“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness—That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed,” Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776.
These truths are what the recent civil unrest is about. Systemic racism, controlling women’s reproductive capabilities but not men’s, providing health care for some but not for all, and ensuring the one-percent get richer while the working poor get poorer is not equality. Young people are demanding leaders that live up to these truths.
Government derives its power from us. We give our consent through our votes. Obstacles that discourage voter participation take away consent. There is no evidence that voting absentee benefits one party more than another and it is certainly not riddled with fraud, contrary to what some will try to tell you. Fear of voters is driving this argument. Some people want to take away our consent and create a democracy-destroying imbalance of power. Our founders did not have this in mind when they declared their independence from autocratic, one-sided rule.
America continues to be a work in progress. We need national and state and local leaders now more than ever who have the courage and will to let all our voices be heard, unify our diverse peoples and move us forward.
Regina A. Smith