Thursday, October 30, 2014

Dignity Votes

Tuesday is Election Day here in the U.S., so that is surely something worth considering in this last blog article before then. 
First of all, I encourage you to vote. (I trust you are duly registered.)
This year I have been an active part of the Northland Justice Coalition (NJC). (Northland refers to the area in the greater Kansas City area that is north of the Missouri River.) For the past couple of months NJC has been making telephone calls and going to people’s homes urging them to vote.
This activity is being called the Dignity Votes Campaign. Part of the dignity referred to is that of the people we have been contacting. 
Here is part of what I wrote for a flyer for the canvassers to hand to people they talk to or to leave at places where no one was home:
You are important. Voting is important. And it is important for you to vote on Nov. 4. Unfortunately, some people don’t think they are important or that their voice matters. But they are important—you are important. And their voice matters—your voice matters. That is why we urge you to vote on Nov. 4.
The NJC is also encouraging people not just to vote but to be “dignity voters”; that is, people who, for example, cast their ballots for candidates who will support raising the minimum wage so everyone can earn enough to live on.
Dignity voters will vote for candidates who support universal health care so everyone can get needed medical treatment.
In Missouri and 22 other states that means raising the income bar so more low-income people can get Medicaid.
Dignity voters are for candidates who will seek to put limits on the exorbitant interest rates charged by payday lenders.
In short, a Dignity Voter is one who votes to enhance the dignity of everyone in our community, in our state, and across the country.
The NJC is affiliated with the Kansas City organization known as Communities Creating Opportunity, which is a 501(c)(3) organization. Consequently, those who work with NJC are required to be nonpartisan. That is, when we contact people we cannot mention any political party or any candidate’s name.
Largely for that reason, after canvassing on Oct. 18 I decided to stop working with NJC in their voter campaign. I still very much believe in Dignity Votes, but I am afraid many people don’t know who to vote for even if they want to be a dignity voter.
As I live in the 6th congressional district, my representative to the U.S. House of Representatives is Sam Graves, who is running for re-election. But it seems clear to me that a dignity voter would need to vote for Bill Hedge, his main opponent.
In the past Rep. Graves has voted against raising the minimum wage, and his present stance seems to be the same. He also has repeatedly voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Mr. Hedge, however, is clearly for raising the minimum wage and for supporting and improving the ACA. So even though Sam will probably be re-elected, still I am going to cast a dignity vote for Bill Hedge.
Those of you who live in other congressional districts, or in other states, will need to determine which candidates would be most acceptable to dignity voters.
Please join me in seeking to be a dignity voter on Nov. 4. Let’s vote for those candidates who will do the most to help, and enhance the dignity of, the poor, the disadvantaged, and the most vulnerable persons in our society.


  1. "Bravo for NJC! I'm still puzzled to see so many people here in Kentucky vote contrary to their own interest, as you do in Missouri." (From Thinking Friend Glenn Hinson)

  2. Dr. George, a Canadian Thinking Friend sent the following comments, and I appreciate his sharing an "outsider's" viewpoint on U.S. politics as well as an explanation of politics in Canada.

    "Although I am a Canadian citizen, I am always interested in what is happening 'south of the Border.'

    "If I were an American citizen, for sure I would be a strong dignity supporter, follower and voter. You see, in Canada, we have medicare which has been in existence for a number of decades, fought for and won nationally by a 'socialist' party (CCF now known as NDP - New Democratic Party).

    "In Canada,we have three major political parties: Conservatives (somewhat equivalent to the Republicans), Liberals (Democrats in USA) and the Socialists. The Socialists have over the years formed provincial governments in various provinces across the country--hit and miss, meaning sometimes they are in, sometimes they get defeated.

    "Currently the NDP is the official opposition at the national level. The Socialist Party has among its membership many well-educated people, i.e. professors, teachers, clergy, social workers, et al. It fights for justice issues such as medicare (it gets threatened from time to time by the Conservatives), increasing minimum wage, social assistance, housing for the poor, hunger (yes, this is a big issue among children in particular in our so-called wealthy country), and more.

    "NDP is anti-business and this is one aspect that I do not care for. I am a strong believer that government, business, labor, and others need to work together to solve some of the big issues that arise from day to day.

    "I am politically speaking a Liberal--have been forthe past six decades or more. While it has its faults, I know that the Libs are concerned about justice issues so....

    "Anyways, I wish you and your fellow citizens well. I hope you will be successful in getting the right people elected into the various positions across the region/nation."

  3. Let me point us to two related article.

    First, on the violence and racism behind Mississippi's poverty:

    Second, a review of GOP attempts to remove about 7 million voters from the rolls:

    American democracy is still a long way from the Constitutional goal of "a more perfect union."

    1. Craig, thanks for reading and responding--and for including these helpful links. Part of the problem, though, is that conservatives do not trust to be a reliable news source.

      I may be mentioning this in a blog article soon, but this Pew Research posting is quite interesting:

  4. Kansas voters within the KC metro area can visit the Main Stream Coalition's MainPAC website for what I consider to be thoughtful recommendations:

    MainPAC has a long and proud history of backing candidates on both sides of the aisle who support strong public education free of special interests, fiscally responsible policies that balance revenue strategies, and good government free from partisan machinations and religious doctrine.