William Cruz, in the video below, says he set a goal to register 100 new voters. Since we did the video last Friday, he says he's gotten six so far.
This is a democracy, and William and I agree on the point that voting is important. If you don't vote, you've given up. Many argue that there are no good choices. I would argue that when we are down to two candidates, there's generally a better and worse candidate. But I'll acknowledge that the current system sets up all candidates to be in debt to the people who fund their campaigns. And so they are required to be polite and responsive to those who pay. And to spend an obscene amount of time raising money instead of legislating or governing. The Citizens United case is making money even more important.
But the fact of the matter is that a democracy doesn't work if people aren't involved. Our last Municipal election, 65% of eligible voters didn't vote.
Say there's a storm coming and your house might get flooded. You can get things out or move them upstairs. You can put up sandbags. It won't be easy. You can work your tail off attempting to save your house or you can just give it up and say it's impossible.
Giving up on democracy is a pretty radical concession. But we are facing a flood. The current Supreme Court has made some critical decisions, starting with Bush v. Gore and including Citizens United. If the next Supreme Court justice is of the same ideology as the Citizens United majority, our chances at saving Democracy get even slimmer.* If we keep electing enough people who vote to protect the 1%, life in the US is going to get grittier and grittier for the other 99%.
If the candidates aren't any good, then it behooves people to make sure good candidates run. Voting is important, but we also have to get good candidates on the ballot and help make sure they get elected. We simply have no choice but to be involved unless we just give over our governments (the various local, state, and the federal governments) to those with deep, deep pockets. Our job is a lot easier than it was for individuals to fight the Nazis or to help slaves escape from the South or to demand change in Egypt*. It involves investing time and money in good candidates.
We aren't risking our lives. Or even giving up much of what we have. At least not yet.
OK, that's my soapbox for today. Here's William's story. The last minute or two is in Spanish.
I should disclose that William took two classes from me a six or seven years ago and that he did invite me to do this video. We did a couple of questions more than once and I picked what I thought would best tell his story.
*OK, I know that these statements sound fairly absolute but I recognize that the scourge of many right wing politicians - the ACLU - was on the winning side of Citizens United, so it's more complicated. The idea of corporate personhood is not something the court created. The change in Egypt is not necessarily going to be for the better. So, I'm letting you know that I know down here.