Monday, September 22, 2008

falconbridge shopping center's politics are more important than your rights

I didn't want to ruin a very positive post with this story, but I think it should be mentioned that the organizer for yesterday's voter registration drive was forced to stop registering people to vote in front of The Mardi Gras Bowling Center by the people that run that little strip mall(The Falconbridge Shopping Center, for those wishing to stay clear). She had nothing that identified her party affiliation or support for any candidate, she was just told that they knew she was with the Obama campaign and was forced to stop registering people to vote.

My take on all of this was that this was pretty low. No one there was trying to sell anything. No one there was pan-handling. People were being asked a simple question: "Are you registered to vote?" If the answer was yes, they were told to have a nice day. If the answer was no, they were asked a simple follow-up question: "Would you like to register now." If the answer was yes, then five minutes later they had filled out the form and were on their merry way. If the answer was no, they were told to have a nice day.

Apparently, someone found this to be entirely objectionable and complained. At least, that's the official story. My guess, since the recounting of the banishment from the greater Mardi Gras area(The Falconbridge Shopping Center, for those wishing to stay clear) included that the owner of the property was very insistent that she knew for a fact that it was Obama volunteers registering people, it had more to do with the name Obama than any customer annoyed at having to answer a question or two without even breaking stride.

So you don't like Obama. Why stop people from registering to vote? If you think that people registering to vote hurts your candidate's chances...doesn't that say something about the candidate you're supporting?

Andi had a second, and probably more poignant take on the situation. On the way home, she lamented the fact that there is no such thing as public space. From one end of Durham to the other, if you want to register people to vote in actual high traffic areas, you're doing so at the mercy of whatever developer owns the land.

With that in mind, I'd like to point out that the people at The Woodcroft Shopping Center of Durham have been more than accommodating to volunteers helping people register to vote. I shop at their Food Lion and occasionally dine at their Subway or Pulcinella's Italian Restaurant. You should do the same

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