WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at http://www.DemocraticConventionWatch.com
Yesterday was the last day of voter registration in Pennsylvania. I had received an email early in the day from someone I barely know asking if I realized that registering voters was only a ploy to get illegal immigrants to take over our country. (Breathe in, breathe out)
Anyone who actually knows me knows that I've been registering voters for so long that my first foray involved cutting junior high to sit at petition tables to get the voting age lowered to 18. ("Old enough to die in Vietnam, old enough to vote against the war.") In actuality, and as an aside, it worked really well for me, because when I would get caught cutting school, I'd get a 3 day suspension.
So for me, this isn't a ploy to get Senator Obama elected by registering new voters, rather, I BELIEVE in voting. I believe it is an obligation: the single most important thing each and every American should do to show support of the Constitution, and a nation founded on the rule of law. Everything else just dovetails with that.
In the afternoon, I needed to get my oil changed, and while I was there (since I still had a couple hours) I asked if everyone at the oil place was registered to vote. One guy explained to me that he had be told he would never be allowed to vote. I asked if he was a felon, he said yes, I asked if he was off parole, he said yes, and I said "You can vote." He looked so happy, and I said we were going to get him and the other guys registered. And after everyone filled out their forms, I asked him why he wanted to vote.
This young guy told me that when he was a teenager, he was a gang-banger, and he did things he didn't want to tell me. He did 3 years. He's now changing oil for a living, he is working on getting his GED, his wife works at the mall, and they have a 6 month old baby. He told me that he did wrong, he paid his price, and he believed that voting really made him a "regular citizen." He told me that he wasn't so much voting for change because of change, but because if he could change, the country could, too.