Voting Rights Moved Up In the Line

Looking once again at what was mentioned and un-mentioned in the president’s second inaugural address, and in what context, I am struck in a favorable way by the high priority Obama seems to be according to voting rights:

Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote.

That sentence was nestled between the soon-to-be-famous pledge to full equality for LGBT folk and the call for new immigration policies, in a speech that was spare in specifics.

You never know what’s next, but this very concrete comment on voting rights sure sounds more urgent than the post-2000 interest in the subject that eventually produced the sad, emaciated booby-prize of the Help America Vote Act of 2002. It’s very welcome rhetoric, which like much of this inaugural address, sets a high standard for Obama’s second term, and a direct challenge to a Republican Party still fighting to reverse the progressive achievements of the past.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.