Commentary: I have been shocked to the core by the most recent repudiation of America Democracy.
As a young white catholic kid—born in the North and living in the South at the end of the Jim Crowe era—I was moved by the Civil Rights struggle and held a great empathy for blacks. I was called a ni**er lover and a damn yankee when I first expressed those sympathies and got in more than one fight—not understanding the deep hatred I had uncovered.
When the freedom riders were busing through the dark heart of the old South—I understood that a sea change was taking place and felt a certain amount of pride—when in 1957 Federal Judge Ronald Davies—from my hometown of, Fargo North Dakota ordered the enforcement of Brown v. the Board of Education and the integration of the Little Rock school system. My sister Gerrie was a close friend of Judge Davies daughter Katie Davies—who I must admit, had a secret unrequited adolescent crush on.
So the idea that a fight—I thought settled—has risen its ugly head once again—has been upsetting in a very personal way.
There will be no photo ops of blacks being torn apart by dogs this time. The days of overt racism—the likes of Bull Conner calling out the dogs on African American Civil Rights Workers in the late fifties and early sixties—that sparked a genuine outrage in the North—are over.
To be sure we still have murders like Trayvon Martin. And in the hearts of some whites, a silent seething white hot rage over an un-American foreign born black man serving as our president, but, presently, there is a veneer of begrudging civility about racial hatred—and there is a more pernicious disenfranchisement under way now—stealthy—quiet—and its happening all across America in every Red state controlled by Republicans.
I hear faint rumblings on the Right of repealing the 1965 Voting Rights Act and dismantling the Department of Education and returning to "states rights" where states alone are responsible for the education of the young, a direct slap at a historic judicial desicion that changed the landscape of America for the better—and towards a more perfect union.
But the most disturbing rumblings I hear a about suppressing the right to vote—are aimed directly at black and latino Americans.
Whether it be voter Suppression through rigged electronic voting machines that leave no paper trail for recounts or the more recent call for voter IDs the intent and outcome are the same—fewer minorities voting and an election whose outcome favors a particular ideology and party.
This repudiation of the fundamentals of American democracy—the right to vote—should be repugnant to every American.
But especially repugnant to American Veterans—who should take pause and ask himself or herself is this what I fought to defend—the return to Jim Crowe and denying any American the right to participate in this democracy.
As veterans we swore an oath to defend the Constitution against enemies both foreign and domestic—with our lives if need be—which includes these treacherous seditionists who are subverting our democracy with their hatred, dirty money, lies and guile.
There is no great sudden outbreak of voter fraud as they claim—the statistics prove them liars. Their claims that voting is a "privilege" is a lie—it is an "unalienable" god given right—not to be tampered with, given or taken away by pretext or any other form of specious reasoning. Men have died—including many blacks, and latinos who are the current targets of this disenfranchisement scheme—to protect that very right.
If the—right to vote—is not—sacrosanct then our Democracy—this Republic—is mass delusion of fools and everything we were taught and believed and were willing to die for—is a lie.
We who offered to give our lives if required—on the altar of freedom must again choose the right over any other considerations such as party loyalties or bogus political ideologies and stand up and be counted as men and women of honor and conscience.
This hate filled, atheistic, Ayn Randian vision of rugged individualism is a lie sold to us by men of greed. This nation we love is built on the ideal of; "one out of many"—e plurbis unnum—men of many nations together building one nation for all men—not a privileged few job creators or racist rednecks.
To me—the grave of every man or woman that has died to preserve that sacred right to vote—is being spit on by those who owe their allegiance to something other than freedom, justice and liberty for all—including the first American to die at Concord to the last American to die in Afghanistan.
"The Fifteenth Amendment—Section 1. States: The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude."
The current Republican right often and incessantly talk about their right to bear arms—as sacrosanct—while trampling all the other Constitutional Amendments under their boots.
They would be unrecognizable to the founder of their party—who emancipated African Americans, and fought to preserve our beloved Union that they seem hell bent on tearing down—Abraham Lincoln.
Its time to stand and be counted now more than ever.