Attorney Joe Ferretti was born on August 7, 1961. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1984 and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 1987. He was previously employed by Steptoe & Johnson as a litigation associate from 1987 to 1992. Joe founded Hammer, Ferretti & Schiavoni in 1992. His personal interests include golf, fly fishing and biking. Joe has also helped Sports Radio 1340 WEPM for 8 years as a regular co-host of Panhandle Live and for the past three seasons as a color analyst of all of Sports Radio 1340 WEPM High School Football Games.
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Politics as Usual
by Joe Ferretti,posted Sep 25 2012 3:22PM
Forgive me for writing a blog that is unrelated to sports. I am so angry, seething and needing of an outlet that I turn to my only blog option. I have a 95 year old grandmother, born of Italian immigrants, widowed due to the death of her coal mining husband, my grandfather, who suffered terribly from black lung. She is a survivor of the great depression, discrimination, and the worst this country can throw at you in 95 years of life. She helped raise me when my parents were struggling and both working shifts to put food on the table. To her everlasting credit, she has voted in all national and local elections since 1936 and she cares deeply, still, about our elected leaders. As of today, she has lost the right to vote.
Her home state, the state of my birth, Pennsylvania, passed a voter ID law out of concern for election fraud, or so it was claimed. While a state representative there crowed that the new law would deliver Pennsylvania to Mitt Romney in the presidential election, there are still many who insist it is only right to ask voters to identify themselves before casting a vote. To satisfy the new law, you must have a picture ID. Don't have one? You can personally appear with a social security card or birth certificate and have one made prior to October 1.
The problem is that, by estimates of independent analysts, upwards of 500,000 Pennsylvanians do not possess a photo ID. A half of million people apparently can sign up for a photo ID to vote. While that may seem daunting, it is damn near impossible for people like my grandmother.
She does not drive and never has. She has no clue where her birth certificate may be ,if she ever had one from 1917. She cannot travel easily to any location to sign up for an ID and certainly cannot do it alone. Her two sons, both well into their 70's, must transport her and walk her into, by last count, three different locations to complete this task. They still have not been successful. So my grandmother sits at home and cries, thinking that in what may be her last election ever she cannot have her say.
What has happened in Pennsylvania is an afront to everyone who chierishes their vote and their participation in our democracy. As if there are teams of people who are impersonating others to vote, this ridiculous law is supposed to cure a problem. Yet it clearly is a solution in search of problem.
The problem it does create is that many law abiding, consistent voters will be on the outside looking in. Why should someone who has voted for the past 75 years suddenly have her bona fides questioned?
My grandmother is a Roosevelt Democrat. She would surely vote for Obama and frankly just about every Democrat because that is what she believes. She cried and admonished me when she learned I voted for Bush 41 and Bob Dole over Clinton. She was probably as angry with me then as I am now. And while her anger emanated from fidelity to a political party, my anger arises from a betrayal to constitutional principles by politicians lacking a moral compass.
This shows that no party has monopoly on using government to unlevel the electoral playing field. And those who decry the nanny state should decry this effort as well. One can't exist in Ammerica without the gummint being able to track him, tax her, and keep a file on everybody. Used to dismiss as kooks the folks who said eventually newborns would be required to have an RFID chip embedded. Now, ......?
That said, how do we fight Tammany Hall. Lincoln County, and Mayor Daley-style politics?
You can't address those kinds of problems, the ones that exist behind closed doors, by erecting hurdles out in the voting booth area.