Aug 2, 2013

Democratic Party Vows to Protect Right to Vote Against GOP Obstruction

Jimmy Lee Jackson was beaten, shot
and killed by racist police while shielding his
mother and father in 1965 during the
historic voting rights movement
Objective commentators note the Republican Party's grand appeal to racism in the 2012 election signaled a crossroads for the White Party.

Conventional political wisdom had it that ginning up white working class resentment against anybody black or brown ["dark ones"] could be attempted just one more time before changing American demographics of skin color forced a change in racist appeals and the Republican voter obstruction project launched jointly by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the GOP.

In 2013 Republicans made a few squeaks about being inclusive, and then proceeded to double-down on obstructing voters across the country.

This is the route the Republican Party has now chosen, and its course is set.

There are no more junctions, crossroads or turning back on this road of voter obstruction.

The lives of the struggle, the beaten, maimed and the murdered have been gist for mocking in GOP circles for decades now, with open GOP admiration for fascism and racism. It shouldn't be a surprise the GOP would engage in voter obstruction but it is anyway to many.

The contemptible history of mass murder and terrorism against civil rights workers echoes like a psychic anxiety spasm that the Scott Walkers and Rand Pauls will never understand because they and their Party are the perpetrators of voter obstruction and racist appeals today; besides bringing up civil rights murders just is not an effective PR message.

The golden age of NYT journalism covered the
terror campaign waged against the
civil rights movement of the 1960s
The new brand of the Republican Party are not history students anyway; they're after power and everyone in the GOP has their hands out to the Koch brothers and right-wing money, with no dissent tolerated even as the GOP takes the road to political nullification of the population way beyond blocking access to the ballot.

The Democratic Party is accelerating efforts to highlight the difference between the GOP that wants to obstruct and nullify voters and the Democratic Party working to empower and include.

Witness multi-generational voting rights markers laid by Steve and Cokie Roberts; Attorney General Eric Holder's repeated public statements affirming the right to vote; and President Obama's assurance to civil rights workers that the "federal government would vigorously enforce voting rights in the country despite a Supreme Court [five-to-four] ruling against a core section of a landmark 1965 [Voting Rights] law." (Calmes. NYT)

Republicans did not count on or perhaps did not care about the fact that black and brown folks would not appreciate losing the hard-won right to vote, especially in the wake of the GOP gutting of the Voting Rights Act after the reelection of the first black U.S. president.

Racist murders altered an American
president and the country forever
The Democratic Party is taking the high road of democracy as America simultaneously presents a historically diverse population against the greatest concentration of wealth this experiment in democracy has ever seen.

Amid this battle of democracy against vast wealth, the echoes of those murdered martyrs of the civil rights family live on, and so does the pain.

For Republicans, avoiding this history and denying contemporary voter obstruction, in the words of voting rights poseur Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisconsin), is just "common sense."

He's wrong. Rep. John Lewis (D-Georgia) is right.

Below is the statement of John Lewis on June 25, 2013, the day the U.S. Supreme Court did the unthinkable in striking down the Voting Rights Act:
"Today, the Supreme Court stuck a dagger into the heart of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most effective pieces of legislation Congress has passed in the last 50 years.

These men never stood in unmovable lines.  They were never denied the right to participate in the democratic process.  They were never beaten, jailed, run off their farms or fired from their jobs. No one they knew died simply trying to register to vote.  They are not the victims of gerrymandering or contemporary unjust schemes to maneuver them out of their constitutional rights.

I remember in the 1960s when people of color were the majority in the small town of Tuskegee, Alabama.  To insure that a black person would not be elected, the state gerrymandered Tuskegee Institute and the black sections of town so they fell outside the city limits.  This reminds me too much of a case  that occurred in Randolph County in my own state of Georgia, when the first black man was elected to the board of education in 2002.  The county legislature changed his district so he would not be re-elected.

I disagree with the court that the history of discrimination is somehow irrelevant today.  The record clearly demonstrates numerous attempts to impede voting rights still exist, and it does not matter that those attempts are not as “pervasive, widespread or rampant” as they were in 1965.  One instance of discrimination is too much in a democracy.

As Justice Ginsberg mentioned, it took a Bloody Sunday for Congress to finally decide to fix on-going, institutionalized discrimination that occurred for 100 years after the rights of freed slaves were nullified at the end of the Civil War.  I am deeply concerned that Congress will not have the will to fix what the Supreme Court has broken.   I call upon the members of this body to do what is right to insure free and fair access to the ballot box in this country."

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