By Ron Walters
I have seldom seen tears come to his eyes. But there was Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. sitting in front of Detroit Rep. John Conyers, expressing his pain at the indignity of having to fight to legitimize the right to vote all over again, urging the Congressional Black Caucus to go to Ohio and hold hearings on the massive evidence coming out of voter disenfranchisement coming out of that state.
The hearing was packed with individuals, many of whom had important information on the degree of voter disenfranchisement. They told of results in the voting data in some counties that did not–could not–have been reconciled with the initial exit polls. They also told of an incident where 95,000 votes were invalidated because they were put in the machines upside down by Hispanics who had language difficulty–and were not assisted. They told of standing in long lines three to 10 hours at polling stations with large numbers of minority voters, while suburban voters had enough machines. A White student from a small college in Ohio told of “being mad” at not having enough voting machines for his college, standing for hours in the long lines with his fellow students either in the rain, or in a hot voting station, conditions that caused many students to give up on voting.
Rev. Jackson’s tears should be our tears, to such an extent that we become resigned to turn our pain into power. We should de-legitimize this election by making noise about the stealing of elections in America. They fooled us once, shame on them; and now, they have fooled us again, shame on us. Shame on us for believing this is accidental. Shame on us for allowing the people we vote for to walk away from challenging the system to count our votes. Shame on us for not loudly protesting what has happened in our name and, most importantly, in the name of democracy. Shame on us for allowing massive double standard to exist, where the president criticizes the result of elections in the Ukraine while his own house is filthy. And just shame on us for having the audacity to call people out to vote and then allow the system to corrupt the innocent faith they have invested in the political system to work in a fair and unbiased manner.
There must be a design to fight back–not just at the next election, but in the street, at every corner, on every mountainside. It must be said that the system we call democracy in America is corrupt, has been corrupted by a vicious desire to win at all cost, a desire that mitigates fairness, a desire to further the aims of a conservative ideology by the absolute control of government.
And that message should not be silenced by the ultra pragmatists among us, those would go back to business as usual, because there are better things to do, or because things will not change, it’s always been that way–or by the smugness of those who win this way. We must call this kind of activity into question, or we really do not believe in freedom and will not know it when it comes.