I have been reading “Freedom National, The Destruction of Slavery in the United States, 1861-1865” by James Oakes, and had a realization that today, right now, 2021, was being repeated.
The decades before slavery was abolished were fraught with conflict, with abolitionists claiming that no one could own another human being, while the Southern and border states said slavery was a state issue and not a policy the federal government had the right to change.
The slaves were property, no more, no less.
Now, the issue is voting.
States, mainly southern, claim that voting laws are a state concern and the federal government has no justification to change them.
So, here we are back in the earlyto mid-1800s, with almost the same language being employed.
These states are defending their discriminatory new voting laws, aimed mainly at making it difficult for people of color to vote, and assert that the U.S. Justice Department should leave these laws alone.
And these states have an undue influence in Congress, where their representatives support those laws and want a hands-off policy from the federal government.
A Civil War ended slavery 160 years ago. What will it take to ensure voting rights, clear and uncomplicated, for all in the United States, no matter the state?
A civil war over voting rights seems absurd, ludicrous. Certainly the nation has matured to the point that such a notion is nothing but fiction.
Grow up, you deniers of the right to vote, and help the United States reclaim its now-lost place in the world as democracy’s hope.
Eugene “Gene” Novogrodsky, Brownsville