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Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! I am on my mobile version of the door-to-door, going town-to-town holding readings/gatherings/discussions of my book "But What Can I Do?" This is my often neglected blog mostly about my travels since 9/11 as I engage in dialogue and actions. It is steaming with my opinions, insights, analyses toward that end of holding all life sacred, dismantling the empire and eliminating violence while creating the society we want ALL to thrive in

Monday, September 13, 2004

A governor's pardon...only

We left Alabama and entered Mississippi, eyes peeled for the psychic reader who had advertised on a huge billboard in Alabama, stating she was just across the border into Mississippi. We were really curious about how she could survive in the land of churches and 'christian' billboards and 'jesus is coming' signs that populate the road as densely as deciduous  trees in a summer forest – which are pretty dense in Alabama! We couldn't find her so we continued into Columbus, Mississippi. We see a sign from the highway directing us to the Mississippi University for Women in Columbus so we search for students instead of psychics.
The first thing we see approaching the campus is the american flag and confederate flag hanging side-by-side. We learn that Mississippi is the only southern state that retained the confederate flag as its state flag. Once on campus, we search for voter registration forms – not one office, organization, or person on this campus has voter registration forms. We go to the county court house and I request voter registration forms for the campus. The white womon there informs me that because the students are only here for four fuckin' years, she expects they'll vote absentee ballet from their own state - she wishes probably! She told me I would have to go to Jackson to get more registration forms. An African American womon gets up, takes a form and tells me she is going to make me copies, as I’m waiting,
I see some voter registration forms that I casually pick up. When she returns, I add the copies to my find. I notice the form says that if you have a felony, you can't vote. I ask about this and she copies me a memo from the special attorney general that asks them to do the Florida thing, which is purge the names of all individuals who have been convicted of the following crimes: arson, armed robbery, bigamy, bribery, embezzlement, extortion, felony bad check, felony shoplifting, forgery, larceny, murder, obtaining money or goods under false pretense, perjury, rape, receiving stolen property, robbery, theft, timber larceny, unlawful taking of motor vehicle. Then someone wrote in 'statutory rape' and 'car jacking'.
Are there any crimes left to be convicted of? Violence against womyn and children? And men of color? Oh no, not on the list.
The voter registration forms adds a line about voting if you've had your rights restored as required by law, so I’m thinking, maybe this means after you've done your time. I called the secretary general to have it explained to me and he thought it meant if you were pardoned by the governor. I asked “So what if you've served your sentence?” He said no, that if you were convicted of any of these crimes you could not vote unless the governor has commuted your sentence. I asked if he was 100% sure, being in the secretary state's office and he said he wasn't!
We went back to the school and began asking wimmin to register to vote. We registered a young womon who was turning 18 on Wednesday and hadn't planned on voting. She had a 6 month old child, 17 units of classes and felt too busy to vote. And she wasn't interested but as we talked it became obvious she was not only interested but cared very deeply. She was concerned about bush and what he was doing to our young people in this war and in this country. We talked about absentee voting, which she had never heard of. She took us to talk with one of her professors, a white womon teaching english and wimmin's studies. As we were talking yet another young womon, white this time, came running up, hugging us and saying she saw the truck and it made her feel soooooo much better. We talked about CodePINK and they both promised to check out the web site and look into starting a CodePINK on campus! Yeah!!!!
We stayed on campus registering students until all our forms were gone.


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