Dear Sen. Joe Manchin:
It has only been 56 years.
As Americans, we are pleased to call ourselves one of the world’s oldest democracies.
We are actually one of the world’s newest.
Democracy, after all, is government shaped by the will of the people. But until 1920, roughly half the people were not allowed to vote, disqualified by dint of gender.
And until 1965 — 56 years ago — roughly 10 percent were restricted by color of skin.
So American democracy is not even as old as you are. Its newness — its recentness — is invoked here to help you understand the trepidation with which some of us regard the dozens of bills being pondered and passed in Republican-led statehouses across the country with the intention and certain effect of keeping us from voting.
As part of a demographic whose access to that right has never been impeded, perhaps you find it difficult to appreciate the profound distress and sense of historical deja vu some of us are now processing.
To say nothing of our equally profound disappointment in those who could defend us choosing instead to let us down, failing to meet the moment with the urgency it requires.