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Comment Archives: Stories: News+Opinion: Public Policy LTD.

Re: “I refuse to participate in a sham election, but I won't look down on you if you do

Is the point of this op-ed to encourage people to participate more directly in their government, or to discourage people from participating at all? I can tell you that I know people whose gateway into real activism was when they voted for the first time. Not knowing who they should vote for, they learned about different political ideologies, and actually considered how they felt about different ideas, without feeling the obligation to believe in something and understand it later.

I don't think anyone could argue that I've been quiet about the sad state of affairs that is our "democracy." Candidates are bought and sold, leaders spend most of their time fundraising, and the options are usually disappointing, but do you really think that not voting will somehow contribute to solving these problems?

I think the opposite is true. If everyone came out to vote, political rhetoric and ideology would have to change dramatically. Imagine what politics would look like in this state if everyone voted.

I've heard this speech before, and to be honest, I've made it before, when I was younger, and believed that mass protests were on the way to making major changes in this country's political system.

I've also heard people say that there are more active ways to participate in our democracy, and they're right, but most of those people don't actually participate in activism or attend local government meetings. I don't think everyone should, because it's simply not logistically possible, that's kind of the point of voting, so everyone can participate.

It's way easier, of course, to be cynical, to do nothing at all to enact positive change in your community, and to make fun of those who, for whatever reason, choose to participate in the democratic process in ways that other people believe to be futile. After all, what's ever been accomplished by people who refuse to accept that they are powerless?

14 of 16 people like this.
Posted by Brandon Fish on November 12, 2014 at 3:42 PM

Re: “I refuse to participate in a sham election, but I won't look down on you if you do

This is why I vote several times in multiple precincts.

9 of 14 people like this.
Posted by Ron Liberte on November 12, 2014 at 2:17 PM

Re: “I refuse to participate in a sham election, but I won't look down on you if you do

To Mr. Ima Oldman... Professional politicians ALREADY decide for us. Who do you think run the Democratic and Republican parties? And it is THOSE parties that choose our candidates. You have a better chance of winning the lottery than being elected as an independent candidate. Senator Lindsey Graham recently admitted as much when he said, "...the likelihood of an independent candidate winning the Senate seat is nonexistent".
Independents NEVER have a fighting chance. Their occasional election to high public office is a fluke. Without the support and approval of either the Democratic or Republican parties, candidates just can't compete in today's political arena. Independents are routinely marginalized or completely ignored in the printed press and internet. They lack the funding and exposure to have their (or our) voices heard without a Party specific political machine with all their resources, money and influence behind them. But the real problem is that those Parties also control them like puppets on a string.
I've watch in awe the protests in Hong Kong where they are demonstrating and demanding that the government allow them to choose their own candidates... and wonder when this country will wake up and realize that we are in the same damn boat. The "Government" may not pick our candidates, but the Political Parties do – and is that really much better? How can we expect change and reform in government if we allow the same power mongers to hand pick and control our only viable candidates time and time again. It's like they are the only two big car dealers in town and we return to them again and again despite the fact that they sell us a lemon each time. Candidates are nothing more than talking heads - good for little more than appearing at fundraising dinners and spouting out sound bites put in their mouths by their political masters. Our election system has been co-opted by the Left and the Right and we are relegated to a choice of bad or worse. The only honest choice on election day for many Americans is "none of the above"! When will the citizens of THIS country rise up in protest and take to the streets demanding election financing reform, non-partizen representation, and a REAL voice in government?

7 of 10 people like this.
Posted by John Chitwood on November 12, 2014 at 2:09 PM

Re: “I refuse to participate in a sham election, but I won't look down on you if you do

I have a feeling Mat is lying about not voting. If he isn't lying, A lot of people are glad he doesn't vote. Wrote in a socialist candidate, what a putz.

9 of 13 people like this.
Posted by redblood on November 12, 2014 at 12:59 PM

Re: “I refuse to participate in a sham election, but I won't look down on you if you do

Because of this election, we're probably facing a federal defuding of Public Transit, which will cost the local transit authorities about a third of their revenue, that with the lost farebox revenue from the cancelled routes, means about a 40-45% budget cut and cancellation of about half of local bus routes. It man not all happen at once. Maybe we'll dodge the bullet. We took a 37% cut two years ago, which is one reason CARTA has never been able to restore night bus service, which provided service to the door after 10 pm to four zones around Charleston. While you are fighting traffic made worse because thousands of additional trips are being made by former transit riders who have lost their local route, some of those riders will be walking down dark streets late at night. Some of them will be hit by cars and killed. Others will be permenantly disabled, becoming a burden on their families and our hopelessly inadequate safety net programs and charties. When they're really sick, they'll present themselves at the ER for a temporary patch up and the cost of that will end up in your next insurance premium or medical bill.

The Republicans will blame Obama for that. They'll say that 55 year old former hospital attendent should learn to fry hamburgers for McDonalds in her second hand wheel chair. I will know that I voted, I wrote letters to the editor, organized the community and went to CARTA board meetings for years.

I will also know that my decision to remain in SC at age 25 and work to make my community and state a better place for the 28 years since was a foolish miscalculation because I squandered my life trying to help people here who don't give a damn what happens to them or anyone else.

Younger people will see that, quit or leave. SC will get even worse. You will feel clever until illness, crime, bad luck or something drags you under. Please don't scream for a lifeline because you don't deserve one.

I look forward to seeing you at next week's meetings on the proposed regional transit plan, since you care so much. www.busec.org

19 of 27 people like this.
Posted by wjhamilton29464 on November 12, 2014 at 12:16 PM

Re: “I refuse to participate in a sham election, but I won't look down on you if you do

With beliefs like the ones you espouse I thank you for not voting.

20 of 25 people like this.
Posted by nofaith on November 12, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Re: “I refuse to participate in a sham election, but I won't look down on you if you do

"You see, voting is just another way that people can feel superior to others. They even give you a sticker when you go and do it. And, with or without that sticker, you can shame other people by saying, 'I voted, and so, of course, you're a loser.'"

Matastrophe,

I voted this year and requested two EXTRA "I Voted" stickers. You can have one of mine since you're feeling left out.

Send my secretary Marguerite a fax, and she'll have my bike messenger bring it to you within twenty minutes.

6 of 10 people like this.
Posted by Pronghorn on November 12, 2014 at 11:35 AM

Re: “I refuse to participate in a sham election, but I won't look down on you if you do

This is wrong and stupid on so many levels.
I guess we should just relinquish our voting rights and let professional politicians decide for us. But wait, then once one group got into power, there'd be no method of changing short of armed revolt, so I don't know what to do!
You did get one thing right, Mat. This shows you really are an inferior person.

24 of 29 people like this.
Posted by Ima Oldman on November 12, 2014 at 11:21 AM

Re: “We still haven't dealt with our own country's racist history

So a team eating a watermelon is racist, but Michelle Obama giving black people permission to eat fried chicken after voting isn't?

http://dailycaller.com/2014/11/04/michelle…

1 of 1 people like this.
Posted by William Boothman on November 4, 2014 at 12:14 PM

Re: “We still haven't dealt with our own country's racist history

Walt Williams deconstructed point by point:

"Thus, punishing perpetrators and compensating victims is out of the hands of the living."

Walt wants you to assume that no harm has been endured since the end of the Civil War. Certainly the families who were discriminated against by Federal Housing Authority prior to the 1968 are still alive. There is a legacy of harm.

"The only way for government to give one American a dollar is to first -- through intimidation, threats and coercion -- confiscate that dollar from some other American."

Nope. Not true. What does affirmative action cost the taxpayer? Nothing.

"What moral principle justifies punishing a white of today to compensate a black of today for what a white of yesterday did to a black of yesterday?"

Taxes punish everyone. Has anyone suggested a whites only tax?

"There’s another moral or fairness issue. A large percentage, if not most, of today's Americans -- be they of European, Asian, African or Latin ancestry -- don't even go back three or four generations as American citizens."

All of these people celebrate the Fourth of July. They do not get to selectively choose which American legacies they adopt. As Coats said, that's patriotism a'la carte. With the rights come the responsibilities.

"But other blacks owned slaves for the same reason whites owned slaves -- to work farms or plantations. Are descendants of these slaveholding blacks eligible for and deserving of reparations?"

Yes. Not only owe reparations for slavery but also the Jim Crow institutionalization of racism, discrimination, and theft.

"Would reparations advocates demand that citizens of Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Kenya and several Muslim states tax themselves to make reparation payments to progeny of people whom their ancestors helped to enslave?"

Completely irrelevant. The United States has no power to tax the citizens of Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, or any other country.

"Reparations advocates make the foolish unchallenged argument that the United States became rich on the backs of free black labor. That's nonsense that cannot be supported by fact."

The South was rich because of cotton. Cotton supplied the factories of the Industrial Revolution. Cotton was picked by free black labor.

"Buying into the reparations argument about the riches of slavery, one would conclude that the antebellum South was rich and the slave-starved North was poor. The truth of the matter is just the opposite. In fact, the poorest states and regions of our nation were places where slavery flourished -- Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia -- while the richest states and regions were those where slavery was absent: Pennsylvania, New York and Massachusetts."

From Coats:

“The two great divisions of society are not the rich and poor, but white and black,” John C. Calhoun, South Carolina’s senior senator, declared on the Senate floor in 1848. “And all the former, the poor as well as the rich, belong to the upper class, and are respected and treated as equals.”

In 1860, the majority of people living in South Carolina and Mississippi, almost half of those living in Georgia, and about one-third of all Southerners were on the wrong side of Calhoun’s line. The state with the largest number of enslaved Americans was Virginia, where in certain counties some 70 percent of all people labored in chains. Nearly one-fourth of all white Southerners owned slaves, and upon their backs the economic basis of America—and much of the Atlantic world—was erected. In the seven cotton states, one-third of all white income was derived from slavery. By 1840, cotton produced by slave labor constituted 59 percent of the country’s exports. The web of this slave society extended north to the looms of New England, and across the Atlantic to Great Britain, where it powered a great economic transformation and altered the trajectory of world history. “Whoever says Industrial Revolution,” wrote the historian Eric J. Hobsbawm, “says cotton.”

The wealth accorded America by slavery was not just in what the slaves pulled from the land but in the slaves themselves. “In 1860, slaves as an asset were worth more than all of America’s manufacturing, all of the railroads, all of the productive capacity of the United States put together,” the Yale historian David W. Blight has noted. “Slaves were the single largest, by far, financial asset of property in the entire American economy.” The sale of these slaves—“in whose bodies that money congealed,” writes Walter Johnson, a Harvard historian—generated even more ancillary wealth. Loans were taken out for purchase, to be repaid with interest. Insurance policies were drafted against the untimely death of a slave and the loss of potential profits. Slave sales were taxed and notarized. The vending of the black body and the sundering of the black family became an economy unto themselves, estimated to have brought in tens of millions of dollars to antebellum America. In 1860 there were more millionaires per capita in the Mississippi Valley than anywhere else in the country.

...

The consequences of 250 years of enslavement, of war upon black families and black people, were profound. Like homeownership today, slave ownership was aspirational, attracting not just those who owned slaves but those who wished to. Much as homeowners today might discuss the addition of a patio or the painting of a living room, slaveholders traded tips on the best methods for breeding workers, exacting labor, and doling out punishment. Just as a homeowner today might subscribe to a magazine like This Old House, slaveholders had journals such as De Bow’s Review, which recommended the best practices for wringing profits from slaves. By the dawn of the Civil War, the enslavement of black America was thought to be so foundational to the country that those who sought to end it were branded heretics worthy of death. Imagine what would happen if a president today came out in favor of taking all American homes from their owners: the reaction might well be violent.

1 of 5 people like this.
Posted by Fish Pimp on November 2, 2014 at 4:22 AM

Re: “We still haven't dealt with our own country's racist history

Why didn't other students, parents, and teachers complain if this perceived act racism was so obvious when they did it after every other game this season? The real issue here was accusing a someone of racism when it wasn't true. That is defamation of character. Calling someone a racist is a very serous accusation, and you can't just make assumptions, just ask Dr. Nancy McGinley. It's not that people can't understand the loose connotation that has been made to historical racial images. Other events like the bridge run and sprint triathlons offer watermelon after the event as its good rehydration. Smashing it on the ground was the problem that started when the high school football players didn't have a knife.

4 of 6 people like this.
Posted by John Cecil on November 1, 2014 at 7:26 PM

Re: “We still haven't dealt with our own country's racist history

knowledge is power.

2 of 3 people like this.
Posted by artrogue on November 1, 2014 at 6:25 PM

Re: “We still haven't dealt with our own country's racist history

Reparations? Nice try in an attempt at changing the subject. How about just working on ensuring freedom and equality in everything for everyone everywhere? Just a few specific, concrete, clear examples of what to focus on regarding the ongoing overt racism and covert subracism we are still dealing with in America: how individuals and groups in the South (or any region) denigrate President Obama's ethnicity, voter IDs, voter registration delays and tactics to delay or discourage minority voting, redistricting, Southern Political Strategy code words in campaign rhetoric, exclusive charter schools, KKKK, neo-Confederate battle flags, denials that the above examples are rooted in racism, denials that the perpetuation/expansion of slavery is the official stated cause of the Civil War, denials that racism and greed resulted in slavery, denials that slavery is evil and immoral and denials that slavery is the root cause of continued racism, oppression, discrimination and exclusion of certain ethnic minorities in our country today.

7 of 13 people like this.
Posted by DebD on November 1, 2014 at 6:13 PM

Re: “We still haven't dealt with our own country's racist history

"Calls for slavery reparations have returned with the publication of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “The Case for Reparations” in The Atlantic magazine (May 21, 2014). In making his argument, Coates goes through the horrors of slavery, Reconstruction, Jim Crow and gross racial discrimination.
First off, let me say that I agree with reparations advocates that slavery was a horrible, despicable violation of basic human rights. The gross discrimination that followed emancipation made a mockery of the guarantees of the U.S. Constitution. I also agree that slave owners and slave traders should make reparations to those whom they enslaved. The problem, of course, is that slaves, slave owners and slave traders are all dead. Thus, punishing perpetrators and compensating victims is out of the hands of the living.
Punishing perpetrators and compensating victims is not what reparations advocates want. They want government to compensate today's blacks for the bondage suffered by our ancestors. But there’s a problem. Government has no resources of its very own. The only way for government to give one American a dollar is to first -- through intimidation, threats and coercion -- confiscate that dollar from some other American. Therefore, if anybody cares, a moral question arises. What moral principle justifies punishing a white of today to compensate a black of today for what a white of yesterday did to a black of yesterday?
There’s another moral or fairness issue. A large percentage, if not most, of today's Americans -- be they of European, Asian, African or Latin ancestry -- don't even go back three or four generations as American citizens. Their ancestors arrived on our shores long after slavery. What standard of justice justifies their being taxed to compensate blacks for slavery? For example, in 1956, thousands of Hungarians fled the brutality of the USSR to settle in the U.S. What do Hungarians owe blacks for slavery?
There’s another thorny issue. During slavery, some free blacks purchased other blacks as a means to free family members. But other blacks owned slaves for the same reason whites owned slaves -- to work farms or plantations. Are descendants of these slaveholding blacks eligible for and deserving of reparations?
When African slavery began, there was no way Europeans could have enslaved millions of Africans. They had no immunity from diseases that flourished in tropical Africa. Capturing Africans to sell into slavery was done by Arabs and black Africans. Would reparations advocates demand that citizens of Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Kenya and several Muslim states tax themselves to make reparation payments to progeny of people whom their ancestors helped to enslave?
Reparations advocates make the foolish unchallenged argument that the United States became rich on the backs of free black labor. That's nonsense that cannot be supported by fact. Slavery doesn't have a very good record of producing wealth. Slavery was all over the South, and it was outlawed in most of the North. Buying into the reparations argument about the riches of slavery, one would conclude that the antebellum South was rich and the slave-starved North was poor. The truth of the matter is just the opposite. In fact, the poorest states and regions of our nation were places where slavery flourished -- Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia -- while the richest states and regions were those where slavery was absent: Pennsylvania, New York and Massachusetts.
One of the most ignored facts about slavery’s tragic history -- and it’s virtually a secret today -- is that slavery was a worldwide institution for thousands of years. It did not become a moral issue until the 18th century. Plus, the moral crusade against slavery started in the West, most notably England.
I think the call for slavery reparations is simply another hustle. Advocates are not demanding that government send checks to individual black people. They want taxpayer money to be put into some kind of reparations fund from which black leaders decide who receives how much and for what purpose."
--- Walter E. Williams 6/18/2014

2 of 3 people like this.
Posted by artrogue on November 1, 2014 at 5:00 PM

Re: “We still haven't dealt with our own country's racist history

"Anyway, this is just a discussion about the devastating cyclical nature of poverty and disenfranchisement, and the need for groups to subjugate other groups... and the subjugating group's unwillingness to see this."

Hogwash.
A country that was truly interested in subjugating minorities
would not let them excel on their own virtues. We would never have elected countless mayors, governors, senators, and a president.
Your a pandering Progressive who still thinks others need your intellectual help when all anyone really needs is for people like you to get out of the way.

"Civil rights organizations and their progressive allies, who all but suggest that blacks cannot achieve unless they are given special privileges, grossly insult and demean black people.
But worse than that, when civil rights organizations and their progressive allies pursue special privileges for blacks in college admissions and when they attack academic performance standards as racially discriminatory, they are aiding and abetting an education establishment that delivers fraudulent education. They let educators off the hook, thereby enabling them to continue to produce educational fraud
“What do you mean by educational fraud There are many inputs to education that are beyond the control of educators, such as poor home environment, derelict parental oversight and students with minds alien and hostile to the education process.
But there’s one thing entirely within the control of the education establishment. That is the conferral of a high-school diploma. When a school confers a diploma upon a student, it attests that the student has mastered the 12th-grade levels of reading, writing and arithmetic. If, in fact, the student cannot perform at the seventh- or eighth-grade levels, the school has committed gross fraud. Even worse is the fact that black people, including those holding fraudulent diplomas, are completely unaware. It has absolutely nothing to do with racial discrimination. In fact, black education is the worst in cities where blacks have been the mayor, chief of police and superintendent of schools and where most of the teachers and principals are black
Everyone knows about the success of blacks in sports and entertainment, but what about the intellectual arena?” A few inner-city junior high and high schools have produced black champion chess players, schools such as Philadelphia’s Roberts Vaux High School and New York’s Edward R. Murrow High School. Last year, two black teens -- from Intermediate School 318 Eugenio Maria de Hostos in Brooklyn, New York -- won the national high-school chess championship. All of this is in addition to quite a few black international masters and grandmasters in chess. Moreover, there’s a long list of former and current black inventors and scientists. So there’s no question that black people have the capacity to compete intellectually."
--Walter Williams 7/23/14

2 of 3 people like this.
Posted by artrogue on November 1, 2014 at 4:53 PM

Re: “We still haven't dealt with our own country's racist history

The father and mother of most African-American kids you went to school with had dubious access to voting booths due to legal, institutional racism, if you're from the Deep South. Ergo, many of those families and communities for generations since they began living here were catch-as-catch regarding: education, income, savings, health, food options, incarceration, hope.

You don't have to go back to the Civil War to imagine what are the effects of slavery and institutionalized 2nd class status. You can go back one generation to the Civil Rights era. You can go back 10 years, if you wish, and witness the fucking esoteric, vicious battle over Confederate battle flags flying over state houses. (which is the fucking stupidest unAmerican thing ever. Why don't any of the thirteen colonies fly a fucking Union Jack over their state houses? We aren't proud of our settlers? Fucking southerners.)

Love it... "Pull yerself up by yer bootstraps. You'll get nothing and like it. Remember MY power structure controls the banks, the polls, education, and pay. And if you observe this then it's YOU who're the racist."

Anyway, this is just a discussion about the devastating cyclical nature of poverty and disenfranchisement, and the need for groups to subjugate other groups... and the subjugating group's unwillingness to see this.

5 of 10 people like this.
Posted by landsnark on November 1, 2014 at 12:36 AM

Re: “We still haven't dealt with our own country's racist history

If you guys don't spend the time to read the article, I'm going to be forced to quote long sections of it. Anything in (FP) is mine.

The Case for Reparations
http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archiv…

"Today, progressives are loath to invoke white supremacy as an explanation for anything. On a practical level, the hesitation comes from the dim view the Supreme Court has taken of the reforms of the 1960s. The Voting Rights Act has been gutted. The Fair Housing Act might well be next. Affirmative action is on its last legs. In substituting a broad class struggle (ie all poor people, both black and white. FP) for an anti-racist struggle, progressives hope to assemble a coalition by changing the subject.

The politics of racial evasion are seductive. But the record is mixed. Aid to Families With Dependent Children was originally written largely to exclude blacks—yet by the 1990s it was perceived as a giveaway to blacks. The Affordable Care Act makes no mention of race, but this did not keep Rush Limbaugh from denouncing it as reparations. Moreover, the act’s expansion of Medicaid was effectively made optional, meaning that many poor blacks in the former Confederate states (ie South Carolina. FP) do not benefit from it. The Affordable Care Act, like Social Security, will eventually expand its reach to those left out; in the meantime, black people will be injured.

“All that it would take to sink a new WPA program would be some skillfully packaged footage of black men leaning on shovels smoking cigarettes,” the sociologist Douglas S. Massey writes. “Papering over the issue of race makes for bad social theory, bad research, and bad public policy.” To ignore the fact that one of the oldest republics in the world was erected on a foundation of white supremacy, to pretend that the problems of a dual society are the same as the problems of unregulated capitalism, is to cover the sin of national plunder with the sin of national lying. The lie ignores the fact that reducing American poverty and ending white supremacy are not the same. The lie ignores the fact that closing the “achievement gap” will do nothing to close the “injury gap,” in which black college graduates still suffer higher unemployment rates than white college graduates, and black job applicants without criminal records enjoy roughly the same chance of getting hired as white applicants with criminal records."

2 of 9 people like this.
Posted by Fish Pimp on October 31, 2014 at 7:27 PM

Re: “We still haven't dealt with our own country's racist history

By all means lead the way Mat, give everything you have, own or will earn away after all you did not make that or earn it anyway. Just ask D.C.

5 of 8 people like this.
Posted by truthrus on October 31, 2014 at 6:17 PM

Re: “We still haven't dealt with our own country's racist history

"People like Mat give liberals a bad name"
+1.

11 of 14 people like this.
Posted by TROLLSLAYER on October 31, 2014 at 6:08 PM

Re: “We still haven't dealt with our own country's racist history

"So, while my comment may have been snarky, it does show the ignorance behind the concept of reparations. Most of my family came to this country in the late 1800s. Half were Irish. The rest were Polish, Scottish, and German. The Irish were treated like the scum of the earth in this country when they got here. Should every group that has been sh1t on by society over the years get something for it?"

I am not talking about reparations. I am talking about the privileged perception with which you are able to view the world that makes even the idea of reparations seem silly. Are you, as a white male in today's society, still feeling the effects of your white ancestors being shat on? Is a white male of Irish/Scottish descent treated any differently in today's criminal justice system than any other white males? Are they afforded any less job opportunities? Given any worse mortgage terms? Do other white people cross the street when they see Scottish white people approaching?

4 of 12 people like this.
Posted by Ron Liberte on October 31, 2014 at 1:39 PM
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