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VOTE!

Of course voting is useful. But then again, I don’t put a big glow to it. Voting is about as essential as washing yourself. It’s something you’re supposed to do. Now, you can’t go around bragging, expecting to get props because you voted. That’s stupid.

— Chuck D.

Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting.

— Franklin D. Roosevelt

If American women would increase their voting turnout by 10 percent, I think we would see an end to all of the budget cuts in programs benefiting women and children.

— Coretta Scott King

Voting is important.

In 2009, Rick Snyder garnered 58 percent of the vote. Citizens in Detroit, Benton Harbor, Pontiac and Flint are now suffering.

Elections have consequences.

Capturing crossover votes from the moderate Democrats and even some Detroiters, Snyder enjoys a Republican majority in both the Senate and the House, and is backed up by a Republican-controlled Supreme Court. This electoral power has fueled Snyder’s basic political belief that no government is the best government; efficiency is king.

Thus he slashed welfare roles, taking 11,000 families in Detroit alone off financial aid. He has stripped the vote from the state’s Black population with emergency managers and consent agreements authorized under Public Act 4. When citizens labored and succeeded in gathering 226,000 petitions to let voters decide the legitimacy of PA4, the Snyder forces and party hacks refused to put the issue on the ballot and to date, the issue has occupied the attention of every level of court in the state without resolution.

Such arrogance and disrespect feeds on the low voter turnout in Michigan’s African American communities. When only 10 percent of the voters turn out, as happened in November 2011 in Detroit, there is not a lot of fear struck in any Republican politician, or Democrat for that matter. Nor does that pitiful showing give much strength to the voices of the city’s representatives.

The game is democracy and we have to play it. Study and learn something about who is running. Pick the candidate that most closely holds your views. Then stay tuned. What are the winners doing after elected? The insistent efforts of the GOP — aided by the indifference of the state’s Democratic Party — to curtail voting in inner cities acknowledges their fear of the potential voting power among the state’s Black population. The numbers are there to be the decisive factor in any Michigan election.

Under GOP fiscal policies and the EMs, Detroiters have lost the school district and possibly Belle Isle. Most of the new buildings and equipment in the Detroit Public Schools are being given to charters, even though it was all paid for by the bond issue — a multi-million dollar debt Detroiters will continue to pay for years. The criminalization of our youth continues and so our incarcerated relatives and neighbors provide employment for the GOP-voting rural communities in which the state maintains its prison system. Unemployment in the state’s cities is a staggering 30-40 percent. All of these issues are directly connected to public policy.

If not registered, get registered. The only way to influence policy and try to make the system work is to vote. So go vote Aug. 7.

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