THE RIGHT TO VOTE: David Letterman Talks to POTUS 44

THE RIGHT TO VOTE: David Letterman Talks to POTUS 44

“Facebook and Amazon Go are eliminating our human interactions. Why talk to friends and family when you can like their pictures? Why chat with the grocery store clerk when you can scan your phone while she is checking you through? Technological progress is amazing, but we need to stay in touch with our humanity, with the people around us.”

YES! I so agree with Eugene Gu MD who posted most of this on Twitter.

And yes I go to Twitter almost daily, but I also communicate with many people online BY WRITING to them. By calling them. And I feel very strongly that town centers, shopping malls, community centers and movie theaters are vital parts of our lives. Even if you can afford a home theatre, people need other people. Interaction with someone NEW keeps our social skills alive. And we need social skills to have fulfilling lives.

But WHY, we might ask. Well, let’s go deeper.

  • Why would we want to support people in need if we didn’t really know anything about them, didn’t understand them, had never met them and thus eventually might not give a damn about them.
  • Why live in a democracy when we don’t really care about the VOICE OF THE PEOPLE?
  • Why believe in the power of the vote if we allow political operatives to prevent people from voting?
  • Why salute the flag if we don’t support what it stands for: THE BILL OF RIGHTS; THE CONSTITUTION and THE SUPREME COURT RULINGS that help us advance government to provide for all its people. (a ruling mentioned below has failed to do that.)

Obama and Letterman: VOTING BELONGS TO THE PEOPLE

Two men who left their long-held employment, Letterman and Obama, recently chatted about their new goals and how to adapt with major life changes. And though they teased each other, Obama reminding Dave that he didn’t volunteer to leave his job, Dave getting Obama to share his “Dad Moves” when dancing with daughter Sasha and taking his older daughter Malia to college–Obama admitted, he was only assigned assembling a lamp.

But the heavy focus of their “chat” was on Letterman’s visit with Rep. to the U.S. House John Lewis and a filmed walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Letterman honored Lewis and his fight for civil rights and voting rights. Lewis’ dedication to these causes began when he became a member of the original 13 Freedom Riders in 1960. Then in 1963 he became head of SNCC, the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee which eventually led him to take a prominent role in the Selma to Montgomery March to register black voters. On March 7th, 1965 which became known as Bloody Sunday, Lewis was at the head of the line leading more than 600 people across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma. When they reached the other side and stopped to pray, police set off tear gas and then mounted troopers began to beat the marchers with night sticks. Lewis had his skull fractured and bears the scars of the incident to this day.

Letterman and Obama talked about how the change in the Voting Rights Act in 2013 has harmed the ability for many Americans to vote. Something that is a RIGHT of all Americans now allows states to present problems to certain populations by closing voting stations, arranging times that make it hard for working people, and insisting on certain forms of ID. “There’s a narrow window of time to vote some Tuesday and it’s snowing and you work or have kids who are sick. So people can’t vote.”

THE LESSON OF SELMA: we can awaken the people; we have the power to change and make it easer for all to vote. Letterman quoted John Lewis who provided a profound reminder of the preciousness of the vote:

  • 1st white men with property could vote;
  •  then white men without property could vote;
  • eventually women could vote. But the vestiges that only SOME are worthy to have a voice in our government is still with us.

Obama talked briefly about his foundation on the southside of Chicago where his presidential library will be built, but more importantly where he hopes to create a HUB to train young people to understand that in order to create change you need to stay involved.

It’s like Dr. Eugene Gu said in his tweet: “Technological progress is amazing, but we need to stay in touch with our humanity, with the people around us.”

ONE FINAL IDEA that Letterman and Obama agreed on: WE DO NOT MOVE FORWARD WITHOUT SOME DISCOMFORT. 

Thanks to: Voting Booth 2008  Candace Lovely

That giant sucking sound…

That giant sucking sound...

In the middle of election night, after I had stayed by the television to taste the bitterness of the end, I awoke with these words in my head, “that giant sucking sound.” And I couldn’t identify them for a long time. But lying there I finally did–it’s a line parents in Iowa, where I once lived, would say during spring break, the line referring to most folks leaving the state to go somewhere else. “Oh we all heard that giant sucking sound,” someone would say referring to the lines at the airport. But it really comes from, you guessed it, a political event. “The “giant sucking sound” was United States presidential candidate Ross Perot’s phrase for what he believed would be the negative effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which he opposed.” Bill Clinton won that election. Funny how the mind works!!

Well maybe my mind was going that far back, and then connecting to the election in the dead of night–only this time Hillary Clinton lost. This time folks had voted for a man who just might take us on a ride we could not have imagined–one of fear and hate, one of exclusion and denial of the rule of law. We will see. I am told to take heart from a man whom I have honored for eight years and always will. He is my President, he is POTUS to me and always will be. But he is saying take heart, because he must, even though his heart is deeply hurt and he has to work with a man who worked to delegitimize his presidency.

And then Wednesday, it was all about Hillary Clinton and how I had been here before with her, when ironically, she lost the primaries to President Obama in June of 2008, and gave her first “glass ceiling speech.” She had to give another one. WHAT A WOMAN. I am fiercely proud of her and everything she stands for. I would vote for her again should she choose to run for something. But she’s done. Yet, Hillary will always help this country in some way. And if the President-Elect had any guts, he would appointment her to a position, or at least ask her. But he won’t. He’s done too.

Today, I watched the brief look into the meeting that Mr. Trump had with the President. He was calm, though he looked nervous. I guess you could say he was on his best behavior. After everything I have seen of this man and how he conducted his rallies and what he said about his opponent and MY PRESIDENT, it will take me a very long time, if ever, for me to say positive things about him. As a writer, I know–words count and they don’t blow away because you are now smiling a lot.

But there is someone else who needs to examine their American soul in this post-election world. THOSE WHO DID NOT VOTE. How hard is it to take a half-day, if necessary, and vote–once every FOUR YEARS–for the person who can have a profound affect on your life? HOW HARD IS IT to try to get an absentee ballot? If fear kept you away from the polls because of the things Trump said, I get that–he threatened the people of Philadelphia–“those areas” and we knew what he meant. But if it was just laziness or an inability to decide whom to vote for–you have no idea the privilege you have given up. To live in a country where what we saw today–POTUS meeting with the one who won the election, and beginning the HAND-OVER process–that’s our freedom, our democracy, the American way. No coup, no guns, no deaths.

Maybe the lesson from this election will hold over for the next—-VOTE and don’t believe the polling. Don’t let some numbers convince you that your vote won’t count. YOUR VOTE ALWAYS COUNTS. Otherwise you’ll wake up in the middle of the night and hear “that giant sucking sound” your candidate losing, your ability to exercise one of the most valuable gifts on the planet going away, utilized by someone else who did bother to vote.

Photo Credit TIME