Joy Reid, managing editor of TheGrio.com and MSNBC contributor, resurrected George Bush’s premature proclamation to describe the latest circle-jerk fantasy. Racial minorities no longer face obstacles to casting votes in America.
This week, the Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the 1963 Voting Rights Act, which called out those Jim Crow-leaning states, counties and municipalities. Abracadabra… those jurisdictions no longer need federal permission before making changes to their voting practices. Chief Justifier John Roberts wrote, “African-American voter turnout has come to exceed white voter turnout in five of the six states originally covered.”
So there you have it, ebony and ivory in perfect harmony. Not so fast, Paula Deen. It wasn’t that long ago (the 2012 election actually) when all kinds of shenanigans and court challenges cropped up. New voter ID requirements and other initiatives to suppress the vote were actually stopped in their tracks because of the Voting Rights Act. And just maybe black turnout exceeded white turnout because those five states had to run their “new ideas” by the feds. Ruth Bader Ginsburg said it best in her dissenting statement, “… It’s like throwing away your umbrella during a rainstorm because you’re not getting wet.”
So let’s rewind the tape to last fall. Remember Pennsylvania State Representative Mike Turzai boasting that “the new voter ID laws will allow Mitt Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania?” Why was he so sure about that? Because roughly 11 percent of voting age Americans — 21 million people (mostly minorities and the elderly) — do not have government-issued photo IDs. Mike’s theory? If you can’t beat ‘em, cheat ‘em. And let’s go to Maricopa County, AZ (home of racial profiler and “birther” Sheriff Joe Arpaio) where three different flyers were mailed to Spanish-speaking citizens reminding them to vote on November 8. The only problem with that was Election Day happened to fall on Tuesday, November 6.
Yes it’s true, 50 years after Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act, we have slowly made progress towards racial equality. We have a black president for crying out loud.
But I have a white brother who recently purchased a rummage sale Aunt Jemima cookie jar and proudly proclaimed it “Obama memorabilia!” His Tea Party pals and others will institute voter ID laws, cut out extra voting hours and intimidate minorities, students and the elderly. Unless Congress gets their act together and… oh, sorry. I can’t even finish this sentence. We are so doomed.
Speaking of going backwards, in another disappointing ruling, the Supreme Court sidestepped the issue of Affirmative Action earlier in the week and ordered a federal appellate court to do the heavy lifting on this one.
Color blind and delusional Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in his Affirmative Action dissent, “Arguments advanced by the University (of Texas) in defense of discrimination are the same as those advanced by segregationists.” So Justice Thomas confuses equal opportunity with segregation and thumbs his nose at a policy that surely helped him get where he, and his lifetime appointment, are today. You’ve come a long way from that pubic hair on your Coke can, Clarence!
Why is it we seem to be re-fighting old fights? Civil rights. Women’s reproductive rights. Been there, done that. Let’s move on. There are real missions we should be accomplishing, like poverty and job creation and climate change. We have to make that clear to Congress before anybody else parachutes down onto an aircraft carrier wearing a flight suit and carrying a banner that means absolutely nothing.