Voting is personal for me. I grew up in Canada, a country to which my family and I immigrated. I’ve joked that unlike Barack Obama, I actually AM a Kenyan-born Muslim. But that’s not the whole story—and the whole story shows why voting matters so much to me. #velshi
In 1981, 10 years after my family arrived in Canada, and having just recently become citizens, my father ran for office. I was 11 at the time, and maybe the hardest working campaign volunteer he had. #velshi
Late on election day, when all was done but the counting, my dad and I drove home to get ready for the big night. He was going to make history, becoming the first person of South Asian descent to be elected to any major office in Canada. #velshi
We got back into the car to drive to the campaign headquarters. We turned the radio on. At 8pm, the election broadcast started. Results would take a while, except for one constituency in which the outcome was so obvious they could declare a winner. #velshi
That race was my dad’s. We had lost the election. Before we even reached the campaign headquarters. It was over, and I was devastated. But my father wasn’t. “Of course we lost,” he told me. “We were never going to win.” #velshi
I asked my dad what it was all for if he knew he was going to lose. He said he ran because he could. His candidacy gave voters a choice—a choice he wasn’t able to make as a young man. #velshi
Unlike me, my parents were born and grew up in South Africa, where my father, and his father, and his father before him fought the injustice of the racist apartheid regime from the wrong side of the law. #velshi
Because of the color of their skin—of my skin—my forefathers could never run for election. They couldn’t even vote. Or own land. Or freely express ideas or opinions that differed from the government without risk of being thrown in jail or even killed. #velshi
My father saw his candidacy as a choice for voters. What they decided was up to them. That choice—that vote—is democracy itself. #velshi
Your right to vote was hard earned, in blood and in jail time, from the Revolutionary War, to the Civil War, to the Suffrage Movement and the Civil Rights movement. And yet, in America, only about 55% of eligible voters actually vote. #velshi
In Australia, voter turnout is above 90%. But voting is much simpler there. Australians can vote at any polling station… IN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY. Voting is actually compulsory in Australia. If you don’t do it, you get fined. #velshi
In Canada—like in most other developed countries—there is a national standard for voting applied across the board. Eligible citizens are automatically registered to vote, and unless someone produces evidence to the contrary at your polling station, you get to vote. #velshi
America, which boasts of being the world’s free-est and fairest democracy, has managed—and some of it is deliberate—to complicate the fundamental underpinning of our democracy in a way that has become a form of voter suppression in and of itself. #velshi
But it doesn’t have to be this way. My dad ran for office because the system couldn’t stop people from making a choice to support the ideas he championed. And they couldn’t stop him, and they can’t stop you. You have ten days left to BE democracy in action. #velshi
By the way, my dad ran again in 1987. That time the voters chose him. Like I said: voting is personal for me. #velshi

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Ali Velshi

Ali Velshi Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @AliVelshi

27 Feb
I want to tell you a story about a place far away and its people about whom you probably don’t know much, but who are suffering. #velshi
Xinjiang is China’s largest region by size. It borders Pakistan, India, Afghanistan, Russia, Mongolia, and the former majority Muslim states of the Soviet Union. #velshi
Of the 25 million people who live in Xinjiang, about 11 million are Turkic, as opposed to the Han Chinese who are the overwhelming majority in China. They are known as Uighurs. #velshi
Read 13 tweets
21 Feb
"The events in Birmingham & elsewhere have so increased the cries for equality that no city or state or legislative body can prudently choose to ignore them. It is a time to act, in Congress, in State & local legislative bodies & above all, in all of our daily lives"
That was President Kennedy in a speech to the American people on June 11, 1963. It was considered a watershed moment in the Civil Rights movement and marked the beginning of the end of a long struggle for equal rights. #velshi
Protesters began to pressure Birmingham’s business leaders to open employment to people of all races, and end segregation in public institutions, stores, schools, and restaurants. #velshi
Read 9 tweets
20 Feb
On Thursday the Biden administration, along with congressional Democrats, unveiled a new immigration bill creating a path of 8 years to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants already in the country. #velshi
The bill also provides an expedited path for DREAMERS - the undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children by their parents. #velshi
The bill’s approval has a tough road ahead given razor thin Democratic majorities in both houses, but while there’s little bipartisan support for immigration reform in Washington, DC, there’s broad support for what it aims to do among Americans. #velshi
Read 11 tweets
7 Feb
A couple is two people, a minyan is ten, a jury is twelve - so what do you call eleven people? #velshi
2/ 13
Well in the case of the 11 House Republicans who joined the 219 democrats in voting to remove Georgia congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene from her committees assignments, you call it a good start … but with a very big caveat. #velshi
The House of Representatives resolution punishing Greene was barely more than a page long. House rules require Members of Congress to “reflect credibly” on the chamber, and pointed to Greene being removed for quote “conduct she has exhibited.” #velshi
Read 13 tweets
7 Feb
This week, the Senate will hear arguments about why the former seditionist President of the United States should be convicted of Inciting an Insurrection. Democrats will argue that the former commander in chief convinced an army of his followers to storm the Capitol. #velshi
Democrats will argue that the events of 1/6 damaged our Democracy.
But democracy was not the only victim of the insurrection. There is a yet greater and more personal toll for those who were inside the Capitol and those who were defending it. #velshi
Officer Sicknick (left) sacrificed his life. Officer Goodman (right) risked his life to save Members of Congress. These are names we’ve come to know & praise, but there are other heroes who woke up on 1/6 as one version of themselves & went to sleep forever changed. #velshi
Read 13 tweets
6 Feb
17 days ago @VP Kamala Harris became the first woman of color, the first woman of south Asian heritage, the first graduate of an Historically Black College & University AND, the first Black woman Vice President of the United States of America. #velshi
@VP 2/12
Whether or not you share @VP Harris politics, who she is embodies the future of our country, one that is growing ever more racially diverse. #velshi
Harris’s history-making started years before her swearing in ceremony when, after becoming just the second Black woman to serve in the Senate, she announced her plans to seek the Democratic nomination for President. #velshi
Read 12 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!