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Gloria Steinem: Transcript of her speech in St. Petersburg, FL 10/20/2012

Transcript of Gloria Steinem’s speech

Saturday, October 20, 2012 at Jannus Live, St. Petersburg, Florida

I Am Choice presents “GOTV Unplugged: Rally Our Way Forward with Gloria Steinem

Do what Democracy demands. And, that is to make change from the bottom up. It is a lie that it comes from the top down. No. That’s what they want us to think—to dis-empower us. No, it comes from us. Like a tree, it comes from the bottom up.

Mitt Romey is the most undemocratic, anti-equality, authoritarian, extremist candidate I have ever seen, and there is the most distance between what he says and what he does.

He has the nerve to say he is for job creation. His entire career has been job elimination. He is not even willing to say he is for equal pay. And it happens that equal pay for women of all races is the greatest economic stimulus this country could ever have.

Equal pay, and I mean for equal work, would put $200 billion more into the economy every year. That means about $137 for every white woman per pay check—something like $300 for every woman of color who are doubly discriminated against. And you know that those women are not going to put that money into a Cayman Islands bank account—they are going to spend that money, and that is going to create jobs.

And he has the nerve, the nerve, and I have never seen anything like it, even in the Eisenhower era, anybody who refused to say they were for equal pay. Even if they didn’t do anything about it, they at least said they were for equal pay, and [Romney] refuses to support the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which is crucial to gaining equal pay.

[Romney] has pledged, on the Republic Party platform, to go around the Supreme Court, and achieve the human life Amendment to the Constitution, which would declare the fertilized egg to be a person.

I would like to say that neither the corporation nor the fertilized egg is a person. Pregnant women do not have two votes.

By declaring the fertilized egg to be a person, he would effectively nationalize women’s bodies throughout our child-bearing years. We would be legally restrained for all nine months of our pregnancy if there were reasonable cause to believe we might damage the fertilized egg. And indeed this is already going on with women who are drug addicted. Who really have no options, and yet there is more concern about their pregnancy than there is about them and getting free from drugs on their own.

It would give the government the right to legally search our wombs. To see if we were pregnant or not and if you think that’s impossible, think about the trans-vaginal probe that is legalized rape.

This is the most extreme, anti-equality candidate that has ever existed.

I hope and believe in my heart and in my knowledge that there are many, many, many Republicans that want to free the Republican Party from these crazed extremists that Romney represents.

The great centrist Republican Party needs to come back. In fact Nixon supported the Equal Rights Amendment. Goldwater supported reproductive freedom and Planned Parenthood. Bush supported and Reagan supported immigrant rights. None of them could get nominated by this extremist party now. The fact that we have so many independent is mainly because people have fled the Republican Party.

So I just want to say to all, and I hope you will say to your Republican friends, first of all, I apologize for all the old Democrats who came and took over your party. When the 1964 Civil Rights Act passed it began, because the old racist Democrats left the Democratic Party and started taking over the Republican Party. Think about Jesse Helms, right? Think about all the racist Democrats. They left and started to take over the Republican Party. And this trend has continued with fundamentalist churches that used to be either a-political or Democratic in the south, they have taken over the levers of power of the Republican Party so that there is almost nothing in its platform that most Republicans support.

It is so dangerous to have one of our two great Parties controlled by extremists. It is incredibly dangerous, because when we naturally are not 100 percent happy with one group, we just vote for the other one without understanding that we are voting against ourselves.

So if there are any Republicans here, I personally apologize for the authoritarian crazy Democrats that took your party over.

And the only way to get rid of them is to not only to win this election but to win it big… winning it big is incredibly important in Florida. So it cannot be “fudged” around the edges. In 2000, the morning after the presidential election between Bush and Gore, I was accidentally speaking at Palm Beach County Community College—it was just a college lecture that had been booked, you know, I don’t know how long before. There were 706 people in that auditorium. All we knew was that there needed to be a recount, that the result hadn’t been announced yet.

And as people stood up to say what had happened to them, one by one they were saying, ‘Oh that happened to me too; I didn’t know that I voted for Buchannan… ‘ Out of 706 people, about 100 had either been unable to vote at all, though they went to the polls, or they were unable to vote for the people they wanted to vote for. In one auditorium. You know, statewide, what did that mean? And if it had not been for one vote on the Supreme Court, you would have had a recount, and [Al] Gore would have been President of the United States.

There would have been much better environmental policies. There wouldn’t have been a war in Iraq. There wouldn’t have been an abstinence-only, government-enforced sex education policy that has given us the highest rate of unwanted pregnancies in the whole world. There wouldn’t have been a transfer of wealth from government to private hands that has never been matched in human history. There wouldn’t have been a move from a CEO that eared about 30 times the average to a CEO that earned 1,000 times the average. I mean, if you ever think that your vote doesn’t count, just think what happened all because of a theoretical 536 votes in Florida.

This voting day is the one day of our lives and on Earth and I have to say we owe this to people in the world whose lives are dictated by US policy, too, but this is the one day on Earth where the least powerful equal the most powerful.

I hope that however you can, you will make sure that from now until voting day, you make sure people are not only going to vote, take 10 people with you, take 100 people with you—make it a party. Sit with people’s kids so they can vote. And they are not only going to vote, they are going to fight to vote. If we can’t vote, we are going to sit there until we can vote. We are not going to take no for an answer. We are going to get rid of these crazed extremists who do not represent the majority even of their own party.

So I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being here today. I know you don’t need any outsiders to tell you this, us outsiders are just like excuses for you to come together and discover you didn’t need us in the first place. But… be sure that you make your own lives better today. Look around, see people you don’t know, introduce yourself, say what you care about. If you’re here, you share values, you share interests, you’ll meet a new friend a new colleague, you’ll get a new job a new love affair, who knows.

And remember that when you make other people’s lives better, you make your own better.

The BUZZ about Florida’s voter purge…

From news reports Sunday…

The Guardian—Florida will defy order to stop purging voter list amid calls of ‘suppression’

“Floridasays it will defy an order from theUSjustice department to stop purging its voter roll of people the state claims may not be American citizens. The justice department has warned that the practice, which critics describe as “voter suppression” byFlorida’s Republican administration aimed at stripping the ballot from people more likely to support Democrats, is illegal under federal laws. It has given the state until Wednesday to agree to halt the purge, something officials inFloridasay they have no intention of doing.”

 

Reuters—Florida weighs warning against voter purge

“The warning issued this week by the head of the Justice Department’s voting section said the effort appeared to violate the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which protects minorities. It demanded a response by Wednesday. A spokesman for Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner said the state must make certain that only eligible voters cast ballots. “We have a year-round obligation to ensure the integrity ofFlorida’s elections. We will be responding to (the Justice Department’s) concerns next week,” Chris Cate said in an email message. Cate said in a subsequent telephone call that the state was still formulating its response.”

 

Newsmax—Florida to Continue Voter Purge in Defiance of DOJ

“Florida, a keyU.S.electoral battleground where the 2000 presidential election was decided by a few hundred ballots, will defy the U.S. Justice Department’s warning to stop its effort to purge ineligible voters, a state spokesman said on Saturday.

The warning issued this week by the head of the Justice Department’s voting section said the move to purge voters appeared to violate the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which protects minorities. It demanded a response by Wednesday. But a spokesman for Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner said the state must ensure only eligible voters cast ballots, and intends to go forward with the campaign.”

 

Tampa Bay Times—Gov. Rick Scott: Florida is “absolutely not” targeting minorities in noncitizen voter purge

“On Friday, county elections supervisors showed so little faith in the state-led purge that their state association said they shouldn’t cooperate. The announcement came just hours after the U.S. Justice Department orderedFloridato stop its effort due to two federal voting rights laws, partly because the purge could disproportionately affect minorities. Florida Gov. Rick Scott wouldn’t rule out fighting the Justice Department in court. ‘We want fair elections,’ Scott said. ‘We want people who have the right to vote go out there and vote.’”

 

Tampa Bay TimesFeds step in to protect Florida voters

“It takes the federal courts and the U.S. Justice Department to defend democracy and protect Floridians from their governor and Legislature who are determined to suppress the vote.”

 

Orlando Sentinal—Florida should modernize its flawed voter-purge system

“These large-scale voter-purge programs end up being such disasters because they are conducted without the proper procedures and checks in place to avoid the erroneous removal of eligible voters. For example, the 2000 purge process was so imprecise that aFloridavoter named John Michaels could be removed from the voter rolls because his name was similar to that of Californian John Michaelson, who had a criminal conviction.”

 

Digital Journal—Florida officials defy federal warning to stop voter purge

“Despite warnings from the Department of Justice and objections from county elections officials,Florida’s Secretary of State plans to continue the effort to scrub the state’s voter registration rolls.”

 

The Miami Herald—Purge the purge list

OUR OPINION: Scott administration should focus on access to voters, not impose obstacles. The Scott administration’s attempt to purge the voting rolls of suspected noncitizens violates federal civil rights laws, the Justice Department warns, and the GOP-led Legislature’s law imposing a 48-hour deadline on the League of Women Voters, Rock the Vote and other third-party groups that hold voter registration drives is a bust, a federal judge rules. Democrats cry voter suppression. Republicans insist they’re simply trying to prevent voter fraud. Who’s right? The problem is the way state GOP leaders inFlorida (and various other GOP-led states) are going about it. They want to “prevent” a problem that there’s no evidence even exists.

 

 

 

 

Guardians ad Litem Provide a Voice for the Children

 

In my latest Patch.com article, I  began recalling my time working at the Pinellas Juvenile Assessment Center–my first job ever with Operation PAR, Inc. in 1999. I spent a lot of time hearing stories from youth–some funny, many tragic and others wildly disturbing. Over the years, some of these stories never leave you. One of these I highlighted in this article. Children need voices, they need someone to look out after their rights. When parents and caregivers fail them, who is there to look out for these kids?

The answer: often it is a volunteer, a dedicated member of the community assigned by the court–a guardian ad litem.

I recently interviewed Maria Costa, community outreach coordinator for the Guardian ad Litem Program in the 6th Judicial Circuit.

“A guardian ad litem is an independent voice, advocating for the best interest of the children,” Costa said. “The guardian ad litem has no other agenda than to see the child in a safe, stable and permanent home.”

Check out the full article here, and please leave a comment or just say hello on the website. Until next week…

http://largo.patch.com/articles/guardians-ad-litem-provide-a-voice-for-the-children

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