THE BLOG

Stand up for Voting Rights -- The Inalienable Rights You Save May Be Your Own

07/04/2014 01:26 pm ET | Updated Sep 03, 2014
Steve Debenport

On Independence Day as we gather with loved ones, thank service members who sacrifice for our freedoms, and celebrate the birthday of a nation conceived in liberty, we must take action to preserve the voting rights that secure our inalienable rights.

This week has been a test of America's character -- from the Hobby Lobby and Harris v Quinn decisions that allowed employers to intimidate employees' intimate decisions to the blockades of buses carrying undocumented migrant children to the ongoing efforts to block the Voting Rights Amendment Act on the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. We are a nation conceived in liberty whose highest court just allowed employers to impose their religious views on employees. We are a nation built by immigrants -- some involuntary; most voluntary -- some of whose elected leaders actually urged people to blockade buses of scared migrant children. We are a nation whose founding document says "all men are created equal" -- some of whose officials continue to disenfranchise voters from asserting that equality in the voting booth.

How will America pass this test of character -- this test of our liberty, community, and equality?

The clearest step we can take is to demand our liberty, community and equality at the polling place.

Don't want your boss intimidating your intimate choices? Stand up for voting rights and vote for feminist policy makers and pro-worker policies, support labor coalitions for good paying jobs that respect workers, and fully inclusive campaigns with leadership as diverse as America.

Don't want to see immigrants scapegoated and prejudices unleashed on our most vulnerable? Stand up for voting rights, vote for candidates who will pass comprehensive immigration reform, and support community coalitions working for humane solutions.

Don't want to see a continuation of voter suppression that disproportionately affects people of color, locks voters out of the political process and desecrates our civic sacrament of voting? Stand up for voting rights -- urge your Members of Congress to pass the Voting Rights Amendment Act.

We don't live in a bubble. Worker intimidation, immigrant scapegoating, and voter suppression aren't happening to other people -- they are affecting each and all of us, some directly, all indirectly. Thus I urge all to make activism your gift to the country on America's birthday. When you support voting rights the inalienable rights you save may be your own.