The Voting Rights Act was a landmark piece of legislation that prohibited racial discrimination in voting. It allowed my parents, my family, and generations later, me the ability to participate in the process by which we choose who represents our best ideals in our city, our state, our country. It has since been weakened, supressed, no longer a fully protected right. From this we learned nothing is guaranteed. That includes this great experiment we call the United States of America.

Throughout history we have been reminded of the fragility of the American idea. We got off to a fitful start with an ill-conceived system. We have seen civil war and foreign despots committed to wiping us off the map. We have been compromised to the point of negating the good that has gone into our heritage by slavery, genocide, corruption, suppression of the basic rights of women, racism and greed that has literally divided the country into one in which the 99% largely work to enrich the 1%. At each of those junctures, we reached deep into the character of the nation and found the fortitude and judgment to correct our course or repulse our enemies. But that should not provide too much comfort. We only have to fail to do so once for the entire experiment to end.

Today we are at another such juncture where the risk to the idea of America is so great we can see if vanishing before our eyes. Trump, his lies, fear-mongering, racism, narcissism, defense of murderous foreign despots, minimizing of acts of domestic terror, and doubling down on his own worst acts, has presented himself with each passing day as not just a failing president or a profoundly damaged person, but as a threat to the very idea of the country he was elected by a minority to run. And he has been empowered in his endeavor by a Republican Party that accepted his defects as their own.

So we come to one of those turning points as we did during the civil war or the World Wars or McCarthy or Jim Crow when we are being tested. What is at stake is not just how we are perceived as a country, or who we are, but whether America as we know it can continue to exist.

Vote. The very idea of America depends on it.

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