From firstname.lastname@example.org Thu Oct 26 13:55:45 2000
Date: Tue, 24 Oct 2000 22:34:23 -0400
Why I Won't Change My Vote: a Native American view
By Noquisi (Day Starr), 24 October 2000
As a Native American, I see this campaign a little differently. Democracy, which originated on this continent with our indigenous people, means something different to us. It means we elect the person we feel will represent us. Our chiefs were representatives, not leaders. The did not issue top-down decisions that affected our lives in opposition to what was the good of the people.
Neither Bush nor Gore have the good of the people in their heart, just the good of the corporations. They both support GATT and NAFTA which allow American jobs to be shipped out of the country so that the corporations can make zillions instead of billions. The jobs that are left here are either high tech jobs that will employ fewer and fewer people (every upgraded program needs less workers to run it); or the jobs are for low pay in the service industry. Like GORE/BUSH, GATT and NAFTA oppose unionization.
GORE/BUSH support the prison industrial complex. Large segments of our nation are shut out of the work force, "not skilled enough, not educated enough". But once they're in prison, and their labor can be had for pennies an hour, why, suddenly they can be trained and employed.
GORE/BUSH support the death penalty, even though it has not been shown to decrease crime and has been shown to be biased against people of color and poor people. Scores of people have been released across the nation when DNA testing showed they were innocent. How many innocent people has the state killed? Have the Democratic governors & presidents shown any less fervor in capital punishment than the Republicans? Where is this major difference between the two parties?
GORE/BUSH do not support a living wage, and Ralph Nader does. Few families can survive on the paycheck of one working spouse. Millions of Americans work hard every day, sometimes at two or more jobs to support their families; and barely make enough for rent, food and carfare. They are living lives scarcely better than those in the Third World. Month to month, a paycheck away from eviction -- with rents getting higher and higher. Where does GORE/BUSH stand on a living wage? One wants a dollar increase in two years the other a dollar increase over three years. Please tell me - where is this MAJOR DIFFERENCE between the two parties? A living wage will do more to fight crime than more prisons...the BUSH/GORE answer.
Even those lucky enough to have a well-paying high tech job, are slowly having their rights as workers stripped away. Many of them are not unionized, work long hours, carry beepers and cell-phones to be on call 24-7, are uprooted and sent across the country regularly. They also, despite the hype, are exploited, stressed-out workers, forced to do the work of two people to avoid being "downsized." This is what the "booming economy" looks like from the top and bottom.
BUSH/GORE agree on Welfare. BUSH/GORE agree on the military and Star Wars missiles. BUSH/GORE agree on not supporting universal single-payer health care. BUSH/GORE agree on corporate soft money contributions.
Oh yes...there is the one single issue that we asked to base our vote on - Who might George "W" put on the Supreme Court? Well, Clinton's pick, Breyer isn't known as being liberal and Justice O'Connor -- Reagan's appointee, is pro-choice. The truth is, we have no guarantee WHAT kind of person GORE/BUSH will pick to appease the opposition. And the Democratic record of the last couple of terms has been "GO ALONG TO GET ALONG". Remember how they withdrew the nomination of Lani Guinier to appease the opposition? Who's to say they would have the courage to back anyone but the most moderate of moderates, at best?
There is another Native American concept that is missing from what passes as democracy today -- and that is the concept of SEVENTH GENERATIONAL THINKING. It means that as we make the choices of today, we think of the effect it will have on the seventh generation to come. What kind of future are we creating for the future generation if we continue to vote the lesser of two evils? We are insuring them of an evil that will still exist in their world to come, because we are too frightened to stamp it out now while it is still "lesser". We are giving the message that evil in gradual degrees is OK, just not a big dose all at once.
I have spent much of the summer registering new, young, brave voters. Young people who are concerned instead of apathetic, who are not resigned to inequality and injustice, and who believe that we can change things if we try. They want a change. They are voting, not just for Ralph Nader, but also for the GREEN PARTY and the GREEN PLATFORM. They are not cowering before the bogey of George "W". They understand we might not win this time, but the ANC didn't win in South Africa overnight; slavery wasn't abolished overnight, in fact, most gains in equality and freedom were hard won.
So if you are too timid, or maybe one of the secure ones who has remained unscathed by the corporate lay-offs, the dismantling of welfare, the prison-labor, lack of a living wage, lack of healthcare, lack of affordable housing, police brutality, war-mongering, roll-backs of affirmative action, rising tuition costs, the weakening of unions, then you go right ahead and keep voting like you've been voting and keep getting what you've been getting. But don't tell the courageous to be cowardly, don't tell our youth that their vote is to be compromised or bartered away.
Don't tell us that we don't have the right to vote for who we feel is the best person.
That's what real democracy is about.