Wednesday, February 27, 2013

From Selma, Alabama to Shelby County, Alabama: Mission Accomplished

 President Lyndon Johnson, with Martin Luther King, Jr, Ralph Abernathy and Rosa Parks signing the Voting Rights Act August 6, 1965
"Today is a triumph for freedom as huge as any victory that has ever been won on any battlefield. Yet to seize the meaning of this day, we must recall darker times."
 Is it a coincidence a challenge to section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 falls at the end of Black History Month , in the year 2013, on the same day President Obama unveils a statue of Rosa Parks in the U.S. Capital?
The Voting Rights Act effectively attacked persistent discrimination at the polls by keeping close watch, when it comes to holding elections, on those places with a history of preventing minorities from voting. Any changes, from moving a polling place to redrawing electoral districts, can’t take effect without approval from the Justice Department or federal judges in Washington.
But the Voting Rights Act allows governments that have changed their ways to get out from under this humbling need to get permission through a “bailout provision.” Nearly 250 counties and local jurisdictions have done so; thousands more could be eligible based on the absence of recent discriminatory efforts in voting.
Shelby County, Alabama claims it's changed it's evil ways. Between keeping grown people from gambling with their own damn money in Alabama,  Attorney General Luther Strange (yes you read it right) whines the Voting Rights Act is unfair to Sweet Home Alabama.
On Wednesday , the U.S. Supreme Court will consider whether there has been enough change that Alabama and 15 other states should no longer be subject to federal approval of any election rules. That approval is currently required under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
Strange likens the provision to asking, "Mother, may I?" He says it's outdated and unfair in the post-Jim Crow South.
"What Section 5 does is impose a burden on our states that really is unnecessary in 2013," Strange argues. He points to statistics that show Alabama is second in the nation, behind Mississippi, in the number of African-Americans holding public office.
Shelby County, Alabama  is Selma, Alabama  in reverse.  Shelby County is one of the fastest growing counties in Alabama,  ranking among the 100 highest income counties in the U.S., compared to Selma, located in the heart of Alabama's Black Belt.
The median income for a household in the Black Belt region was $27,130, and the median income for a family was $35,698. Males had a median income of $32,226 versus $22,021 for females. The per capita income for the region was $15,633.
A July 1, 2007 U.S. Census Bureau estimate placed the region's population at 575,783, a decline of 2.25% since 2000.
If you want to know the inside scoop, resident Blogger Legal Schnauzer writes extensively about the going on in idyllic Shelby County, Alabama

It's the Courts Stupid!  This is what some of us tried to tell some of y'all back in 2000.
To better understand how to approach the white moderate power structure, we must first realize how King's criticism of the moderates of his time is not different at all from a criticism of our time.  When King says that "the white moderate is more devoted to ‘order' than to justice" he is clearly referring to both the actions of Bill Clinton and Al Gore after the 2000 Presidential Election.  In a 2001 article called "Civil War 2000" published in The Black Scholar, Charles P. Henry writes:  "Kweisi Mfume, president of the NAACP, reports that his organization begged the Clinton Justice Department to intervene in the voting irregularities that occurred in Florida on Election Day.  Mfume says, ‘the Justice Department turned away.'' After the elections, Mfume asked the Justice Department to hold hearings – ‘the Justice Department just looked away.' Despite the lack of response by Clinton's Justice Department, he was given an ‘image' award by the NAACP in 2001!

In one of the first scenes in the 2003 film, Fahrenheit 9/11, Al Gore and the entire U.S. Senate rather stoically and sternly denied the Congressional Black Caucus their right to challenge the 2000 election results when all they needed was a signature from one senator.  Did they believe they were "keeping order" by doing this?  Also, Al Gore moved assiduously to silence not only the NAACP when they were trying to sue the state of Florida for disenfranchising black voters, he also asked that the Congressional Black Caucus be silent and not be too vocal about the racist disenfranchisement of black votes in the 2000 election.  This disenfranchisement was racist because the company that was hired, Choicepoint, to create voting rolls in Florida, improperly and incorrectly identified a disproportionate number of African-American registered voters as felons.  The Clinton Justice Department and Gore both probably believed that by silencing the NAACP and the Congressional Black Caucus, and encouraging low media coverage of this disenfranchisement, they were "keeping order." 
So, here we are 13 years later, the Supreme Court who selected George W. Bush, is poised to overturn Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act thanks to another small Alabama county.
Shelby County wants to play the "test case" to insure that certain white politicos will get elected over any non-whites across the South.

Can you hear us now?

No comments: