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Film Review: 'All In: The Fight for Democracy' Updated History Lesson on Voter Suppression

by Todd A. Smith

 

Politician Stacey Abrams is highlighted in the documentary “All In: The Fight for Democracy,” which is now available on Prime Video (Photo courtesy of Amazon Studios).

 

‘All In: The Fight for Democracy’ Much-Needed Updated History Lesson 

 


When “All In: The Fight for Democracy” begins, it comes off as a much-needed history lesson that rehashes every election year.


The documentary “All In: The Fight for Democracy” highlights the fight for equal voting rights from the Women’s Suffrage Movement to the Voting Rights Act 0f 1965.


While those lessons are extremely necessary because many Americans are not knowledgeable when it comes to history, as seen in the recent news that many millennials believe the Holocaust was a hoax, “All In: The Fight for Democracy” is a necessary warning to apathetic Americans that the home of the free is not that free at all, even in 2020 because of voter suppression efforts.


Additionally, “All In: The Fight for Democracy” shines because it immortalizes the controversial 2018 Georgia gubernatorial race that pitted Stacey Abrams with Gov. Brian Kemp, with charges of voter suppression clouding the result of the close election.


And the laundry list of alleged voter suppression tactics by those trying to limit the voting of minorities is captured in a way that includes those discriminatory tactics against all minorities, not just African-Americans.


During the contentious 2018 Georgia gubernatorial race, the documentary “All In: The Fight for Democracy” alleges that many absentee ballots might not have been counted in the razor-thin race.


Gov. Kemp also served as Georgia’s Secretary of State at the time, which meant he made the rules for the election.


Holding that position, while running for a higher office, is a conflict of interest in many states.


Nevertheless, Kemp was able to make rules that benefitted his bid for the governor’s mansion in the “Peach State.”


In Georgia, many voters had their names purged from the voting rolls even though they should not have been, even based on rules that were allowed after the United States Supreme Court, under Chief Justice John Roberts, took the teeth out of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.


Other states like Texas have followed Georgia in alleged attempts to suppress the vote with rules such as voter ID laws, which disproportionately affect poor and elderly minorities.


“All In: The Fight for Democracy” also details how gerrymandering is legal if congressional lines are drawn to benefit one political party.


However, if gerrymandering is done to benefit one race over another, it is illegal.


In reality, that distinction is non-existent because most African-Americans vote Democratic and not Republican.


Therefore, if gerrymandering benefits Republicans, than it hurts African-Americans, even if African-Americans represent the majority in a particular jurisdiction.


Although the more modern history lesson learned in “All In: The Fight for Democracy” is most important, especially in 2020, taking that history lesson back centuries is an important history lesson to teach viewers of all hues about the impact that voter suppression has had on all Americans, regardless of gender or color.


When America gained its independence, all men were not created equal.


While many know that that is obvious, “All In: The Fight for Democracy” explains that only White, property owners could vote in early elections.


It is important that Americans know that disenfranchisement not only happens because of color, but also if a person does not have enough of the color green in their bank accounts.


To this day, many poor White Americans vote against their own interest because of color, refusing to acknowledge that their lack of wealth puts them in the same category as many minorities when it comes to political power.


Furthermore, “All In: The Fight for Democracy” does an adequate job of explaining the important role that African-American women played in the Women’s Suffrage Movement, even though skin color often kept them from benefitting from it for decades.


Although the history lesson in “All In: The Fight for Democracy” will educate viewers, the personal interest stories will hopefully light a fire in them that will extinguish racism and voter suppression once and for all. 


“All In: The Fight for Democracy” tells the story of a young Abrams, headed for Spelman College, and recently named as her high school class’ valedictorian.


At the time of Abrams’ high school graduation in the early 1990s, valedictorians and their parents from across Georgia received an invitation to the governor’s mansion to celebrate their accomplishment.


However, when the Abrams family got off of a bus and walked up to the mansion, a police officer told them that the event was private and they did not belong.


The officer refused to even look to see if the Abrams family was on the list.


He just assumed they did not belong for whatever reason.


Another heart-breaking story highlighted in “All In: The Fight for Democracy” is the story of Maceo Snipes in 1946.


Snipes battled the Nazis in World War II, risking his life for his country.


But when he returned home, he was told that African-Americans in his county could not vote.


But fighting fascism removed all fear of racism, and Snipes voted anyway.


Actually, Snipes was the only African-American to vote in that particular county in 1946.


Because of racist intimidation, Snipes was probably the last African-American to vote in that county for a couple of decades.


“All In: The Fight for Democracy” edges out “The Way I See It” as the best documentary of the weekend because it contains a little more balance when discussing political issues.


At the same time, “All In: The Fight for Democracy” could have a little more input from those with opposing viewpoints.


Nonetheless, “All In: The Fight for Democracy” is another much-needed part of the ongoing American history lesson on racism and voter suppression. 

 



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This article was published on Friday 18 September, 2020.
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