WHY? This is just so mind-boggling because the Republican Party — either current or former holders of positions of public trust, including former President Donald Trump and the party’s leadership — all raised their right hand with their other hand on the Bible when they took the oath of office. They vowed that they will protect, preserve and defend the Constitution, and yet they are so brazenly and shamelessly defying so many American people of their right to vote by legislation?
On Tuesday, July 13, as President Joe Biden addressed the nation to defend and protect our right to vote, “Texas Democrats rallied at the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday morning as fugitives, with the state House voting to drag them back to Austin after they fled by chartered plane in order to stymie a GOP bill they says would impede minority voting rights,” the Dallas News reported.
Despite Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s threat to arrest these Democrats for fleeing the state, they all vowed “to stay in the nation’s capital for as long as it takes to block the Texas House from considering the measure, weeks at least, by depriving the chamber of a quorum.”
Quoting state Rep. Rafael Anchia of Dallas, “We are not going to buckle to the ‘Big Lie’ in the state of Texas…We said no during the regular session and we are saying no during the special session,” the Dallas News reported. Anchia is chair of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, who referred “to baseless claims from Donald Trump and many of his allies that the election was stolen — justifying, they say, strict new election rules”.
This fight is the message of Biden who chose Philadelphia as the venue, the birthplace of American democracy, to his major speech about our right to vote, because Texas is not the only state attempting to suppress and subvert our fundamental right in this democracy.
“We are facing the most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War. That’s not hyperbole — since the Civil War,” Biden said in his speech. “The Confederates back then never breached the Capitol as insurrectionists did on Jan. 6. I’m not saying this to alarm you. I’m saying this because you should be alarmed.”
“Republicans in state legislatures across the country are seeking to pass measures restricting voting access and as a Democratic effort to overhaul the system has faltered in Congress,” the New York Times reported. Seventeen states have enacted laws to make it harder for people to vote, plus 400 more that Republicans are trying to pass.
Biden asked his “Republican friends in Congress and states and cities and counties to stand up for God sake and help prevent this concerted effort to undermine our election and the sacred right to vote.”
“Have you no shame?” asked Biden. “…This isn’t about Democrats or Republicans. It’s literally about who we are as Americans. It’s that basic. It’s about the kind of country we want today.”
“Hear me clearly,” CNN quoted the President’s speech t in a report. “There’s an unfolding assault taking place in America today, an attempt to suppress and subvert the right to vote in fair and free elections, an assault on Democracy, an assault on liberty, an assault on who we are as Americans.”
Using the power of the Office of the President to pressure Republicans to get on board with Democrats, Biden said in his speech: “That’s the important point. Puts the burden back on Congress to restore the voting rights act to its intended strength. As soon as Congress passes the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, I will sign it and let the whole world see it. That will be an important moment.”
In his speech, Biden called out his predecessor Donald Trump for the “big lies” he has been peddling against the 2020 election results where Biden defeated him by a large margin — big lies condoned and perpetuated by the members of the Republican Party who abdicated their constitutional mandate of checks and balance for the same reason – political expediency.
These lies of massive voter fraud led to the January 6 insurrection, despite all bipartisan independent investigations and court battles that had been dismissed even by the Highest Court for lack of evidence.
“The 2020 election was the most scrutinized election ever in American history. Challenge after challenge brought to local, state and election officials, state legislatures, state and federal courts, even to the United States Supreme Court not once, but twice. More than 80 judges, including those appointed by my predecessor, heard the arguments. In every case neither cause nor evidence was found to undermine the national achievement of administering the historic election in the face of such extraordinary challenges,” Biden said empathically.
Yet up to now, Trump has continued to spread these lies, just as he lied about the threat of COVID-19 that killed so many Americans, all motivated by his insatiable despicable greed to stay in power.
Biden noted that in 2020, more people voted in America — more than 150 million votes cast — than ever in the history of US elections and did so “in the middle of a once in a century pandemic,” CNN reported.
This is why the Republicans are so desperate in their unconstitutional attempt to suppress and subvert the peoples’ right to vote. They heard the voice of the people loud and clear, and they did not like what they are hearing because it threatens their grip on power — the power that rightfully belongs to the people.
“Some things in America should be simple and straightforward. Perhaps the most important of those things, the most fundamental of those things, is the right to vote. The right to vote freely…The right to vote fairly, the right to have your vote counted. The Democratic threshold is liberty. With it, anything is possible. Without it, nothing, nothing,” the president said.
“This is a test of our time,” Biden challenged us.
So what do we do? How do we protect and defend our rights in our democracy? How do we reclaim our power as “We, the People” in a government of the people, for the people and by the people?
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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.
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Gel Santos Relos has been in news, talk, public service and educational broadcasting since 1989 with ABS-CBN and is now serving the Filipino audience using different platforms, including digital broadcasting, and print, and is working on a new public service program for the community. You may contact her through email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or send her a message via Facebook at Facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos.