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GOP needs to do more to fight racism


August 11, 2020 Letters to the Editor

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In reply to a letter to the editor, “GOP answers Democrat’s response to Facebook Post,” July 18, we were given a history lesson on what the Republican Party has done to promote racial equality up and until 1877, but what is the Republican Party doing currently to quell systemic racism? I searched, and this is what I found.

Not a thing!

In fact, the two most significant modern day laws to remove obstacles to equality were championed by Democratic President Lyndon Johnson: the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Resistance to both laws was fierce, and continues to this day.

The Republican Party is currently leading an effort to restrict and suppress voting rights, and that effort is directed at minority groups such as Black Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans. For instance, the state of Georgia has cut 240 polling places, and according to an October 2018 NPR article, more than 1½ million people have been purged from their voting rolls. The same article reports that during the 2018 election, Georgia was blocking 53,000 voter registrations, 80 percent of whom were people of color.

According to the Brennan Center for Justice, 99 bills were introduced in 2017 in 31 state legislatures, all by Republicans, and all designed to diminish voter access. And, in an October 2018 article in The New Yorker, North Carolina placed restrictions on early voting which affects African American voters the most. African American voters are more likely to be hourly wage workers, and not always able to make it to the polls because of job hours. Now, during the pandemic, President Trump and the Republican Party are busy trying to stop mail-in voting, and undermine the United States Postal Service. Ask yourself who will be hit the hardest by not being able to vote by mail?

Other states purging voter rolls, and pushing for tighter voting access are Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana and Iowa. It is not just happening in southern states. In North Dakota voter laws began to require residential address IDs. Most Native Americans who live on reservations do not have a street address.

A July 2020 Pew Research article reads that when individuals were asked about Trump’s handling of race relations, 48 percent responded that he has made race relations worse, 19 percent say he has tried, but failed, 19 percent say that he has made progress, and 12 percent say he has not addressed the issue. In fact, President Trump told The Associated Press on July 2016, that “Black Lives Matter is a very, very divisive term.”

According to Pew Research, 87 percent of black voters identify with the Democratic Party, and 7 percent identify with the Republican Party. But that is not the point. As Catherine Lalonde stated in her Letter to the Editor, “There should not be any divergent opinion about racism; racism is evil.”

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