

  • Vote for NC Supreme Court Justices Lucy Inman and Sam Ervin IV.

For NC Court of Appeals

  • Vote for Carolyn Jennings Thompson (Seat 8), Brad A. Salmon (Seat 9), Gale Murray Adams (Seat 10), and Darren Jackson (Seat 11) for the NC Court of Appeals.

Vote for the right to vote that your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents fought and died for. Do not let them take it away!