We Are All Selma
As we are besieged by gerrymandering, stricter voting laws and a proclivity by the current administration to treat the electorate as uninformed and gullible, we must remember that we are all Selma.
As some of the most unpopular legislation in American history has been passed and our lawmakers do not take into account the negative opinions of the electorate on such laws, we must remember that we are all Selma.
When on December 12, President Trump and the majority of the Republican party decided to support Judge Roy Moore, an accused pedophile, a racist and a homophobe, the people of Alabama remembered that we are all Selma.
The people of Selma, Alabama, taught us on that “Bloody Sunday” in 1965 that there is nothing more important to democracy than to vote. As Bernard and Colia Lafayette began organizing in 1963 along with many other local civil rights leaders, they sparked a revolution that culminated when a movement 3,200 strong, led by Martin Luther king, descended on Montgomery 25,000 strong four days later. And it grew because it was a moral campaign with a strong compass, and it brought us the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
As we enter 2018 with an inhumane tax bill in effect that overwhelmingly benefits the rich and multinational corporations, we must remember that we are all Selma. As economic growth does not reach the unrealistically goals assumed in this bill then, it will be argued, cuts to spending must be made. House Majority Leader Paul Ryan has been clear all along, and this has been his goal since he entered politics, that cuts to “entitlements” will then need to be made to reign in the deficit.
As congressman Steven King of Iowa retweets right wing Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban who says that “Mixing cultures will not lead to a higher quality of life but a lower one”, then as an immigrant I feel attacked and I need to remember that I am Selma.
What Selma has taught us twice now, and so has Virginia in its last election, is that if we want to enact change we need to get out and vote. On that Sunday in 1965 Selma marched on to Montgomery to demand the right to vote and on December 12, 2017 Selma did not forget its role in this country’s history.
We must all be Selma.
Originally published in the Huffington Post.