Thu Sep 13, 2012, 09:33 AM
xchrom (97,434 posts)
Money, Power, Ruses, and the Right to Vote
Voting in 1923, four-plus decades before the right was finally protected for all citizens. (Library of Congress)
On March 15, 1965, in the heat of the moment for what would become known as the Voting Rights Act, just eight days after a young John Lewis had his skull cracked by a lawman on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, just a few hours after President Lyndon Johnson addressed a joint session of Congress on civil rights, Republican Senator Everett Dirksen issued his own weekly radio and television report to his Illinois constituents.
At the time, Sen. Dirksen was the ranking Republican member of a Senate Judiciary Committee controlled by James Eastland, the racist Democratic senator from Mississippi, the man who had called the ominous disappearance in his state of civil rights workers Schwerner, Cheney, and Goodman "a publicity stunt." Of the need for federal legislation to protect the rights of minority voters, Sen Dirksen, the Senate Minority Leader, said this:
'There has to be a real remedy. There has to be something durable and worthwhile. This cannot go on forever, this denial of the right to vote by ruses and devices and tests and whatever the mind can contrive to either make it very difficult or to make it impossible to vote.... All this is then by way of saying that the job of freedom in all its glorious aspects never seems to be quite consummated. Freedom and its attributes, the right of a free citizen to vote is somehow a battle that is never quite fully won in any time or generation and so now the torch is lighted for us and the mantel falls on our shoulders to carry on where those before us left off.'
The measure, as everyone now knows, passed into law. And it is fair to say that, in the intervening 47 years, tens of millions of Americans have been able to exercise, freely and fairly, without harassment or intimidation, a basic right of citizenship that had been broadly denied in law and fact to their ancestors. No reasonable Republican today would dare argue against the principles of the Voting Rights Act. But no Senate Republican has spoken out against state voter identification laws that federal judges have found to be discriminatory, either. America, and the GOP, have both come a long way since Sen Dirksen's eloquent appeal.
On Wednesday, in the heat of another pitched American battle over voting rights, one that is playing out in courthouses and state capitals all across the nation, the Senate Judiciary Committee met yet again to remind us of how tenuous the right to vote still is in this country. Perhaps the stakes aren't as high in 2012 as they were in 1965. Perhaps the new generation of "ruses and devices and tests" employed to suppress the vote will be rejected by the courts. Or perhaps not. It's simply too soon to know. But it's not too soon to worry. And it is certainly not too soon to begin to see disheartening patterns.
La Lioness said I'm Princess Spice. So there.
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Replies to this discussion thread
Money, Power, Ruses, and the Right to Vote (Original post)
Response to xchrom (Original post)
Thu Sep 13, 2012, 11:21 AM
midnight (24,519 posts)
1. The disheartening pattern now includes private source code that counts our vote via some corporate
I'm from the Elizabeth Warren Wing of the Democratic Party! If you want to count on my vote....you have to count my vote.
Response to xchrom (Original post)
Thu Sep 13, 2012, 01:12 PM
Shagman (135 posts)
2. Freedom isn't free
If you lose the freedom to vote, you're on the verge of losing all your other rights. If the courts rule in favor of ALEC (who are pushing these discriminatory laws in every state), the judges need to be replaced. ALEC needs to be ground into the dust, staked through the heart, and burned with acid.