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Affirmative Action for the Poor

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Message Stephen Crockett

In the aftermath of the recent Supreme Court ruling gutting affirmative action to deal with the historical impact of racial discrimination, I propose that Democratic political figures should push for new laws promoting affirmative action on behalf of poor Americans of all races. Unequal educational opportunities are an important factor contributing to pockets of entrenched poverty.


We need to deal with entrenched poverty in America. Racial and ethnic minorities are often victims of this poverty in numbers much greater than their share of the general population as a result of past discrimination. However, rural white Americans are in much the same situation in many parts of this nation. They suffer from disproportionate poverty along with Native Americans, Afro-Americans and Hispanics.


Americans with disabilities or chronic health problems suffer disproportionately from poverty. Anyone living in communities devastated by the outsourcing of our manufacturing industries has serious issues related to poverty. Communities devastated by natural disasters or industrial pollution face similar challenges.


The Republican Radical Right majority on the Supreme Court sought to cripple socially progressive measures in this area. We should never have accepted Supreme Court Justices like Thomas, Alito and Roberts in the first place. I would support impeaching them because I believe they pose a danger to American traditions and established law.


Democrats, independents and moderate Republicans should turn the legal attacks by the Court’s Republican Radical Right majority to America’s advantage by enacting new laws. The Supreme Court Radicals did not rule affirmative action based on income illegal.


I am supporting John Edwards for President because he is trying to make poverty in America a major political issue. Edwards supports labor unions largely because strong labor unions are a proven path out of poverty for many working Americans. It is no accident that the Republican Radical Right majority on the Supreme Court along with the Bush White House has been trying to denying millions of Americans their right to unionize and bargain collectively for a better economic future.


It is my belief that most of the major Democratic candidates do or will soon support anti-poverty legislation. They already support legislation like the Employee Free Choice Act which will defend workers’ right to unionize.


Middle Class Americans need to act to wipe-out poverty. The Republican Party in America is promoting a whole series of economic policies that will both benefit the wealthiest of the wealthy and drive millions of Middle Class Americans into the ranks of the working poor.


The public would support educational affirmative action based on income. I believe they would support affirmative action in hiring or granting of government contracts to deal with poverty in America. Such an approached should be coupled with single-payer, universal national health care and other measures as part of real national effort to wipe-out poverty in our lifetime.


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Stephen Crockett is co-host of Democratic Talk Radio and author of the Democratic Voices opinion column.
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