Tuesday, June 25, 2013

SCOTUS on Voting Rights or "change I can't believe in"

Today (June 25, 2013) I'm concerned. Not because of the threat of terrorism. I'm not afraid of North Korea, or GMO's, or hip hop music poisoning the minds of our innocent youth. Nope. I'm concerned that the SCOTUS decided that an important part of the Voting Rights Act was no longer necessary.

Some of you may agree. You'll mention the giant strides we've made regarding race (because giant strides isn't ambiguous at all...). You'll suggest that the law itself was originally an overreach by the government (Ron Paul...how you been?). You'll covertly imply, or overtly state, that "black people have to stop living in the past". And I'll offer you my whole ass to kiss. Ok...not really. I'll attempt to be civil and suppress my disgust at your inability to see outside of yourself (or your actual racism...get in where you fit in, homie) and try to explain WHY this was a horrible ruling.

Let's go with the obvious. Congress has been consistently incapable of making effective decisions for years. So now, the SCOTUS is placing the responsibility of picking and choosing which states need to be monitored in the hands of THIS congress. This congress can't balance a budget. THIS congress has a lower approval rating than Charles Manson (that's for the older folks...young folks...think craigslist killer). "And this is in whom you want to place your faith?" SCOTUS had the ability to make a decision. Instead they passed the buck...again (see Affirmative Action ruling). Cowards.

But now for the meat. There are those who feel like "it's no big deal". Because you know...racism isn't AS bad. I agree that it's not lynching, water hoses, and dogs biting. But...how much racism is acceptable? If I make you a sandwich and it's 95% turkey and 5% human flesh...you're ok with that? it's just a little...right? No. They ignored the millions of people who still see covert racism in their communities. Places where there is no secret made of "us" being unwelcome. That is the very reason the VRA was created. Because no matter how the majority group felt about me, the government at least appeared to protect my right to have a voice in how the country was run. Now...nope. I'm sure this has NOTHING to do with the Immigration Bill that's up next either. Because Brown is the new Black (but Black is still the old Black...)

Now...I am forced to imagine living in a country where not only Floridians take 2 days to vote, but several states may "put some shit in the game". What's most amazing to those of us who have lived through blatant discrimination (i'm 40...i have receipts) is that some people still have faith that our government would never discriminate against people in 2013. Fact: this government has discriminated against SOME group since it's creation. Like...that's our "thing" here.  Black people were chattel. Women didn't fare much better. In fact, AFTER slavery, women still couldn't vote until the early 20th century. It was another half-century before black people gained that "right". In 2013 the LGBT community is fighting to be acknowledged as fully protected citizens. Nope, voting isn't their issue...but discrimination still exists. That it's implausible to some, that a country that still blatantly, through specifically crafted laws, discriminates against ONE group would EVER discriminate against another is as illogical as believing a 2000 year old religious war in the middle east can be solved by a few conversations. We've made this mistake before...several times. A lot of people see slavery as the one big mistake this country made. Women's voting..."that was just the way things were back then" (hey Paula Deen). Internment camps for Asians..."we were at war...but we paid them back!". Ronald Reagan placed Nelson Mandela on the terrorist list during his presidency....but in 1982 he REMOVED Saddam Hussein from the same list. Mandela wasn't removed from that list until 2008...18 years after apartheid ended. Don't ask don't tell. Iraq has WMD's. Look...i'm saying that this country, as great as it may be, isn't flawless. And discrimination isn't a thing of the past. It has been a continual part of this country's value system. A system that was created to protect people from religious persecution, but has consistently used religion, race, gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation to discriminate against the very people who make this country such an amazing place to live.

I'm concerned. Not because this is a "set back"...nope. This is a continuation. 

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