Point of View Columns

Thieves in the Day

There is a reason why burglars and bank robbers usually do their best work at night – they don’t want to get caught. Thieves realize that theft has unpleasant consequences and so the darkness is their ally. That is why it is even more brazen for the Teapublican terrorists in Congress and in state houses all over the country to conspire to steal the right to vote from American citizens – in broad daylight.

Last year the Supreme Court of the United States eviscerated the historic Voting Rights Act which reversed over a century of the legalized disenfranchisement of black citizens in the United States. In a stunning and blatant illustration of racism barely hidden by judicial robes, the Voting Rights Act was termed a form of “racial entitlement”, fully ignoring the undisputed facts that for too long for too many black people, exercising the right to vote was a death-defying act.

In what would appear to be some kind of satanic synchronization, immediately upon the Supreme Court’s infamous Shelby v. Holder decision, scores of states, counties and other election districts moved to put in place restrictive voting measures that would not have been permitted the day before. In the year since the Shelby decision over a dozen states have passed laws that make it far more difficult for people to vote and there should be no doubt that these laws are clearly aimed to reduce the number of minority voters who would otherwise be eligible to cast their ballots.

We are supposed to believe that the reason for closing the gates on polling booths is to prevent voter fraud. But there is no research or data to indicate that voter fraud is even a small problem in any part of the country. Indeed, the greatest case of voter fraud in the history of the United States was committed by the Supreme Court of the United States itself in the Bush v. Gore case when the presidential election was given to candidate George W. Bush.

The history of denying the rights and benefits of citizenship to black Americans is as old as this country itself. At one point black Americans were constitutionally defined as 3/5th of a human being. The Supreme Court at one point ruled that black Americans had no rights that a white person needed to respect. And, of course, it was against the law in many parts of the United States for a black person to learn how to read and right.

After the Civil War and the abolition of slavery, the battlefield for racists moved from denying literacy and the actual humanity of black people, to denial of the rights of citizenship. And that denial of citizenship began with denial of the right to vote. While the Ku Klux Klan always made noises about protecting white womanhood, the real mission of that malignant gang of terrorists was to deny any kind of power to black Americans, beginning with the right to vote.

Lynching, murder, bombing and general mayhem were all within the rules of the racists who sought to deny the voting franchise to black Americans, and most of the time, being the craven cowards they were, they operated in the night, in the shadows and away for the light of day. The black death toll from this state-sponsored terror will never be fully known, but the deaths only compounded the day to day terror of the survivors resulting in black people being excluded from the democratic processes in this country – from voting to serving on juries to holding elected office.

The Voting Rights Act was intended to change that and in many ways it has. It should be clear that the resistance of the racists, in and out of the South, did not disappear, but change has occurred during the past half century. And now the ghosts of the Klan must be overjoyed to know that the Supreme Court has taken up its bloody banner and the lynch mobs and night bombers are certainly glad to know that the Teapublican terrorists have placed enough legal linen around their damnable motives so there are people who actually don’t see a real problem with the tsunami of voting restrictions that are sweeping across this nation.

And the worst part is that these thieves, who are seeking to steal rights and citizenship, are operating in broad daylight.

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