On this day, Revolutionary Paideia pays tribute to the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King’s contributions to the United States of America are immeasurable. It was because of his unwillingness to remain silent in the face of egregious injustice and oppression that gave us all an opportunity to understand what America can truly be when we live up to the utopian ideals and values promulgated in the Declaration of Independence. As I watched the annual tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia on television, I very much enjoyed the beautiful celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. King. The celebration of Dr. King’s contributions to America and the world were exquisitely stated by a range of diverse individuals from America and across the globe, evincing a microcosm of the utopian multiracial democracy Dr. King envisioned.
Although I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated the excellent tribute to Dr. King at Ebenezer Baptist Church, one thing that troubled me was many speakers stated their opposition to new state voter identification laws that, in their opinion, disproportionately impact the poor and minorities, but no one presented a plan to help them to overcome the barriers of the new state voter identification laws.
It’s important to highlight that Mayor Kasim Reed, mayor of Atlanta, did assert that people who have state identification cards need to make sure others who don’t have them get them. Instead of investing so much energy in protesting new state voter identification laws, such as the one in Georgia, there needs to be greater focus on how to get everyone a state identification card. While one can understand people having frustrations with new state voter identification laws that they contend adversely impact the poor and minorities, and function as a poll tax, protesting without offering solutions is unproductive. For those who are concerned about the new voter identification laws being a means of suppressing votes, then use your resources to pay for people to receive state identification cards who cannot afford them.
Organizations like the National Urban League can use their resources, including their money, to pay for as many people who cannot afford to pay for a state identification card. If you’re really concerned about people not being able to pay for a state identification card to vote, then why not pay for them to get one if you have the money? Why not have a billionaire financer of liberal causes, George Soros, to fund efforts across the nation to get state identification cards for those who cannot afford them? This is a time when liberal organizations have to come together to pool their resources to cancel out the impact that new state voter identification laws have on the ability of the poor and minorities to vote.
If there is real evidence of these new state voter identification laws preventing people from being able to vote, then the evidence needs to be offered. While we want to make sure that everyone who has the right to vote can vote, we need to have concern for voter fraud as well. Although it may sound good to say that we need to be more concerned about getting more people to vote once, and emphasize how difficult it is to get them to vote once, there is a reality that people attempt to commit fraud at the polls. Evidence of voter fraud has been presented. Now, it’s time for evidence to be offered that proves that new state voter identification laws suppress votes.
Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison