A Civil Rights Perspective

December 17, 2013

Discerning from which perspective to address civil rights issues is challenging. The social justice and social problems that exist in America swell when major civil rights cases arise. Throughout this discourse, there will be a discussion on: voting, execution of the law, constitutional rights, and the American Civil Rights Movement.

 

In this country, citizenry have been afforded many constitutional rights that range from free speech, voting rights, due process, and etc. America is the freest nation in the world. And, with those rights come a great responsibility. Those freedoms swing like a pendulum with every election and/or generation. It is up to the people to determine what America will be in the years to come. Citizens must not only register to vote, but vote in every single election possible. When a pressing issues surface and a protest rallies crop up; there needs to be voter registration. Without the ability to vote, the protesters are relatively powerless and the rally is simply symbolic.

 

In this country, being a registered voter is two-fold. Voters determine the outcome of local, state, and national elections. State elected officials establish the laws, statutes, and public policies for the respective states. In order to change the laws, you have to change the officials.  Voters have the authority to call, email, write, protest outside of elected officials’ offices, and fill the general assembly halls. Citizens cannot be idle and expect change without action. State laws are strengthening and becoming more conservative. It is not by mistake. The charge comes from Washington D.C. Then, governors and state legislatures implement; leaving citizens fixed. The U.S. Constitution does not explicitly state national citizenship, but state citizenship. Citizens have to be informed about the laws in their states. Go on the actual websites. (i.e.-Congress.gov, WhiteHouse.gov, SupremeCourt.gov, or www.tn.gov)

 

In this county, voter registration is coupled with jury selection. One has to stop fleeing from sitting on a jury. Being a juror is a constitutional right. The jury has to represent the demographics of the accused, have similar norms and values, and share other commonalities if it is truly one’s peers.

 

In this country, 2:7 articles and 7:27 amendments of the U.S. Constitution directly deal with voting and it processes. According to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, all citizens are able to vote. If it were not important the law would not say so. Americans need to reengage in the Constitution. It is the lifeblood and foundation of the nation.

 

In this country, there has been an ongoing Civil Rights Movement. The movement began when the indigenous people were forced to move from their land, signing invalid treaties, and chattel slavery was a way of life. The 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments and the Civil Rights Act of 1866 were the first forms legislation that sought to equalize the nation. Some say that one day the Civil Rights Movement would have to be fought again. I believe it never ended. Within the past 20 years, there have been black church burnings, religious temple shootings, KKK rallies, death of unarmed minority men, anti-voting rights legislation that disproportionately affects minorities, N-word usage and moratorium, marriage equality battles, and a questionable death penalty execution. If America begins to fuse these incidents together, it is overt that the “Movement” is here and never left.

 

In this country, it is time to sound the call and rise up. In John Locke’s “Two Treaties of Government,” he states it is the citizens’ obligation to revolt. When the government is not acting on the behalf of the citizens’ interest and behaving in such a way that may tyrannical; the people have the right to overturn it. Americans must be informed about their neighborhoods and state. Passion plus action equal a movement.

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