To the Editor: Don’t Surrender Your Voice on June 13

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If you have ever wished you could elect a person who will protect you instead of your utility company, you are in luck. This year you can help get Tom Perriello on the ticket by voting for him on June 13.

For most of my life I neglected to vote in primary elections. Why do so many of us do that? Why do we voluntarily give up the loudest megaphone we have on the issues that matter to us? Even before Facebook, it was easy to sound off in the echo chambers of our like-minded associates, but when the time came to really effect change, it was even easier to neglect our most direct method: the vote.

For me, it was not that I didn’t care about issues; I cared deeply. But I didn’t see the connection between voting in a primary and making a difference. At the back of my mind there was some version of “all politicians are the same.”

Well, I see the connection now. Unless we vote on June 13, we have no say in who we get to vote for this November! Nationwide, candidates are coming forward in both parties and challenging incumbents, specifically to be “different.” They are driven by the terrible need to protect our deepest values, and they are refusing to take money from corporate interests because they want to be accountable to us, not to polluters and other industries that serve only themselves.

We need to step up, too, and support them. How? With conversations with the people we know, about why we vote, and when it’s happening. With house parties, canvassing door to door, and joining the excellent organizing efforts already present here in the Crozet area. With donations of time and money to Brand New Congress, which finds and vets respected community members who agree to refuse donations from corporate interests as they run for office.

And most of all, with our vote.

The November election will be important too, no matter who we pick in the primaries. In off-year elections like the one coming up, the pool of voters is much smaller than last fall’s presidential contest, so each vote is much more important.

If concerned people in Virginia came out to vote with the passion that we actually feel about the issues… (I’m talking about issues like investing in schools, especially in playschool for young children, as research tells us is so important. I’m talking about fair policing and sentencing practices that protect targeted groups from tragic injustices, and finally relinquishing the sense of entitlement and white supremacy behind them. I’m talking about environmental protections that allow us to live healthy lives, and, maybe soon, to live at all. I’m talking about health protection for all our people that would allow entrepreneurs to take risks and allow us all to survive and thrive. I’m talking about protecting children instead of corporate profits and war profiteers, so that everyone can send their kids to daycare and college. I’m talking about shielding ordinary people from the increasingly grotesque greed at the top; we all contribute, but we don’t all share in the ever-expanding wealth of this nation.) …if we brought that passion to the ballot booths, we would change the status quo that has bitterly disappointed and failed our communities.

This June 13, I will be casting my vote in the primary for Tom Perriello, and, whether or not we send him and Angela Lynn to Richmond this November, I will know that, this time, I used my power. “All politicians are the same” only when we voters don’t insist on having candidates who are committed to us, not to their corporate donors.

Atieno Bird
Crozet

Send your letters to the editor to [email protected] Letters will not be printed anonymously. Letters do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Crozet Gazette.

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