I got my start in politics helping poor Mississippi sharecroppers register to vote. In those days even walking up the steps of the nearest town hall and asking to register could be answered with insults, threats of violence or worse. The required poll tax and quiz on the Constitution were designed to intimidate poor people and keep them off the voting rolls.
We all know that democracy is a precious and delicate system. Small changes can either discourage or motivate individual participation. And for the poorest and most burdened members of our society, that is even more true. I can’t forget those sharecroppers who found the courage to climb the steps and enter their names onto the voting lists in the face of jeers and threats. In their names we should vow to protect this cornerstone of our democracy.
If you are aware of intimidation or irregularities at your voting place, especially for underrepresented populations, please call this national voting rights hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE or 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA for Spanish language reporting. Who would have thought that in 2012 we’d still be fighting for One Man, One Vote?
The Frying Pan
Posted: Tuesday, 11 September 2012