Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: Legislation guaranteeing blacks the right to vote in the USA will expire in 2007.
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 1997]
Origins: It's a scenario that should send chills up and down the spine of everyone who believes in America, democracy, and equality. The right of every citizen to vote is the foundation of our democracy — it's how we ensure that our government is responsive and responsible to us, the people. The thought that anyone — especially a group of people who were treated as chattel, enslaved, and denied basic civil rights until just over a century ago — could lose that fundamental right is horrifying. The idea that people who were kept legally segregated from the rest of society until only a few decades ago could find themselves unable to redress their grievances at the ballot box is appalling. And the notion that the good deeds of the hundreds of thousands of brave men and women who gave their lives to ensure that everyone, regardless of race, have the right to vote could be capriciously invalidated at the whim of modern day politicians is mortifying. Fortunately, it isn't
Two constitutional amendments that followed the conclusion of the long and bloody
The remedy to this injustice was President Lyndon Johnson's proposal — and Congress' passage — of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. It didn't guarantee blacks the right to vote; they'd already held that right since the ratification of the
The Voting Rights Act was never intended to be in force permanently. It was initially effective for a period of five years; that period was later extended for another five years, then another seven years, and finally for another twenty-five years, ending in 2007. Even if the Voting Rights Act is not extended again in 2007, this will not mean that the right to vote will "be taken away" from blacks — it will simply mean that the federal government will no longer require states to seek federal approval before changing their voting laws. We should see this as a positive — that we as a society have finally (if slowly and painfully) progressed to the point we no longer need to take special measures to ensure that every citizen has a fair opportunity to participate in a democratic voting process. There are times when we should get all riled up about what our government is doing, but this isn't one of them.
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