OK, Boomer, what do you remember about 1956? Here are some highlights to jog your memory: Congress approved the Highway Act, which launched our interstate highway system. Fidel Castro began stirring up his revolution in Cuba. Dr. Albert Sabin developed an oral polio vaccine. The Olympic Games took place in Melbourne, Australia. My Fair Lady opened on Broadway.
And I voted for the first time. Proud, excited. To the best of my recollection, I haven’t missed voting in an election since, and I’m certainly not going to miss this one.
To vote, one must be a citizen of the United States and at least 18 years of age. For me, that’s easy. I was born here, and I passed that age requirement a long time ago. For far too many others, it’s not so easy.
In all these years, no one has tried to keep me from voting, but have you noticed? Some people have worked hard to take this privilege so fundamental to our system of government away from certain others. It’s a shameful history, poll taxes, literacy tests, gerrymandering, specious claims of fraud.
The respected Carnegie Corp concludes: “These activities have a demonstrable and disproportionate effect on populations that are already underrepresented at the polls. Adding to the problems, government at all levels has largely failed to make the necessary investments in elections (from technology to poll-worker training) to ensure the integrity and efficiency of the system.”
There is no justification for voter suppression in any form, It is morally indefensible.
The founders of our country wisely placed a lot of faith in the principle of the consent of the governed. Voting is how we ordinary folks, who feel so helpless and distant from those governing our lives, actually change things. Voting is our voice. Voting changes government. This is how it’s supposed to work.
But lust for power drives some to try to take this privilege from us.
It’s not theirs to play with. It’s ours.
It’s time for us to take it back. By voting.