Tags: African Americans, Al Sharpton, black, Civil Rights, civil rights struggle, current-events, ethnicity, European Americans, Jonathan S. Tobin, March on Washington, North Carolina, north carolina legislators, party line vote, politics, President Obama, racial discrimination, Republicans, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Supreme Court, The Oklahoman, Voting rights laws, white
The North Carolina legislators signed new laws addressing voter ID. These new laws affect directly the poor, the young, and minorities, especially African Americans and Hispanics. Voting a party-line vote, the GOP-dominated state House now requires voters to present government-issued photo IDs at the polls; they also shortened early voting by a week, from 17 days to 10. In addition, the new laws also ends same-day registration, requires voters to register, update their address or make any other needed changes almost a month ahead of the election. In a move directed at the youth, the laws eliminated a popular high school civics program that registers tens of thousands of students to vote each year in advance of their 18th birthdays. No longer will straight-ticket voting be permitted. Why all these changes?
In a commentary by Jonathan S. Tobin entitled “Weak case against voter ID,” (The Oklahoman 8/17/13) he complains that Rev. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are exploiting the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington trying to convince the American people by relating it to the present civil rights struggle and the attacks on the voting rights laws. He states that “…like the fake outrage expressed by Democrats and liberals over the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision upholding the Voting Rights Act while mandating that the Justice Department acknowledge that it is 2013 rather than 1965, Americans should not be fooled by this scam.”So, people should disregard any complaints associated with the anniversary.
Regarding the action of the North Carolina legislators he writes “But whatever one may think of those measures, the idea that any of this has anything to do with racial discrimination or efforts to reimpose the racism that once characterized America’s political system is absurd.”A few questions regarding this remark will debunk his assumption. Who will be affected negatively by these new laws? The answer becomes obvious when we look at some of the particulars of the ID laws. How, where, and when can the voters acquire the new government-issued photo IDs? Why must the ID’s be government-issued rather than student or driver’s license IDs?
Tobin continued “No one is attempting to repeal the right to vote or to restrict the franchise.” We must ask, why would one try to repeal the right to vote when laws can be created and instituted which will give the same results? His next statement clears the air of his mind-set which is still somewhere in the 19th century: “Those who are making this argument in an era when African Americans are voting in numbers similar to those of whites and when we have just re-elected the first African American president of the United States are making a mockery of the legacy of the civil rights struggle.”
Clearly Tobin has not been living on the planet recently or if he has been here, he has not been paying attention to what has been happening regarding civil rights and voting rights. The primary reason for Republicans changing the voting rights laws is because the old ones worked. For proof, he mentions the number of African Americans voting in comparison with European Americans and note that they are similar. Shock! They are not supposed to be similar; African Americans are not supposed to vote in large numbers, but they did. So, in an effort to not experience a repeat performance, the Republicans decided to change the laws.
Tobin, evidently, does not realize that the information he offers as proof of social progress actually underscores the need to retain the old laws, because they worked; people voted. Why would anyone want to change the laws since they do what they were created to do? If we were to follow his philosophy we might think that a person with a dairy digestive problem who was given some lactase medicine to remedy his problem, switched to aspirin the next time the problem occured. Common sense would dictate that he stays with the medicine that works, not one that has no relations to his malady.
Rather than Jackson and Sharpton trying to run a scam on the American people, logic shows that it is the Republicans and thinkers like Tobin that want to mislead the American people. Tobin’s reference to President Obama being elected twice is offered as proof of African Americans and America’s progress relative to ethnic relations. However, he offers that information in an effort to convince his readers that society has reached it goal as far as justice and equality relative to African Americans are concerned and now things ought to be changed so as not to give then an advantage over the European Americans.
If Tobin would take the time to re-visit history just back to 1965, he might get a better understanding of why the voting act was created in the first place. Had not those laws been in place during the last two presidential elections, chances are Obama would not have been elected. The groups that played an influential role in electing Obama president both times are the very people North Caroline’s laws are seeking to negatively affect. Tobin is the one attempting to make a mockery of the legacy of the civil rights struggle by suggesting that ethnic and social bigotry did not play a role in the creation of North Carolina’s new voting laws.
The only absurdities we can recognize are Tobin’s comments supporting the passage of these new voting laws. They, in effect, are his efforts to try and “pull the wool” over the readers’ eyes, trying to make them believe that because of these new laws, voting will become easier for all. Some people who do not take the time to absorb what he wrote might agree with him, but those readers who are conversant with history and current events will certainly question his motives for defending the laws. The very claim used for creating the new laws is bogus—to prevent voter fraud. How does one prevent something that does not exist?