Today we’re talking Voting Rights. In my mind, there is no issue of greater importance in the country right now – and that’s because it affects every other issue.
As you may know, I’ve put a good chunk of time into this cause. I spent four years fighting voter suppression as Secretary of State in Missouri and I’ve spent the last year fighting it as the President of Let America Vote, an organization I founded.
It’s a broad issue because there are a lot of different pieces to it, so in the second segment of today’s show I’ll go a little deeper than usual. I’ll get into the recent history of voter suppression, the tactics of vote suppressors, and how we fight back – as well as doing what we usually do in segment two: I’ll tell you how to talk about it with friends who don’t yet agree with you.
So segment 2 will tackle the issue as a whole, but for today’s conversation with a guest, I wanted to zero in on an aspect of voter suppression I don’t think gets enough attention: disenfranchisement of formerly incarcerated individuals.
Desmond Meade is the Founder and President of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, but he’s also impacted directly by this issue, because he in years past he was addicted to drugs and spent some time in prison. He is one of the well over one million U.S. citizens living in Florida with very little hope of ever having their civil rights – including their voting rights – restored.
He has a law degree, but he can’t sit for the bar. He’s active in his community and his wife ran for the state legislature, but he can’t vote. But Desmond isn’t discouraged. He’s fighting back and he’s inspiring a lot of people, including me.
Today we’re talking health care, taxes, and activism with Ady Barkan. You probably first became aware of Ady when a video of him confronting Sen. Jeff Flake went viral. Eighteen months ago, at the age of 33, Ady and his wife Rachel welcomed a son, Carl, and shortly thereafter, Ady was diagnosed with ALS.
2017 has been a year of progressive activism. It’s drawn people out of their homes in so many inspiring ways, and from the women’s march to the #MeToo movement, the resistance has been especially fueled by women, so it’s appropriate that this special episode is a conversation with my friend Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood.
It’s hard to think of a more polarizing issue than the wall Trump wants to build on our southern border. The conversation you’re about to hear was recorded in a wooden barn, on Tony Sedgwick’s ranch in Nogales, Arizona. As you’ll hear, Tony’s objection isn’t just about keeping the government off his property. As an independent-minded conservative westerner, he fundamentally disagrees with the President’s wall and calls it a bunch of hooey.