Protesting Today's Threat to Voting Rights
The march was not a memory to the past, but a protest of the present. In
Photo ID laws - pushed by the conservative
Republicans argue that the voting laws are needed to counter fraudulent voting. But they have produced zero evidence of organized efforts to tip elections with fraudulent voters. The few cases that do exist usually turn out to be voters who are confused about where they should vote or about their eligibility to vote. The laws, as noted by the Rev.
On Bloody Sunday 47 years ago, Americans saw nonviolent African-American protesters brutalized in a police riot. The nation's conscience was touched and
Protests against current efforts to suppress the vote have only just begun. But they will build - and they will once more pose a moral challenge to America.
Will Americans reward a party that is systematically seeking to make it harder to vote? Will they accept routine harassment of minorities due to their fears about immigration? In hard times, will the politics of division, a politics that plays on our fears, once more be effective?
In the old South, whites feared that they would suffer with the end of segregation. Their privileges would be reduced; their economy would be upended. In fact, the civil rights movement's victories opened the South to a new prosperity. Investment flowed in. Companies that would have not gone into a segregated South moved to
It turned out that to hold African-Americans in a ditch, whites had to stay down there with them. The end of segregation, the passage of voting rights, created new opportunity for all, not merely for those who had been repressed.
But the old South did not die. The modern
Worse, it means that one of America's two major parties is increasingly devoted to finding ways to limit the vote rather than expand it. In fact, what we ought to have is a competition on how to ensure that every citizen can cast his or her vote easily. Automatic registration on birth, early voting, extended voting days, polls that are open on weekends and before and after work days - we should be having a competition on how to increase the vote, not on how to suppress it.
Forty-seven years ago,
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