"The problem here is a totalitarian uniformity, a cult-like mentality such that even allies are enemies if they fail to follow the Exact Party Line. " - Phyllis Chesler

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Voting Rights

As I am reading an article today in the NY Daily News about NYC highschools teaching civic lessons and encouraging those who will be eligible to register to vote to register for this years election I am struck by the bias.

"Where I come from we didn't have the right to vote," said Dudley, 18, referring to her African-American relatives who grew up in the Deep South. "I wanted to make sure that I voted as soon as I was allowed."


After the Civil War, (1871) the Constitution was changed allowing black men the right to vote. The Union Army enforced this right for twelve years after the Civil War.

Look, I am not discounting the treatment of blacks in this country at this period in our country's history. Granted after the soldiers left there was a long period of intimidation. BUT THAT IS NOT WHAT THIS YOUNG 18 YEAR-OLD SAID. And apparently that is not what was taught.

And it's this very biased thinking that leads to systemic racial divides, anger and non-analytical thinking.

By Dudley's thought process then from where I come from WE didn't have the right to vote either...and then we get into a pissing contest of who is more right about who was more disenfranchised. Since it wasn't until 1920, after my grandmother was born, that I as a woman had the right to vote when the 19th Amendment was ratified.

And it wasn't until 1961 that those living in Washington D.C. could partipate in the voting process for President, black, white, male or female.

In RESPONSE to the illegal acts of discrimination in the south against blacks trying to vote, in 1965 the Voting Rights Act Reauthorization was enacted, providing federal enforcement.

But let's take this a step further. If you're 18 then from where YOU come from YOU didn't have the right to vote either. All the more reason at 18 to make sure now that you have the right to vote at that age since 1971 you should use that right.

It's important to remember our history. ABSOLUTELY! But it is equally important to understand the context, meaning and lesson. Pulling ONE word or one part of history out of the lesson and misusing it and turning it's meaning upside down is not a proper education. And to use it to get into a pissing contest of who has been more discriminated against is just plain wrong.

Vote because it's your civic duty to have a say in your own government. Vote because OUR government is OF THE PEOPLE BY THE PEOPLE FOR THE PEOPLE. Vote because OUR anecestors fought long and hard for the right to vote and understood the repercussions of not having that right to vote.


TheFLy said...

Well, all Im gonna say is that I definitely gonna vote.

buzz buzz

Da Old Man said...

I may have my dates slightly messed up, but, by 1965, everyone who met the legal voting age requirement was eligible to vote as any poll tax or a requiremnet to own property was removed.
At some point in our history, renters could not vote, women could not vote, blacks could not vote, poor people could not vote, 18 year olds could not vote and I'm sure I'm leaving out some group or another.
The point? So many were at some point disenfranchised, as you have stated. But considering that ended at least 40+ years ago, it's time to just go out and vote because you do have the right, not because of any past nonsense. And yes, Revisionist history is what is being taught, and most students are too lazy to bother to question anything or to research it themselves.

lot 2 learn said...

Yes, by all means VOTE ! Do not listen to anyone else on who to vote for, get informed and vote ! I just might write in Lauren and Crotchety ! Great post as always.

Chat Blanc said...

Amen sista!!

Lauren said...

Fly, coolness.

D.O.M., RIGHT ON!!!!

Lot2Learn, oh dear no no not me, no thanks. that's all we need is a Jewish scapegoat in the white house. NOPE NOPE NOPE!

Chatty, :-)

Rhonda said...

Well said!

tiffany1377 said...

Great Post!

Jeanne said...

So true. Sometimes I think that simply exercising your right to vote may be more important than who you vote for in the end...