Now imagine you have no power to change the laws that govern your life.
American democracy is a new idea based on hope.
The new idea is self-government; the hope is that we will govern wisely.
Everything about our government, good and bad, is a result of the express and covert will of those who vote or don’t vote; if you disagree with a law on your state’s ballot, a non-vote means you agree.
If Americans don’t like a law, we can petition the government to change it or we can challenge it in the courts. If that fails, we can vote to change the law, state by state, as we are doing now with marijuana.
On June 21, 1788, when the states ratified the Constitution of the United States, states limited the vote to property-owning or tax-paying white men, or roughly 6% of over three million people. (1790 census)
Single property-owning women “worth fifty pounds” could vote in New Jersey between 1776 and 1807 before the vote was restricted to white men. In 1838, Kentucky allowed widows with school-age children to vote in school elections, and Kansas followed in 1861. (History)
At the time of the American Civil War, most states adopted universal suffrage for white men, but states used literacy tests, poll taxes, and religious tests to limit the vote.
Most people of color, and Native Americans could not vote.
Maryland excluded candidates who failed to affirm faith in an afterlife from holding public office; this law was aimed at Jews.
In 1856, North Carolina was the last state to drop property ownership as a voting requirement.
In 1860 Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and North Carolina required voters to pay taxes before casting a vote.
American women won the right to vote in 1920.
African-Americans in the South would face voter intimidation, Jim Crow laws, literacy tests and poll taxes until the Voting Rights Act of 1965, signed into law by Democratic President, Lyndon B. Johnson.
The Supreme Court in Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections ruled in 1966 to prohibit tax payment and wealth requirements for voting in state elections.
As of 2018, the United States is among the most punitive nations in denying the vote to citizens convicted of a felony offense.
Arizona – Restores voting rights to first-time felony offenders. Others must petition.
Delaware – Certain crimes require a pardon for the right to vote: murder or manslaughter, an offense against public administration involving bribery or improper influence or abuse of office anywhere in the USA, or a felony sexual offense (anywhere in the USA)
Mississippi – The crimes that disqualify a person from voting as stated in Section 241 of the state constitution are murder, rape, bribery, theft, arson, obtaining money or goods under false pretense, perjury, forgery, embezzlement or bigamy.
Nevada – First time and non-violent offenders may petition a court of competent jurisdiction for an order granting the restoration of his or her civil rights.
Tennessee – A person convicted of certain felonies may not regain voting rights except through pardon. These felonies include murder, rape, treason, and voting fraud.
Wyoming – As of July 1, 2003, first-time, non-violent offenders have to wait 5 years before applying to the state parole board for restoration of suffrage. The parole board has the discretion to decide whether to reinstate rights on an individual basis.
Florida –In cases of less serious crimes, disenfranchisement ends 5 years after completion of terms of incarceration, completion of parole and completion of probation. In cases of serious crimes, the wait is 7 years and the Florida Executive Clemency Board decides after receiving an application from the ex-offender. The effect of Florida’s law is such that in 2014 more than one in ten Floridians – and nearly one in four African-American Floridians – are shut out of the polls because of felony convictions.
Iowa– Voting rights can ONLY be restored through an individual petition or application to the government.
Kentucky – Only the governor can reinstate Civil Rights. The ex-offender must complete “Application for Restoration of Civil Rights”
Virginia – Only the governor can reinstate civil rights.
The United States doesn’t claim perfection: Americans are a flawed people and we make mistakes; but Americans have a history of coming together to try to govern wisely.
Let’s come together and vote in droves this year.
Rob Goldstein 2018, I do not own the images in this post
My Mother wasn’t allowed to have a mental illness.
As an infant I was left at the mercy of a woman whose family
knew she was beating me.
The crime of moral exclusion is essentially a crime by consensus.
The perps hide behind the sanitized language of noble sounding
“They are food insecure.”
“We are protecting their rights.”
American Voters say they don’t believe in a country that let’s children starve
but they keep voting for perps who are fine with it.
“All life is sacred” until you say ain’t don’t work for me.
If the life of a high school student ain’t as sacred as the life of a fetus then
no life is sacred and what you really want is control.
Pro-life gives all kids an equal chance to grow up to be their best.
Marching children into lives of pain and ignorance is child abuse.
For all the joy I’ve had, I’m sorry I was born.
This is no bid for sympathy.
This is no statement of intent.
This is the sadness of a man whose had a profound confrontation with evil.
People who sacrifice children to ideology are evil.
I will never understand how my Mother’s family decided to let to suffer.
I was an infant.
Why was the ‘shame’ of my Mother’s mental illness worse than the murder
of my future?
How I do I forgive this?
In a sense, turning my blog into an account of my life as a person with DID carries the same risk as confessional poetry.
One’s life is open to inspection, misinterpretation, censorship and the out right demand by some people to shut-up.
I often wonder if the people who admire the poetry of Sylvia Plath feel her rage and psychic pain:
“In the German tongue, in the Polish town
Scraped flat by the roller
Of wars, wars, wars.
But the name of the town is common.
My Polack friend
Says there are a dozen or two.
So I never could tell where you
Put your foot, your root,
I never could talk to you.
The tongue stuck in my jaw.
It stuck in a barb wire snare.
Ich, ich, ich, ich,
I could hardly speak.
I thought every German was you.
And the language obscene
An engine, an engine
Chuffing me off like a Jew.
A Jew to Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen.
I began to talk like a Jew.
I think I may well be a Jew.
The snows of the Tyrol, the clear beer of Vienna
Are not very pure or true.
With my gipsy ancestress and my weird luck
And my Taroc pack and my Taroc pack
I may be a bit of a Jew.
I have always been scared of you,
With your Luftwaffe, your gobbledygoo.
And your neat mustache
And your Aryan eye, bright blue.
Panzer-man, panzer-man, O You——
Not God but a swastika
So black no sky could squeak through.
Every woman adores a Fascist,
The boot in the face, the brute
Brute heart of a brute like you.
You stand at the blackboard, daddy,
In the picture I have of you,
A cleft in your chin instead of your foot
But no less a devil for that, no not
Any less the black man who
Bit my pretty red heart in two.
I was ten when they buried you.
At twenty I tried to die
And get back, back, back to you.
I thought even the bones would do.
I saw a guy on Valencia Street last Friday.
He wore a filthy hospital gown; he had a couple of nametags
on each wrist.
I know he was medically cleared for discharge because patients don’t
leave locked psych units without a nurse to open the door.
They just don’t.
A trained physician sent a gravely disabled man to fend for himself on the streets of the Mission.
I am sick with a past I can’t remember in a present as abusive as the past.
My brain is a raging debate:
“That can’t be real.”
“It didn’t happen.”
I get confused.
from the Blind Owl
“All of life is made up of stories and tales.
I must press the cluster of grapes and pour its essence, spoon by spoon, down the dry throat of this old shadow. Because at this moment all my restless thoughts belong to here and now, it is difficult to know where to begin. My thoughts do not recognize any hour, minute or history.
For me, something that happened yesterday might be more ancient, or less effectual, than an event that took place a thousand years ago.
Perhaps the reason for the appearance of all these reminiscences is the fact that all my relations with the world of the living are now severed, past, future, hour, day, month, and year all have become the same. These stages make sense to the ordinary people, to the rabble—yes, that is the exact word I was looking for
—rabble with two b’s. These stages apply to the rabble because, like the seasons of the year, their lives have recognized divisions and limits and because they live in the temperate zone of life.
My life, on the other hand, my entire life, has had one season and one state. Even though a constant flame burns in the center of my body and, like a candle, melts me away, my life is in a cold zone, in eternal darkness.
The Blind Owl
I try to apply the corrective lens of reason to everything I think and feel.
Is something or someone good or bad?
How do I know?
What is DID?
It is relentless fear and confusion.
It is a longing for respite.
It is a cry of despair in a world that normalizes abuse.
(c) Rob Goldstein 2015-2017-2018
I’m honored to be a guest speaker on BeyondYourPast.com.
The Beyond Your Past Podcast is hosted by Certified Life Coach, NLP Practitioner, and Mental Health Advocate, Matthew Pappas. He is also the founder of SurvivingMyPast.net, a blog in support of all who have survived the Trauma of Abuse.
Matthew Pappas writes: ‘My guest on this episode of the Beyond Your Past Podcast is Photographer, Digital Artist, Blogger, and Mental Health Rehabilitation Specialist, Rob Goldstein. He is also a former guest blogger on Surviving My Past, where he shared some of his story in a post titled, “Life with DID: When Everything is a Trigger“. That post has been incredibly helpful and validating for so many who live with dissociative identity disorder, or those who have a loved one who lives with DID.
In the Podcast Rob Goldstein shares more of the story of how things finally started to make sense when he began receiving the help he needed.”
(c) Rob Goldstein 2018
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