Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Voting rights and American history

After being privy to some guys discussing how to cure our country's political problems I felt unschooled in history surrounding our voting rights. A sight popped up during my search for information and my education began. I'm sure that somewhere during my 12 plus years in school and college, some time was spent on the subject of the evolution of our ability to vote. I forgot. Being of this generation much of the concerns of our forefathers escapes me. I am not faced with the British oppression, taxation without representation, Religious persecution, prejudice, constant bickering between parties or any of that other stuff so prevalent back then. The basics of the voting rights were well meaning. Freeholders, or landowners voted. They had vested interest and because of their holding showed they were enterprising and able to make mature decisions. Women didn't vote because the were otherwise occupied with domestic obligations. Most minorities couldn't vote in that, that is the way it was during those times of positioning. Common belief was that someone had to take the helm and carry out the mission. "Too many cooks spoil the broth!" Although exceptions were often made for anyone that was a freeholder, regardless of race. In the beginning religion wasn't much of a factor but after a while Catholics and Jews were refused the vote. It took hundreds of years to refine voting rights to where they are now. Because we are an ever changing landscape of humanity, I am sure those rights will continue to evolve.

In reading up on this subject, taking into consideration all the pitfalls, I wondered what other country offers so much to such a vast collection of differing cultures? I wonder that most likely, because of all those differing cultural approaches to what is considered fair voting rights for all of us, the arguments will probably continue far, far into the future. I find it an interesting subject to ponder as it is critical to our ability to collectively proceed and build a great country. No less than it was back when they wrote the Constitution.

I find it very entertaining to view from a distance how the mistakes of the past provided a complicated set of checks and balances on the road to where we are now. A common phrase says: "The pendulum always swings back!" I can see that. Right, left, middle but always swinging.

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