In 1979 I turned 18 years of age and was given my first opportunity to vote. Although I had been volunteering at the voting polls for many years, this would be the first time that I could take my voter registration card and my identification into the election center to cast my vote. It was the proudest moment of my life. Remembering the struggle of the Civil Rights Movement and the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965; as my classmates and I waited to cast our votes we were all appeared to stand taller than usual, and our chest seemed to stick out a little further that day. Being identified as a legitimate registered voter meant that freedom, justice, and equality had prevailed, and we had overcome.
The current White House administration has condemned the voter integrity bills supported by many of the states, which would ensure that all legal Americans’ voting access and rights would remain protected. In an effort to federalize elections, they are attempting to refocus our attention on the American condition pre-dating the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The President has referred to election protection legislation as “Jim Crow in the 21st Century. Jim Crow laws in American history refers to any of the laws that enforced racial segregation largely in the South between the end of Reconstruction in 1877 and the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s (Britannica.com/event/Jim-Crow-Law). It is clear that his statements, though resonating with the far-left base, are extremely out of touch with today’s mainstream America.
The racially divisive rhetoric permeating throughout the left from the top down has manifested itself into a series of grossly embarrassing events. At the top of the list would be the Texas Legislators who walked off their jobs, fleeing to Washington DC. As they boarded two luxury tour buses with beer and alcohol which taxied them to the tarmac where they could recline on two private jets, while continuing to receive their per diem from the taxpayers of Texas, the legislators took pictures and recorded videos to chronicle this mockery of the Civil Rights Movement. At the height of this epic moment the irony was revealed, a small group of elected officials stood in grand array on the steps of congress and sang “We Shall Overcome”. This was a far cry from the March on Washington in 1963. Apparently, it does not matter to them that most Texans oppose lawmakers leaving the state to avoid fulfilling their legislative duty; conservatives 67%, independents 53%, Hispanic 43% to 34% and African Americans are split with 45% in support to 42% opposed.
Voting is a fundamental right given to every legal, living American 18 years of age or older. I thank God for the men and women, of all races, creeds and religions who gave their lives so that I and those who will come after me can hold up our voter registration and identification cards and be recognized as American citizens who are entitled to be heard. It is because of their sacrifices that I have voted in every election cycle over the past 42 years and as an African American man, I can say unequivocally that I have never experienced voter suppression. When I go to the polls, I do not think about the Jim Crow Laws or Plessy vs Ferguson; I just remember Brown vs The Board of Education of Topeka and smile. Election Day continues to be a joyous occasion for me. It is a time when I can visit with neighbors, laugh, and talk about sports, politics, and the good old days. It is not the fabricated doom and gloom that is being promulgated by the left. However, we must protect the integrity of our elections, or they will take us back!
The Booker T. Washington Initiative is committed to fighting for free and fair elections and ensuring that every American’s vote is counted without nefarious influences. BTWI’s goal is to encourage all Americans to pursue the dream of equal opportunity and self-reliance through hard work and dignity. Together we can change the world, beginning right here in the Lone Star State! For additional information on our policy initiatives please visit us at TheBTWI.com and KeepTexasTexan.org.