By Any Other Name… Voter Suppression That Continues to Rear Its Ugly Headby Henry Lancaster II January 22, 2021
Imagine if you can the journey of seagoing explorers 500 years ago. They sailed their state-of-the-art wooden vessel caulked with tar into the vast unknown of stretches of a great body of salt water. For as far as the eye could see was nothing but water and more horizon. Sometimes the seas were calm. Sometimes the seas were rough. The night skies were either filled with stars or pitch black. Nothing was more cherished than walking on land one more time. Their trip had a beginning and ending. It had a start and a stop. The purpose was clearly defined, and the timeframe reasonably calculated. But I digress.
Those were simpler times.
Our 21st century exploration lies not on the seven seas but in the voting booth. That place where every citizen who elects to do so can express their intent or desire to participate in structuring policy and laws to guide our nation toward its founding creed. However, that exercise has not been and continues to not be absolute. There are instances where a person’s right to vote is forfeited due to their conduct or their age or their health or their physical locus. However, those circumstances notwithstanding, there is another hinderance to active voter engagement that continues to rear its ugly head – voter suppression.
In recent times, we have experienced attacks on our ability to register to vote, packing of voters in districts to diminish the impact of their choices, shrinkages of the timeframes in which we can early vote, reductions to the number of polling places for early and election day voting, stifling of absentee voting opportunities, purging of voter rolls, and implementation of voter identification laws to deny longstanding voters access to the polls simply because they may not have proof of citizenship or residency. Court battles have raged over these issues. The results have varied.
Just when it looked like the debate may have reached a modicum of reasonableness, the demon of voter suppression raised its ugly head in a new form – election outcome denial. After all is said and done, if you can’t beat ‘em, throw out their votes, discredit their participation, fabricate a new ending. Those actions are a far cry from the unanimous declaration of the thirteen colonies of the United States of America to justify a call to action and separation: “In Congress, July 4, 1776”
“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the
political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers
of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God
entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare
the causes which impel them to the separation.”
The actions of political leadership since the general election have been anything but representative of a government which holds “these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Back in the seventies and eighties a credit card company had a slogan: “Privilege has its advantages.” That kind of deficit thinking is not in any of our best interests.