THE BLOG
07/04/2013 01:36 pm ET Updated Sep 03, 2013

On Independence Day, Fight for the Voting Rights That Secure Our Freedoms

As we gather with friends and family with a grateful toast to our servicemembers who defend our freedoms this 4th of July 2013, we celebrate our most sacred freedom -- the civic sacrament of voting.

On America's birthday we reverently repeat the words of our Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men [!] are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."

Our voting rights empower us "to secure these rights" -- and today as voting rights are under attack, we must vow to get them back.

This is our first Fourth of July in a generation where we are officially without the heart of the Voting Rights Act. When the U.S. Supreme Court gutted section 4 of the law, throwing out protections ranging from voter suppression tactics like gerrymandering maps to unduly burdensome ID laws to restrictions on early and absentee voting, the Court immediately disenfranchised Americans from sea to shining sea.

Immediately several states jumped forward to suppress the vote from Texas which makes it easier to get a hunting permit than a voter ID card to North Carolina, whose legislature rushed through a tea party trifecta -- of laws banning sharia, abortion rights and early voting.

North Carolina is not merely, as Rachel Maddow said, "conservatives gone wild" -- it is no coincidence that the Supreme Court gutted the voting rights act and the North Carolina legislature moved to restrict human rights just days later:

It is no coincidence that those blocking voting rights are also blocking reproductive freedoms.
It is no coincidence that those blocking voting rights are also blocking same sex marriages.
It is no coincidence that those blocking voting rights are also blocking immigrants' rights.
It is no coincidence that those blocking voting rights are also blocking workers' rights.
It is no coincidence that those blocking voting rights are also blocking living wages.
It is no coincidence that those blocking voting rights are also blocking guns safety laws.
It is no coincidence that those blocking voting rights are also blocking polluter pay laws.
It is no coincidence that those blocking voting rights are also blocking consumer protections.

And it is definitely no coincidence that those blocking voting rights are also blocking Citizens United repeal. There is a clear line -- drawn by conservatives at the Koch-funded American Legislative Exchange Council with a literal "wish list" and dozens of allies determined to limit voting rights in order to advance narrow interests.

Thus this Independence Day, therefore, we must renew our commitment to fighting for our rights and responsibilities -- freedom to choose, freedom to marry, freedom to live in safe, secure nondiscriminatory communities -- by fighting for our voting rights -- and the unfettered freedom to grant or refuse "the consent of the governed." We must fight for the voting rights that secure our freedoms -- or have fewer freedoms to celebrate next Independence Day.