Monday, November 16, 2020

Voting rights swept away in Trump era


     I’m old enough to remember 1965. A year when Americans were churning cream into butter, learning the alphabet and singing “All the colors that I know/Live up in the rainbow.”
     Oh wait, that was just me, in Miss McCloud’s kindergarten class. The most significant event for the rest of our country in 1965 was passage of the Voting Rights Act.
     When the media revisits Selma, it’s too bad we focus on state troopers attacking marchers with their nightsticks and dogs but skate past the reason the protesters are there in the first place: trying to give Black Americans the ability to vote. They already had the right, by law, thanks to the 15th Amendment to the Constitution. 
     But what the law allows and what people are actually permitted to do can be two very different things. African Americans were turned away from voting by all sorts of sham literacy tests and poll taxes. For 100 years.
     Today “voter fraud” is the 2020 version of literacy tests, and restricting vote-by-mail and ballot drop boxes was the latest incarnation of poll taxes: vehicles for disenfranchising voters. Turns out that the same folks who so adore the 2nd Amendment don’t care at all about the 15th.
     As we blink into the roaring cyclone of lies that is the Trump administration, it’s easy to overlook the ever bolder racism. But where in Pennsylvania does Trump lie about, over and over, as having a corrupt voting process? Philadelphia. And what is the largest racial group in Philadelphia? African Americans, at 44 percent.

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7 comments:

  1. Florida reimposed its poll tax when it passed that law requiring convicted felons, who had been granted the right to vote by a state constitutional amendment just the year before, now requires them to pay all fines & fees before being allowed to vote.
    Even though absolutely no entity of Florida state government has any idea what they owe, due to sloppy or just flat out incompetent governmental procedure, plus each county in Florida also keeps its own records & theirs are just as sloppy & incompetent!

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    1. Up to 900,000 ex felons were prevented from voting. Clearly that would have flipped the state.
      Bloomberg supposedly pledged to pay whatever it was they owed but that never happened. As was said, no one knew how much was owed, to whom, and how it was to be paid. There is little to be proud of as a Floridian.

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  2. Republicans do not believe in democracy. Thank you for printing that truth. Writers and politicians dance around the concept but I have missed it if any have declared it unequivocally. Conservatives have been denying climate science for years and that hasn't stopped glaciers melting or sea ice retreating. Now their party leader makes outrageous prevarications about the election, setting off his minions, some armed and bigoted, to protest in defense of those lies. Imagining voter fraud while ignoring voter disenfranchisement is a danger to our democracy. Truth matters. Republicans don't just deny it, they sell it as a political philosophy. Our country is awash with lies and half the country doesn't see it. Thanks for saying it, Neil.

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  3. I'm old enough to remember the lame-duck president asking Black citizens "What have you got to lose?" when it came to voting for him rather than a Democrat. It almost can't get more basic than the right to vote, which Republicans have been chipping away at in whatever manner they can come up with.

    It *does* get more basic, though, since their very lives are also at stake, given the type of policing that the "Law and Order" criminal and charlatan favors and encourages. I am also old enough to remember when the innocent Central Park 5 might have been executed if the Manhattan Mussolini had gotten his wish.

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    1. AKA the Quisling of Queens, the Wizard of Woe, Nazimodo, and the White Pride Piper.

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  4. What pisses me off most about the current election is how the Republicans keep raising the bar for how it's acceptable for a Democrat to win the presidency. It's not enough to get the most popular votes, and apparently it's no longer enough even to get the most electoral votes. Now, if you're a Democrat, you have to win in the Electoral College so decisively that you're immunized against lies, lawsuits, rioting, etc. claiming you didn't.

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  5. Yahrzeit candle...? May the memory be a blessing.

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