Removal of American basic rights
It is becoming increasingly clear that the only people who appear to believe in our form of democratic government are those who fight to uphold the Constitution of the United States. While we were organized with three separate branches of government: the Legislative, the Executive and the Judiciary, it appears that only the Executive Branch is concerned about “We The People”.
Although we have operated with a two-party system representing the different points of view of our society, that system has now collapsed so that we are becoming a nation as divided as the Kerner Commission officially called us in “The National Advisory Report on Civil Disorder”.
The Kerner Commission report was called “a powerful window into the roots of racism and inequality in America.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called it “a physician’s warning of approaching death, with a prescription for life”.
Today, the Conservative Right, as seen in the behavior of the Republican Party, is no longer concerned about we the people or the oath that all of them, as elected officials, took to defend the Constitution of the United States. That document contains our Bill of Rights, guaranteeing the right to vote, due process and equality. Instead, we elected officials at all levels seeking to pass laws suppressing the right to vote, removing books from schools and libraries, denying the right to teach our history as it really was, slavery and all, and seeking to remove a woman’s right to have control over her body, at the expense of death to her and imprisonment to doctors who seek to help her.
We now live in a nation consumed with removing basic rights while the people of this great nation suffer denials of healthcare and food through our supplemental nutrition programs that are being cut.
We live in a nation where those same Conservative Right lawmakers refuse to pass laws removing deadly firearms from our streets as they are being used to slaughter our children, family and neighbors. And now we have a Supreme Court, created as an independent third Branch of Government, with one third engaged in conduct of ethical questions and no objections from those in charge of that self governing body.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave us the remedy to these problems, in part, in his May 1957 speech in which he said: “Give us the ballot and we will elect men of character to give us the laws we need.”
The problem is, too many of us have lost sight of the importance of our votes in a democratic society. There are more of us with the power to vote than there are those who want to do all the harmful things mentioned above.
The State of Georgia demonstrated to us that we can outvote those who are against us. If they had not voted, we would have lost Sen. Raphael Warnock to a Black puppet of the conservative right. It was the fight for the right to vote and for Civil Rights, with prayer, that got us both the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act when so many Americans were against the two.
Now we have allowed the Supreme Court to cut the Voting Rights Act, cancel Roe vs. Wade and move to roll back as many social gains as they can because the Court has been stacked with a Conservative Majority which believes it can’t be touched.
But if we prepare now to elect those persons in 2024 that reflect our views, we can change a non-working and divided Congress into the instrument of the people it was intended to be.
We can vote out those in favor of keeping guns on our streets. We can replace people at the state and local level who seek to restrict voting, ban books and change history. We can elect school board members, city and state lawmakers, and can recall and discipline judges who think they are untouchable.
If we register, get informed of the issues and vote for those who will give us the desired change and not smiles and personalities, then we are the remedy.
Dr. John E. Warren is publisher of the San Diego Voice and Viewpoint newspaper.