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By Juanita Bratcher


 Every time you think dirty political tricks have hit rock bottom, something comes along so sinister and absurd that it gets first-place status over all the others.

 Dirty politics stooped to a new low recently in Nevada where a conservative 527 group, Latinos for Reform, put together an ad with a Spanish speaking narrator, discouraging Latino voters not to vote in the November 2, 2010 Election because of failure by Democrats to pass comprehensive immigration reform, among other things. Reportedly, the group was in the process of purchasing $80,000 in air time on Univision, a Spanish-language network.

 It was by far deceitful trickery. But it hit a dead end before it got off the ground. It ran about five times on radio but never made its way to television.

 The ad stated that the Democratic leadership “betrayed us. And now, when they need our votes they are at it again with more empty promises. Aren’t you tired of politicians playing games with your future? Do you really think it will be different this time?”

 The ad went on to state that Democratic leaders must pay for their broken promises and betrayals. “If we just go on supporting them in November, they will keep playing games with our future and taking our vote for granted. Don’t vote this November. This is the only way to send them a clear message.”

 Subsequently, the ad was condemned by local Hispanic leaders who asked that local stations not run the ad.

 A spokesman for Univision said it would not be running any spots from the activist group.

 Reportedly, the ad is only running in Nevada where Senate leader Harry Reid is in a tough battle against Sharron Angle to retain his Senate seat.

 Some years ago a similar scenario took place here in Chicago when African-Americans were told to “go fishing” on Election Day, boycott the polls. That one, too, never got off the ground.

 When President Lyndon Johnson was weighing the possibility of a Voting Rights Bill, he stated that “Every American citizen must have an equal right to vote. There is no reason which can excuse the denial of that right.”

 Johnson also noted that “The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men.”

 The Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965.

In a poem I wrote, The Power of the Ballot, that appeared in my book, “I Cry for a People: In Their Struggle for Justice and Equality”, it noted that: 

                              Voting has a purpose

                              It gives people a choice

                              To elect their representatives

                              And reinforce their silent voice

 I’m also in agreement with a quote by George Jean Nathan, American Journalist, Critic, Essayist and Editor (1882-1958): “Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote.”

 Voting is important. And no matter the disenchantment or frustration with politicians or the political system; it is better to vote than not to vote. Voters should make certain that their silent voices be heard at the polls on Election Day. 

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