by iampunha | 8/06/2008 06:54:00 PM
I did not know until I chanced a look at today's events in history that today's honored event happened on Aug. 6.

But I knew it had happened in the 1960s, and I, as you, have long thought that a farce of liberty.

If you pay taxes and are not in jail, you should be allowed to vote.

Apparently that was a controversial stance in 1965. Apparently a lot of people thought you should be smart by so much, rich by so much, whatever.

And while all tax payers today cannot vote (the 15-year-old whose part-time wages are taxed gets no vote in how those tax dollars are spent), many more could vote on August 6, 1965, than could vote on August 5, 1965.

Today we celebrate the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

For Hiroshima.

Because I have detailed here and elsewhere the extensive history of Southern states and discriminatory voting practices, I will not be rehashing that today. I hope it will be sufficient to say that in 1964, if you were a black woman in Mississippi, you probably were not voting no matter how much you wanted to, and in 1965, you probably were voting if you wanted to.

Instead, today's diary is about the attempt by some in Congress to whitewash history by removing a portion of the Voting Rights Act last year when it came up for renewal.

"Congress is declaring from on high that states with voting problems 40 years ago can simply never be forgiven," said Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga. "That Georgians must eternally wear the scarlet letter because of the actions of their grandparents and great-grandparents. ... We have repented and we have reformed."

-House Renews Voting Rights Act Unchanged.

Yes, how evil of Congress to declare that federal oversight will remain in place for a system Southern states repeatedly succeeded in gaming. God DAMN those Federalists! (Er, perhaps anti-New Federalists.)

Westmoreland, along with Tom Coburn and others, think that because states are not still trying to loudly and actively disenfranchise black voters, they should be allowed to change polling locations without going through the Department of Justice.

Coburn and other senators have concerns that echo those voiced by conservatives in the House, mostly Southerners, that the renewal as written unfairly punishes states with racist pasts they say have been overcome.

Yup, they've been overcome. Black people have forgiven them, to the tune of 11 percent of them voting for George W. Bush in 2004. I'm sure the lack of black Republicans in elected positions is merely a sign that they prefer being lobbyists or stay-at-home NASCAR enthusiasts.

Speaking frankly, part of the trouble with accepting the move away from requiring states with racism in their recent pasts is the extent to which those states tried to disenfranchise voters before the Voting Rights Act of 1965:

Oklahoma's grandfather clause [implemented in 1910] was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1915, but the Legislature was called into special session in 1916 and enacted another literacy test, with another grandfather clause, leaving the would-be black voters exactly where they had been before.

See, where you have 40 years of relatively clean voting practices, that's by design of the Act's requirements. To ask anyone to believe that the practices in Southern States from the 1890s to 1965 would not creep back into place without there being measures in place to prevent those practices is to invite "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."

And when you have states that have had to be force-fed equality, and which resoundingly elected pro-segregation leaders until all black citizens aged 18 and older were allowed a say as well, this kind of criticism of the Act just doesn't mesh:

The debate exposed the still stinging wounds from the civil rights movement and raised the ire of Southerners who say that 140 years after the Civil War, their states were still being punished.

Perhaps if the Confederate flag were not still claimed as a symbol of heritage and not hate, and perhaps if Republicans were now taking some initiative to improve relations with the black community (such as by not deliberately calling Barack Obama Barack Osama and referring to his wife as his baby mama), it would be easier to argue that the Republican Party (note the lack of Democrats quoted in the article as criticizing it) does not still have a problem with black voters. Upping that 11 percent (which ain't happening this cycle) would also help with the argument that this punishment is not deserved. And the fact that the disenfranchisement started only after the Army left Southern states in 1876 — that it started when the cat went away, courtesy of President Rutherford B. Hayes — doesn't help the case much.

See, if the improvements to your problem come not because of your initiative but someone else's, you lose the right to complain. When you won't vote for a resolution condemning the government's nonresponse to lynching, but you won't vote against it, either, you lose the right to complain. And when your party's current unofficial presidential nominee has to defend working against making the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday a holiday, you lose the right to complain.

And when your party tries to argue that Obama is a foreigner, a Muslim and unpatriotic, you lose the right to complain. And especially when your party subconsciously tries to make you worry that Obama will go after your young white daughters, you lose the right to complain.

In Orange to Blue news, here's a John Shadegg sighting/citing:

"I sincerely hope the U.S. Senate corrects these problems so when the bill returns to the House for final passage I can vote for it," said Rep. John Shadegg, R-Ariz., whose state is one of those under federal scrutiny.

Apparently John Shadegg is no fan of federal oversight. (A Republican wanting less oversight? What ARE the odds?) Want to donate to for a fan of oversight? Here's Bob Lord.



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Anonymous Deryl Bryant on 8/06/2008 9:08 PM:

And what would be your stance on those that do not pay taxes and are not in jail?

You seem to give weight to paying taxes as a qualifying factor TO vote, so wouldn't you be saying that if you don't pay taxes you should not get to vote?

Certainly it is unfair for someone that doesnt' pay taxes to be able to vote an INCREASE on those that DO pay taxes. Even worse is allowing someone that will not pay a tax to impose that tax on others, unless of course you are a socialist/communist.

Property taxes are the worst form of Socialism and the best example of the unfair ability for those that "don't" to impose on those that "do".


Anonymous Deryl Bryant on 8/06/2008 9:38 PM:

Oh, just one other thing, how long does it take for a "good Christian" to forgive those that NEVER committed a crime and where in the Bible or any law book does it say that the son is responsible for the sins/crimes of the father?

Oh, and when is stereotyping/bigotry acceptable?

Thanks for helping me with that research.


Anonymous Anonymous on 8/07/2008 6:30 PM:

Why should someone who is imprisoned
be denied the right to vote?

BTW - there are millions of people who have committed drug law violations and there are many prominent people and politicians who have admitted same. Why should THEY be allowed to vote after having publicly admitted to having violated
criminal laws? Clinton, Gore, GWB, Obama etc.