Commentary: Voting rights can’t be taken from us now or ever.

Commentary: Voting rights can’t be taken from us now or ever.
January 26
14:00 2022

By Dr. James B. Ewers Jr.

We live in the United States of America and as citizens, we have rights and privileges. That is how our democracy works.

If you are Black like me, these tenets of our Constitution have not always been easy to actualize. At defining moments in our history, we have had to march, even die for our place in everyday America.

Some would ask, what exactly is everyday America? It is leaving your house and returning to your house without incident. It is having a fair opportunity at a job based upon your credentials and experiences. It is having your opinions valued and acted upon when decisions must be made.

Some take the above for granted, but not us. No matter our economic status, our place in this country is oftentimes marginalized.

Yes, we have made some significant strides and advancements. People who look like me are being difference-makers in America. You name the field and you will likely find us somewhere in it. In the coming years, Black and brown people will achieve more and do more in this nation.

We just celebrated the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. We honored him for his commitment to civil rights and to human rights. The movement led by him and others was, in my opinion, the greatest in the history of the world. Yet for all the good that has happened in our America, the bad is still lurking and is ever present. We cannot rest easy until we eradicate bad rules and bad laws.

Congress has been inching closer to the implementation of two voting rights bills. They are The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act.

The John Lewis Voting Rights Act would stop legislation from happening that would discriminate based upon race, language and ethnicity. It would also allow us to challenge anti-voting legislation.

The Freedom to Vote Act would strengthen voter protection rights. This would include making Election Day a national holiday.

Can you imagine being able to vote without having to worry about going to work? Would more people vote? I believe they would.

Polls and reports say that Americans support The Freedom to Vote Act. A specific poll called Data for Progress said that a majority of both Democrats and Republicans support this bill.

If that is the case, then what is the problem? The filibuster in the Senate is the problem.

The current rule is that you need a 60-vote supermajority to overcome the filibuster. It seems that the filibuster may be here to stay. We’ll see.

Tim Scott, Republican Senator from South Carolina is a part of the filibuster blockage. I believe Senator Scott is on the wrong side of this issue. It is my hope that the citizens of The Palmetto State will show him the light.

He does not see voter suppression. However, Cory Booker, Democratic Senator from New Jersey, begs to differ.

He said, “You want to talk about voter suppression? You’re working a job, you’re taking care of young kids, and you’re going to give up a day’s salary to vote?” He added, “You want to talk about a modern-day poll tax? And my friends on the other side are saying that race is not an issue here?”

It is important to note that in 2021, 52 restrictive voter laws were passed in this country. There are those who do not want us to vote because they will lose power and control. Losing power is their worst nightmare.

I believe in the days ahead they will be living out this nightmare. The American people want these bills to pass. Guess what? They will.

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