Friday, July 14, 2006
Voting Rights Act Renewed Despite Challenges by Republicans
President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act in the Capitol Rotunda, Washington DC, as Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders look on, August 6, 1965. LBJ Library/ Photo by Yoichi R. Okamoto
Despite attempts by Republicans to shorten its lifespan and modify key provisions, the House of Representative approved a 25-year renewal of the Voting Rights Act. However, it didn't come easy. Republicans worked fiercely to modify or as some suggested "gut" the historic legislation that is considered "the crown jewel of the civil rights movement."
I'm having some difficulty understanding why almost all of the Republicans felt it necessary to attempt to, in essence, destroy a vital piece of legislation that guarantees and sustains our basic democratic right and ensures that all citizens participate in the electoral process without discrimination and intimidation - unless, of course, they are opposed to the values and rights protected in the VRA. Can you imagine that?
The renewal of the VRA is a real reason to celebrate. So, tonight, raise a glass to the brave freedom workers who courageously challenged this nation to put into law the values and rights it so nobly espoused but worked so long to deny. Raise a glass to the heroes and martyrs of the movement. Remember the rights we enjoy today were paid for with blood. Remember Cheney, Goodman, and Schwerner. And, in their honor and memory, please VOTE!