There has been a fair amount of push back offered by Republicans who have feigned feeling insult as some have called their efforts to change voting laws a going backwards, to the days and practices of Jim Crow.
Republicans are pushing laws that will require photo IDs for all voters, will restrict college students in their ability to vote, and, in some states, will prohibit convicts who have completed their sentences and are off parole, from voting.
It smells like Jim Crow. It looks like Jim Crow, polished. It is reminiscent of the days when whites used poll taxes and literacy tests and other means to keep African Americans from voting.
It is Jim Crow all over again, polished.
It is no secret that President Obama’s victory in 2008 came largely because of the huge voter turn out among African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and young people. Thus, the Republicans have stooped to an all time low to attempt to stem the wave that brought President Obama to shore, to the White House.
Nobody really wants to talk about it, but racism has been the elephant in the room ever since Obama took office. The Tea Party, though it protests loudly, has many, too many people who are simply acting on their feelings of disapproval that an African American is the president of this country. Their cries of “we want our country back” didn’t fool a single person, I’d bet. That statement was a euphemism; they wanted, and want, things to go back to the way they were, when African Americans knew their place and stayed there.
These new voting laws smack of racism. Former President Bill Clinton said in a recent speech that we, i.e., “we the people,” should be fighting it. Clinton said the laws smacked of Jim Crow, as did Democratic Committee Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Schultz later said her use of the phrase “Jim Crow” might have been overstated, but I wish she had held her ground. She was right, as is former President Clinton. These laws are stitched with racism and we should fight them. If we do not, the slippery voting laws will go unchallenged and many people who voted in 2008 will not be able to do so in 2012.
I am not striking a battle cry for the re-election of President Obama; the president has to fight his way back to the White House just as any other person would. But I am striking a battle cry for the cessation of “sneaky racism,” this ploy to keep people of color away from the polls. We have been there, America. We have been there and done that. These laws that are being pushed by the Republicans are wrong, and “we the people” should stand up, stop being afraid of the “r” word, use it when it’s necessary, and call these laws out for what they are.
Like I said, we’ve been there and done that. We as a nation need to keep moving forward, not slide backward to the soggy fields of injustice and racism we’ve already trudged through. To do so would make the struggles for civil rights, most especially the right to vote, a time of wasted energy and lives.
I can’t stomach that thought. I hope others cannot, either.
Just a candid observation.