Posts tagged: Voting

The Ignorant Little Man

I drove to Trenton, New Jersey this past weekend to attend a wedding in Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania. My wife wanted to get her nails done Saturday morning. I dropped her off and told her I was going to drive to Bordentown to take some new pictures of a statue of Thomas Paine. I had previously photographed the statue several years ago.

Thomas Paine

I parked my car around 10:00 AM, got out and started to take my first picture. As I was lining up my shot I heard a voice behind me say something like “that guy has been photographed an awful lot.” I turned around to see who was speaking. I was wearing an Obama 08 sticker on my shirt (instead of a button) and an Obama for President baseball hat that my brother-in-law had given me the previous night. The speaker was a short, older man about 65 or 70, carrying a tall walking stick with a small American flag attached to it. I think he was wearing a red hat. As soon as I turned he saw my hat and said,

“Aren’t you an American? Are you going to vote for that n*****?”

I was stunned and revolted. The words hit me in the face. I didn’t expect to meet someone so ignorant on such a beautiful sunny day in historic Bordentown, New Jersey. He continued walking towards the end of the street and I said, “I’m voting for Barack Obama. He’s ten times smarter than McCain.” He turned at the end of the street and walked back towards me. He pointed to Thomas Paine and said “Who do you think he’d vote for? Ronald Reagan.” I could have reminded him that Reagan was dead, but I didn’t. I said that Thomas Paine would vote for Barack Obama. Then the ignorant little man said, “and he’s a Muslim too.” I said, “No. He’s not.” The ignorant little man continued walking and turned down a side street. That is the last I saw of him. I was really angry. I continued to take some pictures. I took my Obama hat off and put it on Tom Paine.

Statue of Thomas Paine wearing Obama for President hat

That ignorant little man hates Obama because of the color of his skin. He has lived 65 or 70 years on this good earth and not learned a thing. Apparently, he hasn’t even really looked at the statue and read the inscriptions. Double click on the picture below to enlarge it.

Thomas Paine and Abolition of Slavery

Thomas Paine was among the first in America to advocate for the abolition of slavery. He too would have been deeply offended by the words of the ignorant little man. Read Paine’s essay African Slavery in America on ThomasPaine.org. The words of the ignorant little man are remnants of slavery, segregation and Jim Crow that still unfortunately echo through this great country. We have come a long way here in America, but there is still a long, long way to go. Too many people still invalidate another person simply because of the color of their skin. People are who they are because of what is inside them and how they treat their fellow man, not because of their skin color.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said in his inspirational I Have a Dream speech, ” I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” We are not there yet. Dr. King was a courageous man. He was as brave as any soldier on a battlefield. He gave his life to free this nation from shameful behavior that divided it. This country is a better place because of him.

When Franklin D. Roosevelt was running for president in 1931, he was rarely photographed in his wheelchair. It was thought that some people would not vote for a president with a disability. He was elected president four times and guided this nation through the Great Depression and World War Two. I bet that some people, if they had known he was in a wheelchair, would not have voted for him. FDR was the right man to lead this country in very dangerous time.

If you are thinking of not voting for Barack Obama because he is black, think again. If you are thinking of not voting at all because you live in a “blue” state and Obama is predicted to win, think again. Who knows how many ignorant little men are lurking out there. Get out there and vote.

I hope the ignorant little man (and all the other ignorant little men and women), forgets to vote.

America desperately needs someone who can lead us through this mess.

I’m voting for Barack Obama. You should too.

Multiply Your Vote

I am voting for Barack Obama for President of the United States of America. You should too. I used to think that there wasn’t much difference between the Democrats and Republicans. Was I wrong about that. The last eight years have shown me the light. If Al Gore had been named president by the Supreme Court in 2000 instead of Bush, we wouldn’t have invaded Iraq. We wouldn’t have given a huge tax cut to people who didn’t really need one and a tiny tax cut to people who did. We would already be working to solve the global warming problem. We would have gone forward these past eight years instead of backward.

I am going to talk with as many of my friends and acquaintances as I can between now and election day and encourage them to vote for Obama. If you can get one undecided person to vote for Obama, you have multiplied your vote. If you can persuade a Republican, Libertarian or Green party voter to vote for Obama, you have multiplied your vote. Talk to people. You don’t have to get “in their face”. Be polite and civil. No yelling allowed. Ask them who they are going to vote for. Some people don’t bother to vote. Show them how easy it is to register and offer to help. Some people are actually worried that they won’t know what to do once they get in the voting booth. It’s true. I know that for a fact. Find out what type of machine they will be voting in and help them get familiar with it in advance. Most counties in the United States have a Board of Elections or something like it that can help you with voting machine information.

Robert Caro, writing in the New York Times, has a thoughtful article about Obama’s speech, Dr. Martin Luther King and President Lyndon Johnson’s address to Congress regarding the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  Many African-Americans risked their lives and their jobs to vote in the 1960’s. It took courage just to register.

I want people to know I am voting for Obama. I have an Obama ’08 bumper sticker on my car. I took off my Kerry/Edwards sticker in order to put it on. I suppose I could have left it on, but I think four years is long enough.  Can a bumper sticker multiply my vote? I don’t know, but it can’t hurt to try and I like seeing it there.

Last week, I put an Obama ’08 sign in my yard.  Obama \'08 Lawn Sign I can’t remember ever putting a political sign in my yard and I have lived through a few elections.  The first presidential contest that I remember was in 1964 when Barry Goldwater, another Republican from Arizona, ran against President Lyndon Baines Johnson, a Democrat from Texas. I was eleven years old and for LBJ because my parents were Democrats and everyone knew Goldwater was going to blow up the entire planet with nuclear weapons. Johnson won and went on to get the Voting Rights Act passed in 1965. Here is a link to more information about the Voting Rights Act. I stuffed envelopes for Eugene McCarthy in 1968 too. Wow. It’s been forty years since I did something besides complain. How about you?

I have an Obama pin that I wear on my shirt or hat. It’s a conversation starter and it lets people know where I stand. Of course, some people like it and some people don’t.

I am going to volunteer as a driver to take Democrats to the polls on November 4th. If I can provide transportation for one person that wouldn’t have been able to vote, I have multiplied my vote.

You can also visit the Barack Obama website to multiply your vote. You can donate money, find out what events are going on in your state, sign up to volunteer and register to vote.

As of today, August 30th, there are 65 days until the election. You can make a difference between now and then. There are 142 days left until Bush’s last day.

Barack Obama  will become the President of the United States of America on January 20, 2009.

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