I have good news and bad news. Good news is I’m going to be on TV! Bad news is that I’ve joined a cult. I know that the latter is very enticing and you’re probably on the edge of your seat waiting for me to explain how I managed to get myself involved in a cult, but let’s for once not save the “good news for last” shall we? Yes.
I’m going to be on TV! Literally, I will be sitting on top of the TV in great anticipation of the tonight’s “Oprah’s Next Chapter”. The OWN network has really stepped it up since its initial launch. Many of OWN’s original television series/shows have quickly made its way to my “must watch TV” list, but none more than “Oprah’s Next Chapter”. On the show that airs every Sunday, Oprah has interviewed, and in some cases grilled, celebrities like Rihanna, Fergie, Kelsey Grammar, The Kardashians, and now, Shonda Rhimes, Kerry Washington and Judy Smith. If you aren’t familiar with the names Shonda Rhimes and Kerry Washington, then you are obviously not a member of the cult that is the dedicated followers of ABC’s “Scandal”.
“Scandal”is ABC’s uber popular – and historic – show that follows Olivia Pope, the very powerful crisis manager whose business is to fix other people’s lives, including the U.S. President. The show is popular because of its storyline and awesome cast, historic because Washington is the only Black female character to currently lead a show on primetime. The last Black female lead on primetime was close to forty years ago when Diahann Carroll played “Julia” on the small screen.
Tonight at 9 PM EST Oprah will interview Shonda Rhimes, creator of “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal”, the show’s main character Kerry Washington, and Judy Smith the real-life “crisis fixer” who is the inspiration behind the character Olivia Pope.
If you too are a member of the “Scandal” cult and cannot wait for the show to air tonight at 9 PM EST head over to OWN for a sneak peek.
Before “Oprah’s Next Chapter” I’ll be tuning into another one of my favorite series, CNN’s “Black In America”. Tonight at 8 PM EST Soledad O’Brien will attempt to navigate who is Black in America and who decides who is defined as Black and why. Join the discussion on the “Black in America” Facebook page.
The Democratic and Republican campaign trail has been aflame with insults, overwhelming media messages, accusations, some truths, and many untruths. I have come to view the 2012 Presidential Election as down right disgusting and disrespectful truly bringing to the surface some very ignorant people. To be honest I have had enough of the 2012 election and although tomorrow may for some be thought of as the beginning of the end, I am convinced that it will likely be the beginning of more madness.
Throughout the 2012 campaign celebrities have been more vocal than in the past about flaunting their support for the presidential candidate of their choice. There has been much drama surrounding the choice that some, particularly celebrities, have made regarding who they will cast a ballot for on tomorrow, November 6th.
This is my third (geez I’m getting old) presidential election where I will exercise my right to vote and with each election I’ve noticed the growing trend of people, and even social media and the blogosphere, inextricably linking one’s political ideology to one’s belief on racism and loyalty. The Republican party is NOT synonymous with racists. The Democratic party is not synonymous with “victims.” As voting is meant to be a right, so is freedom of choice. We as Americans have the right to decide who most closely embody our ideals. This is our right. Personally, I consider it our duty. This is why I applaud those who, despite having different views and ideals than I, are engaged in the electoral process and have or will exercise their right which is more than I can say for those who have completely checked out, or more accurately, have not checked in…to even register!
I cannot understand how an adult – a grown person who is actually a tax paying citizen in the U.S. of A– cannot even be registered and nonchalantly admit (in what I heard to be a Homer Simpson voice), “I’m not voting. I’m not even registered. I have never voted.” What? Huh? Workplace politics helped to refrain my true response. Though, to be honest, I’m not sure that my true response would have been any different than, WTH? which is exactly the eye crossing, head scratching question that fogged my mind the moment the shocker rolled off my colleagues’ tongue. My colleague is not alone in her refusal to vote. There are an alarming number of people who are refusing to vote this election. Some taut that neither presidential candidate is worthy of his/her vote. Ooookkkk. Well what about those running for state and local office? Those candidates aren’t worthy of a vote either? The candidate, who will certainly not be chosen by those who refuse to participate, will greatly impact the lives of those who do and do not exercise their right.
To not exercise this right which still is not afforded to all Americans, is so terribly selfish and in some ways immature. Our participation in the voting process is much bigger than us. It’s much bigger than tomorrow. Its impact will be felt for generations.
Vote. It is a sacred right. It is a responsibility. It’s bigger than you. It’s bigger than one day. And you will feel it, for better or worse.
It does not seem like almost an entire four years has gone by since then presidential nominee Barack Obama was elected as America’s first Black president. Yet, here we are again. Buoyed by a litany of new political and social issues while still anchored by America’s past woes: racism, a flawed education system, inequality, poverty, crime, and the lists go on.
Given the fluctuating approval rating of President Obama, the increasingly vocal opponents, and racially charged commentary that has endured throughout the president’s first term, the millions who participated – some for the first time ever – in the electoral process and placed their vote for Obama will certainly need to participate in the November 6th election and bring a friend or two.
Initially I “penned” this article several months ago when the voter identification law had first become the hot topic blazing its way through local and nationally syndicated news forums, although the new voter laws were first initiated in 2008 and had been adopted by 13 states since the bill was proposed.
I assume that by now we all are somewhat familiar with the legislation. If not, the goal of the bill is to require voters in several states to produce “government approved” identification and end the current practice of voters signing a statement verifying their identity. Under the Republican driven legislation opponents argue that the right to vote is no longer; under the new laws voting is seemingly a privilege not extended to all eligible Americans.
This, according to challengers, is a “throwback to Jim Crow-era poll taxes,” not only in the form of “government approved” identification, but as listed by the American Civil Liberties Union, in forms of “reducing the number of days for early voting; restrictions on third-party voter registration activities; limiting the opportunity to make an address change at the polls on election day; systematic purges of register voters; challenges to student voters as non-residents; unfounded allegations of voter fraud; and moving or closing precincts in minority communities.”
Under the bill seniors, students, persons with disabilities, and minorities are disproportionately affected and may face unnecessary hurdles on election day. This is an issue for all Americans regardless of if you’re a Georgia citizen, where strict voter ID law has been enacted or if you’re a citizen of Wyoming where voter ID is not required at all. This bill isn’t an issue of partisanship, but of democracy, equality, and the right that every eligible American has to vote free of barriers.
For those of you who typically don’t vote because of the claim that your vote does not matter, pay attention to the proof. If your vote, my vote, our votes did not matter, would such extremes be taken to silence you despite unjustified claims of voter fraud? You matter. It is your right.
To learn more about current voter ID laws in your state please call or visit your state board of elections website or office. You can also learn more about voter ID state requirements by clicking here to Be In the Know.
For additional information of how to register and a checklist of what to bring with you on the day of elections click the “Your Vote Counts” button.
On August 30th Texas federal court has struck down the proposal of voter identification, citing it as discriminatory of certain voters.
Click here to read more about the ruling.