Letters to the Editor: Dr. King warned us about the ‘white moderate’ undermining voting rights

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), left, and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.)
Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), left, and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) walk from the Senate chamber on April 28.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Thinking about the fight over voting rights and the Senate filibuster, I am struck by this passage from Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”:

“I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice.”

I feel angry and sad that there are 52 U.S. senators who are staying silent on voting rights and election protections, many of whom could be considered moderates.


While there are far-right extremists in the Republican Party who are thrilled to see voting rights curtailed, it’s the moderates afraid of the previous president and his followers who are staying silent on the injustices perpetuated by the GOP, which seems to think it cannot win elections without undermining the vote.

Shame on Republicans like Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah who profess that the Democrats are pushing a partisan federal takeover of elections, when clearly it is some states that are taking over elections to suppress the ballots of minorities and subvert the vote in favor of Republicans.

Kathleen Pittman, Topanga


To the editor: Democrats need to be aware that the shoe can be on the other foot. I remember years ago when we had a fully Republican Congress, some Democrats were saying that the filibuster was their only hope.

The filibuster can prevent a party in power from simply running with the ball. In this deeply divided nation, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) fights for the center, a place where we can hopefully hammer out badly needed agreement.

Some hold that politics is all about power. But I’d rather see the Democrats win by persuading hearts and minds than by using a bulldozer.

Ken Hense, Los Angeles


To the editor: Both Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Sinema claim they support protecting voting rights but want the bills to be bipartisan.

I suggest that President Biden arrange meetings that include both of these senators and others from the GOP, and let the two Democrats try to get bipartisan support. I believe it will become obvious to them that they cannot succeed any more than Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) have.

Peggy Bailey, Banning