Tag Archives: voting rights

What would MLK Jr. think?

The hour is late on this day of national remembrance.

The nation has recognized the 89th birthday of one of the 20th century’s greatest men. Martin Luther King Jr. left a gigantic legacy that reverberates to this very day, this very moment.

I am left to ponder: What would the great Dr. King think of the national mood today?

Others have spoken to this question already. U.S. Rep. John Lewis, one of Dr. King’s key lieutenants back in the day, said he believes MLK would be appalled at the national mood. He wouldn’t approve in any sense of the rhetoric coming from the White House these days. Rep. Lewis believes Dr. King would follow the lead of other contemporary African-American leaders and wouldn’t speak openly to the president of the United States, Donald Trump.

I believe differently. Dr. King made a point of speaking of peace with his foes. His non-violent approach to disobedience became a universal mantra for protesting what many Americans believed were injustices being brought on vast segments of our society.

I just cannot believe that King would snub those with whom he had significant differences.

Of course, we cannot know how history would be different if great leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. had lived. We play the hand we’re dealt. The hand we got in April 1968 — I cannot quite fathom that it was 50 years ago! — came from a rifle shot in Memphis, Tenn. that felled Dr. King.

He died, but his struggle lived on. It lives on to this very day.

I want to believe we have made great strides toward achieving the kind of world that Dr. King envisioned. Sadly, I hear rhetoric that comes from certain national leaders and I worry we have regressed.

My hope springs eternal. Dr. King’s soaring message still resonates. May it continue to remind us of the hope this American titan sought to imbue on us all.

John Lewis reminded us today that Dr. King knew that “we are one family.” To that end, family members shouldn’t turn their back on each other. That is what I hope — and at some level believe — Martin Luther King Jr. would say.

Ex-felons have rights, too

felon-voting-bars-button

Some of the talk along the presidential campaign trail has turned to felons.

Do those who have been convicted of felonies deserve the right to vote? Sure they do … under certain conditions.

It’s becoming a bit of a sore point among many who think that felons must not have their rights of citizenship restored. If they’ve done something egregiously wrong, why, let them pay for the rest of their lives. That’s the mantra.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe recently granted ex-felons the right to vote in that state, much to the consternation of conservatives who argue that, by golly, McAuliffe is a friend and political ally of Democratic nominee-to-be Hillary Rodham Clinton. So, naturally he’d want to grant ex-felons the right to vote.

Former GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz of Texas actually said that those who commit crimes are more likely to be Democrats than Republicans. Let’s not paint with too broad a brush, Sen. Cruz.

Texas — of all places! — allows former felons to vote.

Check this out from the Texas Secretary of State’s Office:

http://www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/laws/effects.shtml

If a felon completes all the terms of his or her release from prison — and that includes fulfilling all the parole requirements — then he or she is eligible to register to vote. The restoration of these rights do not extend to those wanting to run for political office.

Honestly, I fail to see why this is a big deal.

A left-leaning website chides the National Rifle Association for opposing the rights of ex-felons to vote while at the same time pushing for the rights of ex-felons to own firearms.

http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2016/05/22/3780685/nra-wants-ex-felons-guns-not-voting-rights/

I won’t wade into that snake pit here. Maybe later.

However, the idea behind incarcerating people convicted of committing serious crimes is to force them to “repay their debt to society.” Once they complete a prison sentence and once they complete the terms of their parole — if they’re let out of The Joint early — then they have paid their debt in full. That’s how the judicial system sees it.

This clearly is a state-by-state issue. It need not enter the federal realm.

I’ve been critical in the past of many Texas laws and those who make them here. On this one, though, the Lone Star State got it right.

 

Rove calls Holder a 'hack'

That’s the spirit, Karl Rove.

When Eric Holder, the attorney general of the United States steps down after nearly six years of service to the country, “Bush’s Brain” Rove calls him a “partisan hack.”

http://www.politico.com/story/2014/09/eric-holder-resign-karl-rove-react-111345.html?hp=l11

Therein lies a big part of the problem with today’s political debate. You have differences with an administration and then as the nation’s top lawyer steps down you inflame those differences with a statement that is stunning in its lack of self-awareness.

It’s been part and parcel of the right’s reaction to Holder’s impending departure. An editorial in my local newspaper, the Amarillo Globe-News, spent a good deal of space condemning him for various perceived and alleged errors while on the job. It made no mention of his sincere commitment to voting rights for all Americans.

As for Rove, the godfather of partisan hacks everywhere, it galls me to no end that he would hang that label on someone else.

The big picture at times is just too complete and puts too much context on someone’s public service to suit some of us.