by Bob Geary
Democracy North Carolina is, as its slogan says, of, by and for the people. Above all, it's for the people's right to vote — and to cast an informed vote about who's on their side and who isn't.
For that reason, Democracy NC is fighting efforts to curb early voting, put an end to same-day registration and voting (on early-voting days) and throw roadblocks in the way of people being able to cast a vote. Roadblocks like the nefarious Voter ID bills pushed by Republican leaders here and in many other states that are aimed at reducing voter turnout in low-income communities. Take a look:
Is this unprecedented in North Carolina history? Of course it isn't. In fact, the efforts of the wealthy and business elites, now in control of the Republican Party, to suppress low-income voters is all too reminiscent of what happened in 1898, when business elites were in charge of the Democratic Party. Back then, they turned away voters with guns and overthrew fusion governments in a coup d'etat.
Today, they do it by complicating the voting process while also flooding the airwaves with deceitful political advertising.
But the object is the same: Leave the rich in control by preventing the masses from voting their interests.
Getting the masses to understand their interests and vote accordingly is the point of Wednesday's HKonJ People of Color Justice and Unity Legislative Day.
In preparation, Democracy NC today released its short film on the history of voting rights struggles in North Carolina, produced in partnership with the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke. Yes, it's scare tactics. The events of 1898, the only successful coup d'etat in U.S. history, are at the film's center.
But think about it. Isn't the Citizens United case, the Supreme Court decision that allows unlimited sums of money from global corporations and the wealthy to be spent in American political campaigns, the 21st century equivalent of a coup?
Find some time to watch this film, especially if you're a little hazy on what happened in Wilmington, NC in 1898. And consider how it compares to the corruption we see all around us today.