Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The frustration of not being able to vote

Today, as I await the results of the Pennsylvania Primary, I will be wishing I could just go up there and cast one of the winning ballots for Senator Clinton.

Instead, I will have to take other measures. More about these in a moment. First, a few words about what it means to be unable to vote or to be underrepresented or disenfranchised.

I live in Washington D.C. Although we have representative to Congress, she cannot actually vote. Eleanor Holmes Norton has held the post for years, accomplishing amazing things considering this handicap. She works tirelessly for the cause of D.C. Voting Rights. In the Senate, those of us who live in D.C remain wholly unrepresented.

So, I know the frustrations of disenfranchisement: I am literally taxed without representation.

For residents of D.C., it matters especially who become President of the U.S. The person who lives in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is my neighbor. Washington is small city, so the occupant of the White House lives less than a mile from the other residents of the city.

Usually, you cannot pick your neighbors, and usually that's a good thing (there's an ugly history of attempts at excluding members of various ethnic and racial groups from neighborhoods). But when it comes to choosing a President, I can - and did - vote in the Democratic Primary, and I can - and happily anticipate doing so- cast my vote for Senator Clinton in the general election.

The residents of Florida and Michigan went to the polls this primary season and cast their ballots. Yet to date the D.N.C. will not do them the simple courtesy of giving their delegates a true voice at the Party's Convention. I know how they feel: like their delegates are the Eleanor Holmes Nortons of the Democratic Party.

One measure I can take today is to remind people to contact the D.N.C. about the inequity of the treatment of the Michigan and Florida delegations. Send emails, call, write a postcard. And sign this petition.

If I could, today I would donate funds to Senator Clinton's campaign, to help her reach out to those whose ballots still have meaning, at least to her, if not to the D.N.C. Senator Clinton has committed to remaining in the race, to give millions of people a chance to cast their ballot for their candidate of choice. That chance means more when Senator Clinton has the funds to stump and organize in those voters' states or territories.

By law I cannot donate directly to Senator Clinton today, because I have donated the maximum amount an individual is allowed by law. There is another measure I can take though. I can motivate other people to donate to the Clinton campaign. For how I am going to do that, please see the upper right of this blog. Or simply donate here.


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