Today February 27th President Obama, America’s 44th President unveiled a statue of the mother of the Civil Rights struggle Rosa Parks in Washington DC.
Mrs Rosa Parks
As the President unveiled the statute of the slightly built woman on whose shoulders he now stands, The United States Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments in Shelby County Vs Holder, Holder being the United States Attorney General, who also stands on her shoulders.
At the center of the case before the Supreme Court, is the contention by Shelby County in the Southern State of Alabama that the law is no longer relevant. They are particularly opposed to section 5 of the Voting Rights Act which forces certain States that have been blatant offenders to get Federal permission before they change their voting laws.
Shelby County Alabama, as it contends that it should be removed from section 5 of the law, was viscerally engaged in preventing the sole African-American elected official in that very locale a fair shot at getting elected. That attempt was thwarted by the courts and the official was overwhelmingly elected.
How a lawyer could straight faced make the case for removal in light of those facts is stunning. How a Supreme Court could entertain arguments in this case in light of the facts is indeed stunning.
There are indications that the right leaning Supreme Court, may actually accede to the request of Shelby County Alabama, to strike down, or at least seriously weaken the law. Clarence Thomas an associate justice on that Body, whose very presence there is as a result of the sacrifices and pain of the civil rights struggle, has been a disaster for the black community in America.
Thomas is the quintessential house negro who loathes himself and as result has turned his back on everything which made him who he is and what he has been able to achieve. Thomas as voted lock step with the other right-wing reactionary Associate Justice Antonin Scalia , who yesterday argues that the law perpetuates Racial entitlements.
That statement is not the first outrageous statement that Scalia has made, but it certainly shows that Scalia is not very smart , in fact it places him in the category of a racial bigot with a moronic mind. The right to vote is a fundamental right, Scalia seem to believe, as he intimated that those things cannot be left up to the congress, that he has the right to supplant the authority of elected officials with his own right wing views.
Antonin Scalia fancies himself a constitutionalist and a strict believer in the constitution, it appears however that on the issue of Blacks people in America, he wants to be King Scalia and force us back to the cotton plantations.
Clearly Scalia, based on his continued outrageous utterances from the bench, is not there to interpret the laws, as is his function, he has shown time and again that he is an activist Judge who believes in legislating from the bench.
Scalia Thomas and Scalia
This is an outrageous statement even if it was coming from an elected member of the Congress, what makes it more chilling, is that it comes from a sitting member of the Supreme Court. It is one thing for one to argue that Food-Stamps, or Medicaid is an entitlement, but how can anyone in their right mind, equate the right to vote with entitlement.
This is a frightening development that must wake up the sleeping Giant which is the African Nation in America, if you ever thought you could trust the highest court in the land to protect your fundamental and existential right as a human being , maybe you really need to think twice about (Plessy VS Ferguson) , maybe you need to consider the words coming out of Antonin Scalia today.
It is an insult to all 37 million Africa-Americans, and truly all well meaning Americans, that Scalia would devalue the work and sacrifice of everyone who worked and fought and died, including those who were arrested then released into the arms of the (KLU KLUX KLAN) only to be murdered.
This is an affront to the dignity of every decent human being on this planet.
This is vintage Scalia making reckless statements, suggesting that the unanimity with which the Act was renewed, must be thrown out and supplanted with his views.
In the last General Elections under so-called normal circumstances, blacks stood in line 20 minutes to a comparable 12 minutes for whites to cast their votes. In States like Florida and others where there have been blatant attempts to suppress the Africa-American vote, American citizens stood in line over 8 hours to vote.
President Obama spoke to this issue in his recent State Of The Union Address.
In 2009 the Voting Rights Act was re-authorized by a strong bi-partisan plurality, these senators are elected by the people, if the voice of the people matters then this case should not even be before the Supreme Court.
This Act is important to the Principles of the American Democracy as it relates to the concept of one man one vote, it is in dire risk of being struck down by the right leaning Supreme Court.
Ironically, this assault on the voting Rights Act comes after Barack Obama was twice elected by the lion’s share of the minority vote. What we witnessed leading up to the last Presidential Elections was tantamount to stirring up a Hornet’s nest.
Statue of Rosa Parks Civil Rights Icon.
All across America from Pennsylvanian to Florida to Ohio, throughout the South there has been a systematic effort by Republican State Majorities in those Legislatures, to make it extremely difficult for non-whites to vote. The very same Supreme Court has intervened on instances to halt some of these attacks.
How then did we find ourselves in this place? If America believes in the principles of democracy , founded on the tenets of one man one vote, why is the Supreme Court even hearing this Case? Shouldn’t the fight be to increase voter participation rather than reducing it?
Black Americans have suffered immensely in their struggle for suffrage, many have been beaten, water-hosed, bitten by dogs and slaughtered, all for daring to demand they be treated as human beings. The very notion of a human being having to seek legitimacy, or even validation from another human is more than enough to engender rage, much less having to demand that another human recognize he is human, creates a whole new degree of incredulity.
The issue is that, freedom is never free, Fifty years after the Civil Rights Struggle African-Americans have allowed themselves to face the very specter of having to once again deal with dogs, billy clubs and inevitable death, in their quest for freedom. The old adage (those who forget the mistakes they made are bound to repeat them), is appropriate.
It is incomprehensible that a Nation which pontificates so much about freedom and Democracy , could have elements of its Government continue to expend energy and capital to restrict the rights and freedoms of sections of its citizenry.
And yes, Shelby County Alabama is using the taxes taken from it’s black citizens to make the case that they ought to be relegated to second class citizens.
Signs paid for by the Lunatic Right in the Midwest State of Ohio, in Black Communities.
It is easy to pass off as ignorant, the views that allowed for Jim Crow, and Bull Oc’Connor’s thugs. It’s easy to rationalize away the lynchings and the idiocy of separate but equal, one may smirk at the very notion of racial superiority, and we may fool ourselves into thinking that those 60’s events couldn’t happen again.
If you chose to believe these things cannot happen again , I ask you this “have you been paying attention? In State after State in America there has been a sustained attempt by the Republican Party to nullify the African-American vote through redistricting, and voter suppression methods to include, draconian voter ID laws, less voting days leading up to election day, intimidation, threats, confusing information to minority voters and more sinister methods all geared at suppressing the African-American vote.
In addition, they have used the powers vested in them in the State Legislatures they control, to enact legislation literally wiping out the rights of some citizens for all time. This they do by passing arbitrary and draconian statutes, which makes it impossible for anyone who ever find themselves afoul of the law to ever vote again, even after they have paid their debt to society.
Mitt Romney the Republican Party’s last candidate for the presidency, fundamentally believed that people who made mistakes and paid their debt, should lose the right to vote. The right to vote is the right to citizenship.
It is a damn shame that a Nation which wages war overseas under the pretext of spreading democracy is engaged in suppressing it’s racial minorities.