Advertisement

Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart

voting, anger, and finding balance ~

Voting is, to me, the ultimate American right. When I turned 18, you still couldn’t vote until you were 21. And like most of my peers, I wondered about the fairness of a country where you could be drafted to die for your country, but you couldn’t vote for (or against) the American leaders who sent you there.

So when the 26th Amendment was ratified and made law, the very next day (really) I went downtown and registered to vote. I’ve missed very few elections — local, state or national — since. It is the definition for me of American citizenship. And whining rights, of course :). If you don’t vote, don’t complain.

Advertisement

But there’s a large conservative organisation that just a few days ago ran almost a hate piece against impoverished American citizens being registered to vote. The American Thinker — a right-wing organisation with beautifully misleading headlines, for articles rife with misleading information — published the following statement September 1st:

Registering [the poor] to vote is like handing out burglary tools to criminals.  It is profoundly antisocial and un-American to empower the nonproductive segments of the population to destroy the country…

Because, the article continues, everyone knows that “those who burden society” (another direct quote) only want to take other people’s money. They’re all not working NOT because corporations outsourced American jobs, and are sitting on the largest cash reserves (and in many cases profits) in decades, but because they don’t want to, I guess. If you read through the website, the depth of its classism, racism and downright wrongheadedness is breathtaking…

Advertisement

Buddhists aren’t supposed to judge. And I try sooo hard not to. I know — sure doesn’t seem that way, huh? :) But I also believe — even more firmly than I believe that judging is counter-productive and against Buddhist teachings — that blaming victims is morally reprehensible. Not only does the American Thinker blame those who have lost jobs and are availing themselves of social services they PAID for, the organization also demonises them. Likening them to criminals. Saying they’re ‘non-productive’ as if that is a) true, and b) the worst thing in the world.

Advertisement

Worse yet, the American Thinker presumes to go up against the Constitution and say who should and should not be allowed to vote. Can we say ‘poll tax’…? Let’s go back to those splendid days when only those who owned property (can we say ‘slaves’?) could vote. When pesky poor people, who might not agree w/ repealing tax cuts for low-income people, couldn’t vote out the people who advocate against lower and middle income families. Oh wait! On second thought, the right to vote is expressly guaranteed to all American citizens. Just, apparently, not the right to register to do so…

Advertisement

I find myself laughing at my own anger, a sure-fire way to defuse it, reminding me that Engaged Buddhism isn’t about anger, but changing things we can change, and letting go those we can’t. So instead of remaining angry, I’m spreading the word. There are people around who would love it if lower income Americans disappeared. And the first step towards making them less visible? Make sure they don’t vote.

 

 

Previous Posts

cat helpers
This is my cat Hector, trying to help me think. He's good at this -- I don't actually think, but he does help. Which I suppose is something. As even my ...

posted 7:44:06pm Sep. 02, 2015 | read full post »

wanted: the perfect house to become a home
This is the house I identify with childhood, on the left side of this giant 'duplex,' with the giant screened porches upstairs. It's a villa, with a ...

posted 3:01:12pm Aug. 30, 2015 | read full post »

cultural burdens, with homage to Carol Emarthle-Douglas
This may be the most moving piece of art I've seen in many many months. When it came across my FB ...

posted 5:48:11pm Aug. 26, 2015 | read full post »

silver linings
For those d'un certain âge, the Rolling Stones said it best: You can't always get what you want/But if you try sometimes you just might find/You get what ...

posted 6:20:17pm Aug. 24, 2015 | read full post »

the impulse to art
This, my friends, is art. And better than anything else I can think of, it demonstrates our deep-set need to create beauty. The Dalai Lama ...

posted 9:41:23pm Aug. 20, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.