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NY Times

Fighting to Protect the Right to Vote

The Union Veterans Council on Vets role in fighting for voting rights

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by Guest Post on
Jan 13, 2022

This post was written by Union Veterans Council, AFL-CIO Executive Director Will Attig

President Biden delivered a powerful speech calling for immediate action from the Senate on the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act. The forceful speech from the President reminded everyone that these two bills protect the right of every American to cast their vote and have that vote counted equally, a right members of the military serve to protect every day. We cannot afford to let voting rights fall victim to the filibuster, a procedural tool conceived during segregation and employed to undermine our great democracy by taking power away from the people. 

Voting rights are the most crucial weapon American citizens are equipped with to defend their constitution from enemies, both foreign and domestic. Blood has been shed throughout American history so that We, the people, have the right to choose our government. Old Senate procedures like the filibuster were not part of the original vision for the constitution’s framers and should never outweigh the will of the people. 

Thomas Jefferson said, “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” As veterans, we must protect equal and efficient access to the ballot box. We will not allow our democratic systems to weaken and be eroded from the inside out. We call on our fellow veterans and proud Americans to defend the Constitution by protecting the right to vote.

Across the globe, veterans have seen how unequal access to the ballot leads to corrupt governments and undemocratic systems that undermine voters and their basic freedoms.

For far too long, diverse veterans have returned from a battlefield where the enemy was equally willing to kill them to a country that did not afford them the same rights at the ballot box as the white soldiers they fought alongside. As Civil Rights leader and veteran Medger Evars explained, “[a]ll we wanted to be was ordinary citizens…[w]e fought during the war for America, Mississippi included…”

Today, Texas is our Mississippi, where some Americans are equal on the battlefield but not at the ballot box. We must ensure and encourage full participation for all voters, not create barriers to block them.

We believe that American democracy is sacred, no matter which political party you identify with. The act of our volunteering to fight for our country, our sacrifice, and our voting are the most priceless freedoms we have.

America’s veterans must not let a minority block the will of America’s people—with attacks on the fundamental freedom to vote. 

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