This commentary first aired on November 6, 2012.
Ever since the first American hostages of church-state confederacy resolved to sever themselves from authoritarian domination by coalitions of royalty and its religious authenticators, self-styled advocates have attempted to influence the form of our newly-won freedom. Prompted by profit oriented off-shoots of the original order, they have invariably prodded their quarry to cede autonomy for the assurance of corporate stability and significance. Their lucre-amplified logic? Fiduciary federation provides the most dependable source of freedom. What they’ve blithely and intentionally overlooked was who controls the combination to the lock on the cash box.
Those who now find themselves wondering, what’s become of the freedom that once seemed close enough to grasp, should ask themselves: “Why do those who now advocate it so loudly encumber it with so many caveats?” The most onerous would appear to hold the key to the freedom those first colonial immigrants sought, when they thought they were voting for separation. Those who encumber our current voting process with multiple regulatory restrictions, for voters on the lower end of our societal spectrum, are offering a rotten carrot on a thorny stick. The voting franchise is the most precious of our rights. It should be the most inclusive and uncomplicated act of citizenship. Those who would restrict it do so with the preordained and prejudicial malice of a special class, opposed to equal opportunity for all.
There’s a strangely skewed dichotomy in the highly restrictive societal code that leaders of the Republican ultra-right call a new form of freedom, which accrues from a restrictive life-style they cite as historic. If true, it’s a way of life from which most eventual Americans sought (and some actually fought) to escape.
The critical time has come for Americans to decide how much they actually have to say about the form their freedom will present, to all segments of their society, especially those few who now seek to set criteria for all, with special privilege for themselves. To accomplish this, many may not only have to fight for the right to vote but also for their votes to be honestly counted. Our highest court has now affirmed that of all the nation’s voices, money speaks the loudest. It’s time we determined whether or not it speaks louder than all the votes that can be honestly cast and counted.
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