As the 2012 elections become more of a certainty than a projection, there is very orchestrated GOP effort to create a political obstacle course for voters, by legislating unprecedented voter requirements like birth certificates/proof of citizenship and picture identification.
The shades of Jim Crow are not subtle here; neither is the similarity of superimposing Jim Crow laws after the abolition of slavery, not unlike the attempt by today’s GOP to superimpose new voter legislation after the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
It is no secret that the Tea Party-influenced 2010 Republican sweeping win of Congressional seats was executed for the purpose of ‘taking the country back’. The frightening epilogue to this take back seems worse than its previously ominous overtones; it seems that taking back the country does not preclude taking it back to a time when bigoted interpretations of the Bible and skewed interpretations of the Constitution were common. Back then the country’s African American population was the target. Today that target has expanded to include Hispanics and many who are non Caucasoid.
The attack seems harmless enough. It is the simple demand, imposed by Republican governed States, for government issued photo identification and/or birth certificate to be presented in order for a person to be allowed to cast a vote.
The League of Women voters has offered some staggering statistics. According to their numbers, 11% or as many as 21 million Americans do not have photo ID. This includes 18% of Americans over 65, some 6 million people, 25% of African Americans and 15% of low income voters.
Of course this comes with the feigned surprise of GOP legislators that so many of the electorate will be disenfranchised by this discriminatory law. What is more of a surprise, however, is that this neo GOP Tea Party Backed group of politicians who declare patriotism and recite the Constitution in programmed response, seem not to notice that there is a 15th Amendment to the same Constitution which bars States from imposing “voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure … to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color.”
Right now, some States have taken to battling back this egregious attack on the affected demographic. But far more than a State by State effort is needed to extinguish this calamitous legislation that has the potential to become a national vehicle to our country’s dark past.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) has filed a complaint with the Department of Justice citing violations of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. That is just a start. Sociopolitical committees in every State have to take up this issue.
That includes churches in the demographically at risk areas, which tend to turn a blind eye to these issues, citing 501C3 violation. They need to be reminded that a 501C3 violation only occurs if there is partisan steering; suggesting that the congregation votes for a specific party or candidate.
Denying eligible voters their right to vote is retrograde and has the potential to undo the social gains of American democracy. It is the hijacking of a blood- bought political right that should not be dismissed as the fiendish doings of one State’s Governor.
Attorney General Holder has to see this for the draconian plot that it is. And the fact that Paul Weyrich, one of the country’s primary Right Wingers and an unabashed draftsman of the retrograde legislation, has openly declared that the plan directly correlates denying some the right to vote to the leverage the Republican Party earns when a specific demographic is excluded, should be the impetus for Holder to make his immediate priority, reasserting the unconstitutionality of denying a person the right to vote.
Attorney General Holder, we, the people, are waiting on you to roll back this travesty that is being imposed upon many by the Tea Party backed GOP.