Editor’s note: On Sept. 11, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, gave a speech before the Heritage Foundation in which he said, “We need a hundred more like Jesse Helms in the U.S. Senate.” Helms, the late North Carolina senator, was a notorious lifelong segregationist who also opposed gay and women’s rights. Cruz has also championed voter suppression measures.
Voting rights are a foundation for the realization of justice, equality, and freedom for everyone in our world and in our lives.
Historically, voter suppression has been used in an attempt to silence the voices of those considered unworthy of power: the Irish of New York’s Five Points district in the 1800s, black Africans under apartheid, American blacks stifled by Jim Crow laws, and women denied the vote.
Today, men like Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas favor making laws that restrict voting rights. Cruz who told the Heritage Foundation on Sept. 11 that the late North Carolina Sen. Jesse Helms (a known proponent of racial separatism) was influential in his thinking, thus reveals an attitude that some human beings are superior to others. These men deny that everyone is human enough to participate in and influence their own process of life and its experiences on a political level. These men place no value on perspectives other than their own or on views are not in consensual agreement with their points of view.
In our present cultural environment of ethnic diversity, biased and prejudiced thoughts – based in fear, ignorance, and intolerance – fuel a simmering climate of hate and civil unrest. But most people – the 99% – have evolved beyond the stagnating realm of denigrating racial and gender thought and have learned to rise up peacefully.
The people have evolved into recognition of the strength and power of unity. The racial, religious, and gender divides that the likes of Cruz would like to reclaim, reinstate, and institutionalize through government and laws are regressive to human development. People have progressed in learning to accept differences in others and to appreciate the added value to human life experience and understanding that full participation affords.
The only people threatened by this evolutionary change in thoughts about diversity – a source of freedom and self-expression and an expansion of compassionate humanity and unity – are those who selfishly benefit from oppressive control and domination, malevolent segregation, and divisiveness.
Voting and the protection of those associated rights is the power of the people. It is the license that permits election of officials in a democracy to responsibly serve humanitarian interests and act as dutiful stewards of the world and all that is in it.
Restricting voting rights is the political weapon of mass destruction being used by some elected officials. By suppression of the vote, they hope to sustain the plutocracy that American government has become. When the sitting political regime’s dominance is threatened, voter suppression tactics resurge.
The conservatives counted their money, but they didn’t count on how their attempts to divide us are actually bringing us closer together. While they were gloating over their positions, they missed the real and present progression of our cultural evolution-not only in America, but around the globe. The people – the 99% – have and will exercise the power of unity and the vote. Count on it.
Dee Scott is a radio talk show host/producer/programmer and human rights activist in Houston, Texas. Her show, “Speak Out Spirit” airs on www.kpft.org HD3 internet radio, Wednesdays at 10 am CST.
Photo: The late Sen. Joe McCarthy, left, and current Sen. Ted Cruz, right, have a lot in common beyond their looks. DonkeyHotey CC2.0