Last week I wrote about the need to build on the outrage over Charlottesville and President Trump’s total failure in moral leadership, to make Heather Heyer’s death a turning point in the fight against intolerance in America. I explained:
While denunciation of white supremacist is important, equally important is moving the country in the opposite direction of their agenda. There is one area, in particular, in which Democrats and Republicans have a history of cooperation – voting rights.
The Civil Rights Issue of This Era
Today, the Washington Post declared that “Voter suppression is the civil rights issue of this era”.
Yet even if all 1,500 Confederate symbols across the country were removed overnight by some sudden supernatural force, the pernicious crusade to roll back voting rights would continue apace, with voters of color suffering its effects disproportionately. Pushing back hard against those who would purge voter rolls, demand forms of voter ID that many Americans don’t possess, and limit times and venues for voting — this should be a paramount cause for the Trump era.
. . . The events in Charlottesville and the president’s apologia for the right-wing extremists there should mobilize anyone passionate about civil rights. There would be no better target for their energies than the clear and present danger to the most fundamental right in any democracy: the vote.
I could not agree more. As President Obama declared at the 50th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday march in Selma that led to the enactment of the Voting Rights Act:
Right now, in 2015, fifty years after Selma, there are laws across this country designed to make it harder for people to vote. As we speak, more of such laws are being proposed. Meanwhile, the Voting Rights Act, the culmination of so much blood and sweat and tears, the product of so much sacrifice in the face of wanton violence, stands weakened, its future subject to partisan rancor.
How can that be? The Voting Rights Act was one of the crowning achievements of our democracy, the result of Republican and Democratic effort. President Reagan signed its renewal when he was in office. President Bush signed its renewal when he was in office. One hundred Members of Congress have come here today to honor people who were willing to die for the right it protects. If we want to honor this day, let these hundred go back to Washington, and gather four hundred more, and together, pledge to make it their mission to restore the law this year.
The ACLU has a Action Toolkit with links on what you can do to fight for voting rights and to restore the Voting Rights Act.
In addition, VoteRiders provides valuable information and assistance in helping voters navigate new requirements and even get to the polls.
Please join this fight.