Must... Keep... Brown People... from Voting!

Shakespeare's Sister's Question of the Day yesterday had to do with "The Defining Issue of Our Time." Is it the media? Is it fair and honest elections? Is it Religion and Politics? Obviously, the responses in the comments section were varied and all over the map; it's a difficult question. My opinion was: "It's the elections." In my opinion, we can do all the complaining we like, but if we don't have fair and honest elections, we have nothing. We all know the 2000 election was stolen; 2004's election doesn't look too kosher... and if there's one thing we know about Republicans, they never let a good thing go. (All bolds mine.)
House leaders abruptly canceled a vote to renew the 1965 Voting Rights Act yesterday after rank-and-file Republicans revolted over provisions that require bilingual ballots in many places and continued federal oversight of voting practices in Southern states.

The intensity of the complaints, raised in a closed meeting of GOP lawmakers, surprised Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and his lieutenants, who thought the path was clear to renew the act's key provisions for 25 years. The act is widely considered a civil rights landmark that helped thousands of African Americans gain access to the ballot box. Its renewal seemed assured when House and Senate Republican and Democratic leaders embraced it in a May 2 kickoff on the Capitol steps.
If there is one thing we have learned from the 2000 and 2004 elections, it is that African American Voters are disenfranchised. (Disproportionately so.) This was an enormous problem with the 2000 election, and one would think that the purging of black voters would have caused an uproar. And it did... sort of. People knew this was going on... just not much was done about it. So when the 2004 election came along, why not do the same thing? Redraw precincts, switch polling locations without warning, deliberately make people wait for hours in line, use all the same dirty tricks. After all... if you get away with it once...

So, one would think, with African American approval of Republicans (and Bush in particular) in the single digits, Republicans would be more than eager to show how much they approve of this "civil rights landmark," right?

Oh-ho-ho, you foolish person... you're forgetting... we're coming up on an election, and "the base" must be satisfied. And this time, it's all about those damn immigrants and their non-english speaking ways.
But many Southerners feel the law has achieved its purpose and become more nuisance than necessity in several respects. They have aired those arguments for years, but yesterday they got a boost from Republicans scattered throughout the nation who are increasingly raising a different concern: They insist that immigrants learn and use English.
So, again, Republicans are appealing to the racist, hatemongering, immigrant-fearing base to win a few political points. If there's one thing that brings the frothing Right to the voting booth, it's them damn foreign people that talk funny.
The Voting Rights Act requires Justice Department preapproval of changes in voting practices in states that used techniques such as poll taxes or literacy tests to discourage blacks from voting in the 1960s. Some Republicans in Georgia, Texas and other states say such efforts to disenfranchise minorities disappeared long ago, and that continued coverage by the act is an unfair stigma.
Bullshit. The methods may have changed, but the disenfranchisement of black voters is alive and kicking in this country. The last think black voters need is protections taken away from them. This Act is a necessity, and to say that it is a "nusiance" is obnoxious and insulting. Saying "such efforts disappeared long ago" is like saying racism no longer exists in this country: Laughable.
...Barbara Arnwine, executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said a bipartisan commission found evidence of recent voting rights violations in Georgia, Texas and several other states. "These are not states that can say their hands are clean," she said.

The House Rules Committee had agreed to let Georgia lawmakers offer two amendments that would make it easier for states to become exempt from the Voting Rights Act. House leaders had expressed confidence that the amendments would fail. But the committee rejected King's request for an amendment to end the multilingual requirements.

That was "a gigantic mistake," said Rep. Charles Whitlow Norwood Jr. (R-Ga.), a leading critic of the act's renewal. "What people are really upset about is bilingual ballots," he said. "The American people want this to be an English-speaking nation."
So again, it's all about the racism. Keep anyone that doesn't speak English away from the polls... and if we happen to eliminate black voters at the same time... that's just hunky-dory.

As the last two elections have shown, it's all about the votes. When the voting split is so close to 50%, every vote counts, and no one knows this more than Republicans. With Dear Leader squandering the Hispanic vote that has traditionally been Republican-leaning, and with Republican anti-immigrant (read: anti-Hispanic) policies driving even more away, it is now vital to eliminate Hispanic votes. And isn't it convenient that this could also effect the African American vote, who obviously aren't too happy with the Bush administration and Republicans; what with continued disenfranchisement and hurricane Katrina, and who may be eager to show exactly how displeased they are on election day.

They've done it before; they'll do it again, if we're not paying attention. It's all about the elections.

If we are to be a true Democracy, if we are to be a "shining example" to the rest of the world, as Bush loves to dribble during his embarassing visits to other countries, then every vote must count. Eliminating African-American and non-English speaking voters is racist and discriminatory. Eliminating voters because you consider multi-lingual voting materials and translators a "nuisance" is arrogant and lazy. It's also a lie.

(Every little boy needs a cross-post... Pop goes the World!)

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