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Black CEOs uphold American democracy

Melvin B. Miller
Black CEOs uphold American democracy
“It’s time to act, so the U.S. remains the world’s leading democracy.”

Prominent Black business CEOs have rescued American democracy. They united in unequivocal opposition to efforts of numerous states to establish voting rights restrictions. They asserted that “voting is the lifeblood of our democracy … and is the most basic and fundamental right of all Americans.”

The violent insurrection on Jan. 6 was provoked by former president Trump in a futile effort to prevent the official certification of Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election. Republicans who supported Trump then began the process of revising election rules in the states to increase the size of the Republican vote in future elections by limiting the voting rights for potential Democrats.

For three months after the attack on the U.S. Capitol, big business remained mute as despotic Republican politicians across the country dismantled the voting rights process. The Republican leader of the U.S. Senate, Mitch McConnell, even had the temerity to advise American business leaders as follows: “My warning is to stay out of politics.” Such advice was especially inappropriate after the Citizens United case, giving corporations First Amendment rights, was approved by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010.

The Black business leaders stepped forward into a politically hazardous environment. There is also significant economic risk. Black CEOs still have to cope with powerful corporate directors, and political enemies might push for so-called “cancel culture” financial moves against the companies with which Black CEOs are associated.

Nonetheless, today’s conflict is less dangerous than Blacks having to face the lynch mob, which might have been the consequence in earlier generations. It is very significant that a group of successful brothers and sisters have stood up to protect the voting rights for which so many have fought and died.

Now, by asserting everyone’s right to democracy, the Black CEOs have sparked a new attitude in America. Undoubtedly some future historians will attempt to minimize the importance of their effort. But the record will show that they have struck a severe blow in the demise of Trumpism and have forced the republic to confront its tolerance of racial inequality.