Tag Archives: Judicial

Voter Suppression

During the late 1950’s and early 1960’s I was a member of the NAACP and SCLC. I not only walked in peace marches and sat during the sit ins but, as a teenager and a person too young to vote, I helped Black adults learn to properly vote. Non-White people voting was openly suppressed in Virginia and there were many obstacles. Among things done was the poll tax, counting jellybeans in a jar, outright threats and more. Blacks were afraid because a person could lose their life by simply letting the wrong White person know that they were going to vote. Contacting law enforcement and going through the judicial system was not the thing to do because it was extremely dangerous. The system was all White and, going through the system would put your name and address on file.

               Through the years, things were supposed to have gotten better and the law and judicial system was supposed to be equally dispensed. Not so. All that happened was the inequity became shrouded. This is only a small portion of the reasons why Blacks do not trust law enforcement and the judicial system. I, like many other Blacks, have worked in law enforcement, both the military and civilian, and have seen the inequities up close and personal and have heard the comments uttered by the Whites. Not one thing could be said because my life and the life of others would be in jeopardy.

               Now the Whites have removed the shroud from the inequities. Congressmen have started voter suppression. States are attempting to change the laws to make it harder to vote, especially by mail (the military vote by mail, what will happen to their votes?). The Klan and other groups are brazenly out in the open. There are too many of these people in the judicial system, law enforcement, military, Congress and state and local government. These people are there to fully take what they want and to do whatever they choose to do.

               There are too many in Congress that want to have a fair vote only if it goes their party’s way. If the vote is expected to not go their way, they want to filibuster until the bill goes away which means they won by suppression. So far all I see and hear is the suppressed saying they cannot vote and if they do their vote will not be counted plus some states want to make it exceedingly difficult to vote, yet they do nothing about it.

               Voting have been happening since the beginning of time. One of the most famous votes was when the crowd had a choice of saving Jesus or the thief. The people had a choice, voted and the government official did as the vote dictated. Why not today? We voted, elected officials to act in our behalf (to do as we the people want) and expected results from what we the people wanted. Yet the elected officials are only acting in their behalf, not ours.

               Going back in time to my days of battling voter suppression will not work today for a myriad number of reasons. Things are the same, yet things are different therefore the situation must be met differently. All that was accomplished in my day as a teenager can be done today to stop the outwardly voter suppression and make it go underground. I do not believe it can be wiped out, but it can be held at bay. Remember, the person you think is not doing wrong may need a second, very stern, look.  

The Constitution

The basis of our political systems is the right of the people to make and to alter their constitutions of government. But the constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all.  George Washington

The first President of the United States had that to say about our constitution and that all people had an obligation to abide by its rules. He also said if something in it was not liked, the people could change it. Until it was changed, all people must adhere to its rules.  In other words, no person can disregard the constitution and do what they want to do.

Most people have not read the constitution, they only know a few key phrases. The key phrases that people know only pertain to what applies to them. The parts that pertain to them are only a few words of the entire clause. A few words versus the entire clause can, most of the time, give two completely different meanings. That is why legal interpretations go to The Supreme Court. Their word is final until overturned by later Supreme Court rulings.

If everyone did whatever they chose to do, there would not be a democracy and living conditions as we know it now. We would have either a king or dictator and complete lawlessness. I can not comprehend our Congressmen and women walking down the trail of being ruled by our enemies. To lose our democracy is to be ruled by whichever enemy get to us first.

Because of my age, my life has become short, it’s my grandkids and great grandkids that will live in the lawless society, if it happens. If what is happening to our executive, judicial and congressional officials do not change, our democracy is gone. The Romans went through it. Remember, The Fall of the Roman Empire? Looking back at all great ruling countries and they all fell at some point. Look at the British Empire and the Turkish, to name just two more. Our demise is coming but I don’t want to see it in my time on earth.

The founders of our constitution knew there will be people against it and people that attempt to tear it down or get around it. They gave us a starting point and left room for adding to it and to make changes. But what have not yet changed is that no one is above the law, it applies to everyone regardless their station in life. The stakes are high, and the time is now. We either accept what we get or legally fight for justice. That will ensure our future generations a strong democracy and only they can keep it and improve on it.

Currently, we have a very weak democracy and we are on the cusp of losing it. There is so much corruption and secret dealings that we will only know a fraction of the total. My only wish is that I could help, other than by voting, in some way. I must leave the fight for our democracy to the younger generation. I love my country but there are so many that only love themselves, country be damned. Remember, the constitution is for all of us.