Many of us of a certain age remember the time in our history that brave people from all walks of life took it upon themselves to make a change, even if their action posed a great peril to their well-being. The sit-ins of the 1960’s are an example of where otherwise powerless people took on the establishment hoping to effect a change in the status quo. The status quo at the time was that people of color were unable to sit at a public lunch counter and be served. Sixty years later we can marvel at how far we’ve come in some respects and be stupefied that we have so far to go.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a huge step in the right direction. It didn’t go far enough, but President Johnson and the members of Congress voting for the legislation should be commended for their effort. Unfortunately, racism still existed and there were plenty of congress critters that were willing to represent their constituency by enabling their hood-wearing voters to enact policies on the state level that disenfranchised people that didn’t see the world through their pure white prism.
The Dixiecrats were a group of right wing Democrats that eventually found that the Republican party was more to their liking. Sad to say that the people who so warmly embraced the progressive changes of FDR, who benefited the most from the Democrat party’s policies, decided to switch parties if black people were going to benefit from the same policies. “Cutting off your nose to spite your face comes to mind”, but that’s how racism works. It’s illogical, it’s un-American and definitely not Christian. It becomes crucial for the people who take an oath to “support and defend” the Constitution and all of it’s amendments to do their jobs.
Somebody in Congress has to do something besides throw their hands up in the air and say they’re powerless to make a change. These people are salaried at $174,000 a year, and for some reason they can’t seem to get something done as simple as a voting rights bill. A bill whose main feature is that it ensures all eligible voters the right to vote. Imagine going to your boss, in this case the American public, and telling your boss you can’t do your job. Your boss would probably say, “Well then I just can’t pay you the $174,000 a year”. Seems fair right? Cut off the pay until they start passing some legislation.
The John Lewis Voting Rights Act was passed by the House in August of 2021. For some reason two “Democrat” Senators can’t seem to get behind allowing all eligible voters to vote. Looks like not all of the Dixiecrats left the party. Apparently the Dixiecrats left behind a couple of stragglers to gum up the works. Sadly there is not one Republican that is willing to cross party lines and do the right thing. Like lemmings they follow the lead of their intrepid czar, the Donald, who actually told the truth about voting once.
My goodness, we overturned prohibition, which was a law close to the hearts and minds of all of the right wing religious nuts of the day. Can’t we rally behind a basic American principle, that we all get a say in how we’re governed, and ensure the passage of the voting rights bills? Can we change the paradigm of “Some people don’t want some people to vote”?
While Congress is performing their own version of a sit-in with regard to action on voting rights we can only pray that some of them will be reminded of the struggle that took place to get us to where we are today.
If he was still with us, John Lewis could show them his scars.