SHOULD CONGRESS BE TRUSTED? WHAT HAVE WE LEARNT THROUGH HISTORY? Implications and Expected results for a Non-proactive Electorate ” in the fight for Rights”
VOTING RIGHTS BATTLE BACKGROUND IN THE UNITED STATES: The debate on the right to Vote dates way back in 1789, time when the United States Constitution was adopted. The “Slave Owning States” insisted that the right to vote should only be granted to “white men” at the same time demanded that the black slaves in households be counted and relied on in determination of congressional representation. Due to disagreements on voting rights, the Federal Government only retained authority to determine USA Citizenship while independent states took over the right to set standards on who could vote, when and how voting was to be conducted. At that time in history, most Southern States were referred to as” Slave States” due to wide-spread acceptance of slave ownership. It’s not surprising that most states for many years granted the right to vote only to “white men” and sometimes setting additional limitations on the basis of property ownership for one to exercise that right.
It’s not surprising that the 1790 Naturalization Act recognized only “free white males” as the only people subject to naturalized in the United States. Native Americans were excluded from citizenship and the right to vote in the United States. The law presumed “Native Americans were citizens of their sovereign “Indian Nations” and thus could not be citizens of the United States. The women and slaves were the only nonvoters by law at the time. At the end of the Mexican-American Revolution under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the Mexicans who had remained in the new conquered territories were to become USA citizens by law. Although legally recognized as citizens, the 1850 Union of states i.e. Texas and California led to the enactment of laws aimed at denying Mexicans in conquered territories the right to vote.
The 1861-1865 Civil War led to the death of 360,000 Union antislave supporters “blacks and white” Thus leading to the end of legalized slavery. The legal death of slavery was enacted in 1863 proclamation and 13th Constitution Amendment of 1865 by the Federal Government. Though the determination of voting rights still lay in the hands of independent states. In 1867 the 14th amendment extended citizenship to all black men for the first time in History although women of all races were still denied citizenship.
The right to vote for black men was theoretically legalized in 1867 through 15th Amendment although almost all Southern States still had very unfavorable voting laws against black men and practically non in support for women’s right to vote .
The Republicans and Democratic Party compromises in politics manifesting itself today is deeply rooted in undisclosed agreements between elected leaders of the two political parties purposed for personal benefits to the cost of the minorities or underrepresented. In the 1876 disputed presidential elections between Hayes a Republican candidate and Tilden a Democrate candidate led to a congressional compromise, later known as “Compromise of 1877″. In the undisputed facts, the Republicans agreed to retain the White House while white racists ” at the time mostly democrate’s” gained political support to oppress and persecute non-whites through very unjust laws adopted during that time.
States completely disregarded of the 15th Amendment, a factor that led to, many working blacks at the time getting expelled from office jobs due to exercising their voting right, many were evicted from home and crippling laws enacted to deter blacks or other races from voting. These Laws included, the literacy test laws deterring anyone that couldn’t read or write from voting, the grandfather clause limiting voting to only people with grandfathers with eligibility to vote, poll tax laws that limited voting to only individuals who could afford to pay that tax “the rich”and the separation Laws under “Jim Crow”.
Asians in the 1870 Naturalization Amendment Act were specifically denied citizenship. Citizenship was limited to white people and people of African descent. All women, Asian, Chinese, Mexican and Native – Americans were denied citizenship and the right to vote in almost all Southern States. Between 1890 – 1920, a few states granted women the right to vote and the consequent adoption of the 19th Amendment led to recognitions of a female’s right vote in the United States.
WHY REVIEW HISTORY: I believe life is the best teacher for anybody willing to learn. The need to suppress the minority for the selfish desires of the majority “RICH” has persistently manifested itself in USA politics.
On December 4th 2012 Congress failed to pass the UN Treaty on the Rights of People with Disability. 61 Democrats voted for the agreement (Treaty) while 38 Republicans voted against the agreement thus ratification on a two-third majority failed. Senators who voted against, mostly Republicans alleged they were fighting for the sovereignty of the United States against UN control or broadening of its legal principles. For any person with legal knowledge in supremacy of laws in the United States, You know that International Laws do not automatically become law in the United States at all times. There exceptions to the general rule in all principles in Law.
Also the fact that, the United States adopted the “Americans with Disabilities Act as amended” of 1990, a law that’s substantially the same as the rejected UN Disability Agreement baffles my mind to date. In addition, USA enacted laws in support of people with disabilities include, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Fair Housing Act, the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the Air Carrier Access Act of 1986, the Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act of 1984, the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act and the Architectural Barriers Act of 1968.
It’s not surprising that old tricks relied on by congress to sustain selfish interests of “the funders” at the cost of making the right decision at the expense of the minority “people with disabilities” is still at play to date.
Also the applicability and availability in International Law of principles like “the Non self-executing treaties” actually makes it inconceivable that no congressional representative highlighted above mentioned principle in support for or against ratification. The Senators against the treaty did not even elaborate or identify specific grounds for voting against ratification. All focus was on the presumptive results from ratification that the UN treaty would attain supremacy against USA enacted law. To me explanations offered by congress against ratifying the treaty were all “just a big cry for more power” against UN governance.
All Lawyers know that ratifying countries in international Law have a right to deliver to the United Nations committee declarations or reservations held against adopted threaties. This can range from, declaring that the ratified treaty wont become self-executing in adopting state automatically to modifying specific provisions of the treaty as regards declaring country. The legal implications would include, amendment of that treaty by the declaring state as regards identified provision or reservation, and limited application of the said treaty against other country. Usually in the United States the application of a non-self-executing treaty would require additional consent from congress before court would apply treaty provisions in court. The United States has relied on similar declarations before i.e. during the ratification of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, International Covenant on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
The public must rise against senators who violate public trust at the expense of self-imposed conditions or pledges to the “RICH FUNDERS ” a big price for the underrepresented “people with disabilities”. Not only does the USA have a reputation to protect in the International community, rejection of that UN Agreement undermines our role as part of the five permanent members in the United Nations.
Congress’s breach of trust for United States citizens is undeniable especially in light of once again failure to pass the Aid Relief Package for sandy victims. The Electorate needs to take a pro-active role in demanding answers. The elected representative seem clueless with regards to the needs of the people they represented. I think representatives seeking election to congress must be subjected to a test called “a humanistic co relational experience and exposure to people not within your social circles”. The test must entail real life experience and exposure. From recent experience, it looks like most Republicans have never lost homes, never gone hungry or been helpless and dependant on government for support at all in their lives.
Representative must be made accountable for their actions while in congress. The electorate must join hands to stop congress madness and disregard of people’s basic needs.