A hunger strike to save American democracy

On the other end of the line, the tone is firm, but the voice is a little tired. “It’s uncomfortable, yes. It’s painful too. But that’s what needs to be done to protect our democracy, says Joseline Garcia, 27, who this week took part in a hunger strike in Washington to demand the swift passage of a law to protect the US electoral process of political interference.

“The gesture is radical,” she agrees in an interview with the Duty, but not as much as the obstacles of elected officials not to pass this law. “

Earlier this month, a group of 20 Arizona college students decided to go without food to protest the Biden government’s inability to pass the Freedom to Vote Act through the Senate. The major federal law aims to standardize electoral practices across the country, to combat partisan redistribution of electoral maps or the adoption of laws by states seeking to hinder access to the vote for minorities. She also promises to tackle the hidden funding of political parties. Among others.

On Monday, the movement moved to Washington, in front of the White House, where these students, aged 18 to 27, were joined by others from Florida, Texas, Virginia, Utah. or California. The youth, there too, continue to express their dissatisfaction with a promise of an election law not kept by the democrats, and this, in a country where democracy is now considered to be in decline.

“We have decided to put our bodies on the front line, because it is our future that is at stake,” continues M.me Garcia, co-founder of the organization A-PAC, at the origin of this movement of demand by the hunger strike. We must act quickly this year to fix our dysfunctional democracy. Next year, it will be too late. “

With less than a year before the midterm elections, which could force Republicans back into the United States’ legislature, members of this party do not seem to be very eager to pass Freedom to Vote. Act. This law could mainly benefit the vote of minorities, usually more democratic, that several republican states constantly try to dilute or eliminate from the electoral lists.

Republican obstruction

Since the start of the year, the bill has been blocked four times by the obstruction of Republican elected officials in the Senate who prefer, in several states under their domination, the laws passed piecemeal since the presidential election of 2020 Nineteen of them have adopted 33 laws that will make access to the ballot more complicated or facilitate the cancellation of results that would not suit the party in power locally, summarizes a report of the Brennan Institute for Justice, organization for the defense of American democracy.

We have decided to put our bodies on the front line, because it is our future that is at stake

Last week, the United States Department of Justice also decided to take Texas to court to challenge the new division of the electoral map adopted in recent weeks by the Republican majority in this state.

According to the lawsuit, Texas is trying, with this new card, to reduce the influence of the vote of African Americans, Latin Americans and Asians – yet the source of the state’s population growth for several years – , thus denying them the democratic right to choose their own representatives.

The hunger strike movement also targets Arizona Democratic Senator Krysten Sinema, who opposes the Freedom to Vote Act. Without being very clear on his intentions, the former environmentalist hinders the advancement of Democratic bills in the Senate by embracing since the beginning of the Biden era a rather republican posture.

On Monday, 17 Democratic state governors, including Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, called on senators to quickly pass this law to save America’s now threatened democracy.

“Our appeals to elected officials, our email chains, our demonstrations have given nothing,” said Joseline Garcia. But the urgency to adopt this law remains. “And the group of students, which since the beginning of the month has been leading its fight against hunger under medical supervision, affirms that they want to go very far to make themselves heard:” The hunger strike, until the law is adopted , she says. Before the end of 2021, we hope. “

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