I got a call this morning from Selma, Alabama. It was the Reverend.
Two old guys with our old-guy ailments and decades to reminisce about.
But Reverend Jesse Jackson doesn’t waste time on nostalgia. Before he went off to a prayer meeting with President Biden, he was pushing me, in the few words at a time his Parkinson’s allows, to get my film, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, back out in public.
Excerpt from The Best Democracy Money Can Buy — watch the full film for free (or with donation).
We aren’t fools. Advances have been no less than breathtaking, revolutionary. But, dammit, here we are, 58 years on, and from Georgia to Florida to Wisconsin, the vote suppression trickery is getting uglier and uglier and, unfortunately, more sophisticated. Just this week, the Georgia legislature voted to eliminate every single ballot drop box in the state — knowing full well that this is the principal method Black voters use to cast ballots to avoid the hours-long voting lines that have been forced on them in Atlanta.
And so, today, we honor those who fought and died, and honor those who will have to fight and die, by releasing this special Rainbow/PUSH edition of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, introduced by Reverend Jackson, without charge.
[Please pass around this link. And yes, we do ask, if your heart and wallet are strong, to donate for it. And if you have a church, school or organization that would like a DVD or theater-quality version, send us a note.]
Tuesday will mark 58 years since Martin Luther King crossed the bridge and continued 50 miles to Montgomery. Along the way, four voting rights advocates would be murdered, two Black, two White — their goal of integration achieved in death. By time King arrived in Montgomery, the President of the United States introduced the Voting Rights Act.
The film Best Democracy ends as I cross the Bridge with Hank Sanders. Senator Sanders. He represented Selma in the state legislature — decades after he marched to Montgomery. Decades after he was denied the right to vote. The Senator had demanded I cross the bridge with him — so I would not forget to cross it morally, emotionally and politically year after year. Because the vote suppressors are also on the march. But they’ve learned new tricks. They’ve traded their white sheets for spreadsheets, culling the voter rolls of people of color.
In Selma, I met with Lynda Blackmon Lowery, 14 years old when she crossed the Bridge with Dr. King. This little girl was beaten so severely, they actually laid her in a hearse to take her lifeless body to the morgue. But then, suddenly, she sat up, and before the other shocked marchers could stop her, Lynda ran back onto the bridge, into the tear gas.
There are giants who walk this Earth. And we must walk behind them. And never stop.
Greg Palast (Rolling Stone, Guardian, BBC) is the author of The New York Times bestsellers, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits and the book and documentary,
The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.
His latest film is Vigilante: Georgia's Vote Suppression Hitman
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