Why My Voter Card is the Most Important Card in My Wallet

By: Jeff Greene

I absolutely welcomed the opportunity to interview the fine candidates for the office of District Attorney for our October newspaper. Thanks to all of my teammates for their efforts. I hope that Philadelphia’s voters will honor us by turning out in record numbers for this important election. You see—for me—the most important card in my wallet is my voter registration card.

I am aware these days that it’s not really required to have such a card for most elections, but this card has become a symbol of my visibility as a fully solid human being as well as a readily producible fact of my citizenship of these “Unique” States of America.

During the time that I was homeless, I had none of the documents that most people need to easily and successfully navigate the thing we call “daily life.” Well, these days, I have my State-issued ID card, my Social Security card, my Birth Certificate and that Voter Registration card…

Why is it so important, you might ask?

Because human blood was sacrificed to gain the right for people who look like me to see the inside of a voting booth.

There are many, many names of forthright and courageous people who were beaten, abused, and murdered right here in America throughout its history because they wanted to “stand up and be counted”—too damn many for me to ever think of staying home or doing anything else when it comes time to vote.

Those humans who gave their very lives for the vote must be honored!

On the 10th of October 1871, one such human, Octavius Catto, was shot to death in broad daylight on Election Day, here on the streets of Philadelphia. Catto was recently honored with a memorial and statue of the south side of City Hall.

Please go for a visit and take some young people with you—all people should go visit and learn just what it means to stand up for your rights as a human being.

Voting habits must be instilled and installed in these generation(s) to come, because it seems that “civics” is not being taught in our schools anymore, (I hope that I am wrong about this) and the prospect of generations of powerless Americans frightens me like I have never been frightened before.

Whatever you may feel about the issues or candidates or about politics in general, it is vitally important to express your concerns in the voting booth.

You would do well to honor those who died in order that you might exercise this right; and you may as well enjoy the intrinsic right to jeer or cheer the results an election.

Philadelphia can do much better than it has been known to do in elections past. I am not chiding Philly or bragging about my participation in the election process, but my best friend and I were willing to drag our “Senior Citizen” butts into an area called the “Badlands” here in Philly and actually knock on doors at our peril to get people out to vote.

In my experience, the most terrifying enemy that a poor political system will ever face is an educated voter. Get out and vote!