SUBJECT: Position on the Senate Filibuster
TO: Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin
FROM: LeRoy Zimmerman, Ed.D
I am writing to strongly encourage you to support one person, one vote, at any cost.
I am not a voter from your state. I am a 75 year old American who lives in Georgia and who has endured a lifetime of segregation and oppression. I served 27 years (Active Duty) in the U.S. Army, rising to the rank of full Colonel, (including one year in Vietnam where I received the Purple Heart). Prior to my years in the military, I was actively engaged in the fight for civil rights. After my time in the military I served multiple educa- tional and social institutions in leadership capacities. My wife and I have adopted and put through college 26 socially disadvantaged individuals, all of them now productive American citizens.
I happen to be an African American. What that means, in my case, is that my great grandfather was a slave; my grandfather was denied an education and denied the right to vote; my father was threatened to lose his job if he registered to vote; and I (along with thousands of others) was arrested many times for 1) attempting to worship at an “All White Church”, 2) attempting to sit in a restaurant, 3) attempting to go swimming at a “public” beach, 4) attempting to go into a public courthouse, and 5) attempting to get other “Americans” registered to vote. All 27 times that I was arrested were in violation of “Jim Crow” laws – but not in violation of the U.S. Constitution. My last arrest was in 1965 just prior to passage of the Voter Rights Act of 1965.
Now here I am 56 years later facing the same situations that existed in 1965. Some might say “oh no, these are different times”. The tactics may have changed, but the objectives are the same. Dress it up any way you like; however, the dress does not change what it’s covering.
That brings me to your role. I applaud your not following the “party-line” just for the sake of following the party. Your position on the Filibuster, however, is so much bigger than not following the party-line. To be direct, this is aiding (even though you may disagree with them) those who are seeking to go back to the “State of America” in the 1950s – what might be more commonly known as a “White America”. During that era, non-whites (African Americans, Latinos, Asians, and Native Americans, etc) were TOTALLY disenfranchised. White Supremacy was the order of the era.
In 2020, White Supremacy was challenged and did not win. Now, as you can see, 43 states are moving to remove the winning edge demonstrated in 2020. To remove the winning edge requires a move back to the 1950s (“Making America Great Again” = Making America White Again).
Unfortunately, your position (although maybe not your intent) is facilitating the tragedy that is moving to again disenfranchise a major segment of the American population. Many thousands of “people of color” have served and continue to serve to preserve and protect this “Republic”. However, your position, as reported by the media, is setting them up to be disenfranchised just as I was when I returned from Vietnam in 1970 – 6 years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act.
I pray that YOU see the “wolf” in “sheep’s” clothing before the slaughter takes place. I pray that your past reminds you of the impact your actions can have on so many Americans. Americans who work hard to ensure the continued freedoms that many enjoy.
I have and will continue to pray for you and all of your colleagues – Democrats and Republicans. I pray for your wisdom and understanding in all these matters.
Yours truly, LeRoy Zimmerman, Ed.D, Colonel US Army (Retired)