Saturday, August 11, 2012

As The Crow Flies, So Fly Your 15th Amendment Rights

 Your 15th Amendment Rights, Right Out the Window

  I believe in taking collective responsibility and speaking out against the new Red state voting suppression moves. First, some appear clearly aimed against black folk, in the early voting periods that allow church groups to assist in taking "souls to the polls" after they assemble in their respective churches. The problems with Ohio's system of 88 Election Boards were well documented in 2004, with long lines of mostly African Americans at the polls waiting to cast their ballots. (Dao, Fessenden, Zeller 2004)

  Besides not having the correct identification required under new onerous procedures ("poll taxes"), many elderly people of all backgrounds are unable to get around on the poor public transportation systems both in the urban centers and the rural areas, where they may be non existent. Remember that such buses and the like may not even be available on Election Day, or run on greatly reduced "holiday" schedules. We all need now to plan accordingly to encourage people to get out and vote.

  Hispanics are already intimidated by law enforcement and language barriers in some states or have become apathetic enough by false promises on immigration reform so that their increasing power as a voting bloc is already diminished instead of growing. In Florida recently the state sent out voter "purge" lists to the county Election commissioners. "That list included so many people of color that some voting rights advocates insisted the purge is a database-driven example of old-fashioned voter intimidation, discrimination and suppression. Nearly 60 percent of the voters on the list are Latino, yet Hispanic voters make up only 16 percent of the state's electorate. 'If that's not disparate impact, I really don't know what is,' said Baylor Johnson, a spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida." (Ross 2012)

  Young people may be included in the apathetic group, and now disheartened as well, lacking in the idealism that was displayed so prominently in 2008, even beginning to consider nihilism.
(Saulny 2012)

  All of these measures are not simply tactics, they're really being legislated into American law and therefore lay claim to the lame defense of "states' rights". But that's precisely what the Civil Rights Act of 1965 and it's subsequent extensions of Section 5 is designed to protect us from.

  It now appears that we need the protection more than ever before, and in more states than originally intended, which is so sad, with the Republican party trying to drag us back to pre-Civil Rights Movement times, and even to earlier centuries in terms of women's reproductive rights. You can also intuitively feel that this is the real reason why the Republicans were clumsily going after our Attorney General Holder in a transparently false witch hunt, resulting in the congressional equivalent of a legal lynching holding him in contempt. It's no accident that he was picked to be made an example of the showing of Teapublican legislative power in an attempt to intimidate all those who oppose them.

  It's also hauntingly ironic that AG Holder's sister in law Vivian Malone Jones was one of two African American women who were initially blocked from enrolling in the University of Alabama even when accompanied by Deputy AG Katzenbach with Governor Wallace standing in the doorway like some mad pit bull. Gov. Wallace then made a speech about States' sovereignty on the steps of that institution of learning, but had to stand aside when the Federalized Alabama National Guard escorted her back to the school, where she completed her degree, and again ironically enough became employed by the DOJ Division of Civil Rights. AG Holder also began his legal career at the DOJ.

  Further irony that infuriates me is that AG Eric Holder, like General Colin Powell, is also from the Bronx, and of West Indian heritage. That's just me, having been a resident of that borough as well as all the others including right on the same street where the West Indian Festival is held in Brooklyn. We should be celebrating these figures as role models, not censuring them time after time.

  I shall not quote Santayana again, but my import is similar. If it appears that I'm taking this personally, well, I am. You must also, for it's your 15th Amendment too.

1 comment:

  1. This is blatant propaganda or you must truly be a moron who never bothered to read before posting this.

    The democrats have a LOOOOOOONG history of embracing racism. It was republicans who ushered in women's suffrage and the 15th amendment. You could not produce one instance of racism of the tea party in your article.

    Wikipedia is your friend. Google too.