Truth, Justice, and the American way
With the new Superman movie opening this month, I was reminded of an essay I wrote in my freshman year at Armijo High School. It was a brilliant lampoon of Superman, but I got a terrible grade. My teacher informed me that "you can't write a parody of a parody." That made sense, so nowadays, when discussing the parody that is politics, I simply write the truth. As a kid, I loved that corny Superman TV show and always felt inspired by the magnificent opening lines about a strange visitor from another planet who came to earth to fight the never-ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way!
We may have differing ideas on what constitutes "the American way," but hopefully we can all agree that the cornerstone of our national heritage is a core belief that any American citizen who is eligible to vote, should be allowed to vote. Unfortunately, we all know that has not always been the case, but the 1965 Voting Rights Act had eliminated many abuses. This Act was reviewed in 2006 and renewed by a nearly unanimous vote in Congress, but last week, the U.S. Supreme Court eliminated its primary enforcement provision, essentially extracting the teeth from this guard dog of Justice.
On Wednesday, your Daily Republic reported: "Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for a majority of conservative, Republican-appointed justices, said the law's provision that determines which states are covered is unconstitutional because it relies on 40-year-old data and does not account for racial progress and other changes in U.S. society." It surely seems we have come a long way as a society; Selma Alabama, the scene of so many racial confrontations in the 1950's and 60's, elected their first Black Mayor in 2000 and their second in 2008. But the racists and Republicans are still at it. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, 184 proposed abusive voting changes have been withdrawn or blocked by the U.S. Justice Department, just since 1999. We hope these "conservative, Republican-appointed Justices" are truly fighting for "the American way," and not simply fighting for Republicans.
Race, literacy tests, and poll taxes are no longer determinants of voting rights in America. They are just too blatant. Today's racists and Republicans must use much more subtle techniques to keep eligible American citizens from voting: voter photo I.D. laws; reducing the time that voters can cast their ballots; using broken voting machines and having fewer of them in Democratic precincts; keeping voters lined-up outside in the cold and rain for hours; having "independent" observers at the polling places question and challenge voters that "look" like Democrats; putting-up billboards falsely threatening prison terms for anyone caught voting without a valid I.D.; hiring consultants to purge voter registration rolls of suspected Democrats; questioning Democrats' signatures on mailed-in ballots; calls and mailers to Democratic voters with confusing and inaccurate information; caging lists; gerrymandering; registering people in public places and then destroying the Democratic registration forms; robocalls to Democrats telling them their candidate had won, even though the polls were still open; and on and on and on.
Within hours of the Supreme Court decision on Tuesday, Texas Republicans pressed forward with their state voter I.D. law, which had been squelched by the Justice Department last August. This new Supreme Court ruling means that the Justice Department must now argue against each infringement of voter rights in court and with thousands of Red Republican school boards, towns, cities, counties, parishes, and state legislatures, each capable of launching their own voter suppression techniques, we can expect a never-ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way.