Tuesday, April 14, 2009

How long will you take this crap?

New York’s 20th Congressional District had a special election to replace its US Representative. It was held this month (April 2009). It is politically significant in some ways, but there is controversy as to who won. As of this writing, it is still a very close vote.

But this special election in New York is even more significant in another arena – politicians and lawyers (often the same) at several levels of government, both State and Federal, did everything they could, to deny the right to vote for deployed military personnel who were legitimately registered to vote in that district. But that wasn’t enough. Some of the military personnel from that district who were deployed, managed to overcome the serious obstacles placed in the way of their votes, and actually managed to get their votes to their voting supervisors in time – and an army of lawyers is hard at work trying to figure out how those votes might be ignored.

Look it up. If you’re reading this, you can do an internet search and find credible articles that explain the details. Make sure you note how the ballots weren’t printed until it was already far too late to get them to personnel in combat zones. Don’t miss the vote by the NY State Elections Board where four politicians couldn’t agree to extend the time for receiving military absentee ballots. And be sure to read how the Dept of Justice, sued NY to force them to extend that same deadline – it is generally accepted that 45 days is the absolute minimum turnaround time for absentee ballots – NY was only allowing 23. So I’ll bet you’ll be surprised when you read that the Dept of Justice only asked in their lawsuit that NY should be ordered to extend the time limit to allow a 30 day turnaround. – that’s right, the DoJ only asked for an extension of seven stinking days – when the politician-lawyers at DoJ knew full well that the minimum they should have asked for was a 22 day extension.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. We need military personnel to get involved in the electoral process, and we need it for two reasons.
1. First – If military personnel vote, they will have clout with the political parties. Until they vote, the parties will continue to ignore the needs of the military. Oh sure, they’ll get you bullets and send you into harm’s way. But then, while you’re deployed, they’ll still float bills that pretend to make you pay for health care for your service related injuries.
2. Second – When military personnel get engaged, and see broken things, they fix them. Maybe, by engaging in the political process, our brothers and sisters in arms will see how broken our political system is – and decide to fix it by running for office. Hell, we could send a ton of politician-lawyers to the unemployment offices. That alone would improve our government.

Next I’ll hear from politicians and lawyers who claim that not all politicos and lawyers are skunks, and not all of our military veterans are saints. Both observations are true. But allow me an analogical turn here to explain how I use those premises to arrive at my simple conclusion. Lets say there are two barrels of apples in a store. One is full of great looking red apples, but probably has a few bad ones mixed in. The other is a stinking, slimy, pot of gooey rotten apples, but the store owner assures you that a customer took a great looking apple out of that barrel a while back. Now those politician-lawyer apologists want me to stick my arm, up to my shoulder, into that barrel of crap, to see if I can find one more good apple in the bottom of the barrel. Not a chance in hell.

I know what soldiers do. I know they aren’t saints. I sure wasn’t. But I do know this for a fact – we Americans trust our military, and our military has earned that trust. I have no trouble concluding that we can pick an apple from the barrel of great looking apples with a high degree of confidence – and no, we won’t get a saint – but we are a lot less likely to get slimed.

My question is simply this –

Soldiers – Are you going to allow politicians to deny your right to vote – then try not to count your votes when you manage to get a ballot in?
Families and Friends – Are you going to allow politicians to walk all over the rights of your sons, daughters, spouses, buddies?
Veterans – Are you going to allow politicians to mistreat another generation of your brothers and sisters in arms?
Citizens – Are you going to allow politicians to spend trillions on welfare and utopian social engineering, yet cut services for the men and women who defend your very lives, and liberties?

The overwhelming majority of politicians are lawyers. And while some small percentage of them are veterans, its not enough. I say, the sooner we change that balance, and get more veterans to enter politics, the better off we’ll be.

But it can’t happen unless we help our military vote and become engaged in the political process. If they vote, they have clout and the political parties will be forced to pay attention to them. When they participate, they’ll quickly seize on the fact that they could do a much better job.

So, donate your time, money, energy – to Count US In. We’re engaged in a really dirty fight right now, to get the States to allow our military to vote – then count those votes when they get them.
We need volunteers, so sign up to help us organize campaigns for military voting law reform in your State.
We need money, so send Count US In a donation (tax deductible – at least for now).
We need a voice, so pass the word about Count US In. Invite us to talk at your meeting. Talk about Count US In instead of dissing your neighbor at the Little League game. And most importantly, tell anyone you know in the military, to use the Count US In website as a voting resource (
www.countusin.us ).

Help your military vote – because they deserve your support.

Do that, and I promise you – someday, you’ll go to vote, and you’ll have a soldier, sailor, airman or marine on the ballot for some post. And you’ll smile. Because when that day comes, you won’t ever again have to stick your arm in that barrel of crap.

Carry on.

Small Print
Don Johnson and Count US In want all our military personnel to exercise their right to vote, and we want their families, friends and other veterans to help motivate and facilitate those votes. We also want everyone to kick around a politician about once a week – especially State politicians who are primarily responsible for voting laws. Your comments, suggestions, donations, and input are welcome at www.countusin.us . You say you’re a lawyer or politician and you wanna kick Don’s butt? He laughs at you – your soft hands and skinny arms – and your silly pin striped suit. But, make a large enough donation to Count US In, and he might apologize. Not really.

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