Jim Crow: Back with a Vengeance
President Lyndon Baines Johnson
on signing the Voting Rights Act
6 August 1965
"WE DON'T WANT NO DARKIES VOTIN' 'ROUND HERE"
John Roberts, Chief Justice
Samuel Alito, Associate Justice
Anthony Kennedy, Associate Justice
Antonin Scalia, Associate Justice
Uncle Thomas, Associate Justice
QUESTION: Where do you think Judge Thomas would be today had it not been for Affirmative Action?
ANSWER: He would be mounted on the front lawn of some beer distributor's home in Albany, Georgia, wearing a jockey uniform and holding a lamp.
For nearly fifty years, the Voting Rights Act mandated that states with a history of discrimination had to check with the federal government if they wanted to make certain "changes" in their laws regarding voting requirements. As of yesterday that is not the case any longer. They're rejoicing today down in dear ol' Dixie.
The forces of reaction and and suppression have been in a full-tilt FREAK OUT ever since the American people elected the first African American to the White House five years ago. That was something that was never supposed to happen. They had no other choice but to declare a full-scale, state of emergency. Within a matter of months the Republicans were whining about "voter fraud" - an epidemic that was non-existent. Their scheme was to make it as difficult as humanly possible for the traditional Democratic constituency to cast their precious ballots by forcing them to purchase ID cards. That is what is known as a "poll tax".
Perhaps in order to deflect the outrage that was surely to occur as the result of this jaw-droppingly awful decision, the very next day the Supremes struck down the heart of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Sure enough, a lot of liberals were busting their giddy little guts in glee, nearly oblivious to this latest assault on democracy. Incredibly, the New York Daily News didn't even mention it. To no one's surprise, today states all across the old confederacy have announced that they're going to initiate sweeping changes in their voting laws. The extremists on the Supreme Court mentioned at the top of this piece have seen to it that this country remain a plutocratic dictatorship for at least another generation - or more.
Elderly people, the poor, college students, those who live in the city (all of whom tend to vote Democratic - go figure) will be hurt by this decision. Interestingly, there has not been a whisper of condemnation from the National Rifle Association about any of this. You would think that, for all their talk about the BIG, BAD GOVERNMENT and their interference in our lives, they would be (literally) up in arms. There hasn't been a word from those assholes. Similarly, nary a peep from the Tea Party or the libertarian types....You can hear the freakin' crickets chirping.. The hypocrisy could be cut with an antique emery board.
Can you imagine if Mitt Romney had been elected last year? Two or more right wing neanderthals on that court would have meant the end of democracy in America. There's still hope on the horizon. By the looks of things Antonin Scalia is looking a little worse for the wear these days. Not that I want the hideous old bastard to drop dead or anything like that....
The five justices responsible for yesterday's decision were all appointed by either Reagan or one of the Bushes. Can you see what conservative brand of governance is doing to your country?
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I wrote this piece nearly six years ago and caught a lot of flack for it at the time. As John Huston once said, "I never did anything worth a damn that I didn't catch hell for". But I don't take back a word of it - not even that word.
A special shout-out of thanks to Facebook chum Sally Sinden for providing the cartoon at the top of this piece.
Those of us who are old enough to remember how unpopular LBJ was when he left office in January 1969 are amazed at how good he is starting to look in hindsight!