Sunday, February 3, 2013

Injustice to the Voter: Present During Reconstruction and Today

Recently, our class discussed ways in which the planters fought back during reconstruction. One of the ways they tried to flex their power was through economic coercion, by limiting freedmen's voting rights by threatening their jobs at the voting polls. This political corruption, limited the promised right to voice their opinion in our democracy, which harmed the political process. Although, 150 years after the reconstruction period, has our political process changed that much? 

Steven Greenhouse of the New York Times wrote, “Until 2010, federal law barred companies from urging employees to support specific politicians. But the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision has freed companies from those restrictions, and now several major companies have sent letters or information packets to their employees suggesting — and sometimes explicitly recommending — how they should vote this fall.

ThinkProgress shows us that CEOs like the Koch brothers threatened 45,000 employees saying that if Obama won there would be layoffs.  Many followed up on these threats. A Las Vegas Ceo fired 22 of his 114 workers as a direct result of Obama winning the election. You can find the rest of the article here.

Although not targeted specifically to African Americans (like voter restriction during reconstruction) there are still injustices in our very political system that went unsolved. This issue begs the question whether or not it is just for money to play a part in our democracy (as it currently does). What do you think?

I think it's wrong to influence people's voices based on their economic situations.This affects votes  because as Stanley Feldman from the department of political science at Kentucky points out, “Accumulated evidence very strongly suggests that vote choice and presidential evaluations are influenced by personal economic considerations. In other words, if you feel voting one way could make you lose your job, you might vote the other way despite your political beliefs. This completely undermines the election process by giving CEOs unfair voting power through the ability to threaten their employees. Similar to reconstruction, there are still political injustices that I believe need to be fixed.

1 comment:

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