In the news is that several states will have the same rules applied to them when it comes to changing voting laws as the rest of the country. Those states, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia have essentially been on probation for fifty years. Now they can change their laws without special oversight from the Federal Government.
It probably comes as no surprise that these are all 'red' states that voted for Romney in 2012. Well, Virginia was a 'blue' state. And similarly comes as no surprise that these are all slave states. No, wait, Alaska wasn't a slave state, neither was Arizona. In fact, no black man was ever even lynched in Arizona. Hmm. Well let's not get too specific in categorizing them - they were all highlighted as the most racist states hostile to blacks. But Arkansas and Massachussetts were not included. And wasn't it Florida that was doing the voter disenfranchisement?
If you see the inconsistency here, then you should understand the simple reason I don't find a particularly foul odor eminating from the Supreme Court while plenty of folks I see are turning up their noses today.
There are three ways I see this as a simpleton priority.
1. It engages race for race's sake and asserts that racial identity is the substance of and the basis for voter disenfranchisement. Zero sum. This logic always comes down to counting noses by race and always depends on subjective criteria of 'sufficient'. This is what I call the six pounds of racism problem.
2. (Which may be obviated by proof, but unlikely none not considered by the SC). There is no evidence that Texas 2013 is Texas 1964 when it comes to voter suppression by race, nor for the others. Conversely there is no evidence that any other state has emerged to require such special scrutiny.
3. (Most importantly) It ignores economic reality, which is substantially the point of the intent in the first place.
African Americans didn't initiate the Civil Rights Movement because they like pushing buttons in voting booths. They didn't march in the streets for the great privilege of filling out voter registration cards. They did so, with great justification and widespread support, for the economic uplift that access to public accomodations brings for those excluded from them on the lowest rungs of society. At the time, that's where most African Americans were.
Today most African Americans are middle class. That dream is reality. It's a reality in Georgia and its a reality South Carolina.
Furthermore, there is no vote for black power. There is no vote for black freedom. There is no vote for racist discrimination. There is no vote for racist suppression. There is no legislation that treats African Americans any differently than anyone else. All that is part of the law of non-discrimination that nobody questions, but not a whole lot of people actually need. What African Americans need that is denied them by racists for racist reasons cannot be purchased through voting. If that were the case, then the election of Barack Obama would have made that difference. Twice.
Once upon a time, voting was what was needed, and America generated heroes. Their triumphs had almost a fairy tale kind of justice. The scariest part of the story is that 'Happily ever after' is not guaranteed. Sure, Jack slayed the Giant. David killed Goliath. But that's just one battle, and it cannot be fought over and over, on the same terms.
You cannot vote your way to economic prosperity. You cannot vote your way into good health. You cannot vote your way into moral righteousness. The ballot box in America does not have that power. Power moves through very different channels these days. Fortunately we are a nation of liberty and people choose their own paths to success. It defies the American spirit to suggest it would be delivered to you with the stroke of a pen. That's not how we work. That's not how we pray. That's not how we learn. That's not how we raise and keep our families. American life and success comes from blood, sweat and tears. But then you know that.
I just thought I'd remind you in case you thought you smelled something.