Tag Archives: voting restrictions

Racism and Hillary Clinton

 

 

 

If it wasn’t for seven years of the blatant resurgence of racism in America then we might not need Hillary Clinton. Sadly Obama’s presence in the Oval Office allowed racial meanness to rise to the surface in Washington, DC and outside our nation’s capital. When we should have felt proud of America on the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, when we should have been celebrating, we were instead seeing the festering remains of racism being exposed in far too many areas of American society.

The Supreme Court struck a huge blow when it said that certain southern states were no longer subject to clearance before they could change their voting laws. The GOP shamelessly began passing restrictions on voting in those same southern states where clearance had been used to guarantee racial fairness in voting. They justified their actions as necessary to circumvent voter fraud, which turned out to be almost nonexistent. They said they were not being anti-Black, they were just making it harder for Democrats to vote, but they knew, all the time, how important the Black vote was to Democrats. They got two licks in for the price of one.

We have seen all too many unarmed Black folks shot under suspicious circumstances by policemen. It begins to seem as if certain individuals join the police force to deliberately wipe out Black people, a sort of vigilante routine. I don’t know if there is a group that has planned this or if this is just lone racists acting on their own and I admit I may be seeing a trend where there is really only a series of terrible accidents, but we should not have racists on our police forces and if there is any way to root them out we should do it.

We have allowed Black folks to languish in poverty in our inner cities – and I don’t mean languish in a nice way – I mean it in a hopeless way. We have not found strategies to entice all young African-Americans into the schools and that is what we need to do. We also need to learn how to make school relevant enough that they will stay and go “all the way” through. We need to stop concentrating poor black, brown, and Asian people in our center cities and find ways, perhaps through real estate options, to intersperse poor Americans in more affluent neighborhoods where people can afford to help lift them up.

Yes, we have finally been made aware of how over-zealously and unequally the War on Drugs was conducted. We have been shocked by the staggering numbers of Americans of African Descent incarcerated for minor drug offenses and the role unaffordable cash bails have played in this. This was one of those cases where a program that folks thought would help solve a problem, exacerbated the problem and created new ones. I’m not sure it was intended as a “racist” policy, it was supposed to “scare people straight” in dangerous inner city neighborhoods, but, in retrospect, we can see that the enforcement of this program affected Africans-Americans far more than white Americans and either the program and/or the enforcement of the program was racist in the way it was implemented in the lives of real people. In this case a flawed answer intended to solve a social problem has produced terrible consequences and most of these consequences were visited upon Black people. If may take decades to turn around the effects of over-incarceration and inappropriately harsh sentencing.

We have also seen how we have allowed the South to revere the defeated Confederacy and to turn the white folks in Southern states into martyrs and heroes in a Civil War we should never have had to fight. We see how this has become another way to keep racial hatred alive – to remind Black folks of their “shameful” roots in our nation and to insure they don’t get “uppity”. How any of this shame accrues to Black folks is impossible to even imagine, unless you grew up in the South I guess.

Americans of African Descent have been here longer than most Americans, although not by choice. If they did not have black or brown skin they would have blended in long ago. Why can’t we get over this idea that the more pigment one has the less human one is? We have to all get past this. What will happen if we are confronted with a truly alien species?

Because the GOP has shown itself to be especially prone to letting “racial” traits and their own fears inform their behavior (or misinform it) we cannot elect a President from among the Republicans. If you consider all of the candidates for the 2016 election Hillary has shown the best understanding of what America needs to do to address fairness, equality, and opportunity for Americans of African Descent. I don’t think Bernie is any more racist than any of us, but I do think he believes his policies will lift all boats and perhaps doesn’t understand the unique obstacles Black Americans face.

I think it might be true that we are nicer when we feel more affluent, when our economy is humming along; but how long must these Americans, who have been here since our beginnings, be kept from the freedoms that should be theirs as well as ours. Clearly this particularly stubborn issue of “racism” did not disappear in more prosperous times, but there was a more generous spirit and it looked, for a while, like things might have turned a corner.

If the existence of all this hate and inequality and separation had not bubbled up from the depths it had been stuffed into, up into the light of day – that would be a bad thing. Let’s not try to contain it away from view of white eyes once again. Let’s try to solve this and heal America once and for all. At the risk of sounding corny perhaps that is what Hillary means when she talks about making America “whole”.

By Nancy Brisson

 

Who’s Zoomin’ Who?

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The Democrats have been talking about the restrictions on voting rights for some time now. This week President Obama called out the Republicans in order to make it clear that the GOP has passed laws in at least 8-9 states that are against voting rights previously held by voters. These activities are especially egregious in these days when America is celebrating landmark actions signed 50 years ago that protected civil rights in the United States.

The Supreme Court and the Republicans seem to be acting in tandem to implement a coordinated strategy designed to get Republicans elected and to allow them to hold sway in Washington once again as in the GW Bush years. The Supremes have had to be a bit subtle, but not so subtle that they could not assist the GOP. They overturned only the most pertinent section of the voting rights law, the “clearance” section which had held voting districts accountable if they had been proven to favor discriminatory practices in the past. This created an open season on voting restrictions from requiring new voter ID’s (a burden on many voters) without a plan to phase in these cards and help citizens deal with document challenges. In addition, days for voting that had been lengthened over the past several decades are being cut back, in some cases brutally, with no acceptable rationale given. Weekend voting is cancelled and Sunday voting is also out. There are also cutbacks in early voting, regional laws make absentee voting more difficult and in some cases there is no evening voting (and that’s just crazy). Local areas governed by majority GOP governments have also cut back on the number of polling places especially in cities and around college campuses.

If you are tuned in to the voting patterns that have dictated the restrictions engineered by Republicans then it becomes quite clear that they are trying to make it harder for Democrats to vote. The problem is that this also looks an awful lot like racism as the GOP is limiting the opportunities for minorities to vote because they expect minorities to vote Democrat (these GOP policies target hard won programs that we still need to support not only struggling minorities, (whose numbers we hope are dwindling) but also women and the poor. Americans of African American descent remember all too well the Jim Crow laws used in many states to make it almost impossible for them to vote and these strategies can’t help but bring back the bad old days, which would suggest that cultural sensitivity alone should put the kibosh on these reactionary laws.

Why are the GOP and the Court doing this? Why did the Court pass the law that says “corporations are people” and the law that says “money is speech”? Do you think a huge majority of the American people clamored for those laws? The Court is not passing these laws for the people; it is passing laws that are designed, once again, to elect Republicans to Washington. Even declaring the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional, even taking that individual mandate away, gave Republicans a way to possibly sabotage Obamacare over time. This ruling takes some of the teeth out of the law and may cause higher health care prices in the future.

Neither the Republicans nor the Courts have been taking care of any business that the people have listed as priorities, so who do they serve – the Tea Party, the Koch Brother, the Super PACs, the corporations or perhaps all of the above?

Remember if the Republicans accuse the Democrats of doing something this means that they are actually the ones doing it. When they accuse Obama and the Democrats of acting interested in voting rights and the rights of women such as equal pay and better support services only because it is election time, they are signaling that they think this might be a winning strategy and that they would give lip service to certain rights simply in order to get elected in 2014 and 2016. Promise anything to your electorate, says the GOP. Make it look like you will take care of them after the elections, but the Republicans want you to believe that these things are just bones that Democrats are throwing to voters and women so that they can “fire up the base”.

Well the reason the GOP says this and the reason they would like us to believe this is because this will distract us from realizing that throwing fake bones to the American people has been their long game all along. Republicans have not even been trying to accomplish any of the things that the people consider priorities because it has been their policy to block all federal law-making. The only reason I can think of for middle class or poor people to be Republicans is that white Americans expect the GOP to protect them from being overrun by minority/nonwhite Americans which is a scare tactic that has been repeated often enough in recent years to make white people feel that they will lose any say in America and that they will become the new bottom class and that Americans will speak Spanish. I do not believe that even the crafty GOP can give America permanently back to Caucasians. Diversity is as inevitable as a global economy, although what language we speak is not. Is backlash, real or imagined, inevitable? Perhaps, but let’s hope we have more interesting things to do, and that will not be what the future is about.

I still insist that we need to go to the polls and we need to elect Democrats in 2014 and again in 2016 and on and on until the Republicans no longer control the courts and until they stop redistributing all the money in America to the very few at the very top and until they stop trying to engineer elections.

This is the view from the cheap seats.

By Nancy Brisson

<a href=https://plus.google.com/10640005355488737390?=author>Nancy Brisson</a>

 Boston Strong!

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