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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Tuesday, October 28, 2003


Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr to endorse Dean; and let's talk about voting rights

posted by annatopia at Tuesday, October 28, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
We'll have to wait 7-14 days for the official announcement, but....
Representative Jesse L. Jackson Jr. said Monday that he would soon endorse Howard Dean for the Democratic presidential nomination, telling a mostly black audience on the South Side of Chicago that Dr. Dean had "the best chance to be the next president of the United States."..."I'm not wasting my time with any more non-straight-talking candidates"..."I've seen him stand up for health care. I've seen him stand up for students. I've seen him stand up for ordinary Americans. I'm asking you to stand up for Howard Dean."

Rep. Jackson is well-respected in his community, and we're grateful that he's decided to join the movement. He brings with him a record of integrity and honor, as well as hundreds of thousands of supporters across the country.
Slowly but surely, we are making inroads in the African-American community. I know that many of us have expressed our frustration with the perception that we're a mostly-white campaign, and Dean volunteers across the country have been engaged in outreach efforts with the specific intent to broaden our base of support. It's nice to see these efforts beginning to pay off. We see it at the rallies, we see it at the meetups, and we're beginning to see it in the endorsements and donations. But we cannot take these communities for granted and we must continue to reach out to all of our brothers and sisters and make sure they know that we welcome and need their support. We must address their issues and be sincere in our efforts to bring them into the movement. And we must make clear that Dean will not pull a George Bush and never attend the CBC.
One thing that caught my eye in the article above was that during a Q&A session, Dean stated that he'd seek a federal law allowing felons to vote (in Vermont, prisoners retain their right to vote). When I consider this issue, it's personal because my father was disenfranchised courtesy of the state of Florida after he was convicted of a felony in the early 1980s. So I empathise with the communities of color, and they've been disproportionately effected. According to this disturbing report from CBS News, one in eight black men of voting age are ineligible to vote due to felony convictions. Overall, 2% of Americans - nearly 4 million people nationwide - have lost their right to vote. And remember Florida in 2000? Let us not forget that nearly 173,000 voters (more than half were AA) were scrubbed from Florida's rolls because their names were phonetically similar to a list of felons. And let us also remember that 94,000 of those voters are still scrubbed. With a federal law ensuring the right to vote, Florida 2000/2002 would likely never have happened (this is taking into account that 94% of FL's AA population voted for Gore). And all this stuff is just scratching the surface. I'm a strong believer in the right to vote no matter who you are, no matter what crime you may have committed, etc etc. We are all Americans and we all have the right to participate in our democracy. Participation is what keep our process healthy, and to deny millions the right to vote because of a past mistake is a travesty. As Rev. Jesse Jackson says, disenfranchisement is "taxation without representation". It's that simple. For more on this issue, check out this post over at the Naked Emperor. It's time to ensure voting rights for all Americans. Anything less is unacceptable.


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.