Thursday, August 30, 2012

Jim Crow 2012?

 
 
 

The Voting Rights Act was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965 and enacted by the 89th United States Congress. The President felt inclined to bring about the Act because of the blood shed that occurred during that year and the martyrs that were born because of it. Additionally, the Act was the result of the hostilities of those who felt African-Americans should not have the right to vote. Anti-discrimination laws were in place at the time, however, they were not enough to combat the resistance of state officials when it came to the 15th amendment. Prior to the Voting Rights Act, poll taxes and literacy test were imposed upon voters who would otherwise be able to vote. Terror was also a tool used to stop the African-American vote (and it still is).
 
The Act was extended in 2006 by President George W. Bush for another 25 years. (Although why the Act should ever have to be extended is far beyond my intelligent grasp. If you can give me a legitimate reason, then I’ll wait) By the end of 1965, over 250,000 Black voters had been registered to vote because of the Voters Rights Act. The years of harassment, intimidation and brutality were supposed to end. The years of sacrifice because of the effort on the part of those who thought it an African-American’s God given right to vote, were supposed to end right? Right. ("Voter Suppression by State," 2012).
 
Flash forward to election year 2012. Not only is my uterus up for debate per Roe vs. Wade, but my intelligence is being demeaned daily. In addition to such bull, I have to deal with the same racist nonsense that my parents did (I was raised by my maternal grandparents). As a woman who is registered to vote in Florida (a Southern state just in case anyone forgot) it seems that I have to deal with Jim Crow 2012. With the Tea Party standing in as the modern day Klan, I’m quite aware that I’m not the only one who has to deal with this voter's purge/suppression that is now spanning beyond Southern states. If you're not sure what's been going on, then let me enlighten you. (Because to be hip, one must always be enlightened)
 
First off, I’ll start with my home state. Florida reduced early voting days from 14 to 8 since last year (Ohio, West Virginia, and Wisconsin have also cut early voting days drastically). Now let me give you a moment to allow a nearly 50% reduction in early voting days sit with you for a second. I’ll have a moment of silence for those of you who don’t feel that this will affect you. (Silence, head bowed, and deep breath). Voter’s registration groups must additionally register within the states. Good Ol’ Mississippi has it now where you have to have a valid identification to vote (there’s a list of what is considered valid, which includes shockingly a gun permit). Alabama, Kansas, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Virginia, are similar to Ol’ Miss with a law requiring a photo identification to vote as well as Georgia. South Carolina is caught up in a legal battle currently because the U.S. Department of Justice finally decided to intervene and decided that the law was in direct violation of the Voter’s Rights Act. Pardon my language, but SHIT JUST GOT REAL! Think about all the older voters who don’t have birth certificates within the African American community. Yeah, let that sit for a minute on your brain. ("Voter Suppression by State," 2012).
 
For those of you who think that this election is anything like election post-Civil Rights Era think again. For those who of you who think that you can sit this one out and that your vote doesn’t count, please realize that this attitude is exactly what is expected of you. If you have melanin in your skin, if you are a woman, a senior citizen, or if you are on any form of aid from financial aid to Medicaid to food stamps please get out and vote this year. I don’t know how much I can stress this. If you don’t, however, please don’t complain when the country goes straight to a Klansmen’s heaven and minorities' hell.



References

Voter suppression efforts by state. (2012). Campus Progress. Retrieved from http://campusprogress.org/articles/interactive_map_voter_suppression_efforts_by_state/

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