Editors' Note: Having grown up in the suburbs of Washington, DC, guest blogger Steve Publicover worked for fifteen years in the non-profit field of consumer credit education and advocacy and has written newsletters, educational materials and numerous articles for a variety of publications. Steve lives with his partner of nine years in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwestern Virginia and blogs at Rev. Steve's Cyber-Pulpit.
There's another election on Tuesday. Yes, Virginia is one of those places where we have elections every year. Why? Because many years ago some clever, power hungry politicians figured out that fewer voters turn out during off-year elections and learned to manipulate the system to their benefit. Instead of voting for president, governor, mayor and school board on the same day every two to four years, Virginians have to remember to schedule some extra time every first Tuesday of November to stop at their polling place and make their voices heard.
During the presidential elections last year, The nation was dumb-founded when the commonwealth turned out for Barack Obama. Democrats proudly proclaimed that Virginia was now a blue state, or at the very least solidly purple. If you live in Virginia, or at least the 85% of it outside of Northern Virginia, you know that this is not true. Virginia remains very much a red state. The Obama victory here was driven, in large part, by first-time voters in urban areas in support of Barack Obama's historic candidacy. This is a good start, but hardly signals a trend toward a more progressive political climate here.
There is a lot at stake on Tuesday for Virginia' LGBT community. While Democrat Creigh Deeds may not be the perfect candidate for our issues, a Bob McDonnell victory would be so much worse.
The Washington Post, in it's endorsement of Deeds on October 20th, had this to say about Republican Bob McDonnell:
...We worry that Mr. McDonnell's Virginia would be one where abortion rights would be curtailed; where homosexuals would be treated as second-class citizens; where information about birth control would be hidden; and where the line between church and state could get awfully porous. That is a prescription for yesterday's Virginia, not tomorrow's.
If you were one of those first-time voters that turned out for change last year, I beg you to do so again this year and to do what you can to help others like you to do the same. Change does not happen overnight. It is an ongoing process. Virginians, in general, don't embrace change. Change is scary.
But if you believe that all Virginians should have equal protection under the law, if you believe that the Virginia Marriage Amendment -- that cemented bigotry into our constitution -- is immoral, if you believe that it's time for Virginia to join the rest of the world in the 21st century, then it is your moral obligation to go to your polling place on Tuesday and say so by casting your vote for Creigh Deeds.
Older, more conservative voters do show up every year at the polls. Driven by what they see as a greater sense of patriotism and the understanding that the old ways are going the way of the dinosaur, they show up when more progressive voters don't, to keep us 50 years behind the times.
If we wake up on the morning of Wednesday, November 4th with Bob McDonnell as our new governor and you didn't bother to vote, I will blame you personally. If you allow Virginia to backslide into the dark ages when there is so much promise of a brighter future for all of us, because you did not vote, I will blame you personally.
If you don't vote, it's all your fault.