Voting is Your Birthright

Not long ago I wrote a piece about the UU’s Fifth Principle which states, “We believe in the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process.” Simply put, we acknowledge that you have the entitlement to vote for the candidate who supports your interests and we will do everything in our power to give you the tools needed to exercise that privilege in a voting booth.
The United States has a storied history in the voting arena. In 1789, the Constitution granted the states the ability to set their own voting standards which generally provided these rights only to white men owning property or paying taxes. It wasn’t until 1869 that African American men were given the authorization to vote. That same year Louisiana enacted a “grandfather clause” that reneged on that right for those who were former slaves or descendants. In 1900, other Southern states followed suit. Laying the path for future “Jim Crow” laws that demanded a literacy test and poll tax for those wishing to vote. It wasn’t until 1965 that the Voting Rights Act provided voting rights to everyone regardless of race.
Even though Native Americans were given citizenship in 1887, provided they denied their connection with their native tribe, it wasn’t until 1924 that they were given equal voting rights regardless of tribal affiliation.
When women were given the vote in 1920 it came after a long history of the Suffragette movement, and Chinese immigrants were held in suspense until 1942. (To read more about the history of voting rights go here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_voting_rights_in_the_United_States)
Each of these groups fought for the right that should have been afforded them by the Constitution centuries before. Individual members were jailed or killed, fighting to be heard through a slip of paper.
Too often we block the voices of the past. The cries in the night as a woman was being beaten or raped simply because she was brave enough to stand up for what she believed, the deep sobs of a mother watching her black son lynched. Buried deep within the Me-Too movement and Black Lives Matter, as well as other cultural groups, are the anguish and the determination of individuals who refused to stay quiet and were willing to take their passion to the grave. We can acknowledge their sacrifices by simply taking 20 minutes out of our day on November 6 to mark a ballot.
It’s more important than ever to exercise our birthright through the ballot. In 2011 voter fraud and other illegal methods of trying to silence the masses became more widespread. While it might be easy to use that as a justification for staying home, it is actually a call to arms. Subterfuge and lies cannot hide once a light are shown on them.
This Tuesday, October 9, is the last day to register for voting. If you are registered, you need to verify your registration. If you registered online here in Texas, you might need to register again. Just today an article came out stating online voting is not legal in Texas and at least 2,000 who thought they were registered, are not. (see this article for more information: https://www.dallasnews.com/news/2018-elections/2018/09/25/register-vote-ballot-need-know-texas-midterm-elections)
Before voting it is important to see who the candidates are and what their stance is on different issues. On the League of Women Voters website, you can find this information as well as other pertinent topics related to the election. (https://my.lwv.org/texas).
With the current societal state of affairs, this is not a party you can afford not to attend. Whether you’re Conservative, Liberal, or somewhere in between your vote could make a difference in the future of our country, as well as in our relationship with the rest of the world.

This entry was posted in Deeper UUnderstanding, From the Editor, Social Justice. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Voting is Your Birthright

  1. And you can voter early starting on Oct. 22 through Nov.4 at ANY voting location in your county. Also, if you are over 65 you can automatically be sent a ballot by mail for any elections!
    VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE!!

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