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End filibuster and pass voting rights protections

In Bob Woodward’s book “Peril” Senator Manchin is said to be willing to vote only for something that he can explain to West Virginians. I understand, he needs to explain his actions. I am a West Virginian. Let me explain what I see.

My doctors explain that sometimes hard decisions need to be made to keep the body alive, such as amputating a limb that has gangrene or taking chemotherapy for cancer. There are also times when difficult decisions need to be made to keep a nation alive. We are now at one of those times. Protecting voting rights must be accomplished.

I understand that the filibuster is a powerful tool especially for a small state like West Virginia. It protects the power of a minority. But consider the current conditions.

Republicans have not participated in bilateral legislation, now and all through Obama’s presidency. They circumvented the filibuster to approve judges. They have passed legislation at the state level to exclude minorities from voting. They are supporting the big lie that Trump won the election. They are giving state legislatures the authority to overturn elections.

If elections are not free, open for all, and trusted by all, there will be no democracy or nation as we know it. Where will it end? With a dictator? With one-party rule as in Russia? With civil war?

It is up to the senate to protect our right to vote and up to us to convince our senators. This includes passing the “Voting Rights Act” and the “John Lewis Act.” The League of Women Voters says, “The ‘John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act’ is the essential bill we need to restore the provisions stripped from the ‘Voting Rights Act of 1965.’ This bill will protect Black and brown voters from discrimination at the polls by ensuring federal review of the anti-voter legislation we have seen pass in 43 states around the country. Our freedom to vote remains under threat, and with redistricting ongoing and the midterm election cycle just a few months away, we need the ‘John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act’ now more than ever.”

When I was a student in the 60s, I was amazed at the bravery and audacity of people who rode buses and registered voters in the south. The necessity of their work was brought home to me on a trip when I stopped at a restaurant in Selma, Ala. A blatant sign stated, “We reserve the right to serve who we want.” I walked out in silent protest. Even with all the Civil Rights legislation, a person could be denied service in a restaurant.

Now I use a power wheelchair and invoke the ADA when groups have a meeting in a restaurant that prevents my entry with architectural barriers. I object strongly when my dignity and ability to participate is denied. I understand why minority groups are upset. It pains me to see the loss of voting rights so painfully gained in the 60s.

If Senator Manchin cannot explain the importance of the “John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act” to West Virginians and other Americans, then ask me. Even I, a white male, can.

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Warren Peascoe is a retired chemist who lives in Vienna.

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