They tried to take our voice from us, but we would not let them. We stood in line. We endured their slings and arrows. We braved their threats and insults. And then, we voted…
Yesterday, citizens united beat Citizens United.
The Supreme Court betrayed us. By upholding Citizens United, they opened a money spigot, and the shadowy people with obscene fortunes and an aversion to sunlight, formed an unholy union with those who want to ensure their hold on power. Together they did everything they could to buy themselves an election. They rained anonymous cash. Monopolized the airwaves. Tried to drown out our voices. But still we voted.
They “purged the rolls”. They passed nit-picking voter ID laws. No, not your University card, it has to have an expiration date. No, not this yellowed copy of your baptismal record stored in your family bible for eighty years; it has to have a raised seal. They sent letters to challenge the registrations of people who lived at the same address for half a century, claiming they thought it was a vacant lot. They call that “voter caging.” True the Vote sent “poll watchers” to interrogate random voters at the polls. But still we voted.
They restricted voter registration. Drove Acorn out of business. Arrested a high school teacher for registering her students. They admitted in court there was no voter fraud they could point to, that their new laws were “just in case,” but they still appealed every decision that went against them. They got caught dumping Democratic registrations, and forging signatures to get a Republican candidate on the ballot. They put up billboards threatening fraudulent voters with jail time to scare us.. But still we voted.
They took away early voting. Tried to end “souls to the polls” for African-American churches. Fewer polling places. Fewer machines. Eight page ballots. Eight hour waits. Lines stretching down the block, around the corner. But we stood in line. We stood our ground. Like our civil rights heroes taught us; we would not be moved. When they closed the doors on us, we chanted until they opened them. “Let us vote! Let us vote!” When night came and it grew cold, we wrapped ourselves in blankets. When the rains came we huddled under umbrellas. We shared our food, and we stayed in line.
They said there was no enthusiasm for our President. Yet we came from everywhere. White people voting for Obama. Black people voting for Obama. Latinos and Asians and people of every shade, voting for Obama. Christians, Muslims, Jews, atheists voting for Obama. Gay people and straight people and young people and women all voting for Obama. The rainbow of people who make up America said to the shadows, “You cannot take this right from me. You will not take this right from me. My people have died for this right. Americans before me have been jailed. Beaten. I will stand in this line until you let me vote.”
And vote we did. We voted for people who looked just like us. We voted for our black president and our white VP. We voted for strong women and compassionate men of every skin color. The new House Democratic Caucus will have 63 women, 43 African-Americans, 27 Latinos and 10 Asian-Americans and our first ever Hindu congresswoman. Of the 180 gay candidates who ran for office nationwide, we elected 118 of them. We voted for a gay senator and recalled a mayor who made a gay slur on her Facebook page. We voted for a disabled vet, whose opponent made fun of her service. Women shut down Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock and Joe Walsh. Gays had all four marriage equality measures before the voters approved. Because we voted.
They thought Citizens United would give them all the power. Yesterday we citizens united and proved them wrong. We would not be silenced. We would not be marginalized. We would not sit quietly and accept whatever they offered us. We are not soft, nor weak, nor afraid. We voted. We voted for Obama. They could not stop us. We voted!
Jean Ann Esselink is a straight friend to the gay community. Proud and loud Liberal. Closet writer of political fiction. Black sheep agnostic Democrat from a conservative Catholic family. Living in Northern Oakland County Michigan with Puck the Wonder Beagle. Follow me on Twitter as @Uncucumbered or friend me on Facebook.
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