Source: Ebony Magazine
Election Day has finally arrived and CNN contributor and TV One host Roland S. Martin has a strong message to encourage Americans to get out and vote today. In an interview with EBONY.com, Martin explains his ‘Vote or Shut the Hell Up’ campaign.
EBONY: You’re hitting voter apathy hard with your new campaign to get out the vote on Tuesday. With the stakes being so high in this election, are you getting the sense that there are a significant number of people in this country who are still apathetic about this election?
ROLAND MARTIN: Yes and it’s not just African Americans, if you look at the fact that you have a significant number of [eligible] people who don’t vote. There are lots of people out there who say “oh it doesn’t matter. It’s no big deal.” But it always bugs me when I listen to people who say [that]. [This campaign] is really about reminding people and getting them to understand that their vote does matter because so much of our lives are impacted by what takes place in the halls of Congress, in courts, what takes place in state capitals, county commissioners’ courts, city halls, D.A.’s offices, judges, and it’s really getting people to expand their understanding.
We get caught up in just the presidential race and we forget that we can be all angry and upset with the Trayvon Martin case but the anger really stems from the fact that the prosecutor in Seminole County [in Florida] chose not to charge George Zimmerman. Well, [the prosecutor’s] position is an elected position. We can sit here and get upset about the Marissa Alexander and the mandatory minimums [case in Florida where Alexander is serving a 20 year sentence for firing a warning shot in the air to keep her husband from harming her] but those were laws passed by the legislature, those were laws enforced by the judge in that case. I think it’s constantly trying to remind people that our votes do matter because who we choose to support or even [choosing] not to vote makes a difference in the direction of our public policy.
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