I had a great time at Auburn’s (California) Big Auburn Pow Wow. I chatted with people from groups that work with Native Americans (and others) to provide basic services, like health care, to many who would do without otherwise. I also had the opportunity to meet veterans from the Korean war and onward. There were a surprisingly large number of native veterans in attendance.
However, I was disturbed by the large number of people who thought they could not register to vote.
“I can’t register. I’m a felon,” was said by several native men at the Pow Wow. I’ve heaRd the same thing at the New Citizen’s Ceremony on several occasions. The only difference, is that at the New Citizen’s Ceremony, these words come usually from Latino or South Asian men. The one thing in common that most of these people have is that they are people of color.
A person’s right to vote is precious. Our nation is founded on Democratic principles. While not a direct democracy, our system works best, when every eligible person casts a vote. So it is worrisome that too many people have been denied this right, by disinformation.
I was wearing a Placer County Democrats polo shirt, so people know immediately that I was with the Dems. As I spoke with people throughout the event, it became clear that there is a misinformation campaign being put forth by conservative organizations. The sinister part was that the perceptions this misinformation create serve to drive wedges between people of color, other minority groups, and people who are members of the working class. This misinformation caused many of the attendees to speak in terms of “us” and “they” rather than “we.”
One thing that I know, is that we are at our best, when we ALL are doing well. We must continue to counter the misinformation as it comes from a position of hate and animus. And we must start by making sure that every eligible citizen is an active participant in our democracy.
Register. Learn. Vote.