At many stages in the advance of humanity, this conflict between the men who possess more than they have earned and the men who have earned more than they possess is the central condition of progress. In our day it appears as the struggle of freemen to gain and hold the right of self-government as against the special interests, who twist the methods of free government into machinery for defeating the popular will. At every stage, and under all circumstances, the essence of the struggle is to equalize opportunity, destroy privilege, and give to the life and citizenship of every individual the highest possible value both to himself and to the commonwealth. That is nothing new. -- Theodore Roosevelt, 1910 (emphasis mine) [...]
... this progress never quite assured that the great mass of people would gain and hold the right the right of self-government as against the special interests. The U.S. Constitution contains no guarantee of a right to vote, and this lack of definition is constantly exploited by political hucksters who would make America a democracy for the few, and a plutocracy in essence. [...]
... the United States is rapidly approaching a point where the electoral process itself ceases to function as a means for citizens to effectively control leaders and guide government policies... there can no longer be any question that free and fair elections -- what we were raised to believe was an American democratic birthright -- are being effectively taken away from the people... the money makes a mockery of political equality in the voting booth, and the determination of media companies to cash in on that mockery -- when they should instead be exposing and opposing it -- completes a vicious circle.-----
What CAN you do when the ruling class in Arizona makes a mockery of the Citizens Clean Elections system enacted by voters a decade and a half ago -- by attempting to enact the Lobbyist Shakedown Bill (HB2593)?
What CAN you do when the ruling class in Arizona makes a mockery of Voting Rights by attempting to enact a Voter Suppression Act (HB2305) -- and the state's largest newspaper brazenly says it's not voter suppression?
What CAN you do given that corporate media also brazenly propagates a false myth that the culprits are elected officials of both parties, in hopes of exploiting the gold mine which is election campaign spending?
You CAN elect Fred DuVal the next governor, less than 360 days from today. Fred is already gearing up for the campaign, to battle on behalf of the people of Arizona.
You CAN elect Felecia Rotellini the next Attorney General. Felecia has been preparing pretty much from the day we all learned how Tom Horne stole (won by cheating) the office in 2010. Republicans know Horne, who clearly wants to run again, is heading for defeat in the general election -- less than 360 days from today. But they likely will be powerless to stop him from winning his primary election in August.
You CAN recruit candidates to run for Congress and the state House and Senate in EVERY Congressional and legislative district. In districts where Republicans hold overwhelming voter registration advantage, it may be wise to only run one candidate for the (state) House (even though each district gets two members in that chamber). But that one candidate will empower precinct committee persons and activists to encourage higher Democratic voter turnout.
You CAN, in districts where Democrats hold substantial voter registration advantage, work on voter contact now to build anticipation for and increase turnout in 2014. These districts will be an important factor in providing the margin of victory for our statewide candidates.
You CAN drive home the importance of the PEOPLE'S veto of the Voter Suppression Act. Because that will enhance voter turnout next November.
And you can help get key citizen initiatives on the ballot for next fall. Voters are already champing at the bit to vote for the Safer Arizona initiative (marijuana decriminalization).
It is not too early to plan -- not only for voter registration drives and PEVL (permanent early voter list) sign ups, but also -- for how we make sure voters, especially new voters, know how, when and where to ensure they can get their votes cast and then ensure they are counted, correctly.
Chief among the voter suppression tactics employed by Arizona's plutocratic sympathizers in 2012 was confusion.
- Printing false dates on some literature prepared by elections officials in Maricopa County. Whether it was intentional or negligent is not relevant, it happened.
- Refusing to process voter registration forms lawfully filled out and submitted to county elections officials. Primarily students at the state universities.
- Inadequate staffing levels at polling places; inadequate numbers of pre-printed ballots and other logistical deficiencies.
The problems which -- either intentionally or inadvertently (negligence) -- led to excessive wait times and overwhelming numbers of provisional ballots may not have been limited to what we know happened. But it is paramount that we prepare now for what we know have been and can anticipate will be problems on November 4, 2014.
Because of the pervasive corruption of our political systems, Direct Democracy has risen to the utmost in importance. Even so, long-time politicos in Arizona have known that DOLLAROCRACY can reach its sticky and corrupt fingers into that aspect of our electoral system.
I will write more soon about the Safer Arizona initiative which -- in addition to the referendum on the Voter Suppression Bill -- has vast potential to catalyze substantial numbers of voters who may not otherwise think to vote next fall.