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Vote May 4th

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Been yelled at today? How’s this? GO VOTE!!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010 is Election Day in Norfolk, VA. That’s the day voters will choose a mayor and city council members.

Do you know what happens when people with common sense and a conscience don’t vote? Bob McDonnell becomes governor of Virginia then guts the middle class, education, and health care as soon as he gets in office. Then he slaps us even more. (See article – A Stab in the Chest, From Bob McDonnell)

I have voted in Norfolk since I was 18 years old. I know it’s my duty, right and a great freedom. Our “Forefathers” knew that voting was powerful! If it wasn’t, they wouldn’t have fought so hard to keep everyone else out of the process. In 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution became law, and white women could vote. The Fifteenth Amendment was added to the Constitution in 1870 to protect Blacks’ voting rights. But, a lot of states imposed threats, poll taxes, and reading & writing tests to keep freed slaves from voting. It took about another 100 years and the Civil Rights Movement before all states were forced to allow African-Americans the right to vote as easily as their Caucasian counterparts.  In both movements, people died or took beat downs just so I can punch a little hole out of a card, or nowadays, tap a computer screen. So, I don’t want to let down any of the people who paved the way for me.

Around the USA, the turn-out for local elections is usually abysmally low. Norfolk has been no exception. Truth be told, during presidential elections, I never had to wait in a line longer than 10 minutes. That time includes the minutes it takes the sweet, old ladies to find my name on the list. But, one rainy, November morning, I arrived at my polling place to find hundreds of people in line waiting their turn to cast a vote for the next president. Did I mention it was raining! It was flooding and people were smiling. Hundreds of them! I was happy, too. Grateful to have some company for a change. Grateful that people knew that their vote matters. The year was 2008. It seems that most of those people voted for Barack Obama. They must have. He won by a landslide (even in Virginia).

Well, Norfolk citizens, since you now know your power, use it. Go out on Tuesday, May 4th. Vote for the people you know are going to still care about you a year after the elections. (Granted, they’re politicians. I trust them as far as I can throw them. One of them even got a judge to block a website that said negative things about his friends. And my taxes pay his lawyer! That’s just not right.) If you think life is great in Norfolk, you’ll probably vote for the incumbents. That’s your right. Ain’t it sweet?

If you look around and see lots of waste parked on train tracks, development that only helps a rich, few investors; and a bunch of city leaders who clearly don’t care if students are in school buildings that are falling down on the babies’ heads, vote for someone new. Either way, please vote. Take Grandmom, too. She was probably involved in one of those voter movements.

Comments (4)

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  1. SaXx says:

    I am going to have to look into an absentee ballot because I will be on vacation that week. However, you are absolutely right we should take our fate into our own hands, if not, to just honor our for fathers ambitions, efforts, and struggle to get us here but to make sure a proper road is paved for the next generation.

    Great stuff SSwriter…

  2. Turner says:

    I so agree with this article…the election on May 4th is very important to Norfolk residents! After reading Norfolk’s budget narrative I knew it was time for me and my kids to get out of that city. There is no way i can live in a city that does not prioritize education and family…the city leadership is more concerned with building new building, unfortunately thats not what draws in new residents its a strong school system…anyone want to buy my house?

  3. Rebecca says:

    I agree with this article completely! I really appreciate the part about how hard it was for women and Black people to have the right to vote. Thinking about this really opens your eyes to the struggles of the past and how that affects what we do today. I think a lot of people get fed up with politicians making promises or people feel like their voices arent being heard (so they just don’t vote). I feel that if you don’t vote, however, your voice will NEVER have a CHANCE of being heard! We know voting makes a difference(President Obama’s victory), so let’s get out there and do it!

    P.S. If you live in Chesapeake, don’t forget to vote there!!! http://www.sbe.virginia.gov/cms/Index.html

  4. Becca says:

    I agree with this article completely! I really appreciate the part about how difficult it was for women and Blacks to have the right to vote. Understanding these struggles helps open our eyes to how important voting is and to continue to work toward change!

    I feel like a lot of people don’t vote because they feel it makes no difference and they don’t feel like politicians can be trusted. However, we know that getting out there and voting CAN make a difference (President Obama’s victory). Also, if you want things to be different and to be able to trust your politicians, let your voice be heard! Not voting sends many messages as well.

    P.S. If you live in Chesapeake, don’t forget to vote there! http://www.sbe.virginia.gov/cms/Index.html

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