Dred Scott 2.0: The Voting Edition
Marcus Bright argues in a piece for the Huffington Post that "liberty and justice for all" means that ex-offenders should be able to cast their ballots in elections.
If you are ever convicted of a felony in the state of Florida then you might as well change your name to Dred Scott because when it comes to voting you have no rights that the state is bound to respect. The arduous process of getting the right to vote restored is often littered with delays and follow up that is sporadic if an ex-offender is fortunate enough to get any at all. This discourages many ex-offenders from even beginning the process. Laws such as these are evidence of the irrationality that often accompanies public policymaking.
This type of legislation exposes a severe empathy deficit amongst a segment of lawmakers. Empathy involves having compassion for the plight of other people whose experience does not mirror their own. Whether this is the person who does not have access to adequate healthcare, the person of Islamic faith who is unfairly stereotyped as being Anti-American, the undocumented worker who is doing his or her best to make a better way of life for their family, or the disenfranchised felon who still can't vote despite having paid their debt to society. We should be empathetic towards their plight and do what we can to improve their circumstances.
Read more at the Huffington Post.
The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.