The Fox In Charge of the Hen House…

Less than a week after the Supreme Court watered down the 1965 Voting Rights Act, a handful of states seemed poised to roll back the protections afforded to minorities by the 48-year-old law.

Two hours after the decision, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced that a 2011 voter-ID law that federal courts found disproportionately burdened poor and minority voters would go into effect ‚Äúimmediately.‚ÄĚ New redistricting maps, Abbott says, could swiftly follow.

Source:  States Eye Voting Obstacles in Wake of High-Court Ruling | TIME.com.

I am not really much of a Supreme Court watcher anymore but from what I know this court probably ranks in the bottom three for me. The five who almost always side with each other seem intent on molding their own version of America. ¬†Clarence Thomas who should never have been even nominated for that ¬†life-time position is reported to be the least informed judge in the history of the high court. My conservative friends are constantly screaming about “activist” judges who instead of enforcing the laws want to make their own. Clarence Thomas and those five fit that mold perfectly.

The Civil Rights Act that is now about fifty years old needs some modification. In my mind there needs to be some sort of sitting council that is always looking at possible voting suppression. Perhaps the most critical foundation of this country is our right to vote and have that vote effect change when it is needed.

I was a regular visitor to the deep south during my working years between 1970 and 2000. During those early years I as totally embarrassed by the blatant racism I encountered there. ¬†Mel who was one of the “good old boys” sat in the company cafeteria spouting off jokes about their problems with the negroes. I substituted a much more polite word than he actually used. Everyone wanted to sit at Mel’s table to get their daily dose. ¬†Over the years this sort of thing has disappeared under the surface but I still believe that it is very prominent with many in that area of the country.

So when I see all the gerrymandering to put all the minorities in “their own” districts so as to lessen their effect it still troubles me. When I saw predominately African-American voting districts have to stand in eight-hour long lines to cast their votes it greatly troubles me. The fact that the Texas Attorney General didn’t even wait a day to pronounce how he would immediately put stumbling blocks in the way of certain people voting. ¬†Racism may not be as visible as it was when I started out visiting the deep south as a young engineer but it is still there lingering just below the surface and that troubles me deeply.

9 thoughts on “The Fox In Charge of the Hen House…

  1. Thirteen years ago when you were traveling, you encountered one guy….the South is neither immune nor the only. The greatest discrimination I see is in Illinois where children still attend racially segregated schools. And…the President of the United States was asked to show his driver’s license to vote!
    The voting rights act has only been struck so that congress can look at it again. Just because the Congress cannot get anything passed does not mean we should be ruled by antiquated laws.

    I would think though you would be cheering the Supreme Court. They have ruled on DOMA and federal rights for the Gay community. It is one of the most liberal courts in many, many years.

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    1. You make too many assumptions again Janette. First of all it was not thirteen years ago is was forty and I did not encounter one guy. Mel was just the example I used to represent many many others. I made almost weekly trips there for over five years and was exposed to hundreds of different “good old boys” and their openly racist attitudes. Don’t discount my experiences in life and I will try not to discount yours. Yes, there is prejudice everywhere I will not deny that but in “my experiences” it is much more dominant in the deep south.

      Again you assume I celebrate the DOMA ruling and that is simply not the fact. While I think it is wrong to discriminate against anyone I will only tolerate the homosexual lifestyle; I will never celebrate or even condone it.

      The current Supreme Court is the most liberal!!! LOL…… and still laughing…

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  2. Just to play devil’s advocate…… I must say that discrimination is a two-way street. Blacks demonstrate bias and hatred towards whites on a daily basis…and are often proud of it. I don’t think you see Asians and Hispanics or other minorities demand as many special privileges as blacks do. How long does society have to make up for sins of the past? I think the time has come to put everyone on the same playing field…in housing, employment, education and voting.

    As for DOMA…I say it’s about time! I can do more than “tolerate” the freedom of choice and happiness for others, I can celebrate liberty for decent and good people of all types.
    Again….why should homosexuals be discriminated against? They are not diseased. They deserve to be on the same playing field as everyone else.

    The world is rapidly changing and races are blending…we could someday be all the same. I think it’s called “evolution”.

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    1. Thanks for your comments Jane. I know they are heartfelt. You are probably right that African Americans are the most vocal about their perceived condition. Maybe the Civil Rights Act itself has outlived its original purpose but I think you would also agree that we cannot therefore just sit back and ignore attempts to stifle voting for partisan purposes. That was the main theme of this post.

      I was not very clear I guess on DOMA. I firmly agree with you that people should not be discriminated against because of a chosen lifestyle that affect no one else. What I only tolerate is the lifestyle itself. I just don’t think it is a natural state for humanity. But I am not one to try and push my beliefs in this area on someone else. As I said a few posts ago these “below the belt” issues have way to many protagonists as it is….

      Yeah, I agree “that the world is rapidly changing and if you don’t get on board you will sink like a stone”. At least that is what Bob Dylan taught me way back in the 1970s. ūüôā

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    1. Actually Janette, I have traveled very much in the last thirteen years just not on business. Now I do it for pleasure and without getting onto an airplane.

      Let’s face it Janette, Jane is just not an In-your-face person as you and I are so her words are just easier to digest and therefore don’t come across as so adversarial.

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  3. The voting rights act only affected certain jurisdictions. I have a problem with the assumptions that only those few states have to abide by specific rules this day and age. There is discrimination in the south. Also in Boston. Many northern states require a picture ID. Anyone, anyone can get a state picture id usually at sixteen. I don’t see that requirement as racially based. More likely in Texas an illegal issue. You did not specify if your experience was at the 1970 or 2000 mark….not unreasonable to assume either date. Really though in this day and age to say such things about an entire area of the country is a bit much. Id be much happier if you discussed the new Texas abortion law. As a christian who believes God made us all as we are, I also rejoice about those decisions.

    Any legislatioor that racism exists only in the south would be a mistake.

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    1. Barb, thanks for the comments. Yes, you are certainly right that racism exists in every State and always has. My comments here about the 1970s blatant racism in the deep south was intended to relate my experiences in those times and not necessarily transfer to today. I guess I should have made that clearer. I have not been back to that area of the country, except for an occasional pass through for many years so I can’t talk to the levels today.

      But I do stand by my belief that some organization with some muscle needs to constantly be watching out for voter abuse in all the States. When we start tampering with the right to vote we are threatening the very core of our country. It is fragile enough right now without this latest assault. We just can’t assume that it is each State’s right (reference intended) to decide who can vote and who can’t. That is a certain death thrall to democracy.

      Voter ID, yeah my State has it. It prevented my 80 year old mother from voting in the last election before her death. She was in a nursing home at the time and absolutely refused to go to the license branch and wait for two hours to get a ID where none was required before. She and I’m sure many others are stubborn in that regard.

      To sum up, I was not trying to categorize an entire region of the country. As always there are shades of grey in everything. Even including the issue of abortion that you brought up. But that is too big a hot button issue for my blog.

      As for the Texas Attorney General’s action reported in this article, I will let that speak for itself…. but it seemed awfully quick to me. He could have at least waited one day.

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