Wizard Rock the Vote

Jun 19, 2008

Posted by Melissa Anelli
Uncategorized

The HP Alliance, in coordination with the wizard rock community, has just unveiled its newest effort, “Wizard Rock the Vote,” a nationwide (that is, United States-wide) event to get as many Potter fans registered to vote in this November’s election as possible.

To remember why it matters look only to J.K. Rowling’s Harvard commencement address: “Even your nationality sets you apart. The great majority of you belong to the world’s only remaining superpower. The way you vote, the way you live, the way you protest, the pressure you bring to bear on your government, has an impact way beyond your borders. That is your privilege, and your burden.”

The concept is simple: at every wizard rock concert this summer, volunteers will be on hand to help register audience members. If you’d like to be one of those volunteers, check out concerts near you and fill out the form or send an email directly to samantha@thehpalliance.org. You can check out the participating bands here.

Watch this video!

If you’d like a Wizard Rock the vote T-shirt to rock this summer, go here; proceeds fund the drive!





84 Responses to Wizard Rock the Vote

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This is a really good idea =]

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oh ya HP fan’s 4 McCain!

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Good for the Wrockers! Despite being an extraordinarily opinionated person, I encourage all (whether in the US or not) to explore as many points of view as possible on issues, and vote (local customs allowing) according to your conscience. All of our societies are stronger through complete participation.

(But I still say my opinions are the right ones!)

Avatar Image says:

that is a really good idea, too bad i can’t vote yet :P that video made me laugh a lot though.

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this is a really good idea. however, I went to the Alliance website and find they have a certain political agenda and are not attempting a very balanced show for all candidates. too bad, if they were a-political their site and what they want to help do would be much more believable. as it is, it’s just another group with an agenda they are trying to get people, especially young people adhere to.

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This is a really good campaign. Especially if they vote for Obama XD

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Hufflepuff Lady, please refrain from arrogant statements which suggest that voting for a specific candidate is more worthy of praise then that of a vote for another candidate.

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I think this is smart because some adults are lazy and wouldn’t register. I think it will show that the potter community is strong. I wish kids could vote!!!!!!!!!! I like both candidates, but I definately liked Obama better than Clinton!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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What?! This post has been up for a couple of hours now, and no one has yet started in on the whole “But this is so arrogant and one-sided and typically American, why don’t you do this for Canada’s/Britain’s/Australia’s/Germany’s/myyyyyyy country’s elections, WAAAAAAAHHHH!!” whining and foot-stamping yet?

I’m shocked. O_O

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i’m sorry you feel that way Giselle, but just because this is an American event and we’re discussing our political opinions doesn’t make us ‘arrogant’, or ‘one-sided’ or even ‘whiny and foot stampy’

after all, i really don’t even understand what ‘wizard rock the vote’ is, and the movie didn’t really clear anything up. i’ve never really been too interested in politics anyway, but i’m sure whatever it is, it’s a good idea.

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David,

What she did is no different than what Mike did. Since you didn’t start on Mike, I wonder who you support. . . . :P

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Agahnim, that’s EXACTLY what I was thinking!

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I’m registered (first year I can vote), and I was able to vote in the primaries. I think this is a great idea; it’s important to get people involved with our country, and this might serve as motivation.

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I agree with Diva’s observation. While I am all for easy and fun ways to register to vote, there is obviously a political agenda here. I am sad to see such blatant propaganda with Harry Potter attached to it. Also, I would hate to see political lines drawn in the sand here on Leaky. Lets not get nasty. I have plenty of friends on the opposite side of the political spectrum that I love and admire. We just part ways temporarily at the polls! Maybe this group will take the hint and round out their voter registration campaign to include many points of view.

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hopefully there is a good turn out of voters..im canadian..but our countries are connected, and it would be nice for..well..CHANGE!

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I think it’s a great idea. I’m not an American myself (I’m from Belgium) but I think it’s very important that the elections of the US gets more attention. After all, it’s about politics which influence the whole world. No offense to all (republican) Americans here, but another 4 years under a republican president like Bush would be a disaster for the world peace (that is, if we can still speak of something like that). From what I heard I know that the news on many American tv-stations is been manipulated as it comes on the Irac-policy. If you see what the republican presidents for the last 30 years have done, you see a lot of wars and scandals. (think of Nixon and the Vietnam war, the Watergate scandal, Bush sr and The Gulf War). And if you see what Bill Clinton, a democrate, did with his negotiations between the Palestine and Israel, that’s something to be proud of I think. So please register and vote for change, after 8 years war on terrorism I think the time is there.

@ David: it’s not forbidden to express your political ideas, that’s what they call freedom of speech (isn’t that one of the most important statements in your Declaration of Independence from 1776?). Anyway, I hope that in November, it’ll be a fair contest and that the US chooses wisely.

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I think it’s interesting to read the comments from people from other countries. It gives us an idea of how Americans are viewed by the rest of the world. Thank you all for your observations.

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Hmm… I’m gonna stay out of political discussions, because I could get into it.

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WOW!! this will get the blood boiling won’t it? as an Australian who is MADE to vote, i think voting is a GREAT IDEA.

we Aussies ae lazy and apathetic at the best of times (it’s the weather), so our government makes us vote. if we don’t vote, we get fined. I think it’s a great system. ALL voices should be heard. As a citizen, you should be taking part in the democratic process, by electing those who mean to govern you.

The more that vote the better – the Aussie govt makes sure it get all our voices, even if they do have to forceably kick us out of the house on a saturday to do it.

You may hate voting. You may LOATHE voting. But your voice SHOULD BE HEARD. we hae a responsibility to take some part in how our own contry runs and. By the same token, i feel everyone deserves the right – 16 year olds (who can pay tax, get conscripted and drive cars, but can’t vote), copnvicted felons – whoever – as many people as possible should participate!!!

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As a “bitter, white, outrageously poor, working-class” American woman raised by social activists, I hate to say but it really isn’t arrogant to say our election goes way beyond our borders – it’s realistic and pragmatic. On the other, more self-indulgent side of the coin, this bitter, white, outrageously poor, working-class American woman was also raised by social activists. Mom, having marched with Dr. King, fought for women’s rights and risked life and liberty to sneak young men into Canada to avoid forced conscription into a war not of their choosing, died this Spring knowing there’s as much chance as not that our next president will be black or female (issues, stance and background of said candidates not withstanding).

That said, here’s hoping this movement gets yet more people registered and involved in the political process and that these folks will take an honest look at the issues instead of just voting for (or against) gender, color, religion, or what our peers/families/pastors intimidate us into voting for.

And for all of our sakes, if your precinct uses Diebold electronic voting machines, consider filling out a paper absentee ballot instead so there’s a better chance it will be counted accurately. My cat can hack into Diebold’s Micro$oft Access database and give Ohio a 104% voter turnout like last time.

;-)

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I’m in the youngest of the demographic when it comes to voting (this is actually my second time though, I love it!) and I think that any program that tries to get more and more individuals out there to vote, I am all for it.

And to suggest there is a political agenda is preposterous. There are more and more programs out there now to try and get younger individuals to vote. There were people on my college campus asking people to register, MTV has a program (the original, Rock the Vote). It’s all geared to make the younger generation not only want to vote, but aware of the issues that are being raised. I think these programs are fantastic. My first year of college my roommate voted for the candidate whom she felt “had the coolest name”. What kind of crazy idea is that?! Not only is that a ridiculous useless vote, but why bother voting if you really don’t care?

I think having the ability for individuals to sign up to vote at concerts is the smartest thing. No one is going to be standing there telling you “If you sign up to vote here you MUST vote for McCain/Obama”. They just want you to vote and become aware and that is awesome to me. If everyone was aware and voted than we would solve so many more problems in the world than any one could ever imagine.

I fully plan on voting in November. I’m proud to vote. I’ve been following the elections for a very long time now. I know the issues and even still, I’m having a hard time deciding who I want to vote for (the individual I voted for in the primaries is not the person who has been chosen for the party). But I’m still going to vote. Because my voice and my opinion matters. And I think everyone who goes to a Wizard Wrock concert this summer and is of age should take the time to sign up to vote if they haven’t already and take a few minutes each week to read about the issues. They are really interesting and enlightening.

And look at that – I made a strong opinionated statement for wanting this – without boasting for one candidate or another or even stating which party I belong to. See? Political Agenda Free.

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Superb Idea. I love the HP Alliance. Ive been part of it for a while now. xxx

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im happy that the harry potter fandom can have people on both sides, it shows how diverse we are. oh also, (this is to t-vey) i beleive you misunderstood what giselle was saying. you are actually on the same side i believe

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THIS IS SO NOT FAIR, ALL THE CONCERTS IS IN THE UNITED STATES OF America.. _

(im not saying anything to offend or hurt you)

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The part of this that leapt out at me, as with the original speech, was the assertion that the US is the world’s only remaining superpower. Do China (largest population, fastest growing economy) and Russia (resource rich at a time when OPEC’s supplies seem to be running out) not count?

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What a great idea! And clearly I think you’re an idiot if you think this is Americans just being arrogant, that’s ridiculous. Whether you like it or not who they vote to be president has a wide effect over many parts of the world, the last 8 years has certainly shown us that. I think voting is always better than apathy and whoever people vote for I just hope they have seriously thought about the candidate and not whether they are just Republican or Democratic. cough vote Obama :D

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Please don’t vote if you’re not informed on the issues. I’d rather have a smaller electorate that is informed and making a choice they’ve logically made versus a larger, more ignorant electorate that votes based on any sort of movement or other similar things. That doesn’t mean don’t vote, just make sure you’re informed before voting or do our country a favor and stay home.

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What a great idea!

EVERYONE should vote. It’s your right and it’s your chance to voice your opinion. Think about all the people in the world who live in a country where it’s imbossible for them to try and make a change. All of us in the west should realize how privlidged we are when we have freedom of speech and the right to vote.

That being said, it’s also your duty to get all the information of all the candidates rather than just picking someone who ‘seems nice’ because that’s not the proper way to use your vote.

I live in Finland and the US presidential election gets a lot of attention here since this election really has influence beyond your the US borders… Think about stuff like climate change.

(Bush is EXTREMELY unpopular in here.)

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Could someone please point out to me the exact HPA page that shows there political agenda? I went to there website and couldn’t find anything that says vote for this candidate or this party.

@ JoJerome

104%, really? It’s a little sad that I didn’t know this beforehand considering I LIVE in Ohio. I’ve been becoming more politically aware, I swear!

@Helena123- I’m pretty sure Bush is unpopular everywhere :)

I think it’s interesting how Australians have to vote, and that seems like it would be really affective. However, silence is also a form a free speech and can have powerful impacts. Of course, that doesn’t work so well when 50% or so of the country stay silent because they’re just to lazy to go vote…

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I’ve read a few comments on here about their “bias political agenda” and how sad it is they don’t have multiple points of view. But reading the HP Alliance web page the main points they want to work at are “Genocide, Poverty, AIDS, and Global Warming”, they are against discrimination, they are against the use of torture, and are for originality, love and creativity. Perhaps those issues may be more addressed by certain political parties, but these are global issues that could be addressed by many political parties, in many different countries.

I don’t think you can have a “balanced agenda with other viewpoints” on issues like these. If your organization is against genocide, poverty, and torture, I wouldn’t expect to see an argument on the other side of the coin. Most of these are global human rights issues or world problems that need to be addressed. If the country you live in only has one political party addressing these issues, then it’s kind of sad because it’s something everyone should consider.

I don’t think it’s shameless use of Harry Potter to “tack on a political agenda” because the underlying message of Harry Potter is Love, Equality, and doing the right thing even if it’s hard or unpopular to do. That seems to be what this group is pushing for, and that’s admriable and something people from all political affiliations should really consider. I mean, who’s Pro-genocide? Who’s Pro-Poverty? Who’s Pro-Aids? Maybe some people are, but I doubt they’re really hanging out on the HP boards because I’ve never met a kinder group of people than HP people. You can be a liberal and support these views, and you can be a conservative and support these views. With these subjects it really should just be a difference in the route to take, but not the destination. We’re more alike than we are different, and that’s my two cents.

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Good work, Leaky! As a South African, living in a country in which people fought a long struggle in order for every South African, not just a white minority, to be able to vote, I support the view that voting is VERY important. There’s no such thing as not being ‘involved’ in politics; the ordinary is political, the everyday is political. The US’s actions do indeed affect the world beyond its borders – for example, funding for public health and community health projects in South Africa, essential in a country where the HIV/Aids epidemic is rampant, have drastically decreased under Bush. But even if you’re not interested in the rest of the world, and need a reason to vote in the US, you need not look beyond your own borders – many Americans too, are poor and disadvantaged. There is plenty worth fighting for, plenty worth voting for.

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Considering J.K Rowling herself has spoken highly of the Harry Potter Alliance and its many initiatives, I don’t think the HPA is really in danger of being viewed as an organization that’s using Harry Potter in an inappropriate manner. If you look beyond the basic elements of plot and character development in the series, you’ll see that a number of political issues are being addressed throughout the story. Of course, (I assume that) Rowling assumes that her readers are intelligent enough to make the leap from the Ministry of Magic to real-life governments and so forth. In any case, Wizard Rock the Vote is NOT a campaign to steer voters in any particular direction. We may support and fight for a number of progressive ideas and causes, and obviously there are certain presidential candidates who also fight for those same causes. Still, this is an effort to boost voter registration and encourage people (especially young people) to take an active role in their government and society as a whole. We (the HPA) support voter registration as much as we support ending the genocide in Darfur. This initiative is a reflection of that and nothing else.

On a personal note, I have a feeling that anyone who’d be against this voter registration drive is probably a right-winger who is offended by the notion of a progressive organization encouraging young people to vote. Please remember that there are many people on both sides of the American political spectrum who love this country and wish to foster the ideals of democracy in a productive, proactive manner. The two-party system is an unfortunate reality, but that doesn’t mean we have to chain ourselves to one side and claim the Constitution as our own. I would be thrilled to see a conservative organization putting together voter registration drives—to me, it would mean that more people are using their political clout, and whoever gets elected would be more deserving of the prize.

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John McCain(more like John McSame) doesn’t care about wizards.

Vote Obama!

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Cornelius Fudge Rufus Scrimgeour Other

I wish there was OTHER on this year’s ballot.

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Hey: There’s no chance at all the HPA will be steering you in any one direction, becuase its status as a nonprofit is dependent upon its non-political stance. They literally can’t do it. Honestly, the only thing they’re doing is getting you REGISTERED. The choice is yours.

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I’m from Argentina, and voting is a duty and mandatory. If you don’t vote, you’re fined. (The fine is a joke; I think it’s something like 50 cents, but still)

The way YOU, Americans, vote, affects me. It affects me because you inhabitate a superpower, and what happens in there, has a huge impact all around the world. So please, PLEASE, it won’t hurt you to take a few minutes and listen to your candidates, and reflect on which is the best choice. If you won’t do it for yourself, do it for the world. Every vote counts.

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Giselle, I would like to apologize for my earlier comment. I didn’t mean to cause so much controversy. Jenny, now looking back, I think you’re right- I misunderstood her. Anyways, now that I completely understand Wizard Rock the Vote, I think it’s a FANTASTIC idea. Also, I didn’t mean for my comment to sound like I don’t CARE about politics. Voting is very important, as well as it is to have your voice heard. But personally, I would still like to know a little more about the canidates, before I could make an educated decision… And why did Jo say we belong to world’s only remaining superpower?!? (...well, America is the only superpower with an economy that will take more than the next 4 terms just to recover) With that being said, everyone who can, should definitely participate in this event!!!!

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That video is ingenius!! That is so great that the HP Alliance is promoting voting. It really is. Good luck!!

Vote people! if I could I would!!

And remember…...

Republicans for Voldemort!!

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Whether its democrats or republicans that win – it doesn’t matter when it comes to foreign policy, particularly concerning the Palestine – Israeli conflict. The U.S. has sadly been hijacked by a foreign country and many Americans are not even aware! Instead of the U.S. government using American taxpayer dollars on its people, it has chosen to spend BILLIONS annually to fund the Israeli war machine and to continue the genocide of the Palestinian people.

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And remember…

The most radical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the revolution.

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I’m really excited about this campaign. Even though I wasn’t old enough to vote in 1980, I think it’s the most important election this country has had since then. It seems to have excited a lot of first-time voters and that’s a good thing. Hopefully, they will go to the polls on Nov 4. The more people voting, the better. Maybe we can actually force our political leaders to listen to the people’s interests instead of the lobbyists and special interest groups. WOW, what a concept!!!

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@ The Whomping Willows: “On a personal note, I have a feeling that anyone who’d be against this voter registration drive is probably a right-winger who is offended by the notion of a progressive organization encouraging young people to vote.”

The only thing I am against is encouraging anyone to vote who is not well-informed on the issues. Everyone should vote, it is their civic duty, but the first part of that duty is to get WELL informed, not by listening to the spin, the hate speech on the blogs, the commercials or the feel-good rhetoric in a rock concert atmosphere. That may get people interested and excited, which is great, but it does not get them informed. As a person who has followed politics for decades and has seen the misinformation and spin out there I am very afraid for the fate of this great country after November 4. It is naive to assert that there is not a political agenda associated with this. They may not be “able” to say so, but anyone with two brain cells to rub together can see through what they do say quite easily. That is fine, too, it really IS impossible to go into anything like that with no bias whatsoever, but at least be honest about it.

What I find very interesting is the idea that if America “chooses wisely” it means a democrat in the White House. We have a democrat controlled House and Senate now and their approval rating is even lower than Pres. Bush’s. There are serious problems in BOTH parties and it is past time for everyone to acknowledge that fact. Instead of going to the polls with an ideologically chosen candidate in mind, why not actually take the time to look at each person’s stance on the issues based on their voting record, look at each person’s character, look at their history and research those things from reliable sources, not the blogs or politically motivated commentators. Decide which issues are most important to you and vote for the candidate who most closely matches your personal beliefs, regardless of political party, age, race, gender, spouse, religion, etc., etc., etc. Vote the person, not the party.

“Republicans for Voldemort!! Posted by Lindsay on June 19, 2008 @ 12:18 PM”

Yeah, that is REALLY open minded.

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‘Ear ear LemonFaerie.

You just said a bunch of things that I wish I had thought of, or said things I wanted to say in a much better way than I could have said them. Thank you.

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ah, no… reality is invaded the imaginary world i used to visit to escape how suckass the actual world is right now… that’s just awesome. sigh.

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crap, i meant to write “reality HAS invaded…” now i look ignorant!

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Oh Melissa, if you really think just because an organization’s non-profit they don’t or can’t push you towareds one political position over another, take a look at the NAACP. Their non-profit exemption should have been removed a LONG time ago.

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Kirty, I’m not saying everyone follows it, but the HPA is serious about it. They are not endorsing a candidate, only encouraging people to make their individual voices heard.

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@ Kirty,

The NAACP was established a long time ago to promote EQUAL RIGHTS in this country for BLACK AMERICANS. Their work has been essential to our moving towards EQUALITY of OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL in this country.

Since when is the promotion of EQUAL RIGHTS a political position???

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I am all for getting young people to register to vote. I’ve been voting since Jimmy Carter. You do the math. I vote every election, every time. But my concern is with the world of politics especially the presidential race filtering into the Leaky Forum. I come here to get away from that. If I wanted to debate or discuss politics there are plenty of Politcal blogs, liberal and conservative, to visit. Register to vote then read other blogs for insight and education into the poltical landscape. Just my opinion. I like to read about Potter concerns while here.

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Ok, I was trying to stay politcally neutral in my first post, but after reading everything posted since, I have to say this: Everyone is unhappy with the way things are right now in the US weather you are right or left. There are serious flaws in both the Republican and Democratic parties. If the country wants to see some REAL CHANGE the people should seriously consider a third party candidate. I am perfectly serious and not naive. As a nation we no longer fit into these nice categories any more. Why do we continue to vote this way? There are two many things going on in the world to settle for this. I was given a book recently that helps explain why so many don’t fit into these two boxes. I haven’t finished reading yet, but check it out. Not sure if its legal to post but its called 8 Ways to Run the Country. And for heavens sake don’t respond to this post! Ha Ha!

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I live in California and am for McCain, so there is no point in me voting at all. California will go for Obama in a landslide. You cannot be too far to the left in California. Californians would elect Stalin in a landslide. (I love the state, but it is indeed the left coast). Can anyone think why I should vote for President when my vote won’t count here?

Thank you.

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@ beccam, please excuse me but I had to respond. I just couldn’t help myself.

I agree with you completely.

I think the Republican and Democratic parties have become bloated dinosaurs. Their constituencies are not the American people, but rather the lobbyists and special interest groups who fund their campaigns. I’m sick to death of both of them. As the late George Wallace (a politician I would never have supported) said in ‘68 – “there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the two”. Wallace was not taken seriously, but forty years later, that dime has shrunk to about two cents in my opinion. I think this country has been in serious need of a third political party for far too long.

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Lamia, Please explain how my post is anti-sematic. Thanks for pointing out that this is a harry potter site. I’d like to point out to you that this is a political post. Like many before me have mentioned, U.S. has a significant impact in the world stage. I have no issues with the Jewish people. My problem is with the Israeli government and its continued practice of ethnically cleansing the Palestinian people. To learn more about this 60 year conflict, please read the excellent book “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine” by Israeli historian and professor Ilan Pape. To learn more about how Israel continues to receive unconditional support from the U.S., please read “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy” by John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt.

More info available on If American Knew: www. Ifamericansknew.org

“My commitment to Israel is unshakeable” – Barak Obama

“In addition to her moral commitment to Israel’s security, America must provide Israel with whatever military equipment and technology she requires to defend herself, above and beyond what we supply today if necessary. Our support for Israel must intensify, as threats to Israeli security have intensified.” – John McCain

Democrat or republican – it doesn’t matter as far as I’m concerned.

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Just a comment about HP Alliance: If the website promotes human rights, freedom of speech, environmental issues, then I’m all for it. We need to remember that despite all of the differences we see in this world, we are one human race and we live on one small planet in the universe, and it’s about time that we learn to take care of each other and our planet.

Love is the answer.

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Thank you to scribe58 and all the other thoughtful, decent people out there.

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Even though I can’t vote I still care about how this election will turn out. I would even call this one of the most important elections of all time, due to the impact it will have on the world. with all of this crazy events happening, such as global warming and the energy crisis, this election will affect the future of this planet.

Also for those who can vote look on the internet for information on the candidates, because if you get your info from Fox News(right wing) or from Keith Olberman(left wing) the news you get is going to be biased. I like CNN it’s the most neutral news center. try youtube it has some good channels such as BraveNewFilms. Be informed voters Wizards

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I don’t think you can get away from the fact that the HP books have political commentary but not necessarily in regard to present day. I do not care to have politics served with my chosen HP sites and activities. I already vote in every election, and I can read and write, therefore I can decide and I don’t need PC, MC,TLC,or MN to help mark my ballot.

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I would like to add that I agree with Matt. The emphasis should be on getting people to take voting rights responsibly.That means get registered and get informed. Most people of all political persuasions want the same things.Justice,freedom,peace,love,and prosperity are a few common goals. We just don’t always agree on the best ways to get to the same place. Even if you register through the HPA drive and you want to make a change for Darfur, you may still believe that change can best be made in ways not in lock step with HPA strategy.If you are old enough to vote you are old enough to actually investigate issues instead of blindly following like a lamb. And just because you like and respect somebody does not mean they have all the answers for you. We renew our constitution by voting. It is the right which ensures all others. You decide!

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I think it’s great that people are being encouraged to register and vote. I am a little troubled after reading through this discussion thread by phrases like “choose wisely”. Please bear in mind that, despite what the news media may lead you to believe, a President McCain isn’t necessarily an unwise choice and a President Obama isn’t necessarily a wise choice. Both candidates have good and bad qualities and neither one of them will live up to voter expectations.

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@ KB Prez,

I never said the promotion of EQUAL RIGHTS was a political position. You should be careful about putting words in peoples mouths. If you listen to almost any speech by the NAACP, they heavily favor (maybe even exclusively) Democratic candidates and vilify Republicans as evil. Now, they’re certaily free to have that opinion individulally, but when they are basically campaigning for Democratic candidates, that should revoke their tax exempt status. If they were either more balanced or stopped their political attacks, it wouldn’t be a problem. The NAACP has done a lot for EQUAL RIGHTS but I think they could do more if they tried to be more inclusive. You know, kind of how the sorting hat said things should be. But just because they have good aims doesn’t excuse the fact that their tax exemption should be revoked for their political activities.

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@ Kirty,

The NAACP, like other tax-exempt groups, does not endorse candidates because it would lose its exemption. But we all know the games these groups play. They bend the rules almost to the point of breaking them.

But I’m curious – why did you single out the NAACP???

I know their agenda is considered too far to the left by many people and that’s fine. I don’t support groups whose agenda I believe to be too far to the right. But let’s face it – most opinions of these groups are based on very little knowledge of what they actually do. But if we’re talking about rule bending, you could just as easily have attacked one of the groups from the right. No one is immune.

The list of these groups, both left and right, is very long. If the IRS actually enforced the law, there would be very few of them left. But our history has shown that moral issues are almost always played out in the political arena and I believe advocacy groups are essential to that process. Without them, Black people might still be enslaved, women might not have the vote, and the fight to outlaw discrimination against gay people would still be “in the closet”.

As much as I disagree with the agendas of groups like The Family Research Council and The Christian Coalition and as much as I believe they heavily favor conservative Republican candidates, I would no more advocate they lose their tax-exempt status than I would that of the NAACP.

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I think Joe Tuttle alluded to an excellent point in that just because you care about issues such as Darfur, Iraq, climate change, etc, doesn’t mean you have to support a particular groups’ or candidates’ strategy for dealing with these particular challenges.

While people should feel free to debate others, comments like “Republicans for Voldemort” are truly unfortunate and do nothing to contribute to the debate of ideas and policies that should occur in an election.

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I think this is great idea. It’s a very important decision and imo this time around there really is a big difference between the candidates. Here in Germany you can pretty much interchange the parties since a few years. Though a 5th party (we had a 4 party-system for a long time) is gaining more and more support. The next Bundestagswahl (country-parliament-election) should be fun. :D

Btw. you have to register to be able to vote? I didn’t know this. Forgive me for asking, but why is this necessary?

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@KB Prez

I would support those conservative groups losing their tax exempt status if they are ‘unofficially’ endorsing candidates. I singled out the NAACP just because I’ve seen extreme examples from them, and it upsets me because, as I’ve said earlier, I think they’d be far better off by staying politically neutral. Of course there are MANY other examples from both sides of the spectrum, and I think they all should be held accountable if they are not abiding by the law.

That doesn’t mean they can’t express their beliefs – telling Republicans or Democrats they don’t like this bill or that bill, but to be so one sided and attack only members from one political party is not going to help anyone. I definitely didn’t mean to demean any of the many wonderful things the NAACP has done, but I am upset that so many of these non-profit organizations are doing what they’re not supposed to and getting away with it. If they’re going to be a non-profit organization, they should abide by the rules associated with that status. Obviously these associations are there to advocate a certain set of beliefs, and I don’t want to discourage that, but the rules are that they can’t endorse candidates. They might not officially endorse a candidate, but they skirt the law. Like I said, I don’t see how this helps their cause at all. So, I apologize again for singling out the NAACP. They’re the ones I get upset with the most, but there are so many others – on the left and indeed on the right.

Oh and @Miles, we have to register to vote to ensure you live in a certain area (otherwise, people from a surrounding area could come in and influence the vote), to ensure you’re eligible to vote (a citizen, not a felony parole ineligible to vote), etc.

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Having glanced over the comments here – I’d encourage any American reading this to please please PLEASE find the time & the energy to vote. PLEASE! As JKR says you can influence so much in the world!

BTW Emma – Australians are not required to vote, we are simply required to appear at a polling place & take a few pieces of paper. There is no way to confirm someone has actually registered to vote when they turn 18, and as far as I know there is no law against not registering. There is no law against donkey votes or simply voting with a blank sheet of paper. There is however, a law preventing donkey voting from being encouraged or promoted. Personally I think there is a huge case for compulsory voting.

Miles – to vote in the US you have to register through the political party you side with (Republican or Democrats). (It’s been a few years since I studied US Politics, hope this is still right) Here in Australia you need to register with the Electoral Commission when you turn 18. If you don’t vote (or at least have your name marked off at a polling station on election day) you receive a $50 fine. This applies to elections at three levels of government – local, state and federal.

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“I would support those conservative groups losing their tax exempt status if they are ‘unofficially’ endorsing candidates. I singled out the NAACP just because I’ve seen extreme examples from them, and it upsets me because, as I’ve said earlier, I think they’d be far better off by staying politically neutral.”

@ Kirty, none of these groups are politically neutral and all of them unofficially endorse candidates. THEY ALL “SKIRT THE LAW”. If you honestly believe some do not, then with all due respect, you’re just not paying close attention. I doubt you’d be so upset with the NAACP if you agreed with their agenda.

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As a 16-year-old, I “don’t matter” to this election. I can’t vote, and none of my friends can, either. There is no chance of me convincing my very Republican parents to vote for Obama (whom I support fully). No one seems to care what I think, because of my age and inability to vote. I am tired of adults assuming younger people are unable to make an informed decision on whom to support. I think it is high time everyone stepped back, both in this particular web discussion as well as real life ones, and realizes everyone has their say, be they young or be they old. If “Mike” from the first page wants to support McCain, we have to accept that. If “Hufflepuff Lady” (also from the first page) chooses to back Obama, we have to trust that she has her reasons. Nobody here is going to change anyone else’s mind, and we are only responsable for our own choices at this point.

If you want to try and change someone’s mind and support your candidate, go to a campain headquarters near you and volunteer your time, not your hate on some website. That’s what I did.

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Jenna and Others,

When you register to vote in the US, you do not have to choose Democrat or Republican. We just moved my mom to Oregon and she marked the “I don’t belong to any party” box. I have been Independent. When I registered, I didn’t realize that was a party. Just thought I could vote any way I wanted, which I do. It limits what I can do in the primaries.

Jenna, I know that it is difficult to get those who have been Republican or Democrats all their lives to change. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care about the election. It sounds to me you have an interest and you should be involved in your school. When you get to voting age you will be much better informed than I was at your age.

Sometimes I wish we had the Canadian system (correct me if I’m wrong, but this is what I was told)—30 days to make your case to the public, then the vote. I am sick of two years of ads constantly bombarding me on the TV (consequently I don’t watch much TV). No one verifies whether the information in the ads is true or not. You cannot trust what you see. You’d better be doing a lot of searching on your own. Actually, I wish we didn’t have parties (Republican, Democratic), and that everyone cared about what is good for the country, rather than what is good for the party.

Caring about our country, everyone. Who will address the issues that will affect us all? (I’m trying to be neutral here.)

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PS: I am really enjoying comments from the rest of the world. Keep them coming.

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It’s really interesting to read the comments after reading the text of JKR’s address at Harvard; we sure look like a cross section of the things she was talking about. I really thank her for stating that it is our burden! We forget that it’s a heavy and serious responsibility. Some of us think because our state will go one way or the other, our vote is not important. Well, I agree the electoral college is a thing that has long outlived its purpose and should be tossed out for good, but even then-there are local elections and issues and your vote may very well be important there, so take your rights seriously and vote. I’ve voted in a few elections now and only once has the guy I voted for actually won, but I would NEVER not vote. I think if you don’t vote, you get to shut up for the next four years because he who complains but does nothing does not deserve the right to complain. Whatever way you vote, please educate yourself, please ask yourself the tough questions, please put yourself in the other persons shoes before you decide. And one thing no one has said-we tend to vote for someone as though they were going to do the whole job alone, but they don’t and they couldn’t. Please consider the people they are likely to be bringing into their administration -we might have done things in a far better way the last 8 years with fewer poorly qualified people and/or fewer…let’s say “men of questionable ethics ” carried over from earlier administrations. We want to send the best, most honest and SMARTEST team out on our behalf, not anything less.

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Terrific discussion!

In addition to being a HUGE Harry Potter fan, I am the Administrator at my local political party’s office, in an eastern Pennsylvania county.

1) Register with a political party. “Independent” just means you give up your right to vote in Primary elections (in most states). No matter what party you register with, you can vote for anyone in the General (November) election.

2) THERE ARE 2 ELECTIONS EVERY YEAR, a Primary (spring) and the General (November). Vote for local, county, state and national (House, Senate, Pres) officials, plus occasional ballot questions.

3) “Liberal” is not an insult. From the dictionary: “tolerant of views differing from one’s own.” This is one of JKR’s themes.

4) Organizations like the NAACP nearly always support Democratic candidates because those candidates’ views are more in line with their organization’s goals. The same simple reason applies for Republican candidates’ views and right-wing organizations such as the Family Research Council. There is nothing unseamly about this fact; it is just how things work.

5) Having said #4 above, of course there is much that IS unseamly in politics!

6) Despite the popular notion, mentioned above by some in this thread, there is a HUGE difference between Republicans’ and Democrats’ positions on many many issues. At the most base, Republicans believe that the way to build up the country is to make things work smoothly for business owners, with the “trickle-down” theory that the rich will spend money that generates work/income for others to support themselves. Democrats believe that this is a good ideal and should be done, but that inevitably some people fall through the cracks (eg., elderly, children, mentally or physically disabled, very sick, very poor, etc) who deserve help from the common good. The latter view is how most European countries are structured.

7) While it is true that Democrats presently hold a majority in both houses of Congress, they are very slim majorities (especially in the Senate) which limits their power to pass their agenda; not to mention that Bush can – and does – veto any legislation they pass that he doesn’t like.

8) Who lead US out of war and made us more secure? FDRoosevelt (WWII), LBJohnson (Vietnam) – Democrats.

9) Who presided over the hugest budget deficit spending our country has ever seen? Ronald Reagan, then topped by George W Bush – Republicans.

10) Who presided over the biggest expansions of our economy, setting records for new jobs putting more people to work? FDR (after the Depression), Bill Clinton (after he pulled us out of the Reagan deficit, then balanced the federal budget) – Democrats.

11) Who has had the most scandals and resignations due to engaging in political manipulation (not personal indiscretion) on a grand scale? Nixon, GW Bush – Republicans.

12) Please go to candidates’ websites, read and think critically, and ask questions of anyone you can. Then VOTE. No matter where you live, you can register at www.projectvote.org.

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That’s what I’m saying. I don’t like any of them skirting the law, conservative or liberal leaning.

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I hope you vote for Obama. I’m not eligible myself since I’m a citizen of the World’s second super power: EU

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8) Who lead US out of war and made us more secure? FDRoosevelt (WWII), LBJohnson (Vietnam) – Democrats.

Posted by jkbowling on June 23, 2008 @ 01:50 AM

The Vietnam War ended under a Republican 6 years after LBJ left office. So he led us out of a war and he didn’t even have to be in office to do it! That really IS impressive.

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“Democrats believe that this is a good ideal and should be done, but that inevitably some people fall through the cracks (eg., elderly, children, mentally or physically disabled, very sick, very poor, etc) who deserve help from the common good.

Posted by jkbowling on June 23, 2008 @ 01:50 AM”

This is euphemistic in the extreme. A more accurate definition would be that Republicans believe in less government, and Democrats believe in more government control of everything, including the means of production as well as government redistribution of income. Without the Republican party to hold them in check, the Democrats would have us being the People’s Republic of America.

On the flip side, if the Republicans didn’t have the Democrats to hold them in check, we would probably be like pre-revolutionary France, in which 95% of the people starved while the other 5% gorged themselves.

The point is, don’t drink the Kool-Aid from either political party, as either one taken to its extreme would be bad. jkbowling sounds like a very nice person and I’m sure he/she believes what he/she is saying, but his/her arguments are riddled with inaccuracies and bias.

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Some of these comments are fascinating. I love how topics like this always turn into political debate.

@kbprez, you showed kirty a lot of respect, more than I would have.

First kirty goes on a rant about stripping the NAACP of its tax exemption.

Then kirty apologizes for picking on the NAACP, but insists that they are the worst offenders. It’s interesting that he/she never offered the name of a single right-wing group that also bends the law even a little!

Then finally when another poster says right-wing groups bend the law as well, kirty says: “That’s what I’m saying. I don’t like any of them skirting the law, conservative or liberal leaning”.

OH PLEASE.

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I think Kirty’s original point was that the HPAlliance is skirting the law, and the NAACP was just another example of it from the left. Then Kirty got all sidetracked defending the NAACP example, when the whole point was that HPAlliance is doing it and it’s not unheard of.

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@jkbowling “9) Who presided over the hugest budget deficit spending our country has ever seen? Ronald Reagan, then topped by George W Bush – Republicans.

10) Who presided over the biggest expansions of our economy, setting records for new jobs putting more people to work? FDR (after the Depression), Bill Clinton (after he pulled us out of the Reagan deficit, then balanced the federal budget) – Democrats.”

Actually, Regan’s administration was stuck with a deficit left by the previous Democrat administration. Clinton just reaped the benefits of the previous administration. Thats just how it works.

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I have become addicted to this conversation!!

I give a hearty Thumbs Up to Sigh and his/her comments!

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Some of the comments to my very late night post as well-taken, but someone needs to tell Exasperated: It is factual that Reagan increased military spending so much that he created what had been the largest federal deficit on record at that time. This was why Bush1 was forced to increase taxes, against his campaign promises. Clinton inherited the deficit, presided over huge economic growth, balanced the budget and even produced a small surplus. George Bush2 quickly blew this away, outdoing all his predecessors by increasing spending while giving huge tax breaks to the wealthy. This has produced our present federal budget deficit of $9.4 Trillion.

The point is: register to vote at PROJECTVOTE.ORG/REGISTER. In many states, the deadline to register is about a month prior to an election, so you must do it BEFORE OCTOBER.

If you are living away from where you are registered (for example, a college student), you should APPLY for an ABSENTEE BALLOT now. It is a 2-step process and takes some time. Phone your county Election Board.

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jkbowling,

It’s quite easy to look only at the good things one presidency produces. You’ve mentioned all the economic growth during the Clinton years. No one really talks about how that house of cards fell as soon as a major event hit the markets (9/11). I remember watching the news months later and seeing all the work put into spinning the economic woes on the current administration. It would be impossible for all those financial statement shell games to have occurred in the 9 months Bush was in the White House. That would mean that all that financial chicanery occurred during gasp the Clinton administration, although it wouldn’t be a stretch to think it might have started at the latter part of Bush 1’s presidency, though it’s doubtful when you consider the timing of the accounting pronouncements etc.

The main problem with your argument that your point was to encourage people to register at projectvote.org/register is that you made several points lauding democrats beforehand (my personal favorite was your spin on presidential vetoes, Bush using the veto =bad democrat president using the veto = good). It would seem your point is more like vote democrat.

It’s not inherently bad to feel that way. Just don’t try and say that you were just telling people to go out and register. That’s the main point of the discussion thread, “it’s cool to encourage voter registration, we just wish we didn’t have to hear the party preaching.”

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You’re right, Eldric. I got away from my point when I was worried about someone implying I’m racist (or at least that’s how I took it) by criticizing the NAACP. And dilbert, if you think that was a rant, you ain’t heard nothing yet. I just mentioned that when Melissa said because they were a tax exempt organization, the HP Alliance wouldn’t be endorsing a candidate, and mentioned that the NAACP hasn’t let that stop them (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A7433-2004Oct28.html). I really don’t care if it’s right or left wing organizations, the point is that it does happen.

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“And dilbert, if you think that was a rant, you ain’t heard nothing yet.”

LOL.

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Our votes do extend beyond our borders. We are a superpower, and we, Americans, have the power to do some great things. Not only for others, but for this great country. Also, something I think many Americans forget, is that it’s a not only our civic duty, but our RIGHT to vote. So if anything one should go out there and exercise this right. It’s a powerful thing.

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