It’s For Everything We Love About Democracy

Maceo Keeling - SCORE Member, Business Owner and Consultant. Photo: Urban News
Maceo Keeling – SCORE Member, Business Owner and Consultant. Photo: Urban News
The Conscious Corner by Maceo Z. Keeling, Sr. –

High drama often accompanies the statements, “I’d bet my life on that!” or “I swear on a stack of Bibles!” for this or that.

Both are very powerful phrases loaded with passion and intention. But as powerful as they are, these phrases are inadequate to express the seriousness of the situation at hand. Even the most urgent situations that called for “This is a matter of life and death!” or “I swear on my mother’s grave!” don’t meet today’s crisis.

The idea of these sorts of exclamations is to express the gravity of the circumstances we face, and very few situations warranted such a weighty proclamation. Our community and our culture value each other above all things. We recognize sacrifice and we have witnessed suffering. While the things we saw enraged and traumatized us, they also moved us from fear into flight and a fight.

Perhaps we have become soft and forgotten the struggle of black folk in the United States of America. Have we forgotten or are we too young to know the sacrifices our families made for our rights—to sit where we want to sit, to speak our piece, and to VOTE our conscience! Black people suffered for, were beaten for, bled for, and died gruesome deaths for us to have the right to VOTE.

Today we are still under legislation for a right allegedly afforded all “citizens” of these United States. Non-white men and freed male slaves are guaranteed the right to vote by the Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. That happened back in 1870. Black women did not gain the legal right to vote until passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1920.

A discussion for another article perhaps is, what happened between those dates and the Voting Rights Act of 1965? Were they not reauthorized?

Originally these rights were set to expire after 10 years. Congress reauthorized Section 203 in 1982 for seven years, expanded and reauthorized it in 1992 for 15 years, and reauthorized it in 2006 for 25 years. Who will be in office in 2031 when your newborn sons and daughters and grandchildren are 11 years old? What will be the state of affairs when you are a senior citizen?

This article is about one truth I hold dear: If you don’t use your voice, you can’t be heard! If you don’t participate in the process to make something happen, something is happening to you. If you don’t vote, no one has to take it away, you have given it away!

The blatant disrespect for our own blood that was shed for these rights, and the disrespect of the people who put their lives on the line for it, is a travesty! They risked their health, their lives, even their children’s lives and welfare on it! It was a matter of life and death! And they fought the fight so that we could use what they bequeathed us: the VOTE!

Like anything else in our lives, even our own bodies, if you don’t exercise what you have, you will eventually lose it … and that’s on everything I love.

Answer the call and VOTE!

 

 


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