Saturday, September 3, 2011

Government for - or against the people?

By Harvey Elwood, Jr.

For months now the Republican controlled government of South Carolina and several other states have pushed forth and vigorously defended “Voter ID” legislation, veiled under the idea of saving the rest of us from non-citizen, voter frauding, mystery beings from outer space, that got President Obama elected.

In their zeal to turn back the clock on civil and human rights that took hundreds of years and thousands of lives to establish, these folk would have you believe they are honorable and just.

For those who may remember civil rights, the suffrage movement and 6th Grade Social Studies - the struggles were about affording people the right to vote - allowing this nation to live out the true meaning of it’s declaration and proposition. Where everyone including the Governors of South Carolina and Louisiana although non white - are real and true citizens in every sense and have every opportunity to become President or anything else they like.

How ironic, that these same leaders are now the ones working against the very struggles and barriers that today allow them to hold public office, without shame or ridicule; established by the work of Dr. Martin Luther King and many other right minded people of all backgrounds.

I for one hate that it’s come down to this. Many of us thought we were past this type of nonsense. Yet power concedes nothing - even when we stand together to defend our nation, it’s laws and all it’s suppose to mean, there are those who march to the beat of a different drum.

The disenfranchisement of 178,000 people in our state alone is a very serious matter. People who’ve been registered and voted for years yet have no ID, primarily due to age or never owning or driving an automobile.

How do we tell our children or look them in the face and say we made a mistake. America is not better than that, it’s all a lie. Or how do I tell an African American senior citizen with little to no education, in their 70’s or 80’s that were born and worked in the fields for most of their lives and because they don’t have an ID are no longer able to vote.

It wasn’t that long ago that they were finally granted their God given rights. And for most if not all - voting for and seeing an African American elected President was the greatest moment of their lives.

But now once again their best is not good enough, their labors and lives on the battle fields, the floors they scrubbed, ditches they’ve dug and the loss of sons and daughters in defense of this land we love, seems not enough.

My parents taught me to love this nation and all the people in it - even those that need to be ashamed of themselves, for this obvious, yet deceptive ideological and poorly disguised masquerade against people of good will everywhere.

Well - I for one won’t accept the lie and will continue to live the dream everyday with people of all backgrounds and all socio-economic classes and colors, attend school and worship services with them, dine in their homes and they in mine.

And continue to remain vigilant against any government or person who does not accept one nation under God inadvisable, with liberty and justice for all.

■ Harvey Elwood, Jr. of Orangeburg - is a semi-retired educator and host of 

“New Perspectives” a weekly public affairs and information show aired on WSSB 90.3FM. 

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