1. To deprive (a person) of a right of citizenship, as of the right to vote.
2. To deprive of a franchise, privilege, or right.
I suppose we could start with a definition, set the ground rules even though dictionary definitions don’t always cut it, kind of stagnant, cold…as this definition certainly is. When one says they are or feel disenfranchised this often lends itself to all topics voting, such as not having the right to vote or being barred from voting, but in my situation this is certainly not the case. I can vote in every election I please, but so what? A choice is only as good as your options and with my system of beliefs, I don’t have any. All through my raising’s I was taught the virtues of civic responsibility, voting as my voice…and at one time I believed in this. I even voted before…Clinton, voted for Clinton and as a result, I’ve never been able to vote again. I take the time to help put that guy in office and was then forced to watch his move to the middle, directly away from anything I believed in. He cut benefits for the poor, health care failed, he passed the telecommunications act of 96 (thank you for clear channel), oh and he bombed Iraq. Why the hell did he bomb Iraq? What the fuck did the Iraqis ever do to me?
Clinton, like many Democrats since, push further and further away from progressive beliefs to court the centrist vote while spitting over their shoulder at people like me, laughing, “What? You going to vote Republican?”
Perhaps I might feel differently if I was somehow barred from voting forever, probably, yeah…but this isn’t likely to happen.
I’m part of the ruling class.
I am a white male in American society meaning I typically don’t have to deal with race or gender issues unless I decide to, so really, what’s my problem? Shouldn’t I just drift off into mass media and popular culture, go buy things, get married, raise a family…relax? Nah, tried that but it didn’t really take. My conscience didn’t allow me to just ignore what I was seeing, ignore that people all over the country were hurting, ignore that Republicans and Democrats have ceased to really be distinct parties. Look at the last election…I could have voted for McCain or Obama. Could have, but I didn’t. A quick perusal of the campaign literature showed neither one represented issues important to me, one more American citizen. Issues such as the environment, transparency in government, repealing the patriot act, increasing the benefits to the most disadvantaged, net neutrality, stopping the wars, bringing home the troops, prosecution of the previous administration, restoration of the Louisiana wetlands, rebuilding the levees round New Orleans…etc…the list goes on and on. I could have voted, sure, but when one candidate is against everything I believe in, and the other one is only kinda with me on paper, while taking huge contributions from British Petroleum and every other corporation his opponent is also taking in, then I have no choices. Democrats and Republicans are just different sides of the same hockey puck, and the referee dropping it is only one more mega-corporation with his hand in both of their pockets, the linesman are lobbyists and us citizens are all in the penalty box. We got nobody to believe in…nobody at all.
The Audacity of Hope?
How’s that working for ya?
Sure, I can step behind the curtain and pull levers all I want, but the truth is I was left without the vote.
Let’s talk about the environment. James Lovelock, a globally respected climate thinker and founder of the Geia principle said recently, “I don’t think we’ve yet evolved to the point where we’re clever enough to handle as complex a problem as climate change,” which is a polite way of saying we’re too stupid to really effect the change necessary. I’m inclined to agree. The only entities and individuals in position to do anything large enough, fast enough to make an impact on global warming are politicians, and what is it they do? They slap band-aid’s on severed arms. In this country these jack-holes are still debating whether global warming should be called climate change, or even if the problem exists at all, let alone what to do about it. The enforcers of status-quo dictate we must remain at status-quo and those enforcers have all the money and control large media. If for some reason policy were changed, then the money would move to different bank accounts so those who presently know the pin codes to this country’s ATMs fight any real change with every resource necessary, including your future. With money comes power, the power to sway politicians, the money to be politicians, the money to buy advertising, run full-fledged sabotage campaigns against anyone who disagrees with the current state of affairs. When scientists show time and time again the serious trouble we are in, not in ten years, not in twenty years but right now, the response by those in power is rarely to do anything about the problem of global warming. Nope.
Instead they attack the scientists who give the warning.
What the fuck?
Even CEO’s and politicians have children, grandchildren. They have the same vested interest it would seem in survival as most Americans, even more than me. I don’t have kids and will not have kids. Ever take a close look around you with global warming eyes? So many days I move about my environment…a dying factory town and I just look at the families and houses and listen to the people arguing about the size of their yards. I watch them build interstates. I stare at polluted great lakes and I wonder, amazed by this, thinking, ”Do you people realize, really understand that your way of life is ending? Did you ever stop to think how radically different things will be when your kids get to your age? Do you truly understand the better than average chance your grand-kids will never get to be your age? This isn’t science fiction, it’s real…very real.”
I’m convinced that people either don’t understand the problem, or more likely, just willfully ignore it, try to avoid the reality at all costs, and it shows. Any politician trying, really trying to do something about global climate change warming is dead in the water. Every corporation with an interest in “all things remain the same” heaves money on his opponent and proceeds to attack any environmentalist’s caution as the work of quacks. We need jobs, man jobs…do you want to sacrifice jobs? They have to I suppose. (jobs) What if they’re wrong? (jobs) So I do what I can. I recycle, turn (jobs) off the lights and (jobs) conserve water. I walk wherever I can and try to do (jobs) all things environmental…but so what? (jobs, jobs, jobs…progress.) Everything I do for a year is dwarfed in one day by one company that figures the environment is not their problem, not yet anyway, certainly not today?
Oh, but I could vote for the Republican instead says the Democrat.
This is being disenfranchised.
When every politician (especially on the right) makes it a point to go to church, or at least say they go to church, the mosque, the temple…that they vote their conscience with whatever name they ascribe to their deity… whereas this may play very well to a large portion of their constituency, what does this mean to me? Nothing really all that positive, to be honest it usually works against as most of these people seem to really go out of their way to esnure that the poor of this country will truly only get a reward in heaven. In America, you are on your own. Republicans have turned the manipulation of Christian red-staters into an art form; the party screws them every chance they get, gutting unions that protect the rights of working red-staters, deregulating banks that circle financial desperation like vultures. All they really have to do is scare them with terrorists, abortions and homosexuality, thus freeing them to then set up legislation making it possible for the aforementioned banks to rob them of their homes, their cars, their way of life. Any time any voice out there makes headway against their coercive bullshit and actually gets a voting bloc to understand how no, the Republicans have never cared about your small farms, hardware stores, your mom and pop anything on your small town main street, someone on the right shouts “Gay Marriage!” “Abortion!” Weak on Terror!” Those red-staters fall in line so fast the next thing ya know the Democrat is then repeating the Republican line. Both sides use the loss of jobs to justify never changing anything helpful in the long run, and when they get into office what happens? The jobs disappear anyway. And then at the next election when someone issues a warning about how that coal mine is dumping runoff into the river and destroying your water supply…the Republicans and Democrats do it again, “What? Ya wanna lose jobs? What? Ya wanna let homosexuals and lesbians abort babies for sport or even worse, give birth and then teach the poor child the art of Jihad? You better vote with me or you’ll be truly screwed in the eyes of the Lord!
This is being disenfranchised.
I believe there is a limit to the amount of prying the government can do in one’s life, don’t care if we’re in a war without end. I don’t care if the terrorists are hiding in the frozen food section of my grocery store. I don’t care if the technology has changed and now the FBI wants…the NSA wants…the CIA wants…the cops want… don’t care. My right to privacy is inviolate, and no, much as many politicians would like you to think, this doesn’t mean I have something to hide. I don’t, but what I have going in my life is none of your business unless I choose to make it so. Don’t try to scare. Don’t try to strong arm. Don’t try to say I’m being unpatriotic. I’ve read the constitution and I’ll take the comparison of my beliefs to your actions any day of the week. My local police department has an armored personnel carrier. What? What the hell for? And no, I don’t believe in gun control, but I do believe in gun safety. I don’t even own a gun but when I wonder whether I’ll need one, it isn’t the drug dealers or home invasions that have me concerned. I have a hockey stick hanging on the side of my door, just ready for such gentleman should they ever decide to come in uninvited and I don’t really need anything more than this, but a tank? I am tired of the constant drumbeat of war and no, I don’t think all war is unnecessary, but Iraq? Really. Sorry, I’m a bit informed so that’s a bunch of shit. The government wants the power to pull the plug on the interent in times of crisis. The Department of Justice wants the power to pull the plug on foreign websites if they feel those websites are breaking the law. In today’s mass consolidation of media, the internet is really all that’s left for those without large financial resources to disseminate information, so you bet your ass those currently in power want to control it, by as many means as legislatively possible. The candidate who won the presidency campaigned on a promise of support for net-neutrality, but since the election hasn’t said a word. Meanwhile, Google, Verizon and ATT are just lining up to divide the internet into a world of have and have-nots, much the way this country has been divided and from the politican’s who are supposed to safeguard our interests we get nothing but more laws to supress information and keep the electorate uninformed, while at the same time they issue attacks on patriotism if anyone questions law enforcements’ desires to collect information on any one of us.
This is being disenfranchised.
I believe that businesses shouldn’t run small towns, the people should. I believe Wal-Marts should give health insurance to anyone working over forty hours in their store, even if they are labeled a part-time employee, and they should pay overtime without having to be sued. I believe in times of economic crisis, the state and federal governments shouldn’t cut services and benefits to people who are losing everything, who are mentally ill, who are old and infirm…to essentially anyone who is being impacted by said crisis, especially while plenty of money is given to prisons, to banks, to subsidies for agra-corporations who screw with our food supply (GMO’s) without long range EPA testing (the funding for which Bush gutted). I believe tax breaks should not be given to large companies like Wal-Mart, so they can build away and run even more mom and pop stores out of business, thus ensuring that many more people will need services the government will then cut further, saving money which can be given again to corporations so they can build more, destroy more…the cycle goes on and on and nobody does (jobs) anything because they figure (jobs) for shit Wal Mart jobs are better than no jobs, but I happen to disagree with this basic lie of reasoning…
This is being disenfranchised.
I believe in the free right of assembly, this means that free speech containment zones are bullshit.
I believe when buildings are abandoned by corporations in decaying downtowns, these buildings should be taken over by squatters with no place to live.
I believe in universal, single payer health care systems.
I believe the war on drugs is racist and used to inflate budgets and build prisons, and do we really need it anymore? Don’t we have the war on terror now?
I believe in restoring the wetlands of the Louisiana coast, that everyone kicked out by Hurricane Katrina should be ushered back in, the housing projects shouldn’t have been closed and the flood act of 1928 should be repealed so we can sue the shit out of the Corp of Engineers.
I believe in net-neutrality.
I believe the solution to higher crime rates is not tougher policing and longer jail penalties but more opportunity for people in poverty.
I believe the assets of British Petroleum should be seized, BP should stop using Corexit and the executives who ran this show should be brought up in charges.
I believe whenever a talking head on the radio or Sunday morning news programs says something he knows to be a total fabrication, and a quote is provided to prove they lied, they should be substantially fined, every fucking time.
I believe professor Yoo at Berkeley should be locked in fucking jail.
I believe in a shield law for every reporter and whistleblower.
I believe when the founding fathers said we all had a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, they meant everybody, and no, they weren’t kidding.
I believe the concentration of wealth is not just a matter of hard work, and this concentration is generally bad for everyone, even the ones with all the money.
I propose everyone who criticizes this country as heading down the road to socialism be barred from a public education, libraries, and when they’re in trouble neither the police are fire department be allowed to respond. Fuck ‘em.
I believe the Israeli government sanctions murder, treats Palestinians horribly and should be put on UN sanctions, as should we for doing the same thing to Native Americans in this country.
I believe slavery still exists in America, except now we call it the prison system.
I believe that every time we allow a citizen of this country to be thrown away because they, “are weak,” they “asked for it,” they’re a “criminal,” or they “won’t even try to help themselves,” that we as a country, get weaker.
And yes, this is why I feel disenfranchised.
I’m an American…yeah, but I sure as hell don’t feel like I’m in America. I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel when I am not represented by any politician, no way, no how. I do understand I have it pretty good here, but this doesn’t mean I should lie down at the feet of everyone who is trying to make this place even worse in the name of God, or fear, or jobs or whatever bogeyman runs the news agenda for the day.
This is why I feel disenfranchised.
This is being disenfranchised.
The power to vote for insulated politicians is a farce.
Voting only seems to work on a national scale for the well to do in our society, for those who believe in the myths of our country, the idealism spoken of at fourth of July parades, on Memorial Day and on Anniversarys of September 11th: land of the free and the home of the brave, real patriots and real America, that this is a god fearing, christian country
Essentially, all those rah-rah ideals that don’t speak to me now, and never did.
This is being disenfranchised.