Bill Fletcher Jr.ColumnistsOp-EdOpinion

Don’t Sleep the Nov. 4 Elections

Bill Fletcher

By Bill Fletcher, Jr.
NNPA Columnist

The November 4 election is only a moment away.  Believe it or not, as of about two weeks ago, two thirds of the people in the U.S.A  did not know that there is to be an election on November 4, 2014.  As far as some segments of our society are concerned, that is just fine. They would rather that we remain asleep.

The political Right is mobilizing forcefully.  They are trying to make this election about Obama.  With Obama hovering around 40% in the polls, the right-wing expects to use this to their advantage, both discouraging Democrats and mobilizing conservatives.  The right-wing may be in for a surprise, but it is too tough to call.

This election is not about Obama.  It really comes down to two things.  First, YOUR right to vote, and, second, what sort of future you really want.  For the right-wing the election is clearly about holding back the future and focusing on fear and anger.  Unless you are interested in trying to turn the clock back to about 1950, you will need to be at the polls on November 4th.

Beginning after the 2008 elections, sections of the Republican Party went about moving legislation in various states to address allegations of voter fraud.  The potential for voter fraud is less than the potential of being hit by lightning.  Nevertheless, playing to racist fears on the parts of many whites (of African Americans and immigrants), the right-wing was able to invent a problem where none existed.  They convinced many people that there needed to be more stringent requirements to vote, steps that tend to disenfranchise people of color, youth and senior citizens.  In the 2012 elections African Americans and Latinos revolted against this effort and turned out in force.  But showing up in one election is not enough.  The aim of the political Right is to beat us down.

The future is also at stake.  The political Right fears the demographic changes in this country.  But they also fear real discussions about economic inequality, the environmental crisis, the rights of women, and, actually, the role of government.  Their most articulate spokespeople openly talk about shrinking government which will mean that many things that you and I take for granted will disappear, such as social security, food safety inspections, fair tax systems, and a reasonable discussion about what to do about climate change.  The right-wing ends up reminding me of the child bully who seeks to intimidate others and will only stop when we stand up to them.  At that moment we come to realize that they are nothing more than pathetic cowards.

So, there you have it.  We can sit home and pretend that the November 4th elections don’t mean anything, or we can get to the polls and make it clear that we have no interest in giving up on the future or giving up on our right to make a statement.  The choice really is ours.

Bill Fletcher, Jr. is the host of The Global African on Telesur-English.  He is a racial justice, labor and global justice writer and activist.  Follow him on Facebook and at www.billfletcherjr.com

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Bill Fletcher Jr.

Bill Fletcher Jr has been an activist since his teen years. Upon graduating from college he went to work as a welder in a shipyard, thereby entering the labor movement. Over the years he has been active in workplace and community struggles as well as electoral campaigns. He has worked for several labor unions in addition to serving as a senior staffperson in the national AFL-CIO. Fletcher is the former president of TransAfrica Forum; a Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies; an editorial board member of BlackCommentator.com; and in the leadership of several other projects. Fletcher is the co-author (with Peter Agard) of “The Indispensable Ally: Black Workers and the Formation of the Congress of Industrial Organizations, 1934-1941”; the co-author (with Dr. Fernando Gapasin) of “Solidarity Divided: The crisis in organized labor and a new path toward social justice“; and the author of “‘They’re Bankrupting Us’ – And Twenty other myths about unions.” Fletcher is a syndicated columnist and a regular media commentator on television, radio and the Web.

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