November 2, 2004
Last night I drove from Madison to La Crosse to speak to 200 progressive college students who have been deeply involved in politics this year. Why drive such a long distance on an awful rainy night? Nothing could be more important than to urge them to vote. They talked about the loss of Pell Grant money, outrageous tuition increases, huge student loan debts, their concern about the looming draft, and they were very excited about their first vote for president.
It was hard to tell them that they might be challenged at the polls because "you look like students and polls tell us that people 18-29 support Kerry by 15 percent." And that African Americans will be challenged in Milwaukee because blacks vote overwhelmingly Democratic. Hispanics will be challenged as will Native Americans.
What a terrible message for these young idealists. But as dawn follows night, Native Americans were intimidated in South Dakota and the arch-conservative 6th Circuit Court of Appeals paved the way for 3,500 Republican challengers who are, needless to say, stationed in districts with a large percentage of minority voters. Their goal? Suppress the vote. How is this different than the old South?
This organized effort to suppress voting is the worst sin of all. Let us hope that in Wisconsin, where Zogby and Mason-Dixon have Kerry winning and Gallup and Fox news have Bush in the lead, the 200,000 new voters come to the polls, ignore intimidation and vote.
Our record-high turnout is 73 percent. My prediction: 83 percent of eligible voters will cast a ballot in this incredibly important election. Nationwide, 120 million will vote and that is bad news for those paid to suppress votes.
On this day when we should celebrate our democracy, we instead fear a repeat of the stolen election of 2000. Once again as a result of vote suppression. Ah, Florida, Florida.
post a letter about this blog »