About Orlando: Shut Up And Vote

VOTE campaign button on top of scattered hundred dollar bills spread out beneath it. Concept image illustrating election fund
VOTE campaign button on top of scattered hundred dollar bills spread out beneath it. Concept image illustrating election funding, political donations, Super Pac money, political bribes.

Like millions, I was shocked and horrified about yesterday's massacre in Orlando. In the midst of a busy day, I spent a lot of time thinking about. In the midst of all the images I saw yesterday which included heartbroken mothers who had lost a child (sometimes their only child) in the massacre and a Syrian father, broken-hearted, saying goodbye to his five children as they lay in light teal-colored body bags before him, I thought about the massacre. Amongst the continued stories of voter fraud in at least six states in the United States and the reality that 2.5 million ballots are left to be counted in California (including mine which I cast early at the Board of Elections in Norwalk to ensure that it was included), I thought about it.

As I read posts of people sending prayers intermixed with the story about California's Secretary of State (who is in charge of voting in CA) actively campaigning for Hillary Clinton in California and the other story of Rajiv K. Fernando, an investment banker and major donor to the Clinton Foundation, and to Clinton throughout her political career, who Secretary Clinton appointed to a State Department Advisory Board (and who subsequently resigned under mysterious circumstances) and who now is a super delegate who pledged to Clinton before she had another opponent -- I couldn't help but see the connection.

Early on when Bernie Sanders was campaigning, people kept insisting he was a one-issue candidate and that his issue was getting money out of politics. After seeing how this resonated with the Democrat's progressive base, Hillary Clinton adopted this idea. Unfortunately she couldn't raise the money needed to keep up with Senator Sanders, so the DNC quietly rolled back Obama's ban on contributions from federal lobbyists and the money from lobbyists (many of them representing huge corporations) began flowing into Hillary's campaign.

I haven't posted about Senator Warren's endorsement of Hillary Clinton, just as I didn't post about how she, one of Bernie's only longtime progressive allies in the Senate, didn't endorse Bernie, but in forming an opinion on this endorsement, I think it's critical to think about the money trail and the reality that while one of Elizabeth Warren's main issues has been breaking up the banks, she is supporting the candidate who is financed by the big banks.

Some people may not see a connection between all of these issues, but I spend a lot of time thinking about how to create a better world, and there is no doubt in my mind that they are all related.

You see, when people feel that their votes don't count as they did when Hillary was announced as the Presumptive Democratic Nominee last Monday (a day when not one US Citizen voted, but an AP journalist took it upon himself to poll some unpledged super delegates and secure enough for Hillary so that they could announce her as the nominee even though counting the superdelegates before the convention is outside of the DNC rules). Or when a winner is declared in the largest state in the US before 2.5 million votes are counted (40% of the total) and funny coincidence, the person in charge of the elections is actively campaigning for Clinton, people stop voting. And when people stop voting, they go to sleep. And when they go to sleep, our democracy gets stolen from us and we end up with legislature like Citizens United which allows unfettered spending on elections. And then our trusted public servants get sucked into the system and become a shadow of those we originally revered while we shrug our shoulders and say "All politicians are corrupt." And when politicians get sucked into the system while simultaneously receiving massive campaign contributions, they often make stupid decisions like denying climate change, signing to extend the Monsanto Protection Act as Obama did recently (http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/press-releases/3961/the-monsanto-protection-act-is-back-and-worse-than-ever), sanctioning the sale of weapons to tyrannical governments, dropping bombs on innocent children, and the refusal to place greater controls on guns including background checks and bans on automatic weapons like the AR15 which was used in Orlando and in San Bernardino recently.

And when all of these things happen, communities get destroyed, people get sick and often they die.

So I would like to ask one thing of every single person that is heartbroken about what happened in Orlando -- take the :30 you spent sending prayers to those affected by yesterday's massacre and multiply it by 1,000 and spend that time actively campaigning to fix our broken system and elect leaders that will make the right decisions when the bullets are flying -- not just in the United States, but around the world.

We like to believe we are powerless because it releases us from the responsibility of having to take action, but we are never powerless...except when we aren't paying attention and we honestly don't really care.