Greetings my relatives and supporters of freedom everywhere,
I don’t know how many of you read my statements; but if you are looking for someone who thought about what he was going to say before he said it, I’m your man. People in my situation have a lot of time for thinking, and I try to catch the media as much as I can. Having said that, I would like to take just a minute of your time, maybe two minutes of your time and convey to you my thoughts on voting.
Our people, native people, were not citizens of this government until 1924. And because of our resistance to encroachment and our fight for sovereignty many of our people have a tendency to not vote because they don’t consider this government our government. And in growing up I must admit I was in the same frame of mind, but as I’ve aged and experienced different aspects of life and come across many other philosophies, I’ve realized that in some ways I’ve had kind of a tunnel vision view of the subject of voting. And I now recognize that we sincerely need to vote. Whether we embrace our own level of sovereignty or not or whether you are native American or not. If you are an American you need to vote.
There’s an old saying its better to redirect force than to fight force with force. This government is a force, this is a force throughout the world and with our vote, we can redirect that force. Tecumseh the first native person to advocate a coalition of all the tribes, said in a talk once, as I’ve read, he demonstrated that one arrow could be broken but a bundle could not. That is how it is with voting, one of us doesn’t go very far, but all together as a voting bloc, we make a strong force to redirect this force of this government. And if our arrow becomes one of a bundle of others who are seeking justice and equality in government, then its entirely possible that we can make a difference. And this would make a difference in the world.
Obama, being elected, was in its own way like the tip of an arrow in revolution. It was an effort by a multitude of people recognizing the need for this country to be more humanitarian toward other members of society than it has been. And it was an effort by the people to choose someone who cared about the people and was not just there for political power and monetary gain. I really truly believe this effort that started with Obama’s election could continue. Anyone who understands any level of government would know that this present administration could not totally clean up the mess that was created over a period of time, 8 years to be exact, under the Bush Administration. If you were old enough to remember things started to change when Ronald Reagan was in office and they started to break down labor organizations who kept up with workers’ rights and safety legislation as well as environmental legislation. And that trend has been going up and down ever since and if those powers elect another person of the Bush or Reagan mindset, it will hasten the downfall of this country’s economic situation – which until the Obama administration was in free fall. Its slowly working its way out, but we as a people need to do our part to help with that and we can do it by voting.
I also want to say, that the prison system in America has become an industry. It has become a bureaucracy. And in whatever state you live you need to become involved in changing that. The rate of imprisonment and incarceration of men and women is indescribably tragic. The rate of recidivism is somewhere between 65% and 85%, failure of the prison system, people coming back to prison. If you were needing health care, you would not be going to a facility that has a 65 to 85% failure rate. Any prison system that does not consider rehabilitation as a component is unjustifiable. Also the federal government and the state government needs to set up a system for people who manufacture American products to get an incentive of some sort to do that and put more Americans back to work.
It is a fact that I can’t vote, nor can any of the other 2 million people in prison in America can vote and countless others who have felony convictions. I want to say there a lot of people throughout this country who should not have felony convictions and should not have lost or lost their right to vote. Most of these people come from poor families who would normally vote Democratic. And the powers that be, that control this country, mainly corporations, know this. And I believe with this prison industry, as well with other systems they have in place, it is all part of the control mechanism to subjugate Americans, of all races and colors. The judicial system in America needs a massive overhaul. The constitution is no longer the foundation of this judicial system. It is no longer the plumb line of law. If all of us who care, and want to see change go do this one thing, we can successfully redirect the force of this nation. We must do this or we will succumb to the wealthy corporations that want to use us as poorly paid wage slaves to fund their lavish lifestyles.
Anyway, maybe I’ve held you too long, but think about what I’ve said, and I know theres a lot more information out there than I have. And you with your vote can do a whole lot more than I can in here, or the other 2 million people that are locked up. Exercise your right to vote. Get your family to vote, organize voting drives. Don’t let the corporations control us any longer. Don’t let the prison system remain an industry in America. If you’ve never attended a demonstration or a political rally or any other function that tried to bring light to an injustice you can at least do this one thing, vote. I don’t know how to close out this comment other than to say, “vote, vote, vote.”
And may the Great Spirit bless you with all you need and enough to share and the courage to do whats right and right whats wrong.
Your relative, brother, friend and fellow citizen of the first nations, In the Spirit of Crazy Horse and Tecumseh and all those people who have stood for whats right, Leonard Peltier.