So There!

The memory is still sharp.  Clear.  Painful.

I don’t think my brother Fred ever hurt my feelings as much as he did when he laughed at me that day.  When, as a 4- or 5-year old I shouted at him:

“You’ll be sorry when I wake up DEAD.”

Instead of being cowed, well, Fred laughed at me.  I was devastated.  Confused.  I didn’t understand what was so funny.  Later he explained it to me:

“Lease,” he said patiently, “You can’t ‘wake up dead’!”

“Why not?”

“Because if you’re dead, Lease, you don’t wake up.  You can’t.  Cause you’re DEAD.”

“Oh.”

It was the first time I understood that I had done something incredibly stupid.  I learned my lesson, though.  Never again did I threaten anyone with the possibility that I’d wake up dead.

So imagine my surprise when I read about high school nurse Terry Collins in this article.  I learned that I wasn’t so dumb back then after all.

You see, Ms. Collins woke up dead one day.  Yeah, it’s true!  She got a letter saying that she was taken off the voter registration list because she is dead.  She was quite surprised because, well, she felt just fine!  Coincidentally, her 80-year old father was equally surprised when he got a similar letter.  He had woken up dead, too!  Even more coincidentally, they are both African-Americans registered to vote in Texas!  Or they were until they woke up dead in a state where the Governor is a Republican and the legislature is run by the GOP.

Apparently, there is an epidemic in Texas. An epidemic of waking up dead!  And the number of folks who are caught up in this, umm, problem?  According to NPR, there are about 80,000 Texas voters who woke up one day and found out via the US mail that they were dead.  Most are African American or Hispanic.  Imagine that, they were members of minorities who tend to favor Democrats, and they woke up dead.

I’m calling Fred.  He’ll be so sorry he made fun of me.

*     *     *

The creativity of the folks who try to keep others from voting is quite impressive.  If only they used it to govern, the U.S. might be in much better shape today.

Here is a link for online voter registration

 

64 Comments

Filed under Awards, Campaigning, Childhood Traumas, Elections, Family, History, Humor, Hypocrisy, Politics, Stupidity

64 responses to “So There!

  1. Waking up dead would suck.

    Like

  2. Pingback: It’s Spreading! | FiftyFourandAHalf

  3. Picture IDs, killing off people the red-tape way… what’s next? Changing the day of the vote and forgetting to tell certain precincts?

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    • They’ve been doing that for years. Here in VA the Danish speaking community was accustomed to getting a yellow sheet at the polling station that illustrated the straight Dem line. Know what the GOP state legislature did? They passed a law outlawing yellow fliers at polling stations. No. I am not making that up.

      Like

  4. Running from Hell with El

    Seriously, voting should be easy. Everything about it should be easy. So I am shaking my head, but also smiling, because you crack me up.

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  5. What will they think of next?

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  6. does this mean that governor little ricky goodhair and the state of texas is guilty of genocide? even worse, ethnic cleansing? 😯

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  7. I love your final line. Why can’t the talent and hard work that goes into disenfranchising and confusing voters be applied to actually fixing problems?

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  8. Red

    How stupid is it to send a letter to someone who is dead? What a waste of postage. Who says the Postal Service is going broke?
    Red.

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    • You’re right Red. Sending letters to dead folks is dumb. They rarely answer. Unless of course they are part of the Texas epidemic and then you might get to hear from them.

      Like

  9. If only the IRS thought they were dead, too. Then, they wouldn’t have to pay taxes to support the government they aren’t allowed to vote for.

    The lengths they are going to to prevent people from voting is astounding.

    Like

  10. Michelle Gillies

    Wow! That is a lot of funerals. I’m thinking it is a good time to be Funeral Director. They could make all the funeral homes voting stations and only the dead people can vote there.

    Like

    • Now, Michelle, that is the way to make Lemonade out of this, I think! (When my mother in law tried to vote in 2004, the poll had no seats and a heavily elderly group of voters. Next election there were voting booths in her senior complex. I’m glad she is one step short of your hilarious proposal!)

      Like

    • Sorry, Michelle, but Chicago has had voting in funeral homes for decades. And cemeteries, and pet cemeteries, and in the middle of Lake Michigan for those “bottom dwellers” – you know, the ones with concrete shoes…… 😀

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      • Michelle Gillies

        Heheheheh…I’ve heard that about Chicago. 😉

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        • Hi Michele,
          My old friend Steve sent me a link to a post today — http://redheadwriting.com/making-believers — and through my tears I saw your name there in the comments. I’ve known Steve for 40 years. It was nice to see you there. I am so sad about Shirlee.
          Elyse

          Like

          • Michelle Gillies

            Elyse,
            I am so sorry about your friend. Steve and Shirlee seemed like amazing people that I would love to know.
            Erika Napoletano (the author of the piece) does not speak that highly of people often. I have learned a lot from Erika over the past couple of years (lots of cuss words) and have found her to be remarkable judge of character.
            It really is a small world that connects us all in these random ways. Thank you so much for letting me know the connection.
            Michelle

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            • I just spent the last hour on the phone with Steve. He is a cool guy. Last night he played a benefit for the daughter of a woman who was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer while pregnant. The daughter is thriving but the mother didn’t make it.

              Steve is a good man down to the soles (souls?) of his very large feet.

              I think I will check in with Erika again. (I’m not actually sure that my comment made it so i may need to go back and make sure it comes out. Word Press is easier!)

              And yes, it really is a small world. And I was glad to see a friendly face there when I learned such sad news.

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              • Michelle Gillies

                Oh my gosh, are you telling me you found out about Shirlee’s passing through the blog. I’m so sorry, that must have been a shock.
                It is really something that Steve can be so giving while still dealing with his loss. We could all learn a lesson.
                I didn’t see a comment from you on Erika’s page but, as you say WordPress is much easier. It’s good to know I am not the only one that has trouble with the “other” guys.
                I’m really glad you got to connect with Steve one on one. It sounds like you had some serious catching up to do.
                Talk soon,
                M

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                • Yes this is how I learned, during a nano-break at work. I wasn’t much good for the rest of the afternoon.

                  Steve said that once the initial calls were made — family, etc. it was just too difficult. I understand that completely. When my sisters died it was often too painful to talk about. When you say it aloud it makes it real. True. Devastating.

                  He’s doing OK. He is a good man with a good heart. I appreciate Erika’s post and will go back and figure out how to comment on it. It really helped Steve let me (and others, I think) know the sad news, and it gave him a written form of the wonderful Kevin Cosner story!

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                  • Michelle Gillies

                    I do understand how hard it must have been for him to tell everyone. I just feel bad that you found out that way. I’m glad it was a wonderful, fun, uplifting story, something for him to share with everyone.
                    I hope you have a better day today, Elyse, with no sad news interrupting it. You will be in my thoughts.
                    Talk soon,
                    M

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  11. Great post. I wonder if Texas is the only state that sends mail to dead people.

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  12. This just boggles me. I spent 10 years in Texas. I’m glad I never woke up dead or I might not have been able to vote for Ann Richards.

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  13. This makes me want to punch something.

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  14. This happened to a relative when he was denied treatment for a severe gallbladder attack. His insurance company had listed him as dead. I have wondered if there was a small amount of time in which he truly wondered if he was dead and in another dimension.

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    • Or if there was a time when he wished he was dead! Bureaucracies are always pretty difficult to deal with, but insurance companies take the cake, absolutely. Much worse than the government (although state governments are worse than the feds in my experience).
      I hope your relative is doing ok now, Renee!

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  15. Clinton

    I frequently wonder what the founding fathers think of what we’ve done with their beautiful vision.

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  16. An AR friend of mine was asking what’s the big issue with voter ID laws. So I asked, is the goal to prevent voter fraud? He replied YES, so I asked about the number of voter fraud cases … of course he could site any. The best he has is a voter reg aps as Mickey Mouse … to which I ask, how many times did Mr. Mouse vote?

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  17. Removing my boots and cowboy/girl hat since I hail from Texas. I’m hoping this is simply some kind of huge clerical mistake. I said hope…..one can hope…can’t they?…possibly? Oh who am I kidding. I will now go tell this info to The Eldest so he can further enlighten me on conspiracy theories.

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  18. In order to stay on the rolls, the 52-year-old nurse had to call and inform the registrar of her status among the living. She tried, but it didn’t go so well.

    “When I tried to call I was on hold for an hour, never got anyone,” she says. “I called three days in a row and was on hold for an hour or more.”

    This is just so maddening. I’m sure they’re saying “hey, all you have to do to clear it up is make a phone call,” but the reality is that you can’t.

    When Proposition 8 (the anti-gay-marriage initiative) was on the ballot in California, there was a TV ad depicting a bride trying to get to her wedding but running into a series of obstacles on her way; it was really good at conveying a sense of frustration. Someone should do something like that with a voter trying to get to the polls.

    Like

    • Great idea, Laura. No American citizen should have to jump through hoops to vote for our leaders.

      I read about her frustration trying to get back on the voter registration. It is amazing the lengths the GOP will go to, isn’t it?

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  19. Well so far neither my husband or I have woken up dead in the great state of Tejas, but we still have a few weeks to go.

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  20. bigsheepcommunications

    Gosh, I hate it when I wake up dead. I think you’ve passed the point of desperation when you have to pretend people are dead in order to have a chance at winning an election – perhaps a change in something else, ya know, like your policies, might be a better alternative?

    Like

  21. Wow, this is reprehensible! Thank you, again, Elyse for bringing this shocking new voter suppression tactic to our attention. I hope it gets media attention as well.

    Like

    • Isn’t it amazing. God forbid all eligible voters should, well, vote! I don’t know how much attention it’s getting. I found the story on a neat political blog that I read that often gives me blogging gems (crooksandliars.com).

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  22. I understand why it’s done, but think about this. YOU claimed that you could wake up dead – one person making a minor syntactical mistake. Here’s a state mailing letters (which require a response) to tens of THOUSANDS of people.
    Betcha ya don’t feel so stupid now, right? 😉

    Like

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