- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
This is in response to the letter, “It’s not a hardship to get an ID,” [Maryland Independent, Aug. 1].
I am a law-abiding citizen who has voted in every election no matter where in the world I was stationed, stateside and overseas. I am proud of the legacy of my family pushing us to be good citizens as well as good students in our country’s history and education as a whole.
The issue is not really the requirement for the ID; the real issue is our country’s terrible history of disenfranchisement of a whole race of people as well as the wholesale disenfranchisement of people based on socioeconomic status.
I know everyone is tired of hearing about slavery, Jim Crow and Reconstruction, but here it is in its simplest terms. When the United States sort of came to its senses about freedom from slavery and the laws were “accidentally” equal opportunity for all to succeed, some of us as a people did succeed. It was in certain pockets of the country where our success was seen as a threat and insult to those who had wielded all of the power.
When we were born into the system of slavery, there was no real record-keeping. In fact, there was no systematic record-keeping for people of color long into the 20th century. I know this because my mother did not have a birth certificate, nor did most of her generation. I went through the official channels and still haven’t come up with anything concrete or that can serve as credible enough for some federal IDs. I have even looked into church records, but they can be elusive also. There is a death certificate, so I know, as well as others, that she did exist.
But to get back to the point of this response, locate the voting history of this country, the “poll tax era” in particular. Questions that had nothing to do with what choice a black voter wanted to make or that had any relevance to voting were repeatedly asked. These nonanswers were used to exclude votes. Not all people were literate in those days because for some, it was a crime that led to death.
Those who fought to preserve this right were persecuted and killed. This country is horrible on its true history. I don’t want reparations. What I do want is the truth to be acknowledged so this country can move on as it was created, not fall backward.
We would be better off if people would look at more PBS and less reality shows.
I want the country for which I served to live up to my expectations: liberty and justice for all.
Andrea Traynham, Hughesville