No Vote No Right Especially to Complain

By Kevin Thomas

As the states and the nation begins to focus on upcoming congressional elections or propositions in 2017 - 2018, it’s imperative that we reeducate ourselves on why voting is so important to our nation and especially in the black community.

Since voters and nonvoters both live in their own bubble of information, I am sure many still do not know Donald Trump did not win the popular vote, he actually lost by over three million votes, and only won the electoral college vote by 107,33 from three swings states that President Barack Obama won in 2008 and 2012, how did that happen?

Preying on the insecurities of some white rural voters and even some white young adults, who refused to vote for America’s first female probably didn’t help!

But according to the United States census a record 137.5 million Americans voted in the 2016 presidential election, while the black voter turnout rate declined for the first time in 20 years in a presidential election, falling to 59.6% in 2016 after reaching a record-high 66.6% in 2012. Blacks, Hispanics, Asians and other racial or ethnic minorities accounted for only 26.7% of voters in 2016, a share unchanged from 2012 while white votes remained the same as 2012.

New voting restrictions in predominantly Republican legislatively controlled states and districts are aimed at assuring African Americans and other minorities, either do not vote or make it very difficult to vote. The question is why are we still fighting the same war of words which in some cases have ended in violence and death?

I was not naive in thinking that the election of the first black president was going to bring about a deeper respect between white and black Americans in the nation and in Missouri especially. In 2014 the death of Michael Brown opened a Pandora box of issues and concerns that impacted the entire nation.

Ferguson was a game changer that exposed the often forgotten City of St. Louis. Many still believe is separate and unequal, with a great divide by some who refuse to want a truly equal society. There are still two schools of thought on race, criminal justice, employment, and education that permeates in the “Show Me State.”

History Lesson on Race in America: My home state of Missouri has always been a peculiar state that once supported the institution of chattel slavery. Missouri was first admitted into the union, as a slave state in 1820 and by the days of the Kansas/Nebraska Act of 1854, it was clear that our nation was headed down the wrong path that would lead to separation between north and south.

It was the fugitive slave named Dred Scott, who was the instrument used by fate to open the dialogue of both northern and southern lawmakers regarding the rights of a slave to bring a lawsuit in court and are they still 3/5 of a human being, as alluded to in the U.S. Constitution.

In the St. Louis, Scott brought a suit for freedom against the widow of his master, who had died in 1843. The suit claimed as a result of Scott’s master moving to the free states of Illinois and Wisconsin before returning to Missouri, Scott should have been granted freedom, after his master’s death in 1843.

The State of Missouri did not agree with the Scotts’ request and the case was finally heard by the United States Supreme Court. In 1857 the Dred Scott decision in which a chief justice appointed by Andrew Jackson wrote a decision that justified the law that African American slaves were not legal citizens.

The Supreme court decided in a 7 to 2 decision to not consider Scott a human being and for that reason he and his wife Harriet were to remain slaves. This court’s decision was the final shot across the bow that would lead to the birth of the original Republican party that elected Abraham Lincoln to the presidency and sadly a civil war from 1861-1865. Part 2 will be next week in the Evening Whirl.

Editor’s Note: Kevin Thomas, is the son of the Evening Whirl’s late founder, Mr. Ben Thomas. He is currently serving as publisher of the Evening Whirl.

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