Sad Anniversary For Voting Rights Act

On August 6, 1965, United States President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law. Accordingly, 56 years ago, one of the most important laws was passed to guarantee the right to vote was extended to every American. How times have changed as republicans have worked to strip away the power of that law. As states chip away or block voting for people of color and republicans stop legislation to put protections back into threatened rights, it is time to push back.

The 1965 law was meant to protect and enforce the 14th and 15th amendments of the constitution from voter suppression of the Jim Crow era by state governments. At the time state and local governments actively banned or stunted the right to vote of people of color. Laws were on the books that kept blacks, Indians, Hispanic and Asian Americans from voting. This was a direct result of the civil rights movement and the sacrifices made by so many brave Americans.

However, on the 56th anniversary of the voting rights law, there is very little to celebrate as it is under an unrelenting attack by majority republican legislatures. Also, the United States Supreme Court full of President Donald Trump appointees are in solidarity in tamping down voting rights. Given the U.S. Senate’s razor thin majority, legislative help is difficult to achieve. Which means ten republicans have to vote with democrats to pass current pro voting laws or to end the filibuster law. The filibuster requires 60 senators to end debate even if the bill has over 50 votes to pass a law. Supporters say it forces compromise and negotiations. In reality it has ground the senate to a halt. Not surprisingly, the law is a relic of the Jim Crow era where congress would stop pro voting laws and to this day pass a law prohibiting lynching.

The For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act would undo the decisions of the Supreme court and state legislatures. But it’s time to end the filibuster. Now, that would be something worth celebrating.