Tuesday, October 17, 2006 10:42:40 AM
No Umbrella - Election Day in the City

Where is the outrage? Documentary filmmaker Laura Paglin shows us where some of it should be.

Before Katrina delivered the reality that in the land of the free, some are a lot freer than others, Paglin took a look one of our most cherished freedoms - the right to vote.

Upon watching No Umbrella - Election Day in the City, one might be forgiven for challenging the conventional perception that African Americans were in fact granted enfranchisement.

The 26-minute documentary should stir anyone who believes in basic American virtues - whether Democrat or Republican - into action. Paglin brought her camera to the Ward 7 Precinct in Cleveland to film people getting set to go to the polls.

What they found was that they could not vote. They could not exercise their basic right because there were not enough machines and workers at the polling station to enable them to participate in the democratic process.

An enraged councilwoman, Fanny Lewis, who despite her 80 years is determined that those waiting in will ultimately vote.

"We've prayed for rain but forgot to bring an umbrella," she cries after witnessing the chaos.

Through her yeoman efforts and Herculean resolve does her utmost to calm the restless crowd and ensure that their voices will be heard. Unfortunately, things do not run smoothly despite her mammoth determination.

It is deeply troubling that this circumstance should arise in modern-day America, that such obstacles would be thrust before our citizenry.