America’s Prayer Remains Sacred

Prayer has many forms

One’s prayer can emerge in many forms. A prayer may mean hands are clasped, the knees bent in supplication, the head bowed, and the words are whispered so only one’s Creator can hear. Or a prayer can mean a meditation, a quiet moment of consideration, even a solitary walk will do. A prayer is a juncture in our life that shifts our attention.

One cavalier breakdown of a prayer reveals there are five basic forms: Please, Thank You, Wow, Oops, Sorry. Though they be simple topical headings, they indicate something far deeper: introspection, honesty, heart.

The U.S. Senate learns how our vote is like our prayer

It was moving, then, to hear Georgia Senator Warnock’s maiden speech in the Senate. Walter Einenkel, writing for Daily Kos, noted the stirring message delivered on Wednesday 17th. His article, Sen. Raphael Warnock’s first speech on the Senate floor inspires the chamber to a standing ovation, includes the entire speech. An excerpt captures the moment as Senator Warnock explains:

I think a vote is a kind of prayer about the world we desire for ourselves and our children. And our prayers are stronger when we pray together.

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We pray individually, in whichever manner we do, and we also pray collectively. Senator Warnock is correct. Our prayers and votes are similar to each other as we seek a future for ourselves and our posterity. Our votes are sacred.

A bill calls for less restriction, more transparency for voting

A U.S. House bill, H.R.1 known as For the People Act of 2021, was narrowly passed at the beginning of this month and is now under consideration in the U.S. Senate. Though it won by a narrow margin in the House of Representatives, more than 150 groups urged its passage saying:

For far too long, special interests, wealthy donors, and vote suppressors have dominated our politics and attempted to silence the voices of everyday Americans, especially in Black and Brown communities. The For the People Act would help shift power away from bad actors and transfer it to “we the people.”

The H.R.1 Bill’s Summary, as provided by congress.gov, states the following (bullets added):

  • This bill addresses voter access, election integrity and security, campaign finance, and ethics for the three branches of government. 
  • Specifically, the bill expands voter registration (e.g., automatic and same-day registration) and voting access (e.g., vote-by-mail and early voting). It also limits removing voters from voter rolls. 
  • The bill requires states to establish independent redistricting commissions to carry out congressional redistricting.
  • Additionally, the bill sets forth provisions related to election security, including sharing intelligence information with state election officials, supporting states in securing their election systems, developing a national strategy to protect U.S. democratic institutions, establishing in the legislative branch the National Commission to Protect United States Democratic Institutions, and other provisions to improve the cybersecurity of election systems.
  • Further, the bill addresses campaign finance, including by expanding the prohibition on campaign spending by foreign nationals, requiring additional disclosure of campaign-related fundraising and spending, requiring additional disclaimers regarding certain political advertising, and establishing an alternative campaign funding system for certain federal offices.
  • The bill addresses ethics in all three branches of government, including by requiring a code of conduct for Supreme Court Justices, prohibiting Members of the House from serving on the board of a for-profit entity, and establishing additional conflict-of-interest and ethics provisions for federal employees and the White House.
  • The bill requires the President, the Vice President, and certain candidates for those offices to disclose 10 years of tax returns.

The bill is calling for transparency and fairness and to hold the right to vote to a level of ethics that includes everyone. Still, many consider it an affront to their state independence from federal overreach. Many Senators will vote against it.

If our vote is akin to our prayer – something precious and personal and empowering – what must such objection indicate? There is an apprehension that points to an origin of fear. Such fear indignantly clutches for strands of power slipping out of a fist that wishes to retain power, control, and dominance. It is a fear that seeks to silence our prayers. Democracy is inclusive, not restrictive.

Our votes, our prayers, deserve our defense

Senator Warnock continued:

And so I rise, Mr. President, because that sacred and noble idea—one person, one vote—is being threatened right now. Politicians in my home state and all across America, in their craven lust for power, have launched a full-fledged assault on voting rights. They are focused on winning at any cost, even the cost of the democracy itself. I submit that it is the job of each citizen to stand up for the voting rights of every citizen. And it is the job of this body to do all that it can to defend the viability of our democracy.

Equal Voice Voting (EVV) is a voting approach that recognizes the sacredness of our votes. All votes should matter when we elect our president. There should not be any consideration given to encourage voter suppression. Nor should any of us be complacent as we habitually disenfranchise the tens of millions of votes as we do every four years. All votes should be equal (hence the name of the approach). As we cast our ballots, all votes should matter as they do with EVV.

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By Jerry Spriggs and the Equal Voice Voting Team

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