As regular readers and followers may know, I have been writing for The Nation/Colorlines as a community journalist for their 2012 Voting Rights Watch. I also recently wrote a piece for Politic365 looking at whose vote isn’t being fought for, specifically in people of color communities and asked what does it say about our democracy and what does it say about the voting as a tool of that democracy when not everyone is seen as a valued participant.
Related is the issue of the need to expand our lens, that is look at these issues beyond the United States pov and think about what participation in politics means in different places and how that connects to our experiences – actual and historical.
Tonight, 8 pm EST, is the public-media premiere of Jarreth Merz’s An African Election on PBS World, a documentary chronicling the 2008 presidential election in Ghana, which pitted former vice president John Evans Atta Mills against former foreign-affairs minister Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
But for most people, the primary source of their information is the mainstream. It is mainly television. Even the internet for all its subversiveness has still a very large component of the mainstream. And that means we’re getting still either its this singular message about wars, about the economy, about all those things that touch our lives. All we are getting is what I would call is a contrived silence, a censorship by a mission. I think this is almost the principal issue of today because without information, we cannot possibly begin to influence government. We cannot possibly begin to end the wars.
All of this, it seams to me, has come together in the presidency of Barack Obama who is almost a creation of this media world. He promised some things, although most of them were more for us, and has delivered virtually the opposite. He started his own war in Pakistan. We see the events in Iran and Honduras in quiet subtlety, but very directly influenced in the time-honored way by the Obama administration. And yet the Obama administration is still given this extraordinary benefit of the doubt by people, who in my view are influenced by the mainstream media. It is a time when I think, where either we are going to begin to understand how the media really works, or we’re going to let that opportunity pass. Its almost a historic opportunity the we understand that the perception of our world is utterly distorted, most of the time through what are seen as credible sources of information.
There was also discussion in the interview about comparisons between the election in Iran and the election Honduras. It is a really important interview, if only because it asks all the questions I haven’t been able to think through because I’m not sure of the exact history in Honduras.
Petition to President-elect Obama for a Moratorium on ICE Raids
President-elect Obama, we congratulate you on your historic victory, and we celebrate this moment with great hope that under your leadership we will finally be able to achieve a humane, inclusive immigration policy that unites families and offers a path toward citizenship for the undocumented. Fundamental reform of our broken immigration system is an urgent national priority. The first step, that you can take through executive order, is to immediately end all Immigration & Customs Enforcement raids.
The enforcement of the unjust laws of our broken immigration system is tearing our country apart. The workplace and neighborhood raids by squads of ski-masked ICE agents armed with automatic weapons are the most brutal and outrageous part of this enforcement. They tear our families apart. They terrorize our communities. And they routinely violate the civil and constitutional rights that define our nation.
The ICE raids must end now! President-elect Obama, Latino and immigrant voters responded to the promise of change you made to our nation and voted for you by huge margins and in record numbers. We call on you to uphold that promise and honor our support by declaring an immediate and unconditional moratorium on ICE raids until just and human immigration reform is passed and implemented.
The Mercury News ran another article about how it’s all the Blacks/Latin@s fault that Proposition 8 passed.
Even as African-American and Latino voters were a powerful force in boosting America’s first black president to victory, in California they also were crucial to passing Proposition 8, a ballot measure labeled, “Eliminates right of same-sex couples to marry.”
Exit polls showed that 70 percent of black voters, and a majority of Latino voters, voted yes on Proposition 8, one likely reason why the measure won a slim majority in Los Angeles County, where pre-election polls had suggested it would lose, even though it lost by a huge margin in the Bay Area.
But like I mentioned yesterday, while I don’t deny that the Black and Latin@ communities have some big time issues with queer hate, I also think gay organizations have to confront their very real racism within their organizing strategies. For example:
Gloria Nieto had a sense of those demographic forces, too. When Nieto, a lead organizer for the No on Proposition 8 campaign in San Jose, wanted to distribute campaign signs in Spanish and Vietnamese this fall, she had to get them made herself because the statewide campaign only had signs in English.
What this suggests to me is that communities of color have their problems–but largely white organizations seem to not value those communities until the time comes when they need them for their own agendas, and even then not so much.
Will gay organizers do anything to confront this problem? Or will they hide their racism behind “They’re just conservative” excuses? The answer remains to be seen.
Of course this video is a day late and a dollar short–but I wanted to post it anyway because 1. It’s got good facts in it and 2. I didn’t realize Rosie Perez was still so awesome. The last I had heard, she was regulated to Click the Camera on Diego and other D-list jobs because gawd forbid anybody in Hollywood dare to have an accent.
No one feels the effects of what happens in the U.S. as much as Mexico. It’s as if the fault line we share were a conductor of not just seismic energy but also shared grief. And when things get bad in the U.S., they get worse in Mexico. Issues such as border control, the economy — which affects jobs done by Mexicans and subsequently remesas sent back home (one of Mexico’s top economic drivers) — and trade have Mexican analysts, politicians and journalists waiting with baited breath. The cover of today’s El Universal (Mexico City) newspaper could easily be mistaken for a U.S. newspaper. Under the masthead, prime page space is 100% occupied by poll information, predictions, photographs of the candidates.
And the ripple effect of the continues even further south. Buenos Aires’Clarin proclaims, jubilantly, “Obama- McCain: an election that puts an end to the Bush era.” In the ranking of most popular news stories according to readers, a story about the death of Barack Obama’s grandmotheris second only to news about soccer legend Diego Maradona.
And the same story in papers throughout the region and the world. Expectations are high in Latin America, perhaps as high as they are in the U.S., and the disappointment of 4 more years of failed Bush policy will be the same should McCain surprise us all with a victory tonight.
As I sit in front of a TV in a major European city with a ton of problems of its own, the only thing that seems to be on anyone’s mind here in Barcelona — or in Spain — is what will happen today in the United States. Every network has sent not just their Washington or New York correspondents to cover the lead-up to the elections and their subsequent unfolding, but also their most prized journalists, who are Washington, Chicago and other locales. The familiar faces of the star anchors on the evening news are missing from the newsdesk, and they speak to us from a backdrop of American flags or images of the Capitol. Clearly this isn’t just any election.
9 hours ahead of those in my home state of California, my stomach is already churning with nervousness as my friends sleep. Today is the day. On the street, newspaper headlines — and talks in smoky cafés — predict a victory for Obama. In this fiercely liberal and progressive city, where I’ve encountered my fair share of skepticism (ahem, that’s a euphemism) towards Americans, I am finding that most people are convinced that we won’t make the same mistake again. It almost feels like if the U.S. elects Obama, Europeans will almost be capable of forgiving us for the last two failures of the American electorate. On the flip side, should McCain emerge as the new leader of the world’s most powerful country, there will be more than a lack of forgiveness — a resounding “you got what you deserved.”
Jack from Angry Brown Butch blogs that various news outlets are already reporting problems in early voting that has begun in some states. Not surprisingly, mots of these problems favor John McCain voters while disenfranchising likely Barack Obama voters, that is voters of color. This doesn’t look good for actual election day, now less than 2 weeks away.
McCain Supporters Harass Obama Voters in North Carolina
In North Carolina, over 200,000 residents have already cast ballots in early voting. In Fayetteville, a group of John McCain supporters heckled and harassed a group of mostly black supporters of Barack Obama as they voted on Sunday. The Washington Times reported the McCain backers shouted and mocked the voters as they walked into the voting place. The website Facing South reports the McCain supporters likely broke the Voting Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits anyone from intimidating or threatening a person for voting or attempting to vote. On that same day in Fayetteville, North Carolina, thirty people reported having their tires slashed after attending an Obama rally.
I’m a bit older than many people, and as such, I grew up in a time when the thought of politicians reaching out to voters on the issue of women getting equal pay for equal work or critiquing the Spanish outreach of another’s campaign was outrageous–or even grounds to lose an election.
And yet here we are in the year 2008, and such things *are* happening on a national stage at that. Here is the latest from the Obama camp:
For those of you who are like me and only got the “Soy Barack Obama” part, basically, what the ad is arguing is that the McCain campain has “two faces.” One they represent to Latin@s and one they represent to non-Latin@s. As such, he can’t be trusted, because what really is his message?
Ed O’Keefe at Washington Post gives the lowdown specifics on the video. I would ask you what you think, but comments aren’t working today, so you can’t tell me! Keep your thoughts in mind, so you can tell us all tomorrow!
It’s not like we expect much from Daddy Yankee politically speaking. Hell, I don’t even expect him to be aware of the upcoming presidential elections (unless, of course, he reads VL in between perreos), much less endorse a candidate. But that’s just what he’s done (video after the jump) and if you’ve read the headline, you already know that it’s not who you might have expected. A huge WTF was bellowed toward the sky after I read this post from The Washington Post’s The Trail blog after getting a tip from a reader:
The high school girls standing on the risers behind Sen. John McCain looked like any high school girls would during a talk by someone Paris Hilton might describe as “a white-haired dude.” They clapped politely.
And then, when McCain introduced his special guest, they freaked out. They gasped. They put their hands over their mouths. They screamed.
Daddy Yankee, one of the country’s top Latino music stars, strode out, wearing mirrored sunglasses. A Puerto Rican reggaeton recording artist, he appeared next to McCain to endorse the Republican nominee and perhaps give him a boost with Hispanic voters.