(By Joanne Boyer, cross-posted at Wisdom Voices)
It’s taken me a few days to just drink in the beauty of what happened here in Minnesota on Election Day 2012. Lost in all the (legitimate) whoops and hollers of joy that resonated nation-wide, we here in Minnesota did something amazing.
Not only did we turn back a constitutional amendment on defining marriage as between one man and one woman, we romped and stomped on the “voter ID” amendment that was put on our ballot by a Republican legislator who is the Minnesota chairperson of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). That measure is nothing short of a victory of, by and for the people. Never have I seen such hard work by a group called Our Vote/Our Future. Minnesotans could never repay the debt of gratitude that is owed them.
This “voter ID” constitutional amendment started out at an 80 percent approval rating when it was first “introduced.” Down the homestretch, this fabulous organization worked its collective butt off – hundreds of thousands of phone calls, door knocking, organizing and never, ever giving up hope that this horrible amendment could be defeated.
By the weekend before the election, the favorable rating for the “voter ID” amendment had dropped from 80 percent approval to 46 percent approval and it failed when Minnesotans went out and voted it down.
And as great as the work of one organization was, the individual work of former Republican Governor Arne Carlson cannot go unrecognized. He was relentless in his efforts to educate Minnesotans about what this voter suppression was all about. He traversed the state and gave unselfishly of his time and energy.
The individual and group efforts reminded me of something Sister Simone Campbell (Nuns on the Bus) said during an interview with us earlier this summer.
“I had a meeting with Paul Ryan, and he said the only reason he talks about individual responsibility and not about community is because the ‘other side’ talks about community,” Sister Simone said. “But you see, I can talk about individual responsibility. We have an individual responsibility to build up community. We are in relationship with everyone else. That’s how it works.”
Boy, did we prove that here in Minnesota.