In 1965, Congress passed, and President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Please note and remember that this bill was NOT titled the Voting Privilege Act of 1965, but the Voting RIGHTS Act … rights, not privileges.
Several constitutional amendments, the 15th, the 19th, and the 26th, require that voting rights of U.S. citizens cannot be abridged on account of race, color, previous condition of servitude, sex, or age (18 and older). Are we all in agreement here that every person over the age of 18 has the right to vote?
However, according to a recent PEW Research study, white people don’t think that voting is a right, but rather a privilege that one must earn! It’s no damn wonder, then, that 42 states are in the process of drafting or passing legislation that would make it far more difficult for people of colour, for the elderly, for college students, and for working women to cast a vote.
More than once I have ranted about those who don’t vote, or who vote for an inviable third-party candidate. In my view it is irresponsible — we all have a DUTY to vote, even if we aren’t enamoured of any of the candidates. I have also proposed that we have mandatory voting. I have proposed switching election dates to Sunday so that all will have time and access to the vote. I have also proposed that every state should go to an all-postal voting system in order to make voting as painless as possible for everyone. So, you can imagine that I am LIVID to find out that white people think voting is a privilege to be earned.
Why??? We all have to live under the laws that are determined by the president and members of Congress, so WHY THE HELL shouldn’t we ALL have a voice in choosing those people??? Why should some be forced to follow laws made by people that they didn’t even have a chance to vote for or against? I have long ranted against restrictions in some states that disenfranchise former prisoners who are on parole. They paid their dues, served their time … now they are out of prison, most are gainfully employed and paying taxes … WHY THE HELL shouldn’t they be allowed to vote???
And this is a partisan issue. Among Democrats, only 21% see the right to vote as a ‘privilege’, while among Republicans, 67% believe that the ‘privilege’ of voting must be earned.
Quite frankly, I cannot imagine anything short of actually being in prison during election day that should prevent a person from voting. Qualified? Well, if they are a citizen, then in my mind they are qualified. If John Doe is a Black citizen, an employed taxpayer, then why do the tighty whiteys want to take away his right … yes, RIGHT … to vote? Do they think they are better than he is? Do they think their opinion has more value than his? Or … do they just figure he isn’t as smart or as ‘entitled’ as they are? Or … are they afraid? Afraid that if enough Black people have a say in who makes the laws that govern us all, they might lose their privileged status? Are they afraid that someday our Congress won’t be 90% white, but will instead be 40% white? What, exactly, are you afraid of, Karen?
Black Americans are more likely than those in other racial and ethnic groups to see voting as a fundamental right, while White Americans are the least likely to say this. About three-quarters of Black Americans (77%) say voting is a right for every U.S. citizen and should not be restricted, as do 63% of Hispanic Americans and 66% of Asian Americans. White Americans are about evenly divided: 51% say voting is a right, while 48% say it is a privilege.
That 48% … they make me ashamed to be Caucasian … make me wish my olive-toned skin were much darker, for I am NOT white … not at heart … not if this is the way white people think! Stick your Ango-Saxon heritage where the sun doesn’t shine … I am not as one with you!
Never before in my 70 years here on earth, as a citizen of the United States, have I been so ashamed of this country and its people. Were it just me, I would leave this country tomorrow, by whatever means I could, including death, and never have a regret – that is how much I despise what is happening in this country. But I feel an obligation, a responsibility, in part to my daughter and granddaughter, and in part to the people of this nation, to fight the good fight, to fight against the white supremacist forces of evil.