Oct 29

The most powerful instrument

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VoteI’m happily voting for Barack Obama on Tuesday, November 6, 2012.

Somebody who is close to me, – who votes conservative and who I dearly respect asked me the old Reagan question, “Are you better off than you were four years ago.”  The answer is, “Yes!”

If the answer surprises you, let me draw an analogy. – George Bush was like somebody who spent 8 years piling kindling and kerosene in my house – tinder that caught fire as he left office. As Obama took office, we were on the verge of our entire house burning down. So, if there is still residual smoke damage four years after he put the fire out, I’m better off than I was.

But I hope that the loyal opposition votes as well. Yes: even if you are for Mitt Romney, I hope that you vote.

I can think of few rights more precious than the right to vote and I’d like to see everybody take advantage of it.

I have a core belief that individuals and society benefit from a free exchange of ideas and that ‘bad’ ideas should not be suppressed, but rather, fairly supplanted by superior ideas through honest exchanges and real world testing.

And so I find it repugnant, treasonous even, when I hear of attempts to suppress votes.

Most recently, and close to home, House Majority Leader Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) and his ilk passed a law that required Pennsylvanias to show photo I.D. before voting under the guise that it prevented voter fraud.

But the numbers don’t support the fear mongering.  A New York Times analysis from 2007 identified 120 cases filed by the Justice Department over five years. These cases, many of which stemmed from mistakenly filled registration forms or misunderstanding over voter eligibility, resulted in a mere 86 convictions.

And yet, for the sake of these laws which are presented under the illusion that they’ll protect our republic, we would instead actually create a mass disenfranchisement of the people. In Pennsylvania, nearly 760,000 registered voters, or 9.2 percent of the state’s 8.2 million voter base, don’t own state-issued ID cards, according to an analysis of state records by the Philadelphia Inquirer. State officials, on the other hand, place this number at between 80,000 and 90,000.

And Turzai admitted to the political motivation behind this move as he mentioned the law in a laundry list of accomplishments made by the GOP-run legislature to a speech of committee members.

We are focused on making sure that we meet our obligations that we’ve talked about for years… Pro-Second Amendment? The Castle Doctrine, it’s done. First pro-life legislation – abortion facility regulations – in 22 years, done. Voter ID, which is gonna allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.

This is positively criminal to me and how the man (and his peers) weren’t run out of office the next day is beyond my imagination.

The good news? A judge put a halt on this, ‘law’, at least for the short term.

So what can we do? We can write our representatives and tell them that we want our right to vote. – That these modern day equivalents to poll taxes will not stand.

And most importantly, we can VOTE.

Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves — and the only way they could do this is by not voting.

– Franklin D. Roosevelt

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