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Give Us the Ballot The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America

Of what happened after the act was passed Through meticulous archival research fresh interviews with the leading participants in the ongoing struggle and incisive on the ground reporting Ari Berman chronicles the transformative impact the act had on American democracy and investigates how the fight over the right to vote has continued in the decades since From new strategies to keep minorities out of the voting booth to cynical eff. Our Founding Fathers in their wisdom realizing that true democracy was both unrealistic and unworkable chose as the model of our government a republic whereby power resides in elected representatives given authority by the citizenry that elected them Under this model of government the most vital and important tool is the VoteHistory is awash in the blood of patriots who have fought and died for the Vote and yet today sixteen years into the 21st century forces are continually at work to destroy the Vote The saddest and most disturbing aspect of this campaign to steal citizens one and only democratic tool is that it is being done under the guise of a patriotic adherence to rigid interpretations of the US ConstitutionAri Berman an investigative journalist whose work has appeared in Rolling Stone the New York Times and the Nation has published the definitive history of the Vote in this country emphasizing its importance to a healthy democratic process and determining the forces at work to destroy it in his book Give Us the Ballot The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America Berman s book begins on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma Alabama which was the site of a famous civil rights march led by the Rev Martin Luther King Jr in 1965 Violent armed police officers attacked nonviolent demonstrators trying to cross the bridge The nation was enraged by the sight of cruelty and viciousness of racist white Alabamans beating up unarmed peaceful black people who simply wanted to be able to vote in elections As a result President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law in 1965 Considered to be the most important and effective pieces of civil rights legislation ever enacted the VRA essentially put an end to the blatant discriminatory effects of Jim Crow which included literacy tests poll taxes and many other unconstitutional and immoral attempts by white supremacists to keep minorities from their right to Vote as decreed by the Fifteenth Amendment Improvements were noticed almost immediately after the signing The numbers of black registered voters began to climb higher and higher every election year The fight however continued to rage on Mexican Americans and other Hispanics in western states were running into similar problems that black people faced before 1965 Amendments were added to the VRA in 1975 by President Gerald Ford including reuiring some jurisdictions to have bilingual elections and significant voting law changes under Section 5 of the VRA What was originally designed to help African Americans now offered protection to Hispanics Native Americans and Asian AmericansThe VRA finally opened the door to the Vote to literally hundreds of thousands of Americans who were previously locked out It also helped to initiate the careers of many minorities looking to find jobs within the governmentUnfortunately detractors of the VRA continually tried to find ways to either circumvent the law or abolish it altogether As Jesse Jackson once said in 1981 in some back water counties throughout the country the VRA has been an Indian treaty Everybody signed it but nobody follows it p 153 Not surprisingly the overwhelming majority of anti VRA politicians are conservatives and Republicans While racism has been and always will be nonpartisan it s simply a statistical fact that the most virulent VRA opponents and those who have worked the hardest to weaken the law have been RepublicansInterestingly enough Republicans justify their anti VRA stance based on what they consider a pro civil rights approach claiming that in the decades since its inception the VRA has successfully managed to wipe out almost all vestiges of racism in the electoral arena therefore the law has outlived its usefulness Further they claim extending the law any further is in itself racist because it continues to fight racist state policies where no racism actually exists Many if not all conservatives against the VRA use the fear of potential uotas or proportional representation to defend their stance Armand Derfner of the Lawyers Constitutional Defense Committee LCDC calls this reasoning a scare tactic It was a fear that was not justified In a lot of cases we were talking about there were no blacks elected We were trying to get from none to some p 155 One of the vocal VRA detractors Abigail Thernstrom said Voting rights has become another immensely complex affirmative action issue distinctive only in not being acknowledged as such p 181 Likening VRA to affirmative action Republican politicians used this post racial color blind excuse to reduce the numbers of voters voting by targeting minorities senior citizens and poor people because statistically those groups tend to overwhelmingly vote DemocraticSadly in 2015 the anti VRA camp scored a major win when the US Supreme Court overturned Section 5 of the VRA which compelled states historically the Southern ones that have had the worst track record in voting rights violations to have voting changes approved by the federal government The justices who supported the overturning of Section 5 claimed that while at one point it was useful it was now an egregious example of federal overreachThe late Justice Antonin Scalia may he rot in peace said that support for the VRA was based on nothing than a phenomena that is called perpetuation of racial entitlement certainly not winning any friends that day except perhaps from fellow white supremacistsOne would think based on the logic of the VRA opponents that Section 5 violations would have noticeably decreased since 1965 In truth the number of Section 5 violations have actually increased as many states to be fair not just the southern ones continue to make voting changes that would reduce citizen access to the voting booths Since 1982 the Department of Justice has under Section 5 fought numerous discriminatory voting changes including 91 in Georgia 105 in Texas 112 in Mississippi 96 in Louisiana 73 in South Carolina 46 in Alabama and 45 in North Carolina p 242 And detractors think the law has outlived its usefulness howIt s almost inexplicable until one begins to realize that the targeting of poor minorities and people with limited access is actually a boon for Republicans In some cases it s not even people who are poor or with limited access It s just blatant attempts to make it harder for anybody to vote Citing cases of voting fraud that don t actually exist many conservative politicians have enacted strict voting laws in the name of protecting the sanctity of votingDavid Iglesias a US attorney for New Mexico says that voter fraud is like boogeyman parents use to scare their children It s frightening and it doesn t exist US attorneys have better things to do with their time than chasing voter fraud phantoms p 231 It has always irked me when I talk to someone who admits even brags that they never vote claiming that his or her vote doesn t matter or won t make a difference That kind of thinking is dangerousNow when people say that to me I can tell them that that kind of thinking is a slap in the face for all the countless people who have literally fought and died and are continuing to do so so that they could possess a right that they selfishly refuse to use

Summary Õ PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free ¹ Ari Berman

The adoption of the landmark Voting Rights Act in 1965 enfranchised millions of Americans and is widely regarded as the crowning achievement of the civil rights movement And yet fifty years later we are still fighting heated battles over race representation and political power over the right to vote the central pillar of our democracy A groundbreaking narrative history of voting rights since 1965 Give Us the Ballot tells the story. This is one of those books that I have no idea how to review but there will probably be colorful language Just sayin It was so good so informative and interesting and maddening and frustrating and outrageous and nauseating and disheartening and hopeful and encouraging and inspiring that I just want to brandish it in peoples faces at the bookstore or play it subliminally everywhere I go or leave copies in random places in the outside where people might pick it up or buy it in bulk as gifts for everyone I know and then hector all of them incessantly until they read it because it needs to be read It does It should be reuired reading They should teach this in schools Let s just be honest here I picked this up because in this world that I fervently fucking hope is NOT Keystone Earth Donald fucking Trump is sitting in the Oval Office Ha Ha Ha Who am I kidding It s nighttime he s in bed with some KFC or worse My point is we have a pathetic joke for a president and the spineless meatbags currently in control of both the House and the Senate refuse to even try to pretend like they aren t just trying to take the money and run sorry to misuse your lovely music so cruelly Steve Miller so in the mid terms we need allllllll the votes we can get to try to fix this mess And of course the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity is trying to prevent just that More on this to comeSo yeah I picked this up hoping that it would be a battle cry of the newly political youth who see what s happening and are terrified and want to stop it I still wish it was that but as I learned after finishing that this was published in 2015 that was not to be Probably for the best because I can t even imagine how the book would have ended had poor Ari Berman had to try to incorporate the clusterfuck of the 2016 election cycle and Just all of 2017 Maybe a 4 part seuel series It would have to be that long because this was some well researched writing And Mueller s not done with his investigation yet Honestly if I had one criticism and I don t it would be that the book jumped around a bit too much and that splitting it up would have helped keep track of the insane amount of information conveyed in a relatively short book Maybe by year or decade or court case or legislation activity or racism level Or all of the above 1965 VRA enactment Racism Level Extreme Or 2015 VRA Gutted by SCOTUS Racism Level Colorblind Etc I made so many notes in this single 12 hour audiobook that I achieved the Stenographer badge in the Audible app apparently for making 40 notes But I seriously couldn t just let these injustices pass by without somehow venting the outrage even if it was just in the app for myself So much of the tactics and mindsets used to prevent other groups from being able to vote broke my heart And it was maddening to me that after the VRA was passed those who fought SO HARD to win the right to vote without literacy tests unfair impediments to voting poll taxes etc would then turn right around and lobby AGAINST another disenfranchised group from gaining those same rights I just can t understand it I can t I can be a callous cynical person sometimes but deep down I have a way overactive empathy gland and it was pinging like hell during this whole book but especially this section I just can t understand how Southern black people can fight and die for the right to fair access to voting and then when Southern hispanic people people living the same minority disenfranchised lives say Us too por favor the newly enfranchised are against it AGAINST UGH Who do Civil Rights represent if not ALL of usI know that this view is the luxury of my privilege I was not present in this fight Hell my mom was only an infant and my dad was maybe in kindergarten when the VRA was enacted in 1965 I have the luxury of 2020 hindsight idealism The leaders of this movement were new to politics new to having actual voices that carried weight new to having a whole group of people rely on them to not fuck this up and probably didn t want to rock the boat too much and lose everything I understand it Intellectually But it hurts my heart that our rights are so fragile and subject to political whim and power plays Just two days ago a federal panel of judges and the Supreme Court upheld a map redrawing the Pennsylvania congressional districts This is a huge win because the previous map was gerrymandered in some crazy ways to ensure that Republicans would carry almost all of the districts Here s the most famous Called the Goofy Kicking Pluto or Donald Duck district also known as PA s 7th Congressional District Now to be fair I was a bit conflicted while listening to this book because there are cases of gerrymandering being used for the forces of good as well It was used to redraw districts in the south to give voting weight to black people in order to allow them to actually have the ability to make their votes count and not just be drowned out by the status uo In areas which have historically tended to be discriminatory based on race it was needed the same as Affirmative Action was It s not enough to say OK you have the right to vote everyone s eual now let s just continue on with life as normal because the attitudes and the privilege and the prejudices haven t changed with the law It was compared to and I m paraphrasing allowing a person with a broken leg enter a race and thinking that is fair and that he has every chance to win despite starting with a huge disadvantage So while still on the high of winning fairer districts in my state just in time for candidate registration for mid term elections I had to admit that there are times when district manipulation is the right thing to do Of course then it gets twisted and misrepresented along with Affirmative Action which were intended to help level the playing field as racial uotas which have to be met and mean that Deserving White People Will Be Discriminated Against The horrorOne of the things that I found the most aggravating was the burden of proof reuired when it came to voting The VRA was specifically aimed at Southern states that had a history of racial disenfranchisement and no fucking shame about it either When the Civil Rights leaders finally won this battle and the VRA was enacted those states had to abide by certain prescriptions changes to state voting laws and reuirements had to be submitted to the federal authorities for approval to ensure that it would not prevent voting etc and were closely watched for compliance at first At first it was stringent but then the burden of proving voter discrimination fell on those being discriminated against because those doing the discriminating are crafty fucking bastards and know how to play the game and the system Soon voter fraud was just running absolutely rampant Sarcasm But you know they said it so it must be true because apparently there was no reuirement to actually PROVE that anti fraud laws were being used to actually combat voter fraud it was enough that the intent to ensure fair elections was there Which brings us to voter ID bills and right back to suare one with voter disenfranchisement but this time lots people get in the game Because now if you re any type of minority elderly ill poor were in jail or heck even if you just don t have a car you get to play the role of Disualified Voter Let s play Were you unable to obtain your original certified birth certificate from your home birth 78 years ago 4 counties over then get to the DMV 2 hours away that your granddaughter has to drive you to along with 3 other forms of photo identification and address verification to try to register to vote only to find out that A you can t same day register B Someone with a kinda sorta similar name to yours was once convicted of a crime and you ve been disualified from voting just in case or C You don t have the RIGHT types of ID reuired to register So sorry please try again next vote cycle But sure Everyone has ID or can easily get it and it s no hindrance to voting at all SARCASMAnyway I could go on There s so much info in this book and so much to SAY about it that I could literally uote 34 of the book and give a running commentary on how fucked up it all is but I m sure that we get the point by now I am socially liberal I believe in euality regardless of race class gender sexual orientation etc We re all humans and fucking deserve to be treated like itI believe every single adult citizen in this country should have the right to vote No exceptions Actually I don t think it should be a right I think it should be compulsory Some countries have compulsory military service and I think that the US should have compulsory voting You can bet your ass I ll be voting in this election and this book actually makes me want to start or support the sort of service aimed at helping people vote not just registration but getting birth certificates ID cards rides to the polls etc Suck on that vote suppressors

Ari Berman ¹ 5 Read & Download

Orts to limit political representation by gerrymandering electoral districts to the Supreme Court's recent stunning decision that declared a key part of the Voting Rights Act itself unconstitutional Berman tells the dramatic story of the pitched contest over the very heart of our democracy At this important historical moment Give Us the Ballot brings new insight to one of the most vital political and civil rights issues of our time. This book is an onslaught Berman in meticulous detail walks the reader through the history of the fight surrounding voting rights in modern times From the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965 up through the present day he follows the ups and downs of the movement to secure the rights supposedly guaranteed by the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments I think this book will make you angryreal angry But it might leave you with hope too And it certainly will give you story after story of how conservatives from the Goldwater era to the RenuistRegan era through today s Roberts court have continually used specious politicking to justify removing measures that increase voter turnout and instituting those that suppress it how at every victory voting rights were eroded again first by blatant racism but then by post racial arguments of color blindness Did I mention this book will make you angry But the fight goes on and in his journalistic style he gives the stories of those still inspired by Selma who remember the folks who died for their right to vote and aren t ready to see their own taken away so easilyI think everyone should read this book It is dense but it reveals so much about what is going on within our political system today

  • Audio CD
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  • Give Us the Ballot The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America
  • Ari Berman
  • en
  • 01 February 2018
  • 9781494566128

About the Author: Ari Berman

Ari Berman is a senior contributing writer for The Nation magazine and a Reporting Fellow at The Nation Institute Business Insider named Berman one of the “50 most influential political pundits” in the US He’s written extensively about American politics civil rights and the intersection of money and politics His stories have also appeared in The New York Times Rolling Stone The Atlantic Po

10 thoughts on “Give Us the Ballot The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America

  1. says:

    This is one of those books that I have no idea how to review but there will probably be colorful language Just sayin' It was so goo

  2. says:

    If you weren’t already in complete despair after reading Dark Money this should finish the job Detailed history of Republican actions since the early nineties to restrict voting rights and the conservative Supreme Court’s support for those changesThe first half of the book is encouraging as it details the creation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 John Lewis is a central and continuing character This is one

  3. says:

    An excellent description of the history of the Voting Rights Act and the profound threats facing the rights for all eligible citizens to vote While it can be a depressing read especially if the reader lived through the civil and voting rights battles of the 1960s this is a book that demands reading as the moveme

  4. says:

    Should be mandatory reading for everyone in advance of voting this election cycle Key takeaway TAKE ADVANTAGE OF EARLY VOTING

  5. says:

    Our Founding Fathers in their wisdom realizing that true democracy was both unrealistic and unworkable chose as the model of our go

  6. says:

    This book is about the Voting Rights Act enacted in 1965 to prohibit racial discrimination in voting The VRA was amended in 1970 197

  7. says:

    After the President Elect's comments about voter fraud I can think of few issues important for all citizens to understand This book is essential reading for those concerned about voting rights

  8. says:

    This book is an onslaught Berman in meticulous detail walks the reader through the history of the fight surrounding voting rights in modern times From the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965 up through the present day he follows the ups and downs of the movement to secure the rights supposedly guaranteed by the Fourteenth and Fifteenth A

  9. says:

    Well This was timely and depressing Voter suppression is foul and should be repudiated by both parties

  10. says:

    I heard this journalist author on NPR's Fresh Air 3 days ago Berman indicated that after the US entered WW2 the IRS shared contact info with US Immigration which resulted in thousands of Japanese Americans being placed in US prison camps Even though the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor this didn't make all Americans of Japanese heritage treas

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