I revisited that line of thinking recently when I witnessed what I perceived to be yet another injustice. After seeing my dear friend Allen West robbed of his election in Florida two years ago, and, in the last Presidential election, seeing ACORN bus voters in, committing numerous acts of voter fraud by using the rolls of dead, fictitious characters; and poll workers voting multiple times, I got angry, wondering just what happened to our just and fair system of voting with integrity.
So what happened to raise my ire? It had to do with voting for sure. An office that would tip the scales of justice and have far reaching impact long after the last ballot was cast? Hardly.
As a mother, one of the hardest things to do is sit by when you feel your child has been wronged. The kid may or may not care at all, but there is something about a parent’s heart that feels keenly about things like this, and so the spirit that drove me to co-found AACONS, is driving me to right this wrong in the correct way, and not by retaliating in the way “the other side did” just because I can. And trust me, “the wrong way” would be easier and quicker, but I am not that kind of person. I would know and God would know – and besides, who wants to win that way, by fraud and deception?
If you’ve seen me at all lately on social media, you know that my son’s blog is up for the Best Student Blog Award. Now the rules on the front page clearly state that you can only vote once per finalist per category. My son’s blog fairly garnered votes in this way. Several times his blog was in the number one position. One can look at the likes and see the names and see maybe one duplicate. However, each time he went ahead, the blog that was previously in the number one spot would catch up and go ahead, but when one looked closely, one would (and still can) see duplicate after duplicate name. Then the tactic switched to Google accounts (gmail accounts are notoriously easy to obtain).
But the kicker was when we actually went to the blog in question and saw two posts in which the student blogger asked people to vote multiple times, in clear violation of the rules. Not only that, but in one of the posts, the student enumerated how to do so step by step, even giving directions on how to clear your browser cookies, etc. This was done in clear violation of the rule stating one vote per finalist per category!
We asked Edublogs several times if the names would be vetted before a winner was declared this week, and we were told twice they didn’t “have the resources to police” every vote that came in, and even given tacit permission for us to do the same. Today they gave me their final answer that they acknowledge my “frustration and disappointment” and agree that it’s an “unfortunate” situation, however, they don’t plan to do anything further, such as disqualify anyone actively soliciting multiple votes in violation of the rules. I don’t know whether it’s just a ruse to get more traffic for their site, consumers for List.ly, all of the above or none of the above. But, because of what I have seen in the political world, and because of what I believe about integrity in voting – little contests like a blog contest to big contests like the leader of the most powerful country in the known world – I am using “the might of right,” the power of the pen, in an attempt to correct this injustice.
It’s illustrative of why voter ID is so crucial. We need identification to bank, to fly, to drive, to work, to do almost anything in this country, except to vote. At the site where the blog voting takes place, there is a mechanism in place, supposedly, to prevent this, as it says at the bottom of the home page. Yet, when confronted with “ballot stuffing” a blind eye is turned. Don’t bother writing to them about it, Dear Angry Conservative – one) it will get you nowhere; two) I don’t want to ruin things for my child who is fighting on with the only tool at his disposal: his integrity.
Now, maybe to you I’m a mom who is carrying things too far. And, sure, to some, I’m sure I come off that way. I see myself as the mother of a child with a chronic health condition who has written about it in an attempt to help other children. I am a mother who has sacrificed years of sleep to stay up with that child doing blood sugar checks in the middle of the night when he was younger, staying up for hours until we could get his blood sugar up or down, because he had an autoimmune illness that attacked his pancreas and left him with Type 1 diabetes (different from Type 2 in that he did nothing to “get” it, it was genetic and an autoimmune response). I am a mother who has had to poke and stick her child, or watch her child poke and stick himself with needles to deliver life-saving insulin, time and time again, bearing it all with equanimity, even when I know it had to hurt. And, I am a mom, so incredibly proud of the young man who has participated in a number of clinical trials to “pay it forward” and help himself and others like him receive the technological advances that will make living with this condition easier. I’ve seen him mentor friends (and strangers through various diabetes support groups, etc.) through their own diagnoses. He also, through this blog, interviewed an athlete with Type 1, and others in the medical field; blogged about his transition from a regular insulin pump to a Continuous Glucose Monitoring System (CGMS); and blogged about just being a kid living life while managing this condition. So, yes, I am “just” the very proud mother of a wonderful Christian boy who is homeschooled, goes to college part time, interns for an educational software company, plays guitar in a rock band, and, is a loving son, and big brother to his siblings.
So, even though this is a very small, inconsequential voting matter, I’m going to implore you to vote. One, because I believe in principle and integrity and I’m tired of seeing elections taken from the people who play by the rules. No, this isn’t the same as Allen West, nor do I compare the two. But, I’m tired of the good guys taking it laying down and letting the rule-breakers win…again! Two, yes, it is my child. The kid I love. The one I have watched suffer with this chronic condition. The one I have seen grow despite it, or because of it, only God knows.
My son competed hard and competed fairly. He had a number of companies, support organizations and other diabetes groups write articles and mention him on their Facebook pages and Twitter handles. Groups like Medtronic Diabetes, Quality Health, CarbDM, and Christian Homeschool Moms. Our parenting e-mail support list Brave Buddies rallied around him, as did our homeschooling e-mail loop and our church family.
I want there to be absolutely no hanging chads! I want it to be utterly clear who the winner is in this contest. I want there to be a groundswell of support. A tsunami of votes. Single votes. A win with integrity. The might of right. Don’t leave ugly comments for the minor child who would “game the system.” Don’t stoop. Just thwart her objective and declare a clear winner. The one who ran with integrity: my son. His blog is Nikkobetes, and I’d appreciate your vote before 11:59pm ET/8:59p PT tonight December 15, 2014, when the contest ends.
To vote (and please, vote only once!), click the thumb under his blog, currently in 2nd place. You will be asked to sign in with your social media credentials. Once you do so, you will be routed back to the voting page. Click the thumb again, and it will change color and thank you for voting.
Instead of looting, I’m choosing to protest the only way I know how — with the power of the pen. When I am dissatisfied, I model my dissent through legal means of using my platform, just as I did when I co-founded African-American Conservatives. I believe in the power of the vote with integrity. ACORN can bus their people in or have their rolls of the dead vote. Students may cheat and rob the fun from a contest wherein children work hard all year. But votes matter, integrity matters, and soon, they will be grown ups and this will all matter so much more. The lessons must begin now.
UPDATE: Voting is now closed. Thanks to you, my son came very close, garnering 290 votes to the 297 the other student had on the books (many of them duplicates). After writing this post, I had another response from Edublogs, from Sue Waters the Support Manager, basically stating much of the same: reiterating my “frustation and disappointment” there was nothing more to be done unless in future they had panels of judges, which would not be feasible. Still no one has been able to directly answer any of my numerous queries as to why a student caught blatantly trying to game the system would not be immediately disqualified, and this note was no exception. My question was yet again ignored. If anyone would like to (politely) offer Edublogs their constructive feedback about this injustice, they may do so by utilizing the form found here. Thank you all for your tremendous outpouring of support!