Thursday, November 7, 2013

Rolling Back Voting Rights - Why?

Have you been wondering about the recent push in several states to roll back the Voting Rights Act of 1965? If not, you should be. Why on earth would anyone support taking away a right under the guise of its not being needed anymore? You have to wonder. Of course, there is an answer, and it’s not Voter Fraud. Let’s examine the history of why the Voting Rights Act was necessary in the first place.

On the surface it would seem to be all about the Right to Vote; and there is some merit in that thought. But the purpose; the need; for the Voting Rights Act went much deeper and exposed the more sinister forces against which African-Americans of the 1960’s were up against.

Racial Injustice was endemic in the South of 50 years ago. The worst place was in Mississippi, with the other Southern “Jim Crow” states coming in at a close second. The courts were manned by white judges and the jury pools were all lily white. No blacks need apply. As a matter of fact, since they could not vote, they weren’t even on the list for selection to serve on a jury. This meant that an African-American of the time would never face a jury of his peers, and therefore never receive equal justice under the law.

And that, in a nutshell, is what the current hullabaloo is really all about. Not the vote, but the administration of equal Justice in America. If allowed, the Conservative forces would have the Voting Rights Act repealed under the fiction that it is no longer necessary. But, don’t buy into it.

The truth is easy to see, and just as easy to manipulate. But, ask yourself these questions. If, as the Conservatives wish, the Act is repealed, what will be the effect upon the composition of jury pools in America in a few short years, as people find themselves falling off of the Voter Registration Rolls? What type of jury will you be standing before? Will they all look and think as you do? Or, will they be composed of people who are all different than you? And finally, would you be happy with that situation for yourself?

A lot of people gave a lot of time, pain and suffering to secure the right to vote for everyone. The photo above is evidence of that struggle. Those are Alabama State Troopers in action on Bloody Sunday; March 7, 1965 during the march from Selma to Montgomery. All of the people arrested that day stood before white judges and juries. How do you think that worked out for them?

So, don’t let the knee jerk slogans of Conservative politicos and the hidden agendas of bigots fool you with this one. It’s not just about the Vote; it’s about the fair Administration of Justice in the Courts. The new restrictions will affect the elderly and the working poor in a disproportionate manner. If you are an hourly worker you will be less likely to vote on Voting Day, and they will have cut back on early voting, making it even harder to do so.

The struggle to achieve these rights is not about race anymore; it's about the war between the rich and poor in America today. And that war parallels the fight of the Civil Rights Era. In the end, remember, the next ethnic group in that photo above could be yours.

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