|Vol. 9 No. 21
OCTOBER 16, 2014
Publisher & Editor
Lisa Peyton-Caire, Eileen Hocker,
Alfonso Zepeda Capistran, Theola
Carter, Fabu, Lang Kenneth
Haynes, Heidi Pascual, and Donna
Poetry and Voting
|Health for La Comunidad
The Latino Health Council
Celebrates 20 Years
It’s been a busy week with little time to sit back and reflect on the pressing issues of the day or how I might
feel about things. While I fulfilled all of my responsibilities this week, putting in 17 hour days in some
cases, it’s left me with very little left over and a vacuous mind.
One cool thing about this week’s issue is the poem by Althea Reneé Miller about First Lady Michelle
Obama’s visit to Madison on behalf of the candidacy of Mary Burke who is running for governor. I had just
cover Michelle Obama’s appearance in Milwaukee about two weeks earlier and I anticipated that there
would be little difference between what Mary Burke and Michelle Obama said in Milwaukee and what they
said in Madison. It turned out to be a correct assumption.
Nonetheless, I wanted to cover the first lady’s appearance in Madison, but I didn’t want to produce an
identical article on what was said. So instead of me writing an article, I decided to bring along Althea along
as a reporter for The Capital City Hues. Althea occasionally writes poetry specifically for The Hues. So
Althea sat up in the press section and observed the proceedings. And I asked her to put her thoughts and
feelings about the moment into poetry.
What resulted was pretty cool, in my humble opinion. And I was given special credentials by the Burke
campaign to be one of six photographers who stood stage right in the Overture Center’s Capitol Theater as
Michelle Obama spoke to the audience and then stand on the front edge of the stage as Michelle shook
hands and hugged everyone. She is such a warm person who cares about people. Anyway, this experience
allowed me to take some very good photos, again in my humble opinion. Combined with Althea’s poem
titled “9 Again,” the photos present a unique recounting of the first lady’s visit. I remain forever grateful.
One issue that was temporarily decided this past week is that the U.S. Supreme Court refused to lift an
injunction preventing the state of Wisconsin from implementing its draconian Voter ID law that would have
mandated that every voter present what the Walker administration and Republican legislature felt were
proper identification before they could exercise their constitutionally-mandated right to vote. This Voter ID
law would have disproportionately impacted the voting rates of people of color, the elderly, students and
Thank goodness that we will not have to prove who we are in order to exercise our constitutional right. The
Voter ID law was going to deprive thousands of voters their chance to vote in order to stop a few cases
where people voted illegally. In order to prevent something that didn’t alter the outcome of elections, they
were going to implement a measure, Voter ID, that would alter the outcome of elections. How messed up is
that? They shortened the time and hours when people can vote absentee and have gerrymandered the
assembly and senate seats in order to get a majority in the Wisconsin legislature. And for the Republicans,
it still isn’t enough. They have to have it all and want to eliminate the risk that they can’t have it all. And
these are our leaders?
While I think it is a wonderful thing that the U.S. Supreme Court, in essence, blocked the implementation of
Wisconsin’s Voter ID law, it is by no means a permanent measure. At a later date, the Court will decide on
the constitutionality of Voter ID laws and their notion of what the U.S. Constitution says and what I and many
others think it says are entirely different. The current majority on the Court called themselves “Strict
Constructionist,” which meant they did not believe the Court should be making policy. Well I think that went
out the window when they ruled that George W. Bush had been elected President in 2000 due to the number
of hanging chads on Florida’s ballot. In my recollection, this is when they became consumed by their own
power and they have been legislating from the bench ever since.
So I wouldn’t be surprised if the U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of Voter ID laws sometime in the future.
To let it be implemented in October with a major election just a month away would have been a messy and
I think the Court was just being a prudent administrator and will stick the knife through the heart of voting
rights at a later date. In the words of Yogi Berra, ‘It ain’t over until it’s over.’ Stay tuned!