“One person, one vote” is the cornerstone of Jeffersonian democracy. Implicit in this ideal of one-person one vote is the assumption that if a person is registered to vote they will be allowed to do so and if they cast a vote – that vote will in fact be counted!
The African-American community is very sensitive to the vote because of the torturous and bloody history that reflects the struggles and battles that have been fought in order to secure its right to vote.
Why would a citizen take the time to cast a vote if that vote is not going to be recognized and counted? Why would Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer risk her livelihood, her life and the security of her family to secure the franchise if the vote that she risked her life to secure would not be counted?
Mrs. Hamer put her life on the line so that America would live up to its fundamental precepts enabling all of its citizens to enjoy the freedoms found in the home of the free and land of the brave.
It was Mrs. Hamer who said, “One night I went to the church. They had a mass meeting… and they talked about how it was our right that we could register and vote… That sounded interesting enough to me that I wanted to try it. I had never heard, until 1962, that Black people could register and vote…
“When they asked for those to raise their hands who’d go down to the courthouse the next day, I raised mine…I guess if I’d had any sense I’d’ve been a little scared, but what was the point of being scared? The only thing they could do to me was kill me and it seemed like they’d been trying to do that a little bit at a time ever since I could remember.”
Why did Ms. Ruby Sales, Ms. Annie Pearl Avery, Mrs. Dorie Ladner, Willie Ricks and so many others in SNCC and other organizations risk their lives during those long hot days and dangerous dark lonely nights on those hate-filled treacherous back roads in Alabama, Mississippi and other parts of the South, convincing sharecroppers and other oppressed African-Americans that it was worth the risk to register to vote and then to show up at the polls to vote?
Why have White supremacists used lynching, the burning of homes and churches and other tactics of domestic terrorism to keep people of color from exercising their 15th Amendment right? As investigative journalist Greg Palast has written, they’ve changed their tactics from white sheets to spreadsheets, but the motivation and outcome is still the same.
One person, one vote is the ideal that America has used time and again as a philosophical weapon against its enemies and the rational for undermining if not overthrowing tyrants, dictators and “evil” heads of foreign governments. With this premise being true, I have four questions:
First, in the context of this recent 2016 presidential election, with the irrefutable evidence that is presented by Greg Palast and others, why is the Republican Party the party of voter suppression and election fraud? Why have 30 Republican Secretaries of State used Kris Kobach’s “Crosscheck” program to remove legally registered voters from the rolls.
According to Palast, “Starting in 2013 – just as the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act – a coterie of Trump operatives, under the direction of Kris Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State, created a system to purge 1.1 million Americans of color from the voter rolls of GOP–controlled states.”
Nothing to say
Second, why is it that the Democratic Party is so conspicuously silent and so reluctant to challenge these crimes and pursue these criminals? They should be fighting to the death to protect voting rights and count the votes of every citizen who cast or tried to cast a ballot.
Third, why has President Barak Obama and his Attorney General Loretta Lynch been conspicuously silent on this issue? It’s not that the election was stolen from Hilary Clinton; it was stolen from the American people and as president of “all Americans,” he should be using his bully pulpit to call attention to this fraud.
He swore an oath to protect this country from all enemies both foreign and domestic. If the CIA can track Russian hackers, why can’t the Department of Justice track Republicans? You don’t have to go to the Kremlin. Just go to Kansas!
President Obama has said that his pet project after he leaves office will be to restore the right to vote as a Constitutional right. Well, that’s great and quite noble. Close the door after the cows are out of the barn and in the fields trampling the crops. Once Trump gets hold of the Supreme Court, Obama’s efforts will be moot.
Fourth, why has most of mainstream media failed to do half of the investigative reporting that Greg Palast has done on this issue? Why is the Fourth Estate allowing this fraud to be perpetrated upon the American people?
Ensuring that every eligible voter can vote and every cast vote is counted should be the fundamental focus of every secretary of state in this country regardless of their party affiliation. Every vote that was cast in this 2016 election should be counted and the election should not be certified until they are.
If every vote is not counted because subversive tactics were employed to ensure that they would not be, then the powers that a President Trump will derive and exercise will not be just, because the consent of the governed will not have been granted.
If one person, one vote is supposed to be the cornerstone of our democracy, then those who engage in the acts of subverting that right are un-American.
Dr. Wilmer Leon is the producer and host of the call-in talk radio program “Inside the Issues with Leon” on SiriusXM Satellite radio channel 126.