Posts Tagged ‘elections’


Today is the day. The day when our youth march in protest against gun violence and lax gun laws. They are marching for their lives. They are marching for the lives of future generations. They are marching for us. Yes. They are marching for me and for you. They are marching for anyone that could get caught up in gun violence…in schools, at the shopping mall, at the theater, everywhere.

It is not just a kids’ march. It’s a march for all of us. Yes, it was organized by kids in the aftermath of the Parkland school shooting that took seventeen lives but it is a march for us all. We have to have their back. We adults have to have their back. They can make a difference and watching coverage from one city to another it is clear that these kids are angry. They want change. They are ready to march and to speak out and to fight for a change. And we have to have their back. We have to support them. We have failed them and it is our turn to stand up and support them.

Here in Portland, as I write, the march is underway. The numbers are huge. Police are baffled. They didn’t know what to expect as far as numbers and they still can’t make a good estimate. They know that there are approximately 12,000 in the vicinity of Court House Square but there are many more still marching toward the area where speeches will be made. There are miles of marchers approaching. The marchers are all ages. There are people of all generations, adults and teens and children.

And it is peaceful. Peace. What a concept.

It is also vocal. And it is important to note that politicians are watching and listening. These marchers are mostly either of voting age or are approaching voting age within a very few years. Politicians need to listen because these kids are not going any place but to the voting booths across the country in elections in local cities, and in states and in our nation.

We need to have their backs. If you can’t go out and march that’s okay. You can still support them. You can write about it. You can talk about it. You can tweet. You can contact your local representatives. Keep it going. They are marching for me and for you. Don’t forget that.

#March for our lives.

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Last night, Thursday, just like on Wednesday night, there was a peaceful protest against the Trump win. On Wednesday night it was peaceful but after the protest, there was a lot of graffiti left by Trump supporters, including swastikas, on buildings. Then came last night. The peaceful group assembled in Pioneer Courthouse Square (we’re talking Portland, Oregon) and began their march. Somewhere along the way, outside groups joined in and hijacked the main protest. The outside groups included at least one anarchist group that has been active here in Portland in the past. There were other groups but, because I am not sure of who, I won’t name them. Suffice to say that they were not the peaceful group which began the evening.

It turned violent. It turned ugly. It turned destructive. There were fights. There was spray painting. There was smashing of windows. There was rock throwing. There were fires in the street. The police were severely outnumbered. The group was about 4,000 protesters against a tiny police force. Portland has a total of 500 police, however they weren’t all on duty because things had been so peaceful. So there were just a small number of police against the 4,000 and that made it far too dangerous for the police to go in and break it up. So they marched and destroyed and rallied and got brave.

I wasn’t even aware of it. I had checked in around 6 pm when everything was peaceful. I forgot all about it. Then when I went to bed around 11, I turned on the TV. Lo and behold! There it was. Live. My heart sank. I hate to see that. There is no reason for it. None at all. I was tuned in to the TV coverage. The protesters were very angry. They would not disperse even when riot police confronted them and warned them repeatedly. Even when they were attacked by rubber bullets they remained. It was ugly. It was scary.

Finally, TV coverage ended when the police began to arrest people and things seemed to be cooling off. That’s when I tuned off too. That’s when my heart ached. That’s when I began to write this. I had other plans for today’s blog post but they, like the peaceful protest, were hijacked by these violent anarchists and whatever other groups were out there. My heart is sad.

The only good thing is that the police and the media are aware that the groups that were responsible for the violence and the vandalism were not the original group. That means a lot to me. And I hope that it will become clear to people when it is reported in the media in a couple of hours.

Hopefully, I can gather myself enough to post later on what I was originally going to post.

Violence is not okay. Vandalism is not okay.

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I haven’t missed voting in an election since I registered in 1974 at age 18. The first election I voted in was my state’s (California) Gubernatorial election when we (myself included) elected Gerry Brown, Jr. in June of 1974. To me, voting is a crucial right; one that I hate to waste, so I dutifully vote in every election.

One year, when I was doing volunteer work for MALDEF* and I had to drive an hour to my assignment on election day. I asked that I be allowed to vote first then make the drive. I was the first one in the door at my precinct that day. I had to drive from northern Los Angeles County to Orange County for my poll watching duties. I got to Orange County in time to go off to the first on a long list of precincts where problems had been reported. My job was to watch the precinct, mostly from the outside, and make sure there were no irregularities. In a few instances, we were asked to watch from inside (in precincts where problems had been reported during previous elections). What were we watching for? Voting irregularities. In some precincts voters had reported that they had been denied a ballot, even though they were eligible to vote. In other precincts, Spanish speaking registered voters were not given a Spanish language ballot which basically meant they couldn’t vote as they didn’t understand the English ballot. It was our job to just be present, observe, and if we were asked (by Voters) to assist in getting the proper ballot, we were to just approach the precinct workers and quote the law to them without getting involved otherwise. We also had phone numbers we could call if there was a problem that needed to be addressed and/or documented. In some instances, none that I observed, MALDEF staff attorneys could be notified and had the authority to accompany voters to the polls to get the correct ballot.

It was very interesting. The year I worked for them (in the 90’s) was the first time in recent history that an anti-immigrant law was placed on the ballot in California so it was doubly important and there was high tension in the atmosphere. Some people called in to get help leaving work to vote as some employers were refusing to allow their workers to leave work to vote. Our attorneys made a lot of phone calls to employers that day.

I like to think that my poll watching work made a difference that year even though the proposition that we supporting failed. (It was put back on the ballot, with slight variation in language, a couple of years later and passed!). I like to thing that my volunteering to register voters made a difference. Maybe it didn’t. However, to me, it was a very important thing to do. It was just as important as voting myself.

Even though I’ve thought seriously about not voting in this election, I will vote. I am not sure if I will vote for either Presidential ticket but I will vote for state and local issues. I just can’t see not voting. It goes against everything I’ve ever believed in.

*Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund

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