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John Cory: I Will Vote

I Will Vote

By John Cory
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Sunday 31 October 2004

The campaign words flutter like autumn leaves now; all the political polls flame and burn like red and orange maple trees before they shed, and sound byte slogans echo in the November breeze.

The coin-op media rattles and whirls like the empty jukebox it has become, a Wurlitzer of noise but no music. New designer togs and fabulous coifs at the ready, they scurry and prep for their Election Night look-at-me appearance.

It is time to vote.

For some, this will be their first vote. The adrenaline of empowerment and faith that theirs will be the vote that counts. For others, there is the fear of a strange face that will pick them as they wait in line, signal them to the side and challenge their right to participate. The American promise, only a few steps away, and yet so far from fulfillment.

Some will look into the faces of their children before they go, wondering which child they must choose to be able to afford to send to college, and which child will be sent to war. Others will study the faces of their elderly parent and question how to choose between affordable medicine and the cost of healthcare for their own family. Such is their vote for the American dream.

On the way to the polling booth, tired workers will pass empty manufacturing plants and industrial centers, and worry about their own job. Do they vote for those who offer the sacrifice of the working class for the benefit of the wealthy and powerful? Those who swear that outsourcing jobs really is good for American business, then tell you that what's good for American business, is good for America? Will their vote give them a decent job with a decent wage? Or will it leave them to work two jobs for the minimum-wage American dream?

For many, this will be a vote about fear. The fear of an America threatened by mad men. But which mad men? Those who have promised to keep America safe, but failed to deal with the recurring face of terrorism? Those who would impose restrictions on freedom at home, as justification of a war for freedom abroad? When the American dream becomes a nightmare, who will dare vote for truth and open democracy?

As for me, I will vote for America.

I will vote for the 9/11 widows who shamed White House efforts at hiding the truth. I will vote for Iraq war veterans like Robert Acosta and Operation Truth, and not for the thirty-year-old war of vanity-obsessed Vietnam veterans. I will vote to support Cindy Sheehan and Lila Lipscomb, who paid the ultimate price for failed leadership, false platitudes of patriotism, and the lethal lies. I will vote for those who die in war, and those who return to fight for peace.

I will vote for the battle against poverty, not a war on the poor. I will vote for the welfare of America, not the welfare of corporations. I will vote for the right to speak out in opposition, not the opposition of the right to speak. I will vote for the preservation of the wolves and wilderness of the Sierra Club, not the perpetuation of the Saudi Royal Family bush.

I will vote for democracy and freedom, not fear and coercion. I will vote for hope and heart, not hypocrisy and hubris.

I will vote for the United States, not just the red or blue ones.

I will vote for the future of America, not the façade of economic empire.

I will vote for my children, and their children, to be inspired by the American dream, not indentured by record deficits and government debt.

I will vote for the America of my lifetime, that looked to the stars and dreamt of dancing on the moon, yet faced its own failures in the fight for civil rights. That continues the battle of equal pay for equal work among women. The America of open arms and open minds, that understood secretive government is sedition that usurps the will of its people.

I will vote.

I will vote, for America.


John Cory is a Vietnam veteran. He received the Purple Heart and Bronze Star with V device, 1969 - 1970.

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