Voting Rights Act of 1965–What Happened?

6 Aug

Today marks the 47th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  The Voting Rights Act finally addressed the widespread discrimination African Americans faced when trying to cast their votes. Sadly, here we are in the 21st Century and there are still political factions trying to suppress minority voters (who vote overwhelmingly Democratic…). Florida’s Republican Gov. Rick Scott and and Secretary of State Ken Detzner are trying to block voting rights for thousands of Latino Floridians.  These silly Republicans clearly either don’t know history, or feel they are above the law.

Now Republican Tom  Corbett is watching as the State of Pennsylvania tries to disenfranchise minority voters by imposing a “photo ID” requirement to vote.  Of course, this adversely and disproportionately affects people of color, young voters, older voters and those with low incomes — all people who traditionally vote Democratic. Sadly, there are 35 states that require photo ID to vote; all these laws have been pushed through by Republicans led legislatures.  Even my home state of Georgia practices this type of discrimination by requiring voters to present a photo ID. I would point out here that an estimated 21 million people do not have a current, government-issued photo ID. The numbers are even higher for black people, Hispanics and other minorities.

It is amazing to see how Republicans work hard to chip away bit by bit at fundamental rights like those in the 14th Amendment. It’s just like their efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade incrementally and to block marriage equality one state at a time. Clearly, being on the right doesn’t make one right about rights…

13 Responses to “Voting Rights Act of 1965–What Happened?”

  1. penguinlad August 6, 2012 at 10:13 am #

    It’s creepy how blatant the Rethuglicans are on this issue. Let’s not forget Ohio where the legislature scaled back early voting and then panicked when faced with a referendum. The whole mess wound up with the Obama administration suing the state. For added fun, Romneybot is lying about the lawsuit just because he can’t help himself…

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt August 6, 2012 at 10:15 am #

      Thank you. I did not know about Ohio, but I am not surprised. Yet another state that has drunk the bitter Tea.

  2. prideinmadness August 6, 2012 at 2:30 pm #

    Stupid for so many reasons but especially when voter turn out is usually low!

  3. Jay August 6, 2012 at 3:28 pm #

    I prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt in regard to accepting their stated motivations for a given opinion, stance or public policy, but the Republican Party is increasingly making a mockery of that impulse.

    The Republicans say that voter suppression is about reducing voter fraud, but it is really about increasing their chance of winning elections. The Republicans say that they oppose any and all tax increases on principle, but it is really about protecting the selfish interests of millionaires and billionaires. The Republicans say that they are protecting marriage and the family in opposing marriage equality for same sex couples, but they are really imposing their religious views on the entire population, while preserving hetero-privilege.

    I really don’t like to be cynical, and I really don’t like to impugn the motivations of those with whom I disagree, but the Republicans are increasingly making that preference of mine appear foolishly naive. It saddens me that cynicism and naivete are the two options available–I sure wish there was a third way–but the Republicans have themselves become so cynically manipulative and disingenuous that the only two responses are either to be happy-face accepting of their stated motives, which would be foolish, or to assume the worst about them, which is an awfully dark way of looking at fellow citizens.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt August 6, 2012 at 3:36 pm #


      What a very thoughtful and sad comment. Yes, I think of you as a person exceedingly careful not judge others or their intent. I often wonder how many people that used to identify as Republicans now feel quite betrayed? It is certainly not the Republican party of Gerald Ford, which I find profoundly sad. Thank you for such a careful comment. I hope everyone that reads the post takes the time to actually read your comment, for it could be post unto itself.

      • Christine Noble August 6, 2012 at 7:53 pm #

        More and more Republicans are feeling betrayed Michael. I am FB friends with Bruce Bartlett, and economist, political scientist and former Reagan economic adviser. He is sickened by the turn his party has taken.

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt August 6, 2012 at 8:16 pm #

        It seems the Republican guard is no more and it leaves stained tea leaves in its wake.

      • Jay August 6, 2012 at 9:32 pm #

        Thank you. My preference, by far, is for a civil discourse where ideas can be honestly debated without the need for dark mutterings about the evil motives of either side of a given debate, but that ideal is further away than ever, due to myriad causes too involved for me to detail here.

        The other side of that notion was perhaps best said by the late Gore Vidal, who noted once that “There is only one party in the United States, the Property Party … and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat.” Excessively chummy politics has its own perils, and I see merit in appropriate partisanship providing voters with a real choice in terms of public policy.

        As an aside, Vidal was an interesting figure, to say the least, and I’ve been wondering if TSM would post a tribute to the man.

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt August 6, 2012 at 9:50 pm #

        Thank you for the thoughtful comment. I worry you may not be getting all of the TSM posts. Here is the tribute I did for Gore Vidal:

        I hope you enjoy it.

  4. Jay August 7, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

    Thanks so much for the link to the Gore Vidal tribute. I’m not sure why I missed it, but it was every bit as interesting and thorough of a profile as I could hope for. His stance on sexual orientation strikes me as something of a relic of his generation (he considered ‘gay’ an adjective rather than a noun), but perhaps that perspective was just another example of his distinctiveness.

    Vidal was a fabulous speaker–his public feuds were legendary, and his eloquence and hauteur made him a delightful guest on shows like Charlie Rose. I haven’t read his entire oeuvre, but Lincoln and Creation are novels of his that I recall fondly, and recommend warmly.

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