Wisconsin Reminds: Must Be Vigilant in Asserting Rights Lest We Sink Into Comfortable Ignorance of Grade School Propaganda
The comfortable ignorance of grade school propaganda about superiority, democracy, rights that exist only on paper
Recent events in Wisconsin and other states, where the rights to organize, collectively bargain, assemble, and speak out have been under attack, remind us that we must be vigilant and diligent in defending rights, democracy, and freedom here in the US, lest we doze off into the comfortable ignorance of grade school propaganda about freedom, democracy, superiority, and rights that exist only on paper. As John Lewis, Congressional Representative and veteran civil rights leader reminds us about the right to vote, all Americans do not enjoy all of our supposedly sacrosanct rights and Americans in general do not enjoy them all of the time. No doubt these rights are inalienable, but that does not mean they are not fragile and corruptible. Events in the Mideast show how dear and hard won are these rights; they are no less open to assaults here in the US.
So, to mark Martin Luther King day, Rep. John Lewis deemed it appropriate to evaluate how far we’d come. He called for us also to rededicate ourselves to “building an America where all are treated equally and every eligible American can cast a ballot and have it counted.”
Rep. Lewis, who risked life and limb to fight for voting rights for Blacks, knows that of which he speaks. and so I find it interesting, and telling, that he talked not of working to keep the right to have one’s vote counted but of working to build an America where every eligible vote is counted.
In his video he talks of some of the things that were used to discourage or prevent Blacks from voting. No matter that they technically had the right to vote, in practice, tricks were used to deny that right. That should have been illegal, right?
Well White folks do tend to believe that laws that are enacted are also enforced; but the history of Black America since Reconstruction is all about rights given on paper but not upheld, let alone enforced, in practice.
In fact, doesn’t that sound like the beef that Native Americans had with the European/American usurpers? I.e., there were the many treaties that were negotiated between Native and Usurper and then set to writing, only to be tossed to the side at will by the more powerful Whites, at any time that suited them? So we don’t expect minorities to be as gullible as Whites in buying the claptrap about being a nation of laws, not men; equality before the law; blind justice; and hardly the inviolate nature of contract or the steel trap certitude instilled in the notion of contract law.
Getting back to the issue of the right to have a vote and to have it count, however, we need to remember that, while according to law Blacks have had the vote since after the Civil War, in actuality, their voting rights were not upheld until the Sixties, and only after Blacks took to the streets, only after they were beaten, killed, injured with high pressure hoses, and had police dogs attacking them.
What I am reminded of is the fragility of the right to have one’s vote counted. Rep. Lewis asks us to build an America where one’s vote will be counted. It seems that he is not forgetting the massive voter fraud that occurred in Florida in the year 2000, where Blacks were targeted for dirty tricks to keep them from the polls or to make it physically difficult–like causing them to stand in line ten or a hundred times longer than whites had to in order to vote.
And then in 2004, with the help of the Diebold Corporation, we had massive nationwide voter fraud with electronic voting machines built to be easily hacked by their manufacturer–headed by a man who ahead of the election “guaranteed” the election of George W. Bush. Sure enough, the books and research that followed the election shows the massive changing of votes for Kerry into Bush votes.
So, I think it is wise to heed this veteran civil rights leader when he urges that in Martin Luther King’s memory we should strive to achieve the fairness in elections that we would want in a democracy.For we have now many examples of voting rights being guaranteed by law, but denied in practice, for lack of those in power to enforce those rights.
I know that White America does not want to believe that our government has been so corrupt, and so recently too, so that we in effect have not had democratically elected Presidents in two out of the last three Presidential elections. It means that our highly touted democracy is in fact not. It means that we have been brainwashed to glory in an achievement of democracy–the great democratic experiment, so to speak–when historically many of our biggest decisions have been decided ahead of the time–they’ve been rigged by people without conscience but with wealth and access to power, making us not much different than the third world dictatorships except that we hide our lack of democracy better, and we brainwash our schoolchildren better that they are living in a country with inviolate even sacred rights to have a say in our government.
So, with all these chest-thumping feelings of superiority relative to other countries drilled into white children in particular, and with a mass media owned by the wealthy so that these truths of their manipulating elections will never be widely known, most Whites will probably not think it necessary, and less so even want to look at the need to, build a truly democratic America “where every eligible vote is counted.”
But as for this White guy, I say give me the discomfort of the Truth and with it the possibility of some day actually living in a country where the majority decides elections, not the powerful, rather than the comfortable ignorance of grade school propaganda about superiority, democracy, and false liberty, and rights that are only true on paper.
Subject: Martin Luther King, Jr.
Over 40 years ago, I stood with Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. on the steps of the U.S. Capitol during the March on Washington. Tomorrow, our nation will commemorate his life and work.
I recorded a short video about what this day means to me and all Americans
Tomorrow is a day to honor his legacy and reflect on how far we’ve come.
But it’s also a day to rededicate ourselves to building an America where all are treated equally and every eligible American can cast a ballot and have it counted.
Please watch and share today
Representative John Lewis