The ability to vote and make your voice heard as a citizen is the core concept of any thriving and legitimate democracy.
In 1965, then President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The law ensured that all adult citizens have the right to vote and the barriers that had previously kept citizens of color from voting (i.e. literary tests and polling taxes) was now illegal.
Not surprising is that you know who would eagerly repeal the Voting Rights Act due to of the often circulated myth that millions voted fraudulently.
At a rally in Florida recently, he extolled the virtues of voter ID cards.
The fact is that voter ID cards is just another form of discrimination. Specifically, to delay and/or prevent minority voters from being able to able to exercise their legal right to vote.
You know who and those around him want to take us back sixty years, if not further.
The dream of America and the American democracy was built on the ideal that all citizens are created equal. While we as a country has not completely lived up to that ideal, we have come closer to that ideal than we have ever been in America history so far.
Instead of moving forward, we are moving backwards as a country. And if I am to be honest, I must admit that the backwards direction that we are moving in is quite scary from where I am standing.
Democracy, as an ideal is one thing. But for it to thrive and grow in a real world manner requires deeds, not words.
Joseph A. Califano Jr., spent his career in politics. Part of his career included working for former Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Jimmy Carter.
Earlier this year, Mr. Califano published a book entitled, Our Damaged Democracy: We the People Must Act. Pulling on his decades in the professional political arena, he explains why the American democracy is failing and what we, the voting public can and must do to fix the problem.
I think this one of the best books on politics I have read in a long time and a must read for any American citizen who feels powerless against those in power. While Mr. Califano speaks from the perspective of bipartisanship, he is not afraid to call out all politicians on both sides of the aisle (including you know who) to do what is right for the country and her citizens. But the one point that he makes several times over the course of the book is that for the American democracy to succeed and continue into the future, her citizens have to trust each other, even if they don’t see eye to eye on every issue.
I absolutely recommend it.
Sometimes in life, we have a calling so powerful, that it supersedes any logic or sense.
Martin Luther King Jr. had such a calling.
The movie, Selma, released last year, is the story of Dr. King’s campaign to secure voting rights for the African-American residents of Alabama.
Dr. King (David Oyelowo) had his allies, but he also had his adversaries. Then President Lyndon B. Johnson (Tom Wilkins0n), preferred to avoid the issue. Governor George Wallace (Tim Roth) was dead set against integration and had no qualms about using any means (violent and non-violent) possible to prevent it.
I found this movie to be very powerful. As the legendary Dr. King, David Oyelowo is magnetic. His on screen struggle is a reminder of just how far we have come, but also how far we have to go. As President Johnson, Tom Wilkinson is caught between a rock and a hard place. He knows that integration and the Civil Rights movement cannot be ignored, but he also knows that that his country is going through a turbulent time. As Governor Wallace, Tim Roth is another stark reminder of the fact that it was only a few decades ago that African-Americans had to fight for the simple right to vote.
I highly recommend it.