By TRUDY GOLDBERG
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was a major milestone in the long struggle to guarantee the right to vote to all Americans and make this nation a true democracy.
For nearly a half-century, the United States moved closer to true democracy—until 2013, when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, thereby weakening a key tool used by the federal government to block discriminatory voting laws.
Just as Jim Crow legislation overturned the 15th Amendment’s guarantee of universal male suffrage, today’s assault on voting rights threatens to turn the clock back once again.
This current assault on democracy is cynically targeting the voting rights of the very groups who stand to gain most from progressive legislation–including the guarantee of living-wage work. That is why those engaged in the struggle for economic and social justice must make the preservation of democracy and voting rights integral to their goals and their struggles.
The success of the struggle for economic and social rights depends on the defense and extension of civil and political rights to all members of society. Legislation approved by the U.S. House of Representatives and pending in the U.S. Senate—H.R. 1 and S. 1—“would expand Americans’ access to the ballot box, reduce the influence of big money in politics, strengthen ethics rules for public servants, and implement other anti-corruption measures for the purpose of fortifying our democracy…..”
Let us join hands in solidarity—in the preservation and pursuit of political and economic rights.
Trudy Goldberg is the chair of the National Jobs for All Network.