Women. Power. Peace.

Dianne Valentin: We Vote, We Count!

We as Americans do tend to ‘sleep’ on a lot of things. Many things do get by us; like allowing our free press to be jeopardized by letting people and groups take control of it with an agenda other than free press and journalistic integrity. My thoughts drift to Rupert Murdock, (I wonder if he used some special, only for rich people dream act, that the rest of us can’t access, to fast-track his citizenship. I wonder who walked his citizenship papers through and who signed them?).

Folks like Murdock tend to buy up a considerable portion of our news outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, smaller in-state and regional newspapers, Dow-Jones Industrials (though not a news outlet, important to our national information stream), FOX News, etc.

Over time we find it more difficult to get Opinion Editorials in news outlets that present opinions that are not in line with the owners of those news outlets. We even find it difficult to get civic response in the form of letters to the editor in print.

We have people like the Koch Brothers, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, and state legislatures who want to dismantle and destroy our union culture.  It is like they forget the history of who we are and how we got where we are. It is like the threads that hold together the fabric of our nation have no significance to them; things like: worker protections from abuse, child labor laws, workplace safety, fair pay for work, a five day work week, an eight hour work day. All of these things have helped moved us forward.

But we are Americans and ‘ve have our vays’ ! It doesn’t always take a shirtwaist factory fire to get our attention. We come together whenever, wherever, however we can. In small offices, in our living rooms, on our front stoops, on our decks, and in union halls that are community minded enough to allow us to use their space, we communicate with each other face to face, via one form of conferencing or another.

We take to the streets by the thousands, (real thousands like Wisconsin recall vote thousands, like U.S. Social Forum thousands, like Atlanta pro- immigrant / anti HB-87 rally thousands), when we collectively get wind of a person, or a group of people, trying to change what it means to be America, (yes I meant America).

We wake up as a people from our slumber, hibernation, or lack of civic focus due to the stresses of daily life, and we resort to what our founding fathers knew we would; the vote.

People need to recognize the real sacred cow that they are trying to take away from a huge portion of our citizenry; our right to vote.  Yes, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are high on the list, but our vote sits squarely at the top of that list of things we must protect.

Ask the seventy-five year old, retired person who has direct deposited her retirement and Social Security checks for the past ten years and doesn’t have a government issued ID since she stopped driving six years ago due to advancing arthritis, or the college student no longer able to vote where they go to school. Ask anyone who has awakened to realize that they matter and can make a difference in their community with their vote. Ask anyone who has been enlightened by the events of the day and realized that they have a civic responsibility to use their vote to protect everyone’s vote.

Ask anyone who knows that as citizens we vote and we count. Ask the people of Wisconsin today.

Dianne Valentin has been an active member of Georgia WAND for over ten years. She has served on the Georgia WAND Board of Directors for almost a year. Dianne is a self proclaimed 'uppity community organizer', a peace and environmental activist, and an entrepreneur.

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