By Shane McCampbell, Pastor at New Fellowship Christian Church and a non-partisan candidate for Des Moines County Supervisor
Prior to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, African Americans in the South faced extreme obstacles to voting, including bureaucratic restrictions, poll taxes, impossible literacy test questions, (like "How many bubbles are in a bar of soap" . . . really!), threats and even violence to deny or suppress the so-called Colored vote. But no matter the trials, they would not be denied. It's hard to believe the encompassing struggle of the Negro in the Sixties when we look at voting rights in this current day, and to observe a lackadaisical attitude of even a few Afro-Americans is frustrating and disappointing to say the least. As a Black man I recognize that voting is as important today as it was in the Sixties (as there are still many inequities) and I'm sending out an APB to all legal voters to declare your citizenship at the polls and to come to the realization that tomorrow’s failures will be a direct result of today’s inactivity. There is no literacy test or poll tax anymore and though there are other ways to dissuade African Americans and minorities we must continue to persevere . . . again.
Reauthorization: to authorize (something or someone) again, especially to renew the authority or effective legal power, warrant, or right of.
The Reauthorization Act of 2006 is the latest version of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and I only bring this up as I emphasize even more the urgency for political activity in the melonated community. Just the fact there is a Voting Rights Act to begin with, and to top it all off, a need to put it on a sunset and have to review (again) what our rights will look like in 2026... There’s your sign! It's time to declare what your rights will look like in 2020, 2026 and into perpetuity at the ballot box. This is the time to find and elect promise keepers. The kind that don't need a reauthorization... Those whom God hath authorized, can humans reauthorize? If a person’s rights can be altered or changed, do they really have rights to begin with?
The African American, Afro American, Colored, Negro, Black or melonated person must have all the rights afforded to every other person with impartiality, according to the laws of God (and God wrote them on stone) and that's good enough for me! We must be active politically to ensure that we get those rights and respect must be paid to those who have come before us by relentless participation... and maybe one day, we can all be recognized as citizens of The United States of America. You know, Americans.
I wanted to close by saying something extremely profound that would cause the reader to cogitate deeply and maybe cause them to inquire and take action. As I was giving that thought, my daughter walked into my office and said, "KISS...Keep it simple, stupid" and she walked away without another word. I think her advice was wise and I will therefore follow after wisdom and close out with four simple steps (no need to overcomplicate things).
- Listen to the Candidates promises and see if they are in line with your views and needs.
- Check the candidates past promises and see if they were kept.
- Choose a Candidate.
- Take action and Vote!
What is most important for all people throughout minority communities is to seek out those talented individuals who have a heart to serve and elect your own candidate instead of electing someone else's candidate. Let's use our voices, use our power, and vote!
Link to a 1964 literacy test taken by Harvard students.