Moral compasses, intestinal fortitude and American honor have no place in the conversationI
get sad and melancholy when I hear my people express intense apathy
comes to voting. Hell, I get sad when I hear anybody give an excuse not
vote. “Man, it’s an electoral college that decides; my vote won’t count
or “They already know who they want to win, so I’m not voting” or
gon’ do what they’re gon’
do no matter how I vote.” My sadness morphs into anger when I hear a
neo-conservative celebrating a means to prevent those same people from
of us are aware of the pains and sacrifices that brave Americans
gain the right to vote. In Philadelphia, Mississippi,
the murder of voting rights activists, James Earl Chaney, Andrew Goodman,
gained national attention, along with numerous other acts of violence
terrorism in the South. By 1965, concerted efforts to
break the grip of state disfranchisement had been under way for a
had achieved only modest success, and in some areas efforts proved
Television, in the 1950s, had
become a primary mass
communication tool; the information transmitted showed the vicious
some people would go through to prevent certain classes of other people
voting. Many people didn’t believe efforts were underway to stop Blacks
voting. The information - or disinformation - on TV could leave them
either stark realities or false impressions of reality. That’s what we
today…on an elevated scale.
Through collusive and
conglomerated media outlets,
most of the country is inundated with misinformation about their
their right to vote. Polls are released daily - especially during
seasons - that forecast the winners. Boasts of accuracy lead one to
that “the polls can’t be wrong.” So, if that’s the case, then “why
even go out and vote for my guy?” Though one can argue the legitimacy
they are just one mean or method of
misinformation - but just one.
I read a September 11,
2012 article in The Washington Times, the
right-leaning daily in Washington,
DC. It gave the impression that President
Obama is a Muslim. That, itself, wouldn’t be a bad thing if he was, but
article is patently false and misleading. The article quotes the
saying, “My Muslim faith.” Once you read the article, it is clear that
author is trying to connect dots and steer you to a certain belief
of the Bible). The author is using a supposedly legitimate vehicle - The Washington Times (its banner nearly
a copycat of its competitor, The
Washington Post) - to convey this disinformation.
Then, there are the less
means to suppress and/or steal the vote. In Florida, Virginia
voters received phone calls that wrongly told them not
to cast ballots in person on Election Day because they could
vote by phone. We all know that voting by phone is not an option, but
to new or
“low-information” voters, that option may seem plausible. This is theft
course, somebody should be in jail.
In Ohio and Wisconsin, media
conglomerate Clear Channel funded billboard ads aimed at low-income and
minority residents and students that showed prisoners behind bars and
criminal penalties for voter fraud - an effort that voting rights
was designed to intimidate voters. Who do you know wants to even risk
jail? The vote fraud is being committed by the very people who, not
for the billboard message but allowed the message to be posted! [Clear
has since agreed to remove the ads].
classes of people have concocted voter
identification laws that draw strict prohibitions against the right of
of people to vote. Courts in Texas, Florida, Ohio,
elsewhere in this country have struck down these attempts, but the
stop there. The use of information - or disinformation - is an
effective way to
achieve the same end.
past week, an Associated Press poll reported that 18%
of Americans think
President Obama is Jewish, but a few days later, it corrected that
read: 18% of Americans do not think
Obama is Jewish. Like a lawyer’s question sustained during trial, it
considered during deliberations, but that doesn’t erase it from the
mind. This election cycle has become a campaign of disinformation,
toward those likely to vote Democratic.
vote fraud is being committed by the very people who, not only paid for
the billboard message but allowed the message to be posted!
O’Keefe, a chief operative funded with conservative
money, set up the son of Virginia Democratic Rep. Jim Moran by
proposing to him
the possibility of committing voter fraud to increase the number of
would anyone even present this option to someone? The younger Moran
thinking about this until he was
entrapped. Unfortunately, he took the bait. This is an extremely rare
but for those who commit the fraud, it only gives them ammunition to
the other side does it too.’ The
reality is that most vote scam efforts to suppress voting rights are
by the likes of O’Keefe and funded by extreme right-wing and
interests. (Read the latest news about Romney’s family ties to H.I.G.
a major partner in the company that owns the voting machines in Ohio).
germane here is that voting is important. It
is so important that people will lie, cheat and steal in order to win
election. So much for a “godly nation.”
compasses, intestinal fortitude and American honor have no place in the
Voters in at least 28
counties in Florida
have received official-looking letters saying they may be ineligible to
Election officials in Maricopa
where Sheriff Joe Arpaio is in a tough
reelection battle, have twice given
the incorrect date of the election to Spanish-speaking voters. First,
sent letters in Spanish with the wrong date; then, they distributed
that had the correct day in English on one side, and the incorrect day
Spanish on the other. Do you really think these instances were
would pay a vendor handsomely to make glaring mistakes on tens of
thousands of bookmarks?
If my business cards came back with errors, do you think I would pay
campaign also dispatched robocalls suggesting it was illegal for people to have
deliver their early voting ballots to election officials. That’s not
in Ohio, the Republican-run Ottawa County Board of Elections sent a
2,300 voters informing them that Election Day was November 8 and
that their voting location had been moved to a building on the east
side of a
high school. The actual location is on the west side. An “official”
that! You see which political party runs the agency.
B. Johnson signed the nation-changing Voting Rights Act into law on
1965. Section 2 of the Act, which closely followed the language of the
to the Constitution, applied a nationwide prohibition against the
abridgment of the right to vote and the use of literacy tests.
other provisions, the Act contained special enforcement provisions
those areas of the country where Congress believed the potential for
discrimination to be the greatest. It did not foresee misinformation
disinformation, let alone rampant and blatant lies.
petition at Credo Action is circulating to tell the
Department of Justice: Don’t let Republicans steal the election in Ohio with
voting machines. The possibility for vote scam is reality. Beware of
get your information and know that those who disseminate it are banking
apathy on Election Day. Go to the polls. Vote.
BlackCommentator.com Columnist, Perry Redd, is the former Executive
the workers rights advocacy, Sincere Seven, and author of the on-line
commentary, “The Other Side of the Tracks.” He is the host of the
talk radio show, Socially Speaking in Washington, DC. Click here to contact Mr. Redd.