John Green on the Voting Rights Act

voting rights actI’ve lived in Rhode Island since 1974. I was born and raised in the South. When I was fourteen, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act in the presence of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. To my way of thinking, perhaps nothing other than equality, is more emblematic of true democracy than the right to vote. When Johnson signed that act into law, I remember feeling like we were at last, on the road to creating that ‘more perfect union’.

But in light of the recent Supreme Court ruling regarding that same Voting Rights Act, this is no longer the case. With this egregiously irresponsible decision, the Supreme Court has in effect, set us back by subverting the very democratic process itself. While this is not anything new in Supreme Court history, this latest, most shameful example begs several questions. Chief among them, What did Dr. King die for? What did ordinary citizens like Viola Liuzzo die for? Nothing, so it would seem.

While I’m confident literacy tests or poll taxes won’t resurface, the Court has abdicated its mandate, and in so doing , has left the door open to new forms of ‘legal’ disenfranchisement, just as odious and wrong-headed as those eradicated in 1965. I laud the efforts of those in Congress trying to put the teeth back into the Voting Rights Act. I pray it won’t take another fifty years.

Image from Malcontends Blogspot

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