If there's one characteristic that best describes a conservative is that they not only live in the past, but are willing to fight for the right to live in the past, even when it's not in their own long term interest.
I only mention this today because of this:
A Turning Point for Voting Rights Law
The Supreme Court hears oral arguments today on the constitutionality of a central provision of the Voting Rights Act, considered one of the most effective civil rights laws passed by Congress.... Conservative legal activists who mean to liberate the mostly Southern states that bear the biggest burden under the Voting Rights Act...The Supreme Court will hear arguments this morning in one of its biggest cases of the year, a suit that seeks to declare unconstitutional a key provision of the voting act. It is considered the most severe federal intrusion on state autonomy, but none of the states subject to it has joined the fight. (Full)
The conservative-leaning Court has slowly chipped away at this landmark legislation, under constant prodding from white conservative groups and organizations. Which leads me to issue this warning:
The Voting Right Act was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson back in 1965 to assure minority American citizens had the same voter protections as whites. There was at the time a well-documented history of minorities -- most non-whites – being kept from the polls through a variety of legal, illegal and down right brutal schemes and tactics. Gerrymandering was one of the legal ways to marginalizing non-white voters. But there were other ways, dozens, hundreds of ways, because, the racist mind is never at rest when it comes to race.
Finally it proved necessary that Congress step in and enact a set of nationwide legal standards that assure d that every American who wanted to vote, could do so.
Which is why today, nearly 45-years later, we have a black President in the White House and men and women of all shades serving in elected office across the nation.
Whites To Minority in U.S.
WASHINGTON, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Non-Hispanic whites will become a minority in the United States by 2050, with immigrants and their children driving 82 percent of U.S. population growth in coming years, a new study said on Monday. Non-Hispanic whites would account for 47 percent of the total in 2050, it concluded. By that time, one in every five Americans will be a foreign-born immigrant, compared to one in eight in 2005.
While the white population, with its lower fertility rate, ages, the Latino population, the nation's largest minority, will triple in size. Latinos will be responsible for 60 percent of the population growth until 2050. They will account for 29 percent of the population, or 128 million in 2050, up from 14 percent now, the study said. "The number of whites will increase, but only by 4 percent," said D'Vera Cohn, one of the report's authors.
Get it? Within the lifetimes of younger conservatives whites, they will no longer be making the rules, but rather blacks, Hispanics and Asians. They will be the new majority. They will be deciding how voting districts are carved up. They will be making the rules for who can and cannot vote, choosing where polling stations will be setup and what languages ballots will display.
In short, the shoe will be on other feet --- white feet. Whites will be the new American minority group. From that day forward, when someone refers to minority voters, they will be referring white voters.
You don't need to be a descendant of Nostradamus to predict what will happen when that day arrives. White voting groups, many the very conservative groups currently attacking the Voting Rights Act, will be the ones screaming “descrimination," and claiming their voting rights are being violated. White voters will file their voter registration applications with black or brown elected registrars of voters. At polling stations whites will be asked for identification by poll workers of color. And, since former minorities will by then be the majority, most polling stations will be located in their neighborhoods.
All of which will stoke white conservative's racial already too robust xenophobia and racial paranoia. Race-based conspiracy theories will consume conservative talk radio and the Internet as the color of Congress goes from white, to beige to brown as voters of color do what white voters had been doing for 250 years.
Now, that's going to happen. The only quesiton conservatives should be asking themselves right now while they still have a majority say in such matters, is whether this demographically inivitable racial shift in politics will proceed legally or illegally. Will politicians of color win honest races, in honestly drawn congressional districts, without any hint of voters suppression? Or will they play the same kind of racial gerrymandering and voter suppression games whites played with such vigor and skill before the Voting Rights Act made them illegal?
And, once whites are the minority, will white candidates have a fair crack at electoral office. They could, and they should. But there's only one thing guarantees they will -- a national law protecting minority voting rights.. the very law they are currently trying to get the Supreme Court to strike down as you read these words.
Which is why we should all care what our conservative-leaning Supremes do with the latest, and most severe, challenge to the Voting Rights Act. Will the Court protect those rights for every minority voter, including whites? Or will they gut the Voting Rights Act, leaving the white minority in the near future at the whim of their new, racially mixed, majority?
But I'm not optimistic. After all, white American conservatives have shown they are more than willing to point a gun to their heads when they don't get their way and threaten, “One wrong move and the Sheriff gets it.”