ROSE: We must do our part and vote

Rev. Floyd Rose 

The former head of the NAACP, Roy Wilkins, said, “Those who refuse to vote, participate in their own political destruction.” 

He was right. Voting has always been our priority as a people ever since we were brought to this country in chains, and made slaves.

In the ‘50s, we asked for the ballot. In the ‘60s, we asked for the ballot again. In the 1970s, we fought again for the right to vote. 

In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed the now famous Voting Rights Bill. A bill which gave new hope to Blacks all over the country. When President Johnson quoted the theme song of the civil rights movement, “We shall overcome,” Dr. Martin Luther King cried.

But in spite of the deaths of 14-year-old Emmitt Till, Medgar Evers and Martin Luther King Jr., nothing really changed. Then came the death of George Floyd in 2020 and Americans of every creed and color, race and religion joined their hearts and hands and told the world that the lives of black men and women mattered, too. 

Perhaps now it will be different. I certainly hope so.

If the article which appeared in the Atlantic Magazine, and published in several other newspapers, is accurate regarding our servicemen, I join the thousands of our brothers and sisters in, and out, of uniform who denounce what is called the President’s lack of respect for them. 

We mustn’t see our servicemen as either “losers” or “suckers.” They gave their lives in a cause they believed was just for a country that they truly believed in.

Like so many others, I offer to them my respect and appreciation. They deserve it, and more. They paid the ultimate sacrifice with their lives. 

Now in 2020, we must all go to the polls and vote. In Lowndes County, voting starts Oct. 12. So, if you have not already mailed in your ballot, please vote early.

In my early life, I saw Sen. John McCain languishing in a prison cell in Hanoi, Vietnam, and when he was offered his freedom early, he refused until all of his fellow prisoners were released. 

Now for anyone to speak lightly of his ordeal is beyond me. We all owe him, and others like him, a great debt of gratitude.

What we can give to John McCain, and others like him, is what the late Congressman John Lewis called “good trouble.” 

We can all vote, and I suggest that we vote early. Signs don’t vote. Billboards don’t vote. Men and women in the cemetery don’t vote. Campaign ads don’t vote. Money doesn’t vote. We do. And we must.

Remember: Early voting starts in Lowndes County, Ga. on Oct. 12. You can go to the election office on Oak Street.

Floyd Rose of Valdosta is senior servant of Serenity Church.

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