February 8, 2017

by Rosalin Moss

Say It With Roz


Voting Rights:  Not To Be Taken For Granted



Voting is probably the most power that anyone can have when it comes to controlling country, state, city and neighborhood life.  So, when I hear non-voters whining about the "system" and the "man", I can only tell them to shut their mouths.  It is every citizen's duty to understand the importance of voting and to know something about the people who are seeking to be elected.  It is especially important for Blacks to take seriously the election process and to participate fully.  I say this because Blacks do a lot of complaining about this and that, and it would make sense to take advantage of whatever tools there are to try to make a change for the better.  Voting might be the most important tool available at this time. 


What some do not realize is that the Voting Rights Act is a law that can be changed (and has been changed) or even done away with.  Certain states have continuously tried to suppress votes by changing or attempting to change the voting rights law.  With the right people in place and the right conditions existing, people could lose their right to vote at all.  In my opinion, those people and conditions could very well be in place today.


Unlike many other Blacks, I am not appalled at Blacks who vote for Republicans instead of Democrats.  Exercising your right to vote is the important thing.  People have their reasons for what they believe in, and I cannot be so arrogant as to tell them their reasons are wrong.  I expect the same respect in return.  But to not vote at all, to not take advantage of your chance to have a say-so in how things are done in your country, state and city, you forfeit your right to complain about anything. 


The results of the 2016 presidential election should be enough proof, even for the most dense of citizens, to realize that YOUR VOTE COUNTS!  Saying that your vote does not matter is the weakest of excuses for not casting a ballot.  I suppose it won't matter to the non-voters when they no longer have the right to vote, or they are prohibited from patronizing certain places of business, or can only live in certain areas of town.  Blacks should never, ever be lax when it comes to voting.  Voting can help prevent the people who want to tear down the Voting Rights Act from ever becoming elected officials.  Regardless of what people say, there are still those who do not want Blacks and other minorities to have a voice in this country.  Just as those who are unfavorable to minorities are diligent in tearing down voting rights and other privileges for minorities, minorities must be diligent in making sure their basic rights are preserved in this country. 


It pains me to remember Obama pleading with Democrats to come out and vote, to not only preserve his legacy but to preserve democracy.  The people did not respond, but instead turned their backs on the first Black president and refused to vote or voted for a third party.  What, exactly, Blacks wanted Obama to do, I am not sure.  Was he supposed to wave a magic wand and make all Whites love Black folks?  Perhaps some are angry because there has been no reparations for Blacks for slavery.  I do not really know.  In any case, I think it was a mistake to allow one party to gain full control of what goes on in this country.  Regardless of which party has a president in the White House, it is good to have a healthy balance running things, in my opinion.  As we can see with the current Republican administration, Democrats have zero power and can literally be told to sit down and shut up.  There is no one to blame for this but the Democrats, both the politicians and the voters.  However, I place more blame on the voters than the politicians.  I personally did not need to be pumped up or inspired to go to the voting booth.  I am just a concerned citizen who always votes in national and local elections.  Not voting is not on my agenda, ever.  Even if the politicians are sleeping, the citizens should always have their eyes wide open. 


I do recognize that there was some voting suppression going on, with fewer voting polls, fewer voting booths, and stricter voting requirements designed to thwart minority votes.  Again, putting the right politicians in office can help to eliminate this type of crap.  People should develop the mindset of casting their vote regardless of what obstacles are placed before them.  Plan ahead of time.  Know the rules and make sure you have the necessary ID regardless of what it is.  Just be determined to not be stripped of your right to vote. 


There was a time when only White male landowners could vote.  Think about that.






--Rosalin Moss

Say It With Roz

February 8, 2017