Saturday, June 29, 2013

He Nailed It In One

I may have taken issue with David Horsey with respect to his postings on the NSA's domestic spying, but I tell you what:  as far as I'm concerned, he has absolutely nailed it with respect to this week's Supreme Court holding on the Voting Right's Act.

From the Los Angeles Times:

By gutting the Voting Rights Act, the U.S. Supreme Court got some of the facts right, but failed to recognize the reality of continuing discrimination against African American voters.

What the court got inarguably correct was that times have changed since the signature act of the civil rights era was passed in 1965. In the Southern states and the other jurisdictions whose voting practices were put under authority of the federal government, black Americans are no longer blatantly barred from exercising their constitutional right to cast a ballot to choose their leaders. In fact, blacks are holding more elected offices and voting in greater numbers than ever.  ...

It is a different type of discrimination, and it may be popping up in different places. Before 1965, black voters were kept from voting in many areas of the South and elsewhere simply because of the color of their skin -- racism in its purest form. What is happening today is that black voters are having their influence on elections suppressed, not strictly because they are black, but because of the way black people vote: They are overwhelmingly Democrats.

As became evident during the 2012 election campaign, Republican officials in numerous states -- not just in the South, but in states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania as well -- tried to employ various means to discourage blacks and Latinos from voting. New identification requirements were instituted, voting hours and days were curtailed and polling places in minority communities were hard to find, fewer in number and inadequately staffed. ...

All of this may not be pure racism, but it is certainly politically motivated discrimination. Thanks to the court decision, the federal government has lost one big weapon to fight such discrimination. And thanks to the way certain states and localities have manipulated voting rules and district lines, we have a U.S. House controlled by Republicans who have a vested interest in making sure no new voting rights measure ever becomes law.   [Emphasis added]

As I said, David nailed it.  Absent a way for the DOJ to go after the miscreants, at least  in the Southern states, the discrimination will be able to dilute African American, Latino, and poor people votes. 

But the dilution will also go on in states in other regions as states with Republican-dominated legislatures use the guidelines produced by ALEC to stymy full citizen participation.  Lines to vote in poor and/or minority districts will be long because there aren't enough polling stations with enough machines.  Early voting, longer hours, vote-by mail all will be curtailed.  Gerrymandering of districts will keep the lily-white Republicans in office.

And it will take at least one act of Congress to change all that.  I don't see such change in this Congress, but it does give a good reason to get liberals/progressives to get off their backsides to vote in 2014 for a more responsive government.

It has to start sometime and somewhere.  Let it be now and here.

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