On a recent episode of the War Room, Jennifer Granholm suggested that we make election day a federal holiday to help make it easier for people to vote.
Sounds like a good idea, doesn’t it?
Today being a federal holiday reminded me of it, and reminded me why it shouldn’t be a federal holiday.
Who gets federal holidays off? Government workers, office workers, some businesses. For the most part people who are in pretty comfortable positions in life. What about minimum wage earners? What about the guy stocking shelves at Wal-Mart? What about the barista at your local Starbucks? Retailers, service industry workers who generally make the least money in our economy don’t have federal holidays off and these are exactly the people who have the hardest time getting out to vote.
For this segment of the American population most likely to have a hard time voting, the most likely to be on the receiving end of harsh voter ID laws, the most likely to depend on cumbersome public transportation, a federal holiday would accomplish exactly nothing.
Instead, let’s set limits for the number of voters who can be registered to single voting location so that we don’t have massive lines like what we saw this year. Increase early voting, make mail-in ballots more accessible, increase hours.
Democracy is not a spectator sport, but we shouldn’t make it into an extreme sport, either.
People are divided on former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm’s fiery speech last night at the Democratic National Convention – even a few Democrats are saying that she had a Howard Dean moment when she got on stage.
You can decide for yourself, the speech is only about 6 minutes long.
I loved this speech. Jennifer Granholm fired up the crowd. People were on their feet for almost the entire time that she was on stage. This is what convention speeches are supposed to be about: Firing people up and driving home a simple message. (In this case: Manufacturing jobs.)
What I hate is some of the comments I’ve seen on Facebook today – particularly the ones telling her to “go back to Canada” – where she spent all of four years of her life as a child. If you didn’t like her speech, if you didn’t like her as governor, fine. I disagree, but fine.
But what gives with the xenophobic “She’s not one of us” discourse? We hear this all the time with Barack Obama as well. He’s just “not an American” as a Congressman from Colorado has recently said.
This is what is supposed to make us great as a country, that we all come from different languages and backgrounds and ethnicities and we come together as one country to form a beautiful fabric that’s all the stronger for its many strands woven together as one. This is what is supposed to make us great.
If there is anyone, anyone, who is allowed to say things like this, I can think of only one group. I realize that these sort of comments that you see on Facebook are made in passing without any serious reflection, but I think that they betray a certain level of hubris that’s ingrained in the white American psyche.
Governor, if you ever do go back to Canada, even though you only spent four years of your life there, and although I really prefer you here in the U.S. because I think we need you, take me with you? I happen to love Canada and I happen to have a couple pretty awesome friends who live there. I wish one of them in particular would come back to the U.S. so I got to see her more often!