I Will Miss Voting on Election Day

I VOTED at the Dallas County Elections Department on Round Table Drive in Dallas  TX about 15 to 20 minutes from my home around 5:15 this evening. I drove into the parking lot, was directed to a parking space, showed my photo ID, signed and printed my name and wrote my voter registration number in space 8 on a sheet of paper on a clipboard.
Jacqueline checked my signature with that on my driver license and returned my ID and brown envelope containing my ballot to me. I said, “What do I do with this, go inside?” And she answered, “Now, you vote!” She then lifted up a large blue satchel with white (or gold?) embroidered writing on it and an open zipper just wide enough to accept my brown carrier envelope into which I pushed it.
I had voted!
 
Jacqueline gave me my “I Voted in Dallas County” sticker, we bid each other goodbye, and I drove back home. The whole enterprise took barely 40 minutes. There was no one in front of or behind me. If Jacqueline had not been so cheerful, it would have been a sad affair.
 
I like to vote in person on Election Day; but since I voted absentee in the primary, the Elections Department sent me an absentee ballot for the November 3 election as well. When I found out what a Federal Case it would be to vote in person now that I had the absentee ballot, I resigned myself to voting in absentia. And it was a breeze. I don’t know how to get off of the absentee voting list, and I’m not sure I want to. It looks like the Election Day polls have seen the last of me . . .
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Thoughts on the Final 2020 Presidential Debate

Week before last, Donald Trump said, “I’m not going to waste my time on a virtual debate!” What that actually meant, folks is, “I’m not going to waste my time talking to the majority of the American people.”  And, so he reverted to type. Less than a week out of the hospital with Covid-19, Trump was on the hustings creating Super-Spreader rallies with his acolytes. He makes no bones about it: He is their president, not yours and mine.

Joe Biden and Trump have  agreed to a final debate at Belmont University in Nashville TN on Thursday, October 22 at 8 PM CDT, 9 EDT. I usually tape  and alternate between both C-SPAN and PBS, and that’s what I will do on Thursday. I like those stations because they don’t do any or much talking while the candidates are sharing their points of view.

Of course, the number one question on everyone’s mind is a two-parter: will Trump act with decorum or try to wreck this final debate as he did the first; and will NBC’s Kristen Welker be able to maintain order on the set?

I’ll be watching and hope you will be, too. I’ sure you’re sick of hearing what a momentous election will conclude on Tuesday, November 3. But you know it is. Most people already have made up their minds, and millions already have voted, so the last debate is rather anticlimactic. For most of us the debate is more a thought exercise than anything else.

In the few remaining days until the debate, the media – and you and I – will speculate on how it will go, and how often Trump will misbehave and flaunt the rules he’s agreed to observe. Have fun!

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Notorious RBG Dead at 87

We all knew she couldn’t live forever, but I, for one, was shocked, surprised, and saddened by the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg this evening at her home in Washington DC.  I think many of us were surprised, even though we knew she was ill with pancreatic cancer.

I am devastated. She was more important to the nation than many know.

Just leaving a rally, Donald Trump looked like a deer in the headlights when he heard from reporters that Justice Ginsburg had died. Amazingly enough, he was able to make appropriate comments in that moment and later in a written statement.

As I write, people who cared about Justice Ginsburg are gathered and gathering outside the Supreme Court of the United States. They are milling about aimlessly, just wanting to be with likeminded people, at one point breaking out in “Amazing Grace.”

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Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Notorious, Illustrious RBG, was 87 years young. I say young because she became a pop icon in her 80s, celebrity which she thoroughly enjoyed. Notorious RBG was a riff on the rapper Notorious BIG’s name, and she says they had something in common – they were both from Brooklyn NY.

I also call her young, because she just never missed a beat or a day of work except because of health issues. She was a Super Diva in the gym with a workout a book published about her exercise routine. Dogged by various cancers since 1999 Ginsburg overcame them all except this last. Finally, her health – pancreatic cancer — has interfered with RBG’s 27-year reign on the Supreme Court for the final time.

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Now, all we can hope is that the Republicans will take the same position in the days ahead as they took when Justice Scalia died in 2016. I paraphrase:

We are too close to the presidential election (the election was almost 10 months away) to consider President Obama’s nominee. The people should have a voice, so we will not consider a nominee until after the election.

The election is only seven weeks away. Will the Republicans be hypocrites or honorable people? Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, and the Senate Judiciary Committee will reveal the answer in the days to come.

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And finally:

Screen Shot 2020-07-03 at 10.56.12 PMMake your plan to vote and VOTE

early, in person,

by mail, OR

on election day.

I will vote on election day.

What’s your plan?

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Complete 2020 Census, Register, VOTE!

Voting is critical, but so is the 2020 Census. I know I’ve written about the census before, but I can’t stress how important it is, especially to Black, Indigenous, and all People of Color (BIPOC).
Billions of dollars are at stake and if we aren’t all counted, it will negatively impact the amount of federal MONEY coming into our states, cities, and neighborhoods for the next TEN years. It will also affect congressional REDISTRICTING . . . for the next TEN years!
I implore you: Complete the 2020 Census if you have not already. Trump is going to make census-takers stop gathering information ahead of schedule. Be unafraid. Go to 2020Census.gov and respond NOW. It takes less than 10 minutes. . . Really!
Then, make a plan to VOTE on or before November 3. We’ve got to show up at the polls and VOTE, because the current national situation is unsustainable!
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Poor People’s Campaign Says Low-Income Voters Have Potential to Impact American Elections

Recently, the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II and the Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, co-chairs of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival (PPC), released a report they hope will change how American politicians build their platforms and the issues they address as they campaign. Titled Unleashing the Power of Poor and Low-Income Americans: Changing the Political Landscape, the report, researched and written by economist and Assistant Professor of Social Work at New York’s Columbia University, Robert Paul Hartley, makes a few startling observations about poor and low-income eligible non-voters.

Hartley reports that, “In the 2016 presidential election, there were 138 million voters out of 225 million eligible voters. Twenty-nine million of these voters were poor or low-income and there were an additional 34 million poor or low-income people who were eligible, but who did not vote.

Hartley calculates that non-voting low-wealth people had the potential to change the outcome of the 2016 election if only candidates had bothered to address poor people’s issues in their campaigns. Rev. Barber says, “Not only is it immoral to ignore poor and low-income people, not only is it economically [foolish], it is political suicide to ignore them in 2020.”

The PPC is currently waging concentrated voter registration drives in Texas and across the nation to get non-voting poor people prepared to vote in person or by mail in the November 3 election. The implications for this Fall’s candidates are clear: Ignore the issues of poor and low-wealth people between now and November 3 at your peril.

Dr. Jennifer Wimbish, a member of the Texas PPC Steering Committee and co-chair of the Dallas Poor People’s Campaign noted that the report indicates that “the issues of poor people should be front and center in terms of discussions of those seeking to win in November.”

The issues of poor and low-wealth people include “health [care], jobs, wages, food, [and clean] water,” according to Shailly Gupta Barnes, who wrote the report’s foreword. Denita Jones, a Dallas PPC volunteer, agrees, “My government is failing me and millions like me. We need higher wages, better workplace protections, lower rents, access to quality affordable health care, and fresh healthy food. Real freedom means not having to choose between your health and your rent.” Jones continued, “This [Covid-19] crisis just takes the Band-Aid off a wound that has been festering for too long. It’s time to apply some UV light and disinfectant to the wound of inequality in this country.”

Another person involved with the Texas Poor People’s Campaign, Lauren Simmons who lives in Houston’s Third Ward, says, “Covid-19 has impacted our community physically, financially and emotionally. I have seen it up close and personal because I tested positive. I’m not surprised how poorly our [Texas] leaders have handled this issue, especially considering that we have the most uninsured people in this state.” Simmons added, “I’m also disturbed by the push to have children [and] school employees return to campuses that were already underfunded and ill equipped pre-Covid.”

Unleashing the Power of Poor and Low-Income Americans: Changing the Political Landscape can be found here.

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AN OPEN LETTER TO CONGRESS and the POSTAL SYSTEM BOARD of GOVERNORS

Last night, I sent the letter below to Marc Veasey, my congressman and to Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, and I will send it to Nancy Pelosi and the US Postal System Board of Governors. as well. The letter is long, but it’s important.

If you care about the November elections and the Post Office itself, I urge you to write to your congressional representatives as well. Feel free to use any or all of my letter as a template.

* * *

As you know, the original US Post Office, now the US Postal System (USPS), was founded in July, 1775 with Benjamin Franklin as its first Postmaster General. It’s current iteration, the USPS was established nearly 200 years later, in 1971. However, to most of us, there is no difference, it’s The Post Office, and its mail carriers and blue mailboxes are part of the fabric of our American culture. We know our mail carriers by their creed, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

Recently appointed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy seems not to know or care about the mail carriers’ creed or the jobs they and other postal workers do. Rather, he seems to have embarked on a campaign to destabilize, undermine, and destroy the Post Office. Since his appointment this May, DeJoy has removed  upwards of 670 mail-sorting machines from Post Offices around the country; conducted a massive shuffling of 33 senior USPS officials, including the people in charge of day-to-day operations; eliminated overtime resulting in mail delivery delays; removed mail boxes from the neighborhood streets in some vote-by-mail states; and most recently told post offices to open later and close for lunch. Dejoy’s changes are not improving service, and they are alarming customers, many of whom are no longer getting their mail and prescription medications in a timely manner.

These piecemeal changes and slowdowns are especially alarming just two and a half months before a momentous presidential election. At this point, I am not going to talk about this in political terms; but if Mr. DeJoy continues to hobble the post office just ten weeks before the election, I will be forced to believe his actions are political in nature. Meanwhile, I suggest Mr. DeJoy’s containment or removal. He has no postal service experience and seems to be moving the USPS backward rather than forward.

I am appealing to you because as a registered voter and an American taxpayer, I need to know how you plan to put an end to Mr. DeJoy’s seemingly senseless decisions and restore the USPS to its recent, efficient level of operation.

Pamela E. Ice  Dallas Texas 75211

 

Poor People’s Campaign SaysLow-Income Voters Can Impact American Elections

August 11, 2020 — Dallas

Today the Rev. William J. Barber, II and the Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, co-chairs of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival (PPC), released a report they hope will change how American politicians build their platforms and the issues they address as they campaign. Titled Unleashing the Power of Poor and Low-Income Americans: Changing the Political Landscape, the report, researched and written by economist and Assistant Professor of Social Work at New York’s Columbia University, Robert Paul Hartley, makes a few startling observations about poor and low-income eligible non-voters.

Hartley reports that, “In the 2016 presidential election, there were 138 million voters out of 225 million eligible voters. Twenty-nine million of these voters were poor or low-income and there were an additional 34 million poor or low-income people who were eligible, but who did not vote.

Additionally, Hartley calculates that non-voting poor and low-wealth people had the potential to change the outcome of the 2016 election if only candidates had bothered to address poor people’s issues in their campaigns. Rev. Barber says, “Not only is it immoral to ignore poor and low-income people, not only is it economically [foolish], it is political suicide to ignore them in 2020.”

Dr. Jennifer Wimbish, a member of the Texas PPC Steering Committee and co-chair of the Dallas Poor People’s Campaign noted that the report indicates that “the issues of poor people should be front and center in terms of discussions of those seeking to win in November.” The PPC is currently waging concentrated voter registration drives in Texas and across the nation to get non-voting poor people registered to vote in person or by mail in the November 3 election. So, the implications for this Fall’s candidates are clear: Ignore the issues of poor and low-wealth people in the next three months at your peril.

The issues of poor and low-wealth people include “health [care], jobs, wages, food, [and clean] water,” according to Shailly Gupta Barnes, in the report’s foreword. Denita Jones of Dallas agrees, “My government is failing me and millions like me. We need higher wages, better workplace protections, lower rents, access to quality affordable health care, and fresh healthy food. Real freedom means not having to choose between your health and your rent.” Jones continued, “This [Covid-19] crisis just takes the Band-Aid off a wound that has been festering for too long. It’s time to apply some UV light and disinfectant to the wound of inequality in this country.”

Another person involved with the PPC, Lauren Simmons who lives in Houston’s Third Ward says, “Covid-19 has impacted our community physically, financially and emotionally. I have seen it up close and personal because I tested positive. I’m not surprised how poorly our [Texas] leaders have handled this issue, especially considering that we have the most uninsured people in this state.” Simmons added, “I’m also disturbed by the push to have children [and] school employees return to campuses that were already underfunded and ill equipped pre-Covid.

The complete report, Unleashing the Power of Poor and Low-Income Americans: Changing the Political Landscape can be found here. It’s worth a look.

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It’s Not Too Late to Complete the Census Online at 2020Census.com!

 

The 2020 Census will determine congressional representation, inform hundreds of billions in federal funding every year, and provide data that will impact communities for the next decade. That’s the next TEN YEARS folks!

That’s why I keep bringing up the Census. It’s really, really important to you, me, and everyone. Now, you can complete it online at 2020Census.com.

The 2020 Census will affect Redistricting.

The U.S. Constitution mandates that the country count its population once every 10 years. The results are used to adjust or redraw electoral districts, based on where populations have increased or decreased.

State legislatures or independent bipartisan commissions are responsible for redrawing congressional districts. The U.S. Census Bureau provides states with population counts for this purpose.

2020 Census’s Impact in Your Community

School lunches. Plans for highways. Support for firefighters and families in need. Census results affect your community every day.

The results of the 2020 Census will inform decisions about allocating hundreds of billions of dollars in  to communities across the country—for hospitals, fire departments, school lunch programs, and other critical programs and services.

It’s about the MONEY, honey! Complete your Census at 2020Census.com.

 

Something is “Bad Wrong” in the White House

What is wrong with this man? In the face of a worldwide pandemic, that continues to ravage these United States, Donald Trump has turned his back on the coronavirus/Covid-19 crisis. Of course, he thinks it is a hoax that will “one day just magically go away.” Is that because it turns out that it affects blacks, Latinx, and native Americans at a greater rate than the majority population?

Trump also has turned his back on the police/public safety crisis across the country, reignited by the horrific May 31 Memorial Day murder of George Floyd. Trump has turned instead toward further dividing, frightening, and confusing the nation by painting the Black Lives Matter protestors as rioters and thugs and championing the traitorous confederacy and its statues and battle flag that are ubiquitous across the United States. He suggested that NASCAR driver Darrell “Bubba” Wallace should apologize for the noose found in his NASCAR garage as if it was Wallace’s fault that the noose was there.

I ask, again, what is wrong with Donald Trump? I know he is not finished yet, but for the moment I am, because at Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills of South Dakota – property stolen from the Sioux Nation – while the coronavirus was spiking in numerous states, Trump held a 7,000-person, no-mask rally at which there was no social distancing on July 4. There, in his dark, foreboding Independence Day speech, he said that “a left-wing cultural revolution. . . is determined to tear down every statue, symbol and memory of our national heritage.”

Except that the statues and symbols Trump is defending are those of the confederacy, a failed bunch of traitors who fought to keep my forbears enslaved and tear the United States asunder.  Their statues and symbols are certainly not my national heritage. As a matter of fact, I want to see them removed from every public place from the U.S. Capitol to the smallest little town square on the West coast. I am an American, and the symbols of the confederacy are not what I hold dear.

Now, Trump is insisting that children and teachers across the nation must return to their schools in August or lose whatever federal funding the schools receive. This demand and threat despite the coronavirus/Covid-19 spikes across the country.

Will somebody, please tell me What. Is Wrong. With. This. Man?

The Worst that Could Happen

We all thought the coronavirus-Covid-19 pandemic was the absolute worst thing that could happen, especially to African American people. But we were wrong.

On February 23, 2020, 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery was murdered by a former policeman and his son near Brunswick, Georgia. Arbery was jogging and unarmed. Few outside of Brunswick knew about Arbery’s death until May when the alleged perpetrators were finally charged.

On March 13, 2020, Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old, unarmed first responder was murdered in her own apartment by Louisville, Kentucky Metro Police who broke into her home with no warning.

Then on Monday, May 25, 2020 – Memorial Day – 46-year-old George Floyd was handcuffed and lynched. In public. In the light of day. On a Minneapolis, Minnesota, street. By a Minneapolis policeman . . . as three other police officers stood by watching. How do I know this? Because I saw the wrenching cellphone video of the episode that 17-year-old Darnella Frazier had the presence of mind to record and share.

How do you think these murders make me and my fellow African Americans feel? Because, lest you forget: we are Americans. More than anyone else, with our literal blood, sweat, strength, and amazing resilience, we built much of this country. It is ours as much or more than any other American’s. We supposedly have the same rights as everyone else; and I guess we do. Until we don’t.

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