Women’s Suffrage. The Civil Rights’ Movement. These are but two monumental historical struggles that speak to us from the souls of our past. They tell of the great efforts that have been put forth and what we have collectively had to endure to gain equality as participating members of society. Our past has also taught us that as long as we remain nonthreatening to the dominant society, we are ignored and overlooked. Nonthreatening as in “so what if they have the right to vote. They’re not actually going to.” Now there’s been a change in dynamics and those that are desperate to return to “old world politics” have reintroduced those obstacles that have historical roots of bias against a certain group. I’m not surprised. Actually, that should be expected, because had we not stepped up to the plate and began to actually count as American citizens there would be no resort to such actions. My concern? HOW DARE YOU. When I think about what I’ve learned about what my ancestors have had to endure to guarantee that future generations are acknowledged as equal citizens in this country it becomes personal. So, how dare you not acquire what’s necessary to secure your right to vote! Not voting is the reason why those obstacles have been reintroduced. Refusing to vote because of those requirements is the same as rioting only to destroy your own neighborhoods and businesses. How dare you approach the subject as if you aren’t directly affected by the outcome! If you don’t take yourselves seriously as citizens with equal rights in building and managing America, how can you expect anyone else to take you seriously?
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 makes it unlawful to require any prerequisites, qualifications, procedures or obstacles that interfere with a person’s right to vote, or deny him or her right to vote based upon ethnicity or race. However, several states have put in place requirements that voters show identification before casting their ballots. This requirement is historically directly related to past efforts to thwart “less desirables” from showing up at the polls. I imagine it’s like dipping your toe in the water to test the temperature. If you don’t do anything about this, then be sure to expect more practices that will indirectly place structured bias in voters’ paths. And mind you, this isn’t a “black” issue. Voter suppression doesn’t target only black voters, but could affect black voters and other minorities the most percentage-wise.
Essentially, what I would like to do is encourage you to meet the challenges that have been placed before you and vote regardless. Only after that can we then eliminate (again)the structured biases that attempt to keep us suppressed and in a collective state of subservience. Talk with your local politicians and legislators about what you can do to in the upcoming years to end the need for renewal of the Voting Rights Act, but have it become permanent legislation. Care about the future of your right to vote and the others that come after you.