Opinion

Be like Colin Kaepernick, take stand. Don’t be like him, fill out a ballot.

What you need to know about voting in Sacramento County

Sacramento County’s new voting system sends ballots through the mail to every registered voter. Here's how you vote after you get your ballot.
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Sacramento County’s new voting system sends ballots through the mail to every registered voter. Here's how you vote after you get your ballot.

Everywhere I go I see young people proclaiming to be “woke” to the critical issues confronting our country. They are taking to the streets, making their voices heard.

You can’t be “woke” if you don’t vote.

All around me I hear of people my age – people 50 and over – who are “disillusioned” by our guttural politics.

But you can’t change them if you don’t vote.

For 30 years I’ve heard that the “sleeping giant” of Latino voters in America was about to awaken, only to discover that the siesta of the disaffected has been extended for another election cycle.

Opinion

Por el amor de Dios, for the love of God, just vote.

Think about Colin Kaepernick. The NFL is basically a jingoistic league drawing profits from flag waving. It has effectively blackballed Kaepnerick. This league celebrates wife beaters, felons, misanthropes, abusers, and men who care about little else but their violent trade, video games and sex. So I don’t watch games. I won’t support it. We all have stands to take, in different ways.

Kaepernick, the quarterback who took the 49ers to a Super Bowl, took his stand and is shunned for kneeling the during the “Star Spangled Banner” in a protest of police brutality.

And every moronic sports fan and jock-sniffing media personality who has defended or rationalized the NFL’s moral corruption will look back from the wrong side of history, as the haters did after Muhammad Ali rose above them for refusing induction into the Vietnam War and refusing also to kiss the hindquarters of popular ignorance.

Kaepernick is a picture of righteous protest in the tradition of Ali.

And, yet. The criticism is: Kaep didn’t vote in 2016! How could he not vote? If you are Kaepernick and you don’t vote then you are protesting in a country from which you ultimately hold yourself apart.

So Kaepernick is right to make a stand, but is open to that criticism. He doesn’t vote.

Make your stand. Make your voice count.

If we don’t claim our place in our country, somebody else will.

Our current president makes no secret about using racial animus and ethnic hostility to stoke the anger of his base. These Donald Trump voters are saying: This country is ours, not theirs. The president wins when he divides. He wins when he makes one group of people angry at other groups.

The list of suspected “others” is getting longer every day: Mexicans, Muslims, trans people, gay people, immigrants, refugee seekers.

Jewish people are under assault. Nazis suddenly aren’t that bad anymore. The president pulls his punches on Nazis. But LeBron James? Maxine Waters? Pretty much any African American who speaks out against him? Then he indulges in vitriol, racial dog whistles and less-than-subtle bugle calls for the armies of intolerance.

I voted against this. I will continue to vote against this. I’ll never give up. I’ll never back down. I’ll never shut up.

This is my country. This is our country. Men and women have died for it in the ultimate expression of faith and fealty to ideals we never fully achieved and from which we are now retreating. Is that really what we are doing?

Suddenly we’re not a nation of immigrants anymore? We’re not for equality anymore? We’re not about E Pluribus Unum anymore? Now we’re wondering how to say “Get off My Lawn” in Latin?

The only way to fight back against this is to vote. The best way to honor our ancestors and our unattained ideals is to vote. It sets us apart from totalitarian nations. It symbolizes community.

As a Sacramento city resident, I voted for Measure U because I want my city to progress and I’m willing to pay for it with an increased sales tax.

I voted against U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein’s decades-long hold on power for the sake of holding of power.

I voted to keep the state gas tax because our state roads and bridges are in horrible disrepair.

I voted to have a chance at winning and supporting people and issues that would make my country and community better.

No matter how you feel, if you don’t vote, you lose. We all do.

If you don’t even care enough to know what you have with your vote, to know what’s at stake in each election, then you lose. We all do.

Our country only works, and we only take our place in it, if we care enough to use our freedom.

If you don’t believe in that, then God bless you as you stand on the outside looking in.

We really need you. Take a stand. And make it count.

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