Your Vote is Your Voice

This day, we reflect on the effect that words have on things that matter.  Great oratory is not everyone’s gift – but speaking up for what’s right is everyone’s responsibility.  If the majority is silent, the minority rules; special interests and certain people decide on how life will be lived. Democracy is dead along with freedom.

Today, as we celebrate the life and legacy of MLK, we pay homage to a speaker of truth.  Dr. King used words to great effect.  His ability to create images enabled him to sway the conscience of our nation. His oratory is legendary. He went to the Mountaintop and shared his dream.  Even more importantly, his actions re-enforced his oratory. He not only talked the talk, he walked it. Inspiring others to walk with him, he changed the world.

There is certainly a lot of talk in the world today. The Internet takes words and thoughts and spreads them across borders and into people’s minds. We are constantly being informed. The one time during the year that we get to answer back is on Election Day.  This is when we have the opportunity to elect people who will reflect our values and support the policies we favor. Our vote is our voice.

Unfortunately, votes can be bought. Money can be used to put a megaphone on the ideas and policies that will favor certain interests.  It is up to each citizen to listen and to think, striving to understand what is right and best – not just for their selfish, personal interests, but for the good of all.

That’s why we are thrilled that a new bill to protect voting rights has been proposed, just seven months after the Supreme Court decision striking down section five of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  The right of every American to vote, regardless of party affiliation, race, religion, or educational level must not be compromised. Anyone who attempts to use any method to disenfranchise citizens they do not like or agree with is undermining our democracy by promoting their own special interests. We urge you to use your voice to support the Voting Rights Act Amendment of 2014.  This bill is not perfect, and there will be lots of debate, but it is a step in the right direction.  Let’s use our voices to make sure we take the best and the biggest step we can.

About the Author: Sylvia Golbin-Goodman is the Executive Director of The Andrew Goodman Foundation and a member of its Board of Trustees. She leads the Foundation’s programming and developed the Hidden Heroes Awards.