This year, more than any year in recent memory, the worst of the GOP really doesn’t want you to vote, and is doing everything in its power to stand in your way  . . . UNLESS, of course , you’re old, white, male, anti-Muslim, anti-gay, anti-Mexican, anti-black, don’t like “uppity” women of any race, creed color, or sexual orientation, think loaded guns in your house keep you “safer,” want to ban abortions, make birth control hard (if not impossible)  to get,  think the President should promote torture or worse, think soldiers who are wounded and captured are somehow less of worthy of respect than others, support a candidate who always wanted to “get” a purple heart “the easy way,” think Trumps tax cuts will both help the economy and apply to anyone but the rich;  really, believe President Obama is a Kenyan-born Muslim who hates America, “know” global warming is a conspiracy, that the tens of millions who now have access to health care for the first time really didn’t need any help, and truly believe Donald Trump has the temperament, character, and knowledge necessary to serve in any capacity of trust, much less serve as President of the United States and  Commander in Chief of its military forces.

They’re also not keen on allowing you to cast a vote if your race, creed, sex, color, or parentage, or neighborhood would make you more inclined to cast a vote for Democrats.

“Politics as usual,” the vote suppressors and their allies cry. “Move on.  Nothing to see here.”

Sadly, “they” are all too right . . . and exclusion, from outright bans to computer-assisted “gerrymandering” safe districts for incumbents is part of a long, sordid tradition

The Founding Fathers, of course, found women unworthy of the franchise, though they stooped to count them when house seats were being allocated to the states.  No matter how many sons of women fell in wars to defend “democracy” (and ALL those sons had mothers), it took WWI and a demeaning and often violent process that lasted until 1920 for the entrenched to amend the Constitution and “risk” allowing a female American to vote.

Slaves won the vote earlier, of course, UNLESS they were female.  All slaves were initially considered “unworthy” and were counted as only 2/3’s of a “person” by the “fathers” of our democracy.

Male slaves were, in theory, granted the legal right to vote in 1870, five years after the end of the Civil War.

In practice those rights were, have been, and still are abridged.

In 1870 that was true for not only the men freed from bondage, but nearly all people of color, male and female, no matter what their previous “condition of servitude.”

Not until 1965, a century after the Civil War, did the better angels of our congressional nature try, one more time, to guarantee voting rights for all Americans, regardless of race, creed, or color.

The civil and voting rights acts passed, but their most vocal opponents, among them Strom-Thurmond Dixiecrats, old supporters of George Wallace, White Citizens’ Council members, and the religious supporters of tens of thousands of segregated private “academies” fought on, garnering the embarrassing-but-useful support of assorted bigots of even more mean-spirited mind-set and behavior.

In the process, the worst of them migrated in disproportionate numbers from the old segregationist, solid-South, pre-war Democratic Party, to the  “Southern Strategy GOP”.

The founders of the “Party of Lincoln” no doubt wept.

The struggle continues, with victories for the good guys manifesting themselves in a series of recent court decisions across the south and elsewhere, striking down Republican efforts to limit, or make as difficult as possible, access to the ballot box by those deemed “unworthy” by the worst of the State governments controlled by the GOP.

This year the stakes are particularly high, and if Donald Trump at last slouches through the portals of the White House, much of the credit may fall to the work of those who managed to suppress the vote, and those who refused to stand in the way.

One reaps what one sows.

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