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March 7, 2013

ANDERSON: Politics and poverty: An activist’s perspective

(Continued)

The Founding Fathers envisioned a much larger picture. Although they were largely responsible for those decisions, the interpretations, amendments and posturing over the years has resulted in almost the same kind of electorate that voted during that time. 

People don’t vote without an interest and I am amazed at how many people don’t see the interest. I used to tell residents that a lack of voting was far worse than voting for a candidate that was one maybe they didn’t agree with. It was always a battle because folks felt totally disenfranchised from their government. 

They would be denied services, lose their unemployment, die from a lack of medical care and never figure out that it was directly connected to who they did or did not vote for, and that was across the board. The poor we served weren’t the only ones who felt that way; middle-income people, women, students ... it was amazing. 

And it has only gotten worse. Our elected officials are now voted on by a minority of Americans because the vast majority just doesn’t participate. How can anything change? 

The politics aren’t just national; it is regional, statewide, and very, very local. On a national level, we just witnessed the largest debacle we will ever witness in our lifetime and yet I’ll bet most of us haven’t called our legislators. Do you have a teacher in your family? How about a soldier? An air traffic controller or maybe a national parks employee? All will be affected by last week’s decision. 

On the state level, things didn’t fare as badly if you were a business or male. If you were a female, you were legislated all over the place. That I know will bring a ton of response, but our government should be about the government; our bodies are our business. 

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