Reader's View: Disenfranchised unable to make much progress
Since the rise of the #MeToo movement in 2017 and the murder of George Floyd in 2020, we’ve seen an unprecedented social awakening on a wide front.
Do we have a democracy? Not long ago this question would have sounded silly, but the history of the last five years has made it more than reasonable.
Start by acknowledging some of the patently undemocratic elements the Framers of the Constitution — the original originalists, if you like — included in that document: the Electoral College; the fundamental inequality of representation in the U.S. Senate; and the disenfranchising of poor men, enslaved men, Native men, and women, none of whom were given a say in their governance and who had no voting rights whatsoever.
The history of the two centuries since these inequities were enshrined in the Constitution has chronicled a constant struggle by these disenfranchised groups to take their rightful places as citizens. The report card on this struggle is not enviable. There has been progress now and then, but by and large, whenever a group is able to get to its knees and attempt to stand, it is smacked down.
Since the rise of the #MeToo movement in 2017 and the murder of George Floyd in 2020, we’ve seen an unprecedented social awakening on a wide front. Predictably, the minions of power have been stirred up in opposition. The Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection was the most visible form of this opposition, but more insidious has been the series of voter-suppression laws passed in several states. These laws target the same disenfranchised groups, but they threaten all of us by undermining trust in the electoral process.
The voting-rights bills being debated in the Senate right now are aimed at guaranteeing the right to have one’s vote fairly counted, but the anti-democratic cadre is dead set against them. They see no way to win a fair fight.
There is no time to waste — make your voices heard!
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