Defining Democracy for the Majority [of special interest to women]

Opinion by Patricia L Johnson

Looking up the word democracy in a lot of different sources will provide you with several similar meanings; but the two words that generally prevail in all definitions are ‘free’ and ‘equal’.

Are we free and equal?

We’re neither, we’re ‘controlled’. We’re controlled by a small group of white elites who believe freedom applies only to those that are equal to them. In other words if you’re not Caucasian and you’re not wealthy you’re not free and if you’re not a white male, you’re not equal.

A primary example of non-democracy at work is the early closing of the Winter Park Florida library, located in Orange County Florida. The library was evacuated with an estimated 300 people still standing in line that had waited for hours to vote, due to a suspicious package being found outside. The article goes on to say the package was a cooler that was later detonated by the bomb squad.

The two major political parties went to court, one to request an extension of voting hours to accommodate the folks that weren’t able to participate in our ‘free and equal’ election system and the other political party to appeal the court’s decision to provide four hours of extended voting.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau the State of Florida has an average white (non-Hispanic) population for 2011 of 57.5 percent; while Orange County figures come in at 45.8 percent. In other words Orange County has a population that is 11.7 percent higher in blacks, Hispanics, Asians, etc.

Is it any wonder the Party of “NO” would want to put the kibosh on this group of voters? If you’re wondering what a difference 300 votes can make, take a look at the results of the 2000 election results.

I had a personal experience involving ‘control’ in this election. Several weeks ago I received notification that my voting card had ‘expired’ and if I wanted to vote in the 2012 election I would have to mail in an application. I mailed the application, only to be sent another form to fill out, which I did; all the time seething that my predominately Republican county was putting voters through this nonsense.

I eventually got all my ducks in a row and voted by mail, but whether or not my vote will be counted is yet to be determined. As a former election judge I am fully aware of the large number of votes that aren’t counted in each election due to the voter failing to dot the “I’s, cross the “t’s”, not fill in the ovals completely or not sign the outside of the envelope on mail ballots.

We know by media reports that Republicans have done everything humanly possible in this election to limit the number of votes that President Obama will get from various sections of the country. Add to that the number of outright lies and innuendo that has been dumped on the average voter from the candidates, the Republican Party, and especially the Super Pac’s, and it’s totally amazing that any of us bother voting. I mean can you imagine waiting in line for six or seven hours to vote?

We do it because we, as Americans, believe in the way it should be. We believe that all the citizens in this country are equal and every one of us should have the right to the American Dream. The problem is we aren’t all equal. The Equal Rights Amendment written in 1923 by Alice Paul consists of three sentences as follows:

Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

In 1971 the ERA bill was approved by the U.S. House by a vote of 354-24 and on March 22, 1972 the U.S. Senate passed the bill by a vote of 84-8.

There are two separate ways a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution may be made; one has never been used so the most common is for the bill to be sent to the individual state legislatures for ratification, or approval. Generally there is a time limit placed on the bill and the time limit was originally set at 7 years. Since the ERA amendment was not ratified within the original 7 year period, a bill has been reintroduced into Congress on a regular basis. The latest bill for the ERA was introduced on 10/2/2012.

The ERA bill already has approval of 35 of the 38 states necessary for ratification and once three more states ratify it will become an amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

We only need three approvals out of a possible 15 states, but the majority of these states are what are considered “red/ or Republican’ states and the possibility of a female getting ‘equal rights’ in a red state are between zip, zero and nada.

Please do not confuse equal rights for women, with equal pay for women. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 was the very first bill signed into law by President Obama when he took office in 2009. This bill provides equal pay for women for equal work.

Equal rights for women require a constitutional amendment. Women will never have equal rights under a Republican president because in simple English, Republicans do not feel women are their equals, as can be determined by bill after bill they have introduced taking away women’s right.

Your vote on November 6, 2012 (assuming you have not already voted) will not only affect your future, but the future of all the women in this country.

© 2012 Patricia L Johnson

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This entry was posted in Elections 2012, News and politics, U.S. Courts. Bookmark the permalink.

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