A Constitutional Right to Vote

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John Lewis.jpg

Last Friday, March 7, was the 49th anniversary of Bloody Sunday.  On that day in 1965 John Lewis, then the SNCC President, and other civil rights leaders attempted to march from Selma to Montgomery to protest the suppression of African American voters in the South.  They never made it past the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, because George Wallace’s troops were waiting on the other side with dogs and billy clubs.  Congressman John Lewis still bears the scars from the brutal beating he received that day.

Last Sunday, March 9, civil rights leaders, including Chicago’s own Reverend Jesse Jackson, and political leaders from both parties marched in Selma to commemorate that brutal day in 1965.  Just as John Lewis called for a Voting Rights Act in 1965, Reverend Jackson today is calling for a constitutional right to vote.

In his Sun Times op-ed Reverend Jackson explains that “we have the bizarre situation that in one of the world’s leading democracies, citizens have a guaranteed right to a gun, but not the right to vote.”  

We agree that this is not only bizarre, but wrong. It’s time we constitutionalized the right to vote for all Americans. 

Reverend Jackson’s full op-ed is available here