In 1972, I was in 5th grade and as passionate about politics as I am today. Perhaps for this reason I was chosen by my teacher, Mrs. Parsley--the first real hippie I ever met--to deliver a speech in favor of the the Democratic candidate for president, George McGovern, in our classroom's mock election. When McGovern lost the election later that year, I was devastated.
Regrettably, 51 years after 600 people risked their lives on Bloody Sunday to expand democracy for people of color, and with the 2016 Presidential election fast approaching, too many voters of color here in New Jersey, rather than experiencing increased political participation, are losing their voting rights daily.
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.