I must admit: I didn’t pay much attention to politics as a kid. I mean, I knew Jimmy Carter was president in the 70s and that there was something going on in Iran and we could get gas only on “odd” days because the last number on my Dad’s Cadillac was a three or a seven or something. I also remember tucking myself into the corner of the voting booths and being excited to pull the lever after my mom and dad made their choices. Exercised their rights. I may not have been politically astute, but I knew what they were doing was important and by the time I turned 18, I also knew it was my duty as an American citizen to raise my voice—to pull the lever, this time for my own choice.
There are few rights as sacred in the United States as the right to vote. This is particularly true for African Americans and women, seeing as for so very long, we were forbidden to do so and, when we demanded that right, were mowed down in the street, threatened, harassed, maimed and killed for wanting something so very simple: a choice in who should speak for us tax-paying American citizens.
Thankfully, we now have that right. But make no mistake about it: the very basic, sacred right is under attack all across America, by people who would just as soon hijack this country under threat, intimidation and denial than make it so that every man and woman gets their one vote. Just last week in Texas, a federal three-judge panel unanimously struck down a state voter I.D. law that would have allowed potential voters to show gun licenses to vote, but would have barred college students from using their college I.D. to get into the voting booth. Trust, it’s no coincidence that the Republican-led law would have severely restricted voting access to African Americans, Latinos, the poor, seniors and college students—all the very groups that tend to lean more on the Democratic side of things. The same is true of proposals in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Mississippi and other states where Republicans are hellbent not only on currying favor at the polls during the 2012 presidential election this November, but denying us our sacred right to vote.
The laws from state to state are confusing as hell, the deadlines for registering aren’t readily apparent—especially if you have little to no internet access—and here in Georgia, even if you are properly registered and have photo I.D. (it’s been a requirement here for at least five years), folk have been messing with the ballots and polling addresses something awful, making it that much more difficult to make a choice and exercise your right to vote. Basically, the messier it is, the easier it is for them to deny you.
This is why MyBrownBaby is a proud supporter of the new Obama For America voter registration widget. This baby allows viewers to fill out a voter registration form, print it out and mail it in to your specific state; for states with online registration, the tool sends users directly to your Secretary of State online registration site so that you can fill out the forms via the web, from the comfort of your home, library or the local Starbucks. (As funky and restrictive as Georgia’s voter registration laws are, I was able to register to vote online last month—we moved and so I had to get all of that straight before the upcoming Obama vs. Romney presidential election. The process was SUPER easy; I’m just waiting to find out where my new polling place is.)
I’ll have the new voter registration widget in this post and in the MyBrownBaby sidebar through October so that I can do my part to help my readers—whether you’re Democrat, Republican, white, black, part of the 1 percent or down with the other 99 percent of us—to exercise your very sacred, very American right to vote. If you haven’t already, get to it. Vote. And if you really want to be fly about it, let the babies watch you walk through the steps so that they, too, know why their right to make a choice at the polls is one of their most important rights as an American citizen.
Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.