Sen. Raphael Warnock Denounces 'Dangerous' Voter Suppression, Filibuster Hypocrisy
In a passionate speech before the Senate, Georgia Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock defended the right to vote, condemned widespread Republican voter suppression efforts, and criticized other senators for citing procedural norms as a reason for complicity.
In his remarks, Warnock warned of states “where partisan actors and power-hungry politicians have acted partisanly in order to make it more difficult - rather than easier - for eligible voters to vote - and to guarantee that these ballots actually count.
Warnock, a first-term elected lawmaker and pastor of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Georgia, mentioned the right to vote during his Tuesday morning speech in which he highlighted the GOP-led efforts to curb access to ballot papers following the party's election losses The year 2020 spoke, "formative and fundamental". Across the country, in almost every state, more than 300 bills have been tabled by Republican lawmakers since last November, making it harder to vote.
"I sincerely believe that what we do or not do will have long-term and far-reaching implications for the health, viability and vitality of the world's greatest democracy," said Warnock.
In his speech, the Senator urged Congress to debate and pass laws protecting voting rights across the country, particularly in his home state of Georgia, where White Republicans have tried to suppress the votes of non-white voters, which are key to regaining the Senate and the whites by the Democrats were house last fall.
Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) Speaks at a rally in front of the US Supreme Court to call on the Senate to pass the For the People Act on June 9 in Washington, D.C. to say goodbye (Photo: OLIVIER DOULIERY via Getty Images)
With Democrats currently having a one-vote majority in the Senate, Republicans, led by minority leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Have unanimously vowed to block proposals that guarantee the right to vote for all eligible voters, including the Democrats-For-The- People Law. In the Democratic Party, senators like Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona and Joe Manchin from West Virginia have dampened hopes of passing a voting law without Republican support. Both senators are opposed to eliminating the filibuster to defend voting rights, effectively forcing the Democrats to get Republican approval for a bill designed to protect voting rights from Republican attack.
"Simple request to my colleagues: Let's do our job," said Warnock. "Avoid the easy way - the temptation to hide behind the Senate trial and let's have a principled conversation about the right to vote in front of the American people."
His words were a direct refutation for Republicans and Democrats like Sinema and Manchin, who claim that the filibuster - a political tool routinely used by racist lawmakers to protect the laws of white supremacy - is fundamental to democracy. On Monday, Sinema was widely criticized for an opinion piece published in the Washington Post claiming that Americans had "more to lose than to gain" by eliminating the filibuster.
"What could be more hypocritical and cynical than invoking minority rights as a pretext in the Senate to prevent a debate about respect for minority rights in society?" Said Warnock.
As early as March, Warnock, in his first speech to Congress, called the Republican Party's widespread efforts to suppress voters "Jim Crow in new clothes," an allusion to the racist Jim Crow laws first introduced in the late 19th century were.
"So I warned that the threads of our democracy are dangerously frayed," Warnock said in his call for urgent action on Tuesday.
"It's only got worse since I gave that speech," he said.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.
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