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Don't Let Anybody Take Away Your Rights As Citizens

Posted by Shawn Carter on July 1, 2013 at 2:20 PM


My previous post regarding the Supreme Court's decision of the Voting Rights Act was actually my second missive on the subject. Over at The Pittsburgh Comet, I made some other observations as well.

So, now, let us get into this in full.


As I pointed out in my piece at The Pittsburgh Comet, the U.S. Supreme Court, in June 2009, warned Congress that if the coverage formula in Section 4 weren't updated, a majority of the justices would strike it down upon a proper challenge.


Further, I stated that in June 2009, President Obama was in the White House and his party, the Democratic Party, controlled majorities in both the U.S. Senate AND the U.S. House.


So then, whom do we blame for the failure of OUR party to respond in a timely manner to OUR issues?


Our party. Perhaps there just was the belief that the Supreme Court would never actually do it.


Never say never.


In response to my previous post here, one reader wrote, "Many will tell you we don't vote because we don't see the benefit."


I suppose "we" don't see the detriment of NOT voting.


Voting is a fundamental right of citizenship. In a democracy, rights come with responsibilities. It is our individual responsibility to exercise those rights.


Here's an object lesson:


Why were Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito able to vote to rule to strike down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act?


Because former President George W. Bush nominated them (in his second term) and the Republican Senate confirmed their appointments.


Why exactly did George W. Bush win that second term in 2004?


Maybe because African-American voters in Ohio didn't see the benefit, either.


George W. Bush beat John Kerry in Ohio by 118,775 TOTAL votes in 2004, to earn Ohio's 20 electoral votes, and a second term.

Why? Because only 432,617 African-American voters in Ohio bothered to exercise their right to vote.


I say "only" because in 2008, 608,004 African-American voters in Ohio came out to vote for Barack Obama - an increase of 175,387 African-American voters. Had every single one of those same voters showed up in 2004, George Bush wouldn't have been in office to appoint Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito, and the decision we saw issued last week probably wouldn't have happened.


There is always a reason to vote.


The commenter also said, "When we look out of our window we see the same hopelessness and desolation that too many of us have seen for far too long. We get negative criticism such as this, but never any positive, helpful information that can assist us in becoming more informed voters, or improve our conditions."


As for voter education, when I worked for a 501(c)(4) doing voter protection, I did precisely that. 501(c)(4)s can do that work legally and ethically. I'm not sure government employees should do that work.


As for hopelessness, a wise man had this to say about that many, many years ago:

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Don't let anybody take your rights as Citizens.

But don't throw them away, either.

Categories: Citizenship and Governance

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