Editorial

EDITORIAL: John Lewis May Be Smiling but Should We? 

Many Americans raised their hands displaying victory signs after the House passed the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act on Tuesday, Aug. 24. The legislation increases the power of the federal government and minorities to stop or challenge discriminatory election rules.

Advocates point to hundreds of voter suppression laws that continue to emerge in Republican-led states including Texas, Georgia and Arizona as the reason for the legislation. Meanwhile, Democrats have desperately looked for solutions to impede efforts that they say are discriminatory.

“The passage of the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act in the House of Representatives brings us one step closer in our struggle to secure and protect voting rights for every eligible American,” said Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.)

“As attacks on our voting rights continue with 18 states enacting voter suppression laws and over 40 states considering hundreds more voter suppression bills, the very foundation of our democracy continues to crack and is in desperate need of rescuing,” she said.

If approved by the Senate, the bill would restore parts of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that allowed the Justice Department to block certain jurisdictions with a history of voter discrimination from changing their voting rules.

We are in full support of the bill but also wonder why America stands as such a contentious line in the sand.

Sure, John Lewis, for whom the bill is named, may be smiling down from heaven but we find no reason to celebrate – not yet.

As Florida Democratic Congresswoman Frederica Wilson said after Tuesday’s vote in the House, “Since Democrats gained control of the White House and both chambers of Congress, Republican-controlled state legislatures across the nation have engaged in the most coordinated effort to restrict the right to vote in generations with hundreds of anti-voter bills. This blatant attempt at a power grab threatens our most precious right and the ability of voters to choose the elected officials who they believe have their interests at heart.”

Within the rhetoric that Americans continue to so proudly espouse, we recall the words, “one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.”

Perhaps, one day these words will have real meaning for ALL.

But sadly, that day still has not arrived.

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