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The Voting Rights Act of 1965 Mourned

By Ceemac126 @PGCBlogging

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 has been gutted like a fresh fish, same-sex marriage was fortified like cornflakes, Trayvon Martin‘s murder trial is still being televised, and Paula Deen said nigger.  I really could have stopped the sentence after the word gutted because that’s the step child of this week’s news.  Our voting rights have been used to wipe the butt of the Supreme Court.  One day after Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in his opinion of the court, “At the same time, voting discrimination still exists; no one doubts that. The question is whether the Act’s extraordinary measures, including its disparate treatment of the States, continue to satisfy constitutional requirements,” Texas Governor Rick Perry signed into law the new photo identification requirement for voting and a newly drawn redistricting map that will not favor minority representation.  Oh yes, Justice Roberts it still exists and what Texas is doing will be done in Florida, South Carolina, Alabama, and other states that are bastions of disenfranchising hate. 

Keyboard with question key
Don’t think I’m letting President Obama off the hook either.  We get e-blasts about love being love, global warming, fund raising and the like but NOTHING about the sweeping dismantling of The Voting Rights Act of 1965?  This Act accomplished what a Constitutional Amendment (15th) could not and now the Supreme Court’s conservative wing has decided that it’s no longer needed.  Where’s my email from the President on that?  We the people, need another party.  The democrats are too liberal, the republicans are just full of hate, and the tea party makes the republicans look neutral.  I will not support any party that is this blasé about my right.  There are rumblings by Rep. John Lewis and Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, that they plan on making this a major issue for the next election but for me and millions of senior citizens, people not fluent in English, other minorities, it’s a major issue now. 

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To the Obama wannabes: Governor O’Malley, Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler, et. al. where were your words of encouragement that Maryland will guard our hard fought for voting rights?  Where are your assurances and op eds?   Are all of you, President Obama included, waiting for some election season epiphany?  Are you so well pleased with the same-sex marriage ruling, the dismal state of the collective republican psyche, and the battling headlines of Paula Deen/Trayvon Martin that you are willing to overlook the impending redistricting and restrictions to the right of every American to vote?  I’m so done with all these politicians right now.

Section 4 of The Voting Rights Act has been struck down. It prohibits the use of tests or devices to restrict the opportunity to register and vote.  While the poll tax, property ownership and moral character witnesses are methods of the past used to stop minorities, the poor, and women from voting, the new methodologies are motivated by much the same belief: that white males above the age of 21 should be the only voters and the only ones to hold office.  There.  I said it.   Section 4 ensures that non-English speakers have access to the voting process and this section addresses voter suppression.  When less than 50% of a state’s population votes, that state becomes “covered” and goes on the list so that all the discriminatory practices used to keep the fullest participation of that state’s population from voting are brought to light and possibly, to court.

Roberts and Obama
In his majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts recalled the year 1966,”Several States had enacted a variety of requirements and tests “specifically designed to prevent” African-Americans from voting.  Case-by-case litigation had proved inadequate to prevent such racial discrimination in voting, in part because States ‘merely switched to discriminatory devices not covered by the federal decrees,’ ‘enacted difficult new tests,’ or simply ‘defied and evaded court orders.’”  The Supreme Court has set us back 50 years with this decision.  We are going to see a repeat of the voter suppression tactics of the 1950s-60s commingled with the current mind of republicans and tea baggers.  I’m not afraid though.  I plan on making sure that at least 10 people have their identification in order.  More of us will band together and ensure that those Americans around us aren’t frightened or bullied out of the voting process, but who we’ll vote for after we overcome this.  Now that’s another story.

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