By continuing to deny citizens the right to vote based on a past criminal conviction, the government is endorsing a system that expects these citizens to contribute to the community but then denies them participation in our democracy. Fortunately, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) and Rep. John Conyers (D-Michigan) introduced a critical bill yesterday that would fix this problem.
No matter where you stand on the issues, you must concede that there will be extreme gridlock for the next two years: Congress will block President Obama's appointments, while in turn the president will use up a lot of ink with a steady stream of vetoes when Congress passes bills to undermine his agenda.
Today, the U.S. Constitution celebrates its 227th birthday. For more than half those years -- 115 to be exact -- residents of overseas U.S. territories have been denied full and equal membership as part of We the People. Now it is time to recognize that these citizens deserve to be treated as full and equal members of We the People.
In the conduct of today's Republican Party, we can see a pattern of destructiveness. It displays an insatiable lust for power and wealth, an impulse to prey upon the vulnerable, a preference for conflict over cooperation, a persistent dishonesty, and a willingness to sacrifice the greater good for selfish advantage.
A cornerstone of the civil rights movement, the Voting Rights Act ensures that every American citizen, regardless of race or language, has equal access to the vote. That is until last June, when the U.S. Supreme Court gutted a key part of the act, leading to a full-frontal attack on the voting rights of all Americans.
The historic participation of blacks and other minorities helped elect the first black president of the United States. But while we greatly exercised our right to vote in 2008, many failed to do the same two years later during the 2010 midterms. What we got were a slew of politicians who are more concerned with their own self-aggrandizement than with serving people.