26th Amendment

Birch Bayh, One Of The Best Senators Of Late 20th Century Dead At Age 91, A Truly Creative Legislator Who Should Have Been President

Former Indiana Senator Birch Bayh, who served in the Senate from 1963-1981, passed away this week at age 91.

Birch Bayh was one of the best United States Senators of the late 20th century, a truly creative legislator who should have been President.

He competed in 1976 for the Democratic Presidential nomination against Jimmy Carter and many others, and he was the favorite of this blogger and author.

This is a man who promoted the passage of the 25th Amendment, providing for an Acting President if the President was incapacitated, and of the appointment and approval of a Vice Presidential replacement when there was a vacancy in that office.

This was the reaction of Bayh and others after John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, and with Lyndon B. Johnson having had a serious heart attack in 1955, and with potential successors being House Speaker John W. McCormack (age 73), and President Pro Tempore of the Senate Carl Hayden (age 86).

Bayh also promoted the 26th Amendment, giving 18 years olds the right to vote, and he also sponsored the unsuccessful Equal Rights Amendment, which failed of passage by enough states.

He also sponsored Title 9 of the amended Civil Rights Act in 1972, ending quotas for women in higher education and giving women equal opportunity to participate in sports.

Additionally, Bayh saved Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy when they were both in a small plane crash in 1964.

Bayh was the father of Indiana Governor and Senator Evan Bayh. He won three close races in Indiana, and then was defeated by future Vice President Dan Quayle in 1980.

A Massive “Blue Wave” Despite A Good Economy, Low Unemployment, And Actions To Promote Voter Suppression

The biggest “Blue Wave” since the 1974 midterms, after Richard Nixon resigned due to the Watergate Scandal, has occurred this week.

It is also the greatest participation in a midterm election in 52 years, since 1966, when there was a lot of anger at Lyndon B. Johnson’s prosecution of the Vietnam War.

It is also an election in which the states that decided that Donald Trump would win the Electoral College–Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin–swung over to the Democrats.

This was an election in which the gender gap was the greatest we have ever seen, and more young people voted than at any time since the 26th Amendment gave 18 year olds the right to vote.

This election also saw suburbia swing to the Democratic Party en masse, and that is a major development long term.

We also saw many Republican Congressmen in California, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, and in the Midwest, lose their seats.

We witnessed Kansas reject the right wing views of past Governor Sam Brownback, and defeat Kris Kobach, a crooked candidate who worked to suppress voting rights all over the nation in the past few years.

All this occurred despite a good economy, low unemployment, and actions to promote voter suppression.

Donald Trump had said that voters should consider as if he was on the ballot, when he went out and campaigned all over the nation.

And the nation reacted with a sound rejection of Trump, with Democrats winning 7 percent more of the vote than Republicans, just as Hillary Clinton won over Donald Trump in popular vote by nearly 3 million votes.

And let us not forget that Democrats have won the popular vote for President six of the last seven national elections, all but 2004, starting in 1992 and through 2016!

Voter “Fraud”, Voter Suppression, Civil Rights, And The 26th Amendment!

We hear Republicans claim “voter fraud”, which is a total fraud in itself, as the amount of voter fraud has been shown to be something like one billion of one percent!

There is no voter fraud to speak of, and if we are going to talk about voter fraud, what about the fraud in the vote count in Florida in the Presidential Election of 2000, which benefited George W. Bush over Al Gore; and the reported voter fraud in Ohio in the Presidential Election Of 2004, which again benefited George W. Bush, this time over John Kerry?

It is a fact that only in states that are seen as in danger of turning “blue”, do we see accusations of voter fraud, to insure that a “red” state will stay “red”! So we have seen the Southern states and some Midwestern states, which have passed voter suppression laws, affecting African Americans, Latinos, poor people, the elderly, and now, even the young.

So the classic case, but not the only one, is North Carolina, which now had cut down the number of voting days before Election Day; has stopped same day registration; has decided that early voting on the Sunday before the election shall be ended (what often is the method for black churchgoers to make voting a group event); has required a state ID to vote, something many poor people cannot afford, and often have trouble getting to proper locations if they wish to buy it in person (a requirement); and now is preventing 16 and 17 year old high school students from preregistration; and not allowing college students from other states to use their college address so that they can vote in the state elections of the college or university they are attending and residing in for four or more years!

So we have a law suit against North Carolina, asserting that they are discouraging college and young voters from registering and voting, therefore trying to fix the elections, true voter fraud! And the constitutional case is the 26th Amendment of 1971, which allows 18-21 years old citizens to vote!

This is the new attempt at what used to be called “Jim Crow” laws, and the Republican Party is fully backing such denials in multiple states, right after the Supreme Court, wrongfully, weakened the Voting Rights Act of 1965, forgetting the struggles, bloodshed, and deaths suffered in the battle for voting rights. The ultimate civil right is voting rights!

What is clear is that when the states lose these battles, particularly regarding the 26th Amendment, they are guaranteeing the loss of the young vote for generations, as any intelligent young person voting for the party which worked to suppress its voting rights is as likely as “Hell Freezing Over!”

Conservative Right Wing Attack On The Constitution: The Threat Of Another Constitutional Convention Wiping Out Constitutional Amendments!

The Founding Fathers gave us a Constitution, admitting in the process that there would always be room for improvements, so made clear that amendments were appropriate over time.

So we have had 27 Amendments, including the first ten that make up the Bill of Rights.

When one looks at the amendments, particularly those that came after the Bill of Rights, one realizes that the vast majority of them were “progressive” in tone, designed to expand democracy in America, or else, amendments dealing with the office of the Presidency.

So the “progressive” amendments included the 13th (ending slavery and involuntary servitude); the 14th (promoting due process and equal protection and making African Americans citizens); the 15th (guaranteeing the right to vote for African Americans and others which had been denied that right); the 16th (providing for a federal income tax to raise revenue to deal with mounting social and economic issues); the 17th (granting the people the right to elect their two United States Senators by popular vote); the 19th (guaranteeing women the right to vote); the 23rd (guaranteeing residents of Washington, DC the right to vote); the 24th (preventing a poll tax for voting); and the 26th (guaranteeing young people 18-21 the right to vote).

So nine of the seventeen amendments after the first ten of the Bill of Rights promote progressive change, while the 12th, 20th, 22nd and 25th deal with the office of the Presidency.

The only amendment that was ever passed to limit the freedom of Americans was the 18th (prohibition of liquor), but later repealed by the 21st Amendment.

Now we have the real threat by right wing conservatives, including the Tea Party Movement, who want a new Constitutional Convention to wipe out these “progressive” amendments!

They do not like voting rights for African Americans, other minorities, women, residents of Washington DC (mostly African Americans) and young people; and they are unhappy that African Americans are considered equal under the law, and if they had the ability to do so, they would love to re-enslave poor people, which by corporate power is occurring in an informal way for many minorities, as well as white lower class people struggling every day to survive!

And they wish they could restore the US Senate elections to the corrupt state legislatures, taking away the popular vote. Finally, they hate the federal income tax, even though many of them avoid substantial taxation by having investments, rather than working for a living like most of us do. So they would prefer a sales tax, which is regressive, and would hurt the middle class and the poor much more than the wealthy elite!

But that is exactly the extremist right wing intention—to restore the “good old days” when they were in charge, and everyone had to kowtow to them!

We must not allow such a threat to develop, so the battle for progressivism is never ending, as a result!

Commemoration Of The Selma To Montgomery March 48 Years Ago: Bloody Sunday Cannot Be Forgotten

On March 7, 1965, a civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, for voting rights for African Americans, was the location of brutal police action at the Edmund Pettus Bridge against the peaceful civil rights demonstrators.

John Lewis, now a long term Congressman from Georgia, incurred a cracked skull that day, and today, he and Al Sharpton and many other people of all races converged on the site to commemorate the horrible events of that day 48 years ago, which had the effect of galvanizing action by Congress and President Lyndon B. Johnson within four months, with the passage of the Voting Rights Act.

Joining them today was Vice President Joe Biden, giving his usual inspiring speech, and making clear that the Voting Rights Act is now, now under potential threat of having the crucial Section 5 declared unconstitutional by a conservative Republican majority chosen by Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush. The Court may be ready to show they have either forgotten history, or choose to ignore the history of that day, and trust that the Southern states, which have worked to make voting more difficult in 2012 and earlier, can be trusted to avoid undermining the basic right to vote for all citizens, which is supposedly guaranteed by the 15th, 19th, and 26th Amendments,

This is a day to recall and to commit to prayer and statesmanship, hoping that the Supreme Court will do the right thing, and retain Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, since Congress has constantly renewed it, and ignore the call of states rights, which has been constantly tied to bigotry and discrimination!

A Day To Celebrate Promotion Of Human Rights: 150th Anniversary Of Emancipation Proclamation!

Today marks the most momentous day in all of American history, regarding the promotion of human rights! It is the 150th anniversary of the issuance by President Abraham Lincoln of the Emancipation Proclamation!

Lincoln had issued the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, five days after the bloody Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest day in the Civil War. His entire cabinet was opposed to what he did, and had doubts about the final issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation 100 days later.

But Abraham Lincoln had the guts, the courage, the conviction that ending slavery was an essential part of the advancement of American democracy, and would help promote the victory of the Union forces over the Confederacy.

Lincoln knew that the Emancipation Proclamation was only a pledge to end slavery, and that the only true way to bring it about was military victory, and the passage two years later of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, an event excellently portrayed in the movie LINCOLN, with Daniel Day-Lewis portraying the events leading to the passage of that amendment by the House of Representatives.

Slavery’s end did not mean an easy time or adjustment for African Americans or the nation, as racial violence and discrimination would be a sad part of the future, but it was a necessary step forward on the march of human rights, including later passage of the 14th Amendment, the 15th Amendment, the 19th Amendment, the 26th Amendment, the various Civil Rights Acts (1866, 1875, 1957, 1960, 1964, 1965, 1968), and significant Supreme Court decisions on civil rights of women, minorities, labor, young people, and gays and lesbians.

The march of time has been toward the granting of greater human rights, but it all began with Lincoln’s courageous gamble, 150 years ago today, and for that, as so much else, all Americans should salute him today!

And it is inspiring to see massive lines at the National Archives in Washington, DC, as the Emancipation Proclamation is on view for a limited time to celebrate the event, but with the need to preserve a document which is in fragile condition after a century and a half of existence.

What Lincoln did in 1863 is connected to the whole long range story of American history, the expansion of human rights for all, and this is what draws foreigners to wish to come to America, the land of liberty and opportunity!

The Republican Motivation For Power: Take Away Human Rights Already Granted!

America has developed over the past two centuries into a republic promoting democratic values and the advancement of human rights.

The Republican Party of 2011-2012, however, is making clear its desire to TAKE AWAY human rights already won over the past two centuries, with blood, sweat and tears!

We have seen the acquisition of voting rights in the 15th, 19th, 23rd, 24th, and 26th Amendments, as well as with the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and yet now, the Republican Party in many states is working very hard to LIMIT the right to vote by unreasonable limitations that particularly affect African Americans, Hispanics and Latinos, college students, the elderly and the poor of all races!

Women have gained the right to control their own privacy, including control of their own bodies, through a Supreme Court decision in Roe V. Wade in 1973 and other Supreme Court decisions and legislative actions, and yet now in many of our states, the attempt to take away women’s rights, including the right of abortion, is being fiercely waged, including encouragement of violence against abortion providers and closing down of locations where a woman can pursue her reproductive rights.

Gay men and lesbians have gained the right to serve in the military openly, be married in several states, adopt children in most states, and have other basic human rights, but now the move is on to take away these rights so hard fought for!

Working people, both immigrants and those born in the US, have fought for labor protection and representation through formation of labor unions, which have now been undermined for decades, and the attempt to impoverish workers by corporations and their Republican allies is in full development!

This has been a land of immigrants, and yet the Republican Party of today believes in polarizing Americans against undocumented immigrants who they would support deporting in the millions, even with the fact that 98 percent of them have committed no crime beyond entering the nation in an illegal manner, and just want the opportunity to work toward eventual citizenship through learning English, paying fees, and waiting patiently in line for the “American Dream”, and yet now work at low wage jobs that no Americans wish to fill, particularly in agriculture, retail, and home and hotel services.

Americans in general have been able to see improved educational opportunities, better health care, and opportunities for better housing and safer environment and consumer protection due to past Democrats and moderate Republicans working to better conditions for the middle class and the poor, but now the goal of the GOP is to take away these advancements and simply promote the interests of the top one percent and the corporations that sit on money, refuse to hire, and instead use government money that saved them to give bonuses to overpaid, under worked executives, and to lobby corrupt politicians who do their bidding!

Will the nation at large continue to accept an opposition party that works to DENY all of the progress on voting rights, women’s rights, gay rights, labor rights, immigrant rights, and the advancements for the middle class and poor gained over two centuries?

Only if the people are appealed to based upon ignorance, emotion, prejudice, and manipulation! For the future of America, this cannot be allowed to happen, as it will undermine the social fabric of America for the long haul!

Rick Perry And Newt Gingrich: More “Shaking Of Heads” In Wonderment!

Texas Governor Rick Perry and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich continue to amaze, and in the process promote the “shaking of heads” in wonderment!

Fast fading Perry made a speech to a group of young people, and told them that if they were 21 by Election Day 2012, they should be sure to vote, apparently not aware of the 26th Amendment in 1971, which allows those citizens 18-21 to vote!

He also said that Election Day was November 12, 2012, which if people listen to him means they would be failing to participate in the election, as it is six days earlier, on November 6, 2012! He attributed his errors to his “age”, which means he is not fit to be President, and by the way, he is only in his early 60s, not an “old man” by definition!

At the same time, Newt Gingrich claims he was not acting as a lobbyist for various corporations, including in the health care industry, but instead was being paid for his expertise as former Speaker of the House, by earning $65,000 for half hour speeches, and made too much money as a lecturer, so did not need to be a lobbyist. What can one say to that, except that the author of this blog earns at the most a fee of $250 per hour speech as compared to Newt making $130,000 per hour, if he is able to have the energy to go beyond a half hour speech!

While Newt could say he has a Ph. D. in History and has been a professor and author, that kind of fee is really unbelievable, and makes this author, with the same credentials except being Speaker of the House, realize that IF with his expertise and knowledge, he could have ONE speech for an hour at Newt’s rate, he could relax for the rest of the year, without the materialistic need to make money of obscene amounts, and then claim to understand the average American!

So the “shaking of heads” about both Perry and Gingrich continues to “shake”!

Florida Republicans Attempting To Prevent Young Voter Registration And Prosecute Teachers Who Promote Good Citizenship!

The Republican Party of Florida and Governor Rick Scott are in the process of promoting prosecution of teachers who encourage their high school seniors to register to vote, the ultimate lesson in good citizenship.

The new voter registration law in Florida, very similar to that in other GOP governed states, makes it much more difficult for people to register to vote, requiring government sponsored ID cards; making it harder for college students to vote on their campuses; cutting down the number of days of voting ahead of Election Day; requiring people who change counties to cast a provisional ballot at the polls, which might not be counted; discouraging the League of Women Voters from promoting registration due to a demand that all signed applications must be handed in no later than two days after applications are completed; and assessing fines of up to $1,000 for delayed submission of applications.

Two teachers are facing fines for having missed the 48 hour deadline for student applications, which prosecutes teachers for promoting good citizenship, and discourages new, young voters.

It is clear that the GOP and Governor Scott are trying to intimidate minorities, young people, the elderly, and the poor so as to manipulate the vote to favor the Republican Presidential nominee in 2012. This is a violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965; the 14th Amendment; the 15th Amendment; the 19th Amendment; the 24th Amendment; and the 26th Amendment; and is being pursued in court as a corrupt attempt to fix election results in Florida, as well as elsewhere, by the Obama Administration.

Meanwhile, however, two teachers face fines, and this is another slap in the face to educators, who already have been shown lack of respect by other legislation in Florida which demeans their profession!

New Hampshire Republicans War On Young College Student Voters

The Republican Party is really big on alienating major blocs of voters with their narrow minded views on social issues and on economic issues, but now they are starting a “war” against college students and young people generally by attempting in New Hampshire to prevent them from voting in local elections and in state primaries and elections unless their parents become citizens of the state!

The argument used is that a majority of college students tend to be liberals and Democrats because they allow their “feelings” to govern their minds, and that they lack life experience, which apparently would make them Republicans and conservatives!

What an insult to young people, stereotyping them and trying to deny them the right to participate in elections where they live, working against the idea of voter participation as provided for in the 26th Amendment in 1971!

And the idea that most young people and college students are liberals is far from the case, as many young people were seen at the CPAC convention in Washington, DC, and there are indeed many young people who ally with conservatives and Republicans!

And to say that people vote their feelings is nothing new, as ALL voters do that! Could it not be possible that many young people, however, are not as selfish, self serving, and greedy as older voters, and actually care about more than their own self aggrandizement?

The Republican Party is giving more evidence every day that they are anti democracy and anti people! What else do people have to know to realize that the GOP is not the party of the people, but rather of the special interests?