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Message to Manchin: No Bipartisan Support Should Be Needed to Do Right Thing

by Todd A. Smith

 

 

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va. or R-W.Va. depending on who you ask), I call B.S. on your reasoning to not vote for the Peoples Act.


After the election of President Joe Biden in 2020, Republicans have led an effort to suppress voting in many urban areas, which will obviously make it more difficult for Black and Brown Americans to vote.


The Republicans, encouraged by former President Donald Trump’s big lie that Democrats stole the 2020 election, have enacted legislation in numerous states that will make it difficult to vote by limiting voting days and hours, closing voting locations in urban areas, making it more cumbersome to vote by mail and by allowing partisan poll watchers inside voting locations.


The GOP is attempting to suppress the vote because as the country gets browner, the Democratic Party becomes more powerful because minorities often vote more for Democrats than Republicans.


Instead of Republicans realizing that America is changing and trying to reach out to groups that lean towards Democrats, they just want to make it harder for them to vote.


With Democrats holding the slimmest advantage in the Senate, with Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote, it would seem that passing the Peoples Act to stop voter suppression would be very doable.


However, Sen. Manchin wrote in an op-Ed that while he wants to protect the right to vote and protect election security at all costs, he will not do so in a partisan way.


Manchin wrote that he believes voting rights should be approached with bipartisan support, and not done so to help one particular political party over the other.


While that is true, I hope he tells his Republican counterparts the same because they seem hellbent on making it harder for people that look like me and my family to vote, simply to benefit themselves.


As Republicans from state to state seek to take us back to the days of Jim Crow with their modern-day poll taxes, grandfather clauses and literacy tests, I do not see many in the GOP trying to get bipartisan support for their overtly racist agenda.


While I could opine for hours about voter suppression, Manchin does a better job of making himself sound ignorant than I could ever do.


In the West Virginia Gazette, Manchin wrote, “Unfortunately, we now are witnessing that the fundamental right to vote has itself become overtly politicized. Today’s debate about how to best protect our right to vote and hold elections, however, is not about finding common ground, but seeking partisan advantage. Whether it is state laws that seek to needlessly restrict voting or politicians who ignore the need to secure our elections, partisan policymaking won’t instill confidence in our democracy—it will destroy it.”


First of all, when it comes to people’s rights there should be no need to find common ground.


If a person takes away my rights, I am never going to attempt to find common ground.


During the days of Jim Crow, African-Americans basically had no rights.


African-Americans could not live where they wanted to live.


African-Americans could not attend the schools that they wanted to attend.


And in many cases, African-Americans could not vote because of voter intimidation and suppression.


Although the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 took some negotiations, there should never have been a need to find a common ground as it pertains to doing the right thing.


Why should African-Americans, other minorities and their White allies have to find common ground with racists who want to take us back several generations?


Furthermore, by playing both sides of the fence, Manchin is beginning to sound like the most recent past president when he talks about securing elections.


Obviously, Americans want their elections secured.


However, the 2020 presidential election went down as one of the most secure elections in United States history.


So what in the world is Manchin talking about?


Like my pastor Ralph Douglas West would say, “I’m glad you asked.”


This game that Machin is playing is his attempt to try to stay in good graces with West Virginians who voted overwhelmingly for the losing candidate in the 2020 presidential election.


Instead of doing what is right, he would rather take us back to the Jim Crow days than to stand up against racism and discrimination at the voting booth.


Manchin went on to write, “As such, congressional action on federal voting rights legislation must be the result of both Democrats and Republicans coming together to find a pathway forward or we risk further dividing and destroying the republic we swore to protect and defend as elected officials.”


While I will not question one’s intellectual abilities, I will question one’s heart and lack of guts.


Did Manchin not see the deadly insurrection that his Republican counterparts encouraged on Jan. 6?


Did they wait for bipartisan support before they tried to overthrow our 2020 presidential election and our sacred democracy?


Did the former president wait for bipartisan support when he tried to get state officials across the country to overrule Biden’s election victory?


No.


Then why should Manchin wait for them to do what is right?


Making sure every American has access to the ballot is not a partisan issue that favors the Democrats.


It is just the American thing to do.


Republicans want to take that right away because their policies are a major turnoff for many minorities.


The action of racist Republicans is to do something that benefits their party.


Everyone else just wants America to still stand for quality, liberty and justice.


Taking the rights away from minorities is un-American and undemocratic.


And since Manchin has forgotten what being democratic means, maybe he should just jump ship and join his Republican colleagues.


Or maybe he should just be seen as a DINO (Democrat in Name Only) to paraphrase the former president.

This article was published on Friday 11 June, 2021.
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