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.
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.