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Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 11:49 AM PDT

My Mother

by Arlene Holt Baker

When I was a child, I saw voter suppression firsthand. And it’s ugly.

I was just a little girl and I wanted a new pair of shoes. You can’t get new shoes now, my mother told me, because she had to save the money to pay her poll tax.

That’s how important the right to vote was to my mother—she knew it was a sacred right that people had fought and died for and she was not about to treat it as anything less.

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All across the nation, people are watching the case of Shirley Sherrod, who was asked to resign as Georgia state director for rural development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture because of an edited video clip. A moment of personal honesty about a redemptive experience in her own life was snipped into an apparent example of bias, and the unforgiving 24-second news cycle was not her friend.

While it was wrong for Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to force Sherrod to resign before he had all the facts, I am sure that she will receive a fair hearing and get her due process.

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