Super Tuesday, A Citizen’s View

Seal of Maury County, Tennessee
Image via Wikipedia

Tennessee will be a focal point in the Republican candidacy race. As a Progressive Democrat, that is not the primary concern for me.Tomorrow. 

For me, the privilege of voting outranks all others as a citizen of the United States of America. Every opportunity to vote is a near-sacred obligation upon her citizens to “exercising the franchise“. The individual voice of the people of our State will gather at the voting booth to, regardless of party affiliation (Tennessee has an open Primary) state their personal views on many things. I have heard that there are many citizens who honestly feel their best alternative is to stay home. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Where I live, there is a major issue on the ballot that every registered citizen should speak on. It involves an initiative to merge the local government of Columbia, Tennessee with the government of Maury County, Tennessee. In my personal view, this is a very, very bad idea. I would encourage every Maury County voter to show up at the polls, and vote against this initiative. It is a power, money and land grab in my view, and will do nothing to help the citizens of Columbia as we move forward. It is a negative usurpation of the independence of our community that the citizens must not allow. The most important thing to realize, from a voter’s perspective, is that only 50% of those who cast a vote will determine the outcome. This means that if only ten citizens vote, and six vote in favor of this initiative, those six votes will determine the future of more than 35,000 people in  Maury County, Tennessee.

I will also be considering to cast my vote in this Primary for Rick Santorum. I encourage all Tennesseans of my political persuasion to do the same, to send a message to our elected;. As there is no Democratic Presidential Primary (The President is running unopposed), it is in my party’s interest to extend, for however long possible, the Republican Primary race among the four remaining candidates. In my personal view, nothing could help my candidate of choice more. That is the opportunity, and the cost of having an “open” Primary.

I hope every registered Democrat in Maury County, and across our State will do the same. It has no negative outcome that I have been able to determine, at least for my preferred winner in November. I may choose another candidate who has met the threshold requirements. When I am in the voting booth, these are decisions which I, without regard to my party affiliation, platform, or position, am entitled to make as a citizen. This is but one of many choices and decisions which I, as a citizen, am not only entitled, but required to make on behalf of my citizenship. Staying home does nothing for me, those candidates I support, those issues which are important to me, my party or my State.

Up and down the ticket, I will cast my vote. It is imperative in this election that I do so at every possible opportunity, because in my mind democracy is under attack in Tennessee, and in America. I know there are those who believe this to be  like screaming that “The sky is falling!“, but it is a simple truth. When the citizens of a nation, or a State, or a community are called upon to participate in that democracy, yet they do not, democracy suffers immensely. When our nation is so divisively divided, with such terrible rancor and outright hatred being spewed openly, without apology or concerns for restraint, democracy itself is at risk. There has not been in my lifetime a more important election.

It is not my option to not participate; not if I do consider myself to be a citizen. That’s just not what citizenship is.  You may believe your vote doesn’t count. That is simply not true. Every vote counts, and never more so than in the Primary and election this year. You may believe that you have no “good” choice. Again, that is a lie. There ARE choices in tomorrow’s Primary election. You are called by democracy and your citizenship in your community, your State, and your country not just to participate, but to BE democracy where you live.

George Carlin once said that those who do not vote are the ones who have the right to complain. Sorry: not true. Only those who rightfully voice their democracy have the right to complain about what their elected do, or do not do, in the furtherance of democracy in this land. It is also important, especially considering tomorrow, that some 375,000 Tennesseans, and a purposeful attempt to keep some 5,000,000 American citizens away from their constitutional right to vote is currently being enforced not only here in Tennessee, but across our nation.

They will will not be allowed to cast their vote, a privilege their citizenship inalienably affords them, yet one of several disenfranchisement plans from that citizenship the elected of this State have purposely instigated for nothing other than that very specific purpose. Those who not only permitted this with their votes, but who defend such an absolutely nefarious purpose must be held accountable in November. Voter ID laws, poll taxes, limited access to registration…and so much more. You must realize that, even among your neighbors, those who have fought, bled and died for nothing more than this one constitutional right for every citizen will be kept away from the very polls they have defended. Cast your vote for them. Voter suppression may well see African-Americans who are being purposely kept away from the polls, along with other minorities, the elderly, the poor, students, and so many more. Early voting restricted, or possibly even discontinued soon. Absentee voting which counts less, if at all. So many other possibilities which would be foisted upon us by those who believe that a corporatist, plutocratic theocracy is a preferred form of government without a Constitution. Or perhaps many voters believe that anarchy is the preferred outcome of the November elections. There are many of them, you know Many of them are Volunteers. Would you prefer their votes count, while you remain silent?

Is this democracy? No, it is not democracy. It is tyranny. Yes, tyranny. Stand up–if not for yourself, for them. Do not allow the paranoid and evil intents of others to further harm, or perhaps even destroy democracy in our time, in our land. Not here. Not now. And, by the grace of the Almighty, not by me!

This is not a question a citizen should be asking. Yet, we have been forced to it. How you, and I answer tomorrow will say much. It has never mattered more than it matters now. l have given you only a few examples of why. There is but one question remaining. It is a question every citizen of Tennessee must answer, tomorrow.

What are YOU going to do about it?

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I Hear A Lot About Values

"LIES"
"LIES" (Photo credit: Toban Black)

I was born in the beloved Hills of Eastern Kentucky. I was raised by a family, and a community that instilled values in me that I have had to fight out, figure out, and sort out over the course of my life. To me, your values travel with you. I have tried, sometimes even successfully to live them out in my world with my families, my colleagues, my friends–my “universes” if you will.

I have never subscribed to the notion that my values were the right ones for all people, or even all the people with whom I closely associated. I have written about them. I have spoken to others about them, and shared them when I felt it was appropriate, but not always when I thought or believed it to be necessary. Prudence is a value, too. Tact is a value. Honor is a value. Living honorably, especially among those you consider important to your world is also a value. Kindness, gentleness, forthrightness…these are values. Courage, faithfulness, integrity, respect…these, too are values.

So, why is it that it seems so very apparent to me that these values are just simply not the values of the citizens of Tennessee? And, before you begin flaming (and being deleted from) this blog, I want you to hear what it is that I am saying, as I mean to say it. I do not want my words to be so clear they are understood–by anyone. I want my words to be so clear that they cannot possibly be misunderstood–by anyone.

Why is it these are values to be disregarded, denied, or simply discarded by citizens of Tennessee? I know there are those who believe that every person should have the opportunity to create their own success, their own fortunes by their own sweat and tears. I, quite frankly, agree with that. But it is NOT a value! Hard work IS a value, and you should be honored if you have it as one. I don’t know anyone in this entire State who does not hold this as a value, despite what I read daily. In fact, one of the most prominent places I hear about it is from our elected, and especially our State Legislators.

So…is it a commonly held value here, or not? It cannot be both. If you find my statement offensive, then please understand how offended I am when I hear from our elected that it is a value which simply does not exist here, or does not exist by some definable segment of our population:

Blacks
Latinos
Women
The Elderly

The Poor
The LGBT Community
Students
The Unemployed
The Underemployed
Democrats in general

Any person, elected (or who would be) that tells you this is a value not held by someone else is, quite frankly, telling you a lie to your face. Now, is honesty a value here? And, isn’t it our solemn obligation as citizens to confront dishonesty in word, as well as deed, by those elected to represent US?

You simply cannot have it both ways. No matter how daintily you compose the argument in our well-known “Southron Gentility“, a lie is not the truth. This State has a legendary history of standing up FOR truth, not hiding FROM truth.

It’s about time we started living up to our forebears, and immediately commit ourselves to confront those who believe that distorting or even discarding the truth is an acceptable

The Family Values 2001 Tour
Image via Wikipedia

It’s what we should do. If we cannot, or will not, then it is incumbent upon us to hold our tongues, period. The only other possible determination available to us is that we do NOT hold these values, and to pretend we do simply has run its course. If you cannot confront lies with truth, and you will not speak truth to power, then you have necessarily allied yourself to dishonor, untruth, and lies.  truth in this State, no matter where they are found. Because that is what citizens in a democracy do. It’s what honorable people do.

So, as my Father used to say:

Put up, or shut up!