Statement by Union Veterans Council Executive Director Will Attig on Veterans Role in the Fight for Voting Rightsby Contributing Writer(s) January 14, 2022
Veterans have defended our rights and freedoms across the globe, and we should not need to defend the fundamental right to vote at home in the United States of America. The choice is clear: now sideline the filibuster and pass voting rights reform.
Washington D.C – President Biden delivered a powerful speech calling for immediate action from the Senate on the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act. The forceful speech from the President reminded everyone that these two bills protect the right of every American to cast their vote and have that vote counted equally, a right members of the military serve to protect every day. We cannot afford to let voting rights fall victim to the filibuster, a procedural tool conceived during segregation and employed to undermine our great democracy by taking power away from the people.
Voting rights are the most crucial weapon American citizens are equipped with to defend their constitution from enemies, both foreign and domestic. Blood has been shed throughout American history so that We, the people, have the right to choose our government. Old Senate procedures like the filibuster were not part of the original vision for the constitution’s framers and should never outweigh the will of the people.
Thomas Jefferson said, “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” As veterans, we must protect equal and efficient access to the ballot box. We will not allow our democratic systems to weaken and be eroded from the inside out. We call on our fellow veterans and proud Americans to defend the Constitution by protecting the right to vote.
Across the globe, veterans have seen how unequal access to the ballot leads to corrupt governments and undemocratic systems that undermine voters and their basic freedoms.
For far too long, diverse veterans have returned from a battlefield where the enemy was equally willing to kill them to a country that did not afford them the same rights at the ballot box as the white soldiers they fought alongside. As Civil Rights leader and veteran Medger Evars explained, “[a]ll we wanted to be was ordinary citizens…[w]e fought during the war for America, Mississippi included…”
Today, Texas is our Mississippi, where some Americans are equal on the battlefield but not at the ballot box. We must ensure and encourage full participation for all voters, not create barriers to block them.
We believe that American democracy is sacred, no matter which political party you identify with. The act of our volunteering to fight for our country, our sacrifice, and our voting are the most priceless freedoms we have.
America’s veterans must not let a minority block the will of America’s people—with attacks on the fundamental freedom to vote.
The Union Veterans Council brings working class veterans together to speak out on the issues that impact us most, especially the need for good jobs and a strong, fully funded and staffed VA. Additionally, we hold private enterprise and elected officials accountable for their words and actions. We believe wholeheartedly that the ability for someone to self-identify as “pro-veteran” isn’t determined by what lapel pin they don or what catchphrase they employ; veterans face real issues that require real actions—constructive actions that lead to positive solutions. Learn more at www.unionveterans.org