Pull the Weeds, Water the Tomatoes… Sign Petitions and Defend Democracy!

Here’s the text of a letter to my Aberdeen neighbors that I’m hoping the Aberdeen paper will publish:

From April through June, you saw me with my blue folder, working the sidewalks and knocking on doors to ask for signatures on two referendum petitions.

At one door, a fellow citizen said, “Do I look like I give a darn?”

(She said something stiffer than “darn.”)

I replied, “I think everybody should give a darn.”

She didn’t sign, but hundreds of you did. Thanks to you and thousands of fellow South Dakotans, we get the chance to vote down two bad laws: Referred Law 19 (the petition reform bill) and Referred Law 20 (the youth minimum wage).

Come November 2016, I urge you all to vote No on both laws.

Referring and defeating both of these laws should make our legislators listen better to the folks paying their salaries (a.k.a. us). Voting No on 19 will protect voters’ rights. Voting No on 20 will protect workers’ rights.

Both 19 and 20 attack democracy, your right to vote on your laws and your lawmakers. We circulated petitions to defend democracy from those attacks.

These two petitions don’t end the threats that various forces (selfish legislators, big money,…) pose to democracy. Democracy, like your garden, is a never-ending battle. You gotta keep pulling weeds and shooing rabbits. Just like good tomatoes, healthy democracy takes work.

If you want democracy to grow and flourish, you don’t have to work too hard. More petitions are circulating now to put some good laws on the ballot for our approval. When you see me with my blue folder or another circulator or at your door, here’s all the work I ask:

  1. Sign the petitions.
  2. Study the issues (I know, that’s the hardest part).
  3. Vote.

We should all give a darn about democracy. Some of us will give a darn by circulating more petitions. Many of you will give a darn by signing our petitions. I hope everyone will give a darn by voting. Thanks for doing your part for democracy!


24 Responses to Pull the Weeds, Water the Tomatoes… Sign Petitions and Defend Democracy!

  1. Eve Fisher

    I always sign all petitions to put initiatives on the ballot, because to me democracy is all about the people voting.

  2. Thanks, Eve! I’ll only ask that you decline to sign one petition, the decoy petition the payday lenders are threatening to circulate. They aren’t offering their petition in the spirit of promoting democracy; they are trying to confuse the voters and thwart democracy. Sign the 36% interest rate cap that Steve Hickey and Steve Hildebrand are circulating, and let the voters decide the issue on that initiative without the payday lenders’ smoke and mirrors.

  3. Deb Geelsdottir

    It’s a good letter Cory. Using the “give a darn” theme works well to tie it all together.

    I have one question. Why didn’t you use the descriptive title, “Incumbent Protection Plan”? I’m curious.

  4. barry freed

    I didn’t do the work, but I still wish it were three petitions. I believe Medicaid Expansion would be passed by voters. That would help a long time friend who lost his job when the company he worked at for 25 years closed. He has a cough that should be looked at, but he can’t afford to go to the doctor and still pay his bills. How nice the governor and lawmakers are willing to sacrifice our friends and neighbors to protest the black man in office.

  5. that’s what dems stand for, barry. join up and help out and quit dittering about silly fears of losing gun rights and pushing grade-schoolers to pickup guns. half of parents (yes, maybe they are “helicopter parenting”, but losing kids, dogs, ect. to excessive gun/ammo hoarding accidents, is taking its toll) are putting the kabosh on even playing with TOY guns, hunting interest is receding, these days, so let’s worry about each and every one of ours health care.

  6. barry freed

    Leslie,
    Please leave alone. Just ignore anything I write.

  7. Hi, Deb! I guess I’m not tight enough with my messaging. I go back and forth on what to call Referred Law 19. “Incumbent Protection Plan” is the most apt description, but I’ll admit, it’s an argumentative line that I borrowed from a fellow agitator, not a formal term that appears anywhere in the documentation. When I write for the paper, I switch into a different editorial mode. But I will keep “Incumbent Protection Plan” around and see if we can make it stick.

  8. Barry, I wish I could have brought you and your friend in need that petition, but one guy can only spur so much political action. TakeItBack.org could have been a good vehicle for a Medicaid expansion initiative, but their plate seems full getting started with the anti-corruption act.

    I know it doesn’t help now, but stay tuned: perhaps TakeItBack.org will become a permanent force, a central organizing point for all sorts of ballot measures in future elections.

  9. barry freed

    I don’t always let my thoughts ferment and sometimes wish I could edit my postings. Not every Republican politician in SD who is against Medicaid Expansion is racist.

  10. Barry, the Republicans in our audience appreciate your clarification. It is also worth noting that not every Republican is against Medicaid expansion. The same principles that make us embrace the infusion of federal cash from Ellsworth AFB should make us embrace the infusion of cash from Medicaid expansion.

    But there is a strain of racism in some of the opposition to anything good from the Obama Administration. Remember, the entire ACA is a remarkable adaptation of Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts plan and Republican health reform advocacy prior to President Obama’s proposal.

  11. larry kurtz

    Every Republican is a racist: it’s just that simple.

  12. Comments like that, Larry, invite readers to make similarly inaccurate generalizations about liberal participants in this comment section.

  13. larry kurtz

    There’s nothing inaccurate about my comment, Cory. Lee Atwater is the godfather of the modern Republican Party, not Ronald Reagan.

  14. Porter Lansing

    My goodness. Can someone please direct Mr. Freed’s friend to http://obamacarefacts.com/obamacare-health-insurance-exchange/
    I understand there’s collusion among Rounds insurance empire to not have insurance plans in Sodak available on the Federal Exchange but isn’t there at least one plan this man with a cough can turn to for “affordable healthcare insurance” at the Federal level?

  15. damn, now I can’t talk tah barry anymore.

    the other generalization recently is “not all republicans are racists, of course (given that republicans, the party of Lincoln cleaned up the scourge of slavery:) but racists are generally republicans.”

  16. barry freed

    Hi Porter,
    One might think so, but we have to make a minimum amount of taxable income to qualify for the Federal Exchange, He is working two part time jobs that don’t net enough to qualify.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOWrqR_QFfg

  17. barry freed

    By “we”, I meant South Dakota and the other opt-out States.

  18. Daugaard refusal of medicaid expansion puts 48,000 south dakotans at risk who do not qualify for ACA insurance coverage because they do not earn enough. 30-90 south dakotans die annually as a result.

    does it take having a friend in need for a republican to recognize that SDGOP only represents interests of a chosen few, like Joop Bollen, for example?

  19. Not every Republican is a racist. I would accept that racists tend to vote Republican and that Republican political tactics appeal to racist fears.

  20. barry freed

    My job has me driving a lot in a car with poor radio reception and a broken CD player, so the dog and I have the time to discuss things.

    Ruminating on this subject has us once again thinking that the R’s and D’s share identical agendas. We, for some reason the dog and I always agree (may be opposable thumb privilege and cookie distribution he’s always complaining about) and we have come to the conclusion that the D’s did not sponsor an IM on Medicaid Expansion for fear it would motivate the other side’s base and hurt the D’s chances of getting elected. They both use the issues intending to motivate their base, or discourage their opponents’ base, valuing their own elections and re-elections above the welfare of their constituents and Country.
    IM’s are the only hope for progress in SD. Thankfully, we are a State that has them, but watch for campaigns to take them by the D’s and R’s biggest contributors. IM’s do need, however, an independent and balanced, truthful, method of explanation.

  21. Porter Lansing

    @barry&leslie …. Am I right that a poor person in SD with no income at all can’t qualify for subsidies on the Federal Exchange? If so, how much does a poor person have to earn to qualify?

  22. Porter Lansing

    Sorry barry and leslie. I found the answer. That’s just not right to treat poor people that way.
    ~ As of March 2015, 22 states were not expanding their programs. Medicaid eligibility for adults in states not expanding their programs is quite limited: the median income limit for parents in 2015 is just 44% of poverty, or an annual income of $8,840 a year for a family of three, and in nearly all states not expanding, CHILDLESS ADULTS WILL REMAIN INELIGIBLE.2 Further, because the ACA envisioned low-income people receiving coverage through Medicaid, it does not provide financial assistance to people below poverty for other coverage options. As a result, in states that do not expand Medicaid, many adults will fall into a “coverage gap” of having incomes above Medicaid eligibility limits but below the lower limit for Marketplace premium tax credits

  23. mike from iowa

    Never underestimate the abilities or the desires of wingnuts to punish the poor.

  24. Deb Geelsdottir

    Leslie’s truism reminded me of another one:

    “All conservatives are not stupid people, but most stupid people are conservative.”

    Now I can couple that with this new one:

    “Not all republicans are racists, but racists are generally republicans.”

    Note that neither of these at absolutes. There is space for a few exceptions.