Voter Suppression, or the intent to keep a group of people from participating in the voting process, has resurged onto the American landscape. I say ‘resurged’ because there is no doubt in my mind (in my Judge Judy voice) that Voter Suppression in itself has ever been “suppressed”. I would like to believe that America is determined to ensure that no one group of her citizens is prohibited, in part, or in full, from participating in the democratic process. But, evidence to suggest otherwise exists, and we all need to be on guard.
I would like to refer to the current resurgence of Voter Suppression as an American tradition. I called this current activity of suppression a tradition because like anything that has been long upheld, celebrated, or even remotely held in check, but not completely eliminated, a tradition. It is a tradition that rears its ugly head around practically every election in America. It is a tradition that maybe characterized by, but not limited to: intimidation (mental or physical); late opening of polling stations, or earlier closing of polling stations; changing of polling stations without prior notice to the those affected voters; machines delayed to the polling station or machines malfunctioning; legislation that disproportionately affects a specific group, or groups of people; false advertising; misleading news stories; robocalling with misinformation, or any number of activities, collectively or individually that affect directly, or indirectly a citizens’ ability to make a reasonable decision on who, or what to vote for, or against in the voting process.
I further call Voter Suppression a tradition because it is, for the most part, an allowable tradition, although for all intent and purposes, it is illegal. Of the many intentions that Voter Suppressive actions consist of, it rarely results in punishment for those who orchestrate, legislate, or tolerate its outcome. Despite its intent and inevitable impact on the outcome of the democratic process, Voter Suppression, while unlawful, is the one violation that allows those who engage in its unlawfulness, to act practically without fear of retribution. It is apparently how America rolls.
The tradition itself has hardly missed much throughout its up and down life in America. While many may point to the Women’s movement of 1919 and the 19th Amendment as one of the most prolific moments confronting Voter Suppression, there are several other tactics that make up America’s tradition of working to prevent all of her citizens to have the full right to vote.
One only needs to study not only history, but the news of today to see what consists of maintaining this tradition. Oftentimes, it is new twist on an old trick. For example:
1. Strengthen Voter ID Laws
2. Create hurdles to acquire the ID
3. Intimidate voter registration groups
4. Try to eliminate same day registration
5. Eliminate early voting
6. Budget cutting activities that require early closing of voter registration offices in cities and towns
7. Ban felons from voting http://www.alternet.org/story/153509/gop_voter_suppression_plan:_se...
The tradition continues.
This tradition of Voter Suppression often has as its target any given group who, in the apparent eye of the collective oppressors, would in the long run, prevent, and perhaps, suppress their intent to gain an upper hand in government, given their political platform. That proposed platform, would have to be concluded as not being to the benefit of the greater good. The apparent target group, or groups, and anyone who would otherwise favor them, would have to be targeted in such a way that laws would be enacted to minimize their Constitutional right, while exercising such suppression in a constitutionally “coverted” fashion. The tradition continues.
The tradition of Voter Suppression continues, here in 2012, while the presumed guilty party is Republicans, let us not be so fooled as to believe that on any given Sunday, that any political party, including the Democratic Party, would not be so inclined as to conduct similar activities in order to affect the outcome. History has shown that the party is of no importance as to which would take the low road to ensure that any individual, group, or groups of American citizens could be intimidated from participating in an American democracy by casting their votes. The tradition continues.
The tradition of Voter Suppression continues as we look in the faces of legislators, council people, aldermen, Congressmen and Senators, mayors and governors, who under the guise of being patriotic Americans, set their hands to vote to restrict other Americans from participating in a so-called democratic process.
It is a tradition that, while illegal by its very nature, allows those legally charged, to act improperly to carry out illegally, the ability to suppress, intimidate, forbid, or create an environment that favors an agenda that would not otherwise pass by those in majority. The tradition continues.
As it continues, we find that those who are in positions of leadership, who are able, if they were so inclined, to thwart such a tradition, instead, choose not to stand against this tradition. Whether by fear of loss of their status as statesmen; whether by fear of retribution, or whether by voluntarily participating in the very tradition itself, it matters not. The tradition continues, and we, as American citizens need to be aware of its surge as such a tradition seeks to impact not just those of color, or those of meager means, but those who are asleep, unconcerned, or believe that they are least likely to be impacted because they are of means, or well connected. It would behoove America’s citizens of this ongoing tradition, that has an apparent support-base that will not soon see sunset, let alone, the dark of night.
And as this tradition of Voter Suppression continues, it would be best if America would roll up her blanket, tuck in her tent, and march cowardly back into the savagery of old, where only those of Aristocratic means determined the direction of power. It would be better if America, would abandon the very constitution by which she promotes world-wide. It would be better that would return to the days of old, where it was the South versus the North; the Confederates versus the Union; the haves versus the have-nots; the men against the women; the slave against the master, and any other war or semblance thereof that pre-dated her valued constitution of 1776, because this tradition has gained new strength and is game to suppress any American voter’s rights. How ironic, a country who sends her soldiers, many yet men, to defend her constitution, while that constitution is being chipped away from within her very borders.
We have a choice as Americans to support a tradition of Voter Suppression by staying home, or… Or, we can go out and vote, irrespective of the actions, or inactions of those who work to intimidate, or restrict our rights to cast one mark for American freedom that was promised to each and everyone of its citizens. We can go out and vote, weakening the strength of a tradition that picks and chooses its agenda by virtue of those who are well-connected, rather than well-intended. We can choose to register to vote, regardless of the supposed difficulties that lie ahead, or the hurdles that maybe thrown our way, and participate in the democracy afforded to all of us by the one instrument so highly disregarded by those who have sworn to uphold it. We can choose to break a tradition that seeks to dilute our spirits as American citizens, that regardless of who we are, where we come from, or our heritage; whether we are black or white,Hispanic or Asian, Christian or Muslim, rich or poor, natural-born, or naturalized, our voices must be heard, our votes must be counted.
It is a tradition, that despite its longevity, it may not die, but by our willingness to step out, come election day, we will have shown that we are not intimidated, and that we will not be denied the opportunity to exercise our rights as Americans. Break the tradition of Voter Suppression, Vote November 6, 2012.
Change the Formula that seeks to eliminates everyday, ordinary citizens from participating in one of the greatest rights in the world, the ability to vote. It is our right. It is our choice. It is our vote. Vote November 6, 2012. Prove to our children, and to the world, that Voter Suppression does not rule us, and that for this country that we proudly call America, that’s not how we roll.