by / Thursday, 08 May 2008 / Published in Uncategorized

1Votes Campaign

To each of us as people, as humans, 1Matters. 

But to the machine called politics, the sad truth is individually we don’t Matter.  Only when we come together in a group, or “block of voters” as they call it, do they pay attention. 

Locally a great example is the Lagrange neighborhood.  No one has done it better in creating a voting block. 

As an individual, I found out I really didn’t Matter to the powers that be when I started this campaign last November. 

It might be coincidence, but only when it was demonstrated that a “block of  voters” cared about this issue and peppered the Mayor, the Commissioners and United Way with emails for action and 50 or so people came out in freezing weather to be heard did they listen.

It became clear to them that together as 1 we were like the Verizon Network, every time I took a step they stepped with me, all of us asking “Can you hear me now?”

Finally as our chorus grew loud enough, they heard us, a large group of people who Matter to those that Matter.

The reason Tent City is always held the weekend before the election is simple:  To get the answers to questions those whose voices are not heard want answered. 

And it seems to work.  I am pretty sure that nearly every politician who has come to Tent City for our Candidates Forums the weekend before the election has won, including Marcy Kaptur, Sherrod Brown,  Jennifer Bruner, a couple of Governors, even a Kennedy and a ton of local candidates as well. 

One exception that comes to mind was George Sarantou during his run for commissioner.  At our forum, I asked him to explain to our audience his comment in a debate the week before that the first thing he was going to do if elected was “Comb through the social service budget to look for fat.”

Now I like George a lot.  Having known him for years, I think he is a very good man, but we had to ask that question.  We thought maybe jobs should have been the first thing.

It wasn’t like an ambush either, I let him know in advance I was going to ask him to explain this.

(Note: We don’t take sides in any election or endorse any candidates.  We just give them a community forum, our community.) 

With this in mind, we are going to work hard to see to it that our friends are heard in an uncertain landscape.  

Welcome to 1Votes!

One big issue is the requirement for Voter ID’s.  Before the last presidential election, a law was “thunked up” by the Republicans to require an ID to vote.  Their stated reasoning was to prevent people from impersonating another to vote.  Never mind that no one remembers such a case ever happening. 

The reality is rich people have ID’s.  It is the impoverished and homeless who do not because ID’s cost money, a scarce commodity for the impoverished. 

The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless is suing the Secretary of State (Jennifer Bruner)  over this law. 

But this past week the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Indiana’s similar law.

Now we don’t get involved in partisan politics, we don’t care if they are Republican, Democrat, A-team, B-team, or none of the above, we just want them all to hear our people. 

Two years ago we started a program at Tent City to get our friends state ID’s.   The reason is because they need those for jobs, to get into shelters, and to access services. 

This year the ID’s might be doubly important for some to be sure every American has the chance to be heard.  We will also do everything we can to help them get to the polls as well.

But we are not going to count on that alone.  A quirk in the ID law is an ID is not required in order to vote absentee. 

1Votes is assembling teams that for the next six months will be seeking to register every single unregistered person we can find whether on the streets, at the river, in the shelters, or volunteers in our ranks. 

We will also do everything we can to help everyone we know vote absentee.  For some of our friends who are afraid to go into a public place this will give them, maybe for the first time the REAL opportunity to be heard.  

As Ohio might again be a key state, we will be inviting the presidential candidates to come to Tent City.  Last year a rock star came down to tell them they Matter.  

Who knows, maybe this year we can get a presidential candidate to come to Tent City to be 1 that Matters to those that Matter.

Who knows….

It certainly would send a very powerful message to the nation:  1Matters.