What Motivates YOU?
Thursday’s tribute to Black History Month is voting rights activist, Rosanell Eaton. She is 94 years old and has been fighting for equality since she was eighteen.
I get so angry writing about the 2013 repressive voter ID bill, HB 589 that it’s hard to settle into the story. I’ve included links here because I can’t believe the suppression. My blood pressure goes up just thinking about it.
Sure, there are more than two sides to any story. Legal documentation is important. Everyone understands that. However, HB 589, passed by the North Carolina legislature and Republican governor, Pat McCrory, is truly unfair to many people.
Eaton, along with others, has been at the helm for years bringing awareness to the narrow-minded thinking behind HB 589. The law mandates that voters show a birth certificate, valid driver’s license, and photo ID. Not only are elderly people affected, those with disabilities and low-income rural residents without transportation are not fairly represented. Early voting has been reduced. It is no small wonder that 94% of the voters affected are African-American or other so-called minorities.
Remember the Bush and Gore debacle in Florida?
One wonders why any prudent thinking legislator would make it so difficult to vote in the United States. The only thing I can think of is the obvious: money, fear, and greed. We have come to a crisis in the U.S. where mostly wealthy Caucasians run multi- national corporations with the usual glut of self-serving politicians, self-interest groups, lobbyists, and super PACs behind the scenes as puppet masters. Nothing new.
Please take the time to read this article which explains Eaton’s situation clearly.
It is unthinkable that an elderly woman such as Rosanell Eaton, in order to establish her documentation, would have to be driven by her daughter to some thirteen different offices. The trip to the DMV is over 200 miles away; Eaton and her daughter made countless returns to verify her identity. Her legal name has been questioned. Bureaucracy is slow. It can be an immovable, heartless, mean machine.
Not only did Eaton have to go to battle to vote in 2013, she was mistreated in the Jim Crow South, and crosses were burned on her lawn in 1930’s. Just to earn the right to cast a ballot back in the day, two voter “registrars” commanded her to stand in place and “not look to the right nor the left” and recite the preamble to the Constitution of the United States. She did just that, and has been voting until this most recent legislation.
Can YOU recite the preamble from memory?
And now, she has to prove herself again? In 2016?
She is going to court.
Regulations are put into effect to safeguard laws and to protect people’s identity. But certainly, some leniency should be provided to protect the elderly, disabled people, or those who are not in the regular workforce. If there is written document from any professional agency, or a doctor or a social service agency verifying that the person is who they claim to be, shouldn’t that be enough to vote? Shouldn’t a photo ID be issued based on proper documentation and witness identification?
Think about it.
How much are you willing to do to insist upon your legal rights to vote? If you make it to 94, do you think YOU would be able to stand up for yourself and others?
Rosanell Eaton is a shero!