Jan 19, 2015

Happy MLK Day, A Dream Deferred

Martin Luther King speaks in Memphis for labor
the day before his assassination in 1968
Happy Martin Luther King Jr Day, 2015

"The Voting Rights Act of 1965 employed extraordinary measures to address an extraordinary problem. ... This was strong medicine, but Congress determined it was needed to address entrenched racial discrimination in voting, 'an insidious and pervasive evil which had been perpetuated in certain parts of our country through unremitting and ingenious defiance of the Constitution.'" [South Carolina v. Katzenbach, 383 U. S. 301, 309 (Chief Justice Warren, 1966)] ....

There is no denying, however, that the conditions that originally justified these measures no longer characterize voting in the covered jurisdictions." (Chief Justice John Roberts, Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder et al (2013))

With these words Justice Roberts declared against that "conditions" caused by the the "insidious and pervasive evil," i.e.: racism, are no longer present.

What world do John Roberts and the Republicans Party live in?

Certainly not reality world.

The national party of de facto segregation today, openly hostile to civil rights and voting rights, maintains its war against ethnic minorities.

One hopes for a revival of the civil rights movement. (New York Times, MLK Day, 2015)

Wrote Justice Ginsberg in dissent in Shelby County, "In the Court’s view, the very success of §5 of the Voting Rights Act demands its dormancy. Congress was of another mind. Recognizing that large progress has been made, Congress determined, based on a voluminous record, that the scourge of discrimination was not yet extirpated. The question this case presents is who decides whether, as currently operative, §5 remains justifiable,1 this Court, or a Congress charged with the obligation to enforce the post-Civil War Amendments “by appropriate legislation.” With overwhelming support in both Houses, Congress concluded that, for two prime reasons, §5 should continue in force, unabated. First, continuance would facilitate completion of the impressive gains thus far made; and second, continuance would guard against backsliding."

It's apt that the gutting of the Voting Rights Act should come in a case arising from rural Alabama.

The fight for equality live on. In King's words:
I have a dream today! I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of ‘interposition’ and ‘nullification’ -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today! I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; ‘and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.’

This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

Not free this day in 2015. The struggle continues. From April 3, 1968 in Memphis:

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