So, of course, I watched the presidential debate last night but I’m not going to analyze it since that will be done a million times over.
What actually struck me last night as I watched the debate is the obvious yet still stunning fact that, in this day and age, with an African American president, an African American Attorney General, and a number of African American governors, mayors, judges and elected officials across this land, a substantial number of people will be denied their opportunity to vote for one of these candidates come November simply because they look like you and me.
Now some of you may have heard about this Tea Party-affiliated group called True the Vote that has pledged to deploy as many as one million poll watchers “to challenge and confront other Americans as they go to the polls in November.”
And get this… True the Vote has stated they want to make the experience of voting “like driving and seeing the police following you.”
Amazing. Think about it. In 2012, after all these years, African Americans are still fighting to protect our basic right to vote.
To clarify, despite such antidemocratic and racist groups taking it upon themselves to challenge us at the polls, the real challenges to our right to vote are not coming from them or from a bunch of guys riding horses while wearing sheets on their heads.
They are coming from governments, state legislatures and our elected officials.
At least 30 states are enacting voter ID laws or similar measures to significantly affect our ability to vote, steps that will have a disproportionate impact on people of color.
These measures are being put in place even though it has already been shown that fraud by voters at the polls in America rarely happens.
Still, a number of states are requiring a government-issued photo ID, eliminating early and weekend voting, purging voter lists, and making registration less accessible.
In a country that prides itself on being the world’s foremost democracy, this is unacceptable and unlike last night, there should be no debating that.
So once again, it’s time for us to act. Along with contacting your legislators to speak out against voter suppression bills or laws in your state, the Urban League is taking part in a voter empowerment initiative called Occupy the Vote. You can go to the site iamempowered.com and click on their ‘Occupy the Vote’ heading to learn more about ways you can protect our right to vote.
I’ll end with an all-too-familiar phrase from one of the powerful spirituals that we black folks marched to, prayed to, fought to, died to, and triumphed to during the Civil Rights era.
It was a timely rallying call back then; it is even more timely now. And it’s this:
“Ain’t gonna let nobody turn us around.”
Until Next Time, this is Stephanie in Love and Hope.