MLK family slams Manchin, Sinema for shielding filibuster of voting rights

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The family of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. spoke on the day of the memorial of his life and legacy about the need to strengthen the right to vote in the United States – some mocking some Democratic Party lawmakers for failing to recognize the seriousness of the matter in their protracted defense of Senate filibuster.

Leading a peace march in Washington, DC on Monday, King’s family, including his 13-year-old granddaughter, directed much of their criticism at two centrist Democrats, Senators Kyrsten Sinema (D-Arizona) and Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), who said they would not support changes to the filibuster rule to pass voting rights legislation .

“Senator Sinema, Senator Manchin, our future depends on your decision”, Yolanda Renee King said, “and history will remember the choice you make.”

“Our rights are at stake. This fight is personal for me, it is our future,” she added.

King’s son, Martin Luther King III, also addressed the two right-wing Democratic lawmakers, noting that the King family did not buy into their arguments that filibuster protection would help heal political divisions in Washington, and that the idea probably wouldn’t have been supported by the civil rights icon himself, if he were alive today.

“They think the real problem isn’t that our rights are being stolen – they think the real problem is a divisive disease that can be cured with a little optimism and conversation,” The king said. “My father worked to bring people together…. But he knew that when someone denies you your basic rights, conversation and optimism won’t get you very far.

“You succeeded with the infrastructure, which was a good thing”, king added, referring to the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed last year. “But we need you to use that same energy to ensure that all Americans have the right to vote unfettered.”

Democrats move forward with plan to force resolution of filibuster reform issue later this week as they continue to push for legislation to strengthen the right to vote and fight restrictive laws that Republican-led states across the country are enacting. The plan, however, was doomed due to Manchin’s and Sinema’s continued opposition to changing the Senate rule.

Still, many Democrats say it’s necessary to show where Republican senators stand on the franchise issue — and perhaps highlight where their own centrist members stand too.

“We all need to be registered right now to know where we are in protecting the right to vote,” said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) over the weekend.

Last week, Sinema tried to insist she was not opposed to a ‘legislative response’ to state-level voting restrictions, but she also said she could not “support separate actions that aggravate the underlying disease of division.”

On Monday, Sinema also tweeted a message in recognition of the federal holiday.

“Today we remember the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” Sinema wrote:.

This social media post was largely met with derision from many quarters. Many political observers pointed out that King himself was no advocate of filibuster, particularly when it came to recognizing and protecting the right to vote.

“I think the tragedy is that we have a Congress with a Senate that has a minority of misguided senators who will use the filibuster to keep the majority of people from voting,” he added. King said to himself in 1963. “They won’t let the majority of senators vote.”

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