Fair elections are threatened by political discord

From Where I Sit ... By Avis Anderson
Thursday, July 22, 2021
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I am having a difficult time wrapping my head around all the state legislatures working to restrict our right to vote. I don’t care your color, creed, gender or country of origin, voting has always been one of the freedoms we cherish and brag about to the rest of the world.

Having lived my years I can remember when we shook our heads about unfair elections in other countries — people being denied the right to choose their leader in a fair election. The United Nations would send soldiers to protect the people, men and women who risked their lives to come to the polls and vote. I used to thank God we had free, fair and open elections when I watched what other people in other countries went through to vote.

Now I am beginning to wonder about the element in this country who is attempting to gerrymander districts and limit access to voting rights just because they control state legislatures and they have the power. You can’t hand out water to people who are standing in line in the heat for six hours because they treasure their right to vote?

It used to be we shuddered at the restrictions on literacy and poll tax forced on Black American voters in the South. Armed white men stood guard harassing and obstructing people. Now wherever governors and legislators have the power, many of our freedoms are being whittled away from us.

Of course we get weary of the news that blasts us every day of corruption and political battles. It is so bad you wish some days to crawl in a hole and pull it in after you, but as true citizens of a still free and democratic republic we cannot do that. We must face our leaders and hold them to account for what they are doing in limiting our rights to elect the candidates we choose.

In Russia, Putin allows some names to appear on the ballot other than his, but elections are a joke. The people in many of the Balkan countries are limited in fair elections. Latin America is facing dictators, fascism, organized crime and corrupt officials. The same is true in various countries in Africa. We see the unrest in Haiti over managed elections. The recent January 6th attack on the nation’s capitol was attempting to interrupt a two hundred year old process of electing a leader for this nation. Even the military was fearing a coup and there was talk of brown-shirts in the streets. Historians say we came very close to losing our democracy that day.

I used to believe that fair elections in this country were a given. The past election was fair and open and the people’s choice was clear. But the discord continues. We must be alert and be aware and political discord must come to an end. We, the people, must speak.

Avis R. Anderson is a retired member of the Glendive community. Her online blog can be found at www.prairienewdays.com.