Guest blog by Alexis Fox, Massachusetts Voters for Animals
Thank you, Humane PA, for unleashing voter power to build a compassionate world! I believe that there will be a day when we can applaud a legal system that stands firmly between animals and those who want to abuse them. Our country’s progress will move to a time when the values of the animal protection movement are on equal footing with values championed by the women’s rights movement, the civil rights movement, and the environmental movement. I am regularly comforted by Martin Luther King Jr.’s assurance that “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
Yet, the fierce urgency of now remains. Billions of beating hearts depend on us to be effective, to expedite our efforts and to use all of the power that comes with citizenship in our democracy to be their voice.
Alice Walker famously wrote that “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” Too often I hear from animal advocates who do not truly understand the power they wield as citizens. As citizens, we have tremendous power as constituents and voters. When we exercise this power we can, and do, pass legislation that protects animals from abuse. These laws create a protective barrier around otherwise vulnerable animals. Yet animal protection laws do not get passed without the active support of lawmakers who care about animals. The fight on behalf of animals is not always an easy one. There are strong lobbies working at State Houses throughout this country to fight any attempt to regulate interactions between people and animals. They fight to be able to do whatever they want to animals without concern for their well-being.
When lawmakers stand up to these powerful lobbies on behalf of animals, we as citizens must stand up for those lawmakers. These lawmakers expect and deserve our support on Election Day. If you care about animals and you want to help them, it is incredibly important that you tie your vote to your care and concern for animals.
Humane PA is a fabulous Political Action Committee (PAC) that inspires animal advocates to become engaged voters. As voters, we must support lawmakers who stand up for animals. We should show our gratitude for their compassion by voting for humane candidates, donating to the PAC, volunteering for humane candidates’ campaigns, and organizing key districts.
Humane PA also holds lawmakers accountable when they spend political capital to enact laws that are harmful for animals, or when they block important animal protection bills. As a movement, we must be able to show legislators that it is in their political self-interest to do the right thing when animal protection bills come their way. Humane PA is the political voice for animals in the Commonwealth. That means Humane PA is holding candidates accountable at the polls, and is inspiring other state PACs throughout the country to do the same.
With an impressive social media operation, Humane PA reminds all of us that democracy is not a spectator sport. Leadership tells us that if we care about animals, we need to get in the game and use our power as voters to put compassionate lawmakers in office. Whether touting the latest opportunity to volunteer for a campaign, raising funds with an impressive donation match campaign, or reminding us to thank humane law makers, Humane PA truly gives animals a voice in Harrisburg. Humane PA shows all of us how we can build strong state PACs throughout the country, so that every state has a similar PAC.
Last year I was privelaged to attend the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. I was one of twenty-two thousand Americans in that enormous stadium where Bill Clinton, Michelle Obama, and President Obama spoke. In that stadium, the crowd demonstrated tremendous enthusiasm for ideas that were once highly controversial. We felt the roar of applause for a black President. And in that stadium, I could almost hear future convention crowds cheering for animals. I know that when every state has a PAC like Humane PA, we will be there. We will have arrived at a place where candidates and stadium crowds enthusiastically applaud the proud work of building a legal system that protects the vulnerable lives that share our world.
Thank you Humane PA for all you do to empower and inspire!
Alexis Fox is with Massachusetts Voters for Animals.