By David W. Marshall
(Trice Edney Wire) – Speaking to an audience in 1963, James Baldwin could not have said it better by saying, “I am terrified of the moral apathy, the death of the heart, that is happening in my country. “. His lyrics express the feelings and emotions many of us of all races have today as we watch our fellow Americans show little interest or motivation to do what is morally right in protecting the human race. the right to vote for people of color. There is no heart, no conscience or shame in passing laws designed to give Republicans the ability to categorically reject election results that are not in their favor. A recent warning written by a United Nations expert highlights the human rights implications for our changing nation. He describes the United States as being close to “tyranny” against the right to vote for minorities nationwide. Evolving the United States, ruler of the free world, into a nation under cruel and oppressive domination is a pretty strong but precise assessment.
Fernand de Varennes has been appointed United Nations Special Rapporteur on minority issues by the Human Rights Council. He based his remarks on the current state of American society and democracy as he traveled the country “to assess the human rights situation of persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities”. As a representative of the United Nations, he met with more than 100 officials at federal, state and territorial levels.
In his initial assessment, de Varennes said: “My final report will provide more detail and analysis in this regard, but what is already eminently clear is that there appears to be a growing sense that States- United is becoming a darker, wickeder, and more divided society – and the mosaic of constitutional and civil rights in the country does not sufficiently protect those most in need of protection, such as minorities and indigenous peoples, among others. Sharing the observations of another 2017 UN expert, de Varennes noted that “four years later, the pace of what my colleague described as an attack on democracy has accelerated explosively.” . Fernand de Varennes and his colleague are not members of the “liberal press” or “fake news”. They are the equivalent of being impartial referees in a basketball game. They rightly whistle while calling faults they see. As international watchdogs, they call to blame the oppression and moral apathy they witness in America. But the UN is not alone.
The Stockholm-based International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance recently added the United States to an annual list of “backward” democracies for the very first time. Think tank general secretary Kevin Casas-Zamora said that “the visible deterioration of democracy in the United States, as evidenced by the growing tendency to challenge credible election results, efforts to suppress turnout and polarization galloping… concerning developments. The international community is sounding the alarm bells because it still cares about democracy as we did as a nation in the past. Californian citizens see the urgency.
A coalition of sixty-nine grassroots progressive groups sent a letter to Senator Dianne Feinstein urging her to support the Freedom to Vote Act and John Lewis’s Advancement of Voting Rights Act, in addition to express willingness to “abolish or create an exception to filibuster” in order to get bills through the Senate. The groups have gone so far as to demand the senator’s resignation if she does not want to take action necessary to protect our democracy. While conservative groups are not expected to make the same type of demand of their Republican senators, this should be a different story for white evangelicals despite being a part of the Republican political base. The international community views the subject of voter suppression in the United States not through a political lens but through a moral lens. conservatives should be able to do the same.
These international organizations see people being oppressed and they speak out as we all should. As Christians, I regard white evangelicals as the moral compass and conscience of the nation. Because of their biblical commandments, I see them finding the cruelty behind voter suppression unacceptable. I see them contacting their elected representatives and expressing the urgency of preserving democracy at all costs. All of this is not real. Unfortunately, there is a growing gap between how things should be and reality. The reality is disappointing. Even at the expense of preserving American democracy, large numbers of white evangelicals are abandoning their biblical teachings for political gain.