The Republican Party represents white Americans and that’s all there is to it. The Republican presidential candidates don’t deny it. Indeed, they seem to be proud of it. I am amused when friends remind me that it was a Republican who freed the slaves, and dredge up old stories about the Dixiecrats.
That was then. This is now. And now Republicans have given up any pretense of appealing to minorities.
I could list dozens of examples to prove my point. But I’ll just give you one for now:
Across America, Republican legislatures are passing laws requiring photo IDs at the polls. No photo ID? No vote.
Naturally, the ID they ask for just happens to be the kind that minorities don’t usually have. In Texas, for example, gun ownership permits are OK but student cards are not. Oh yes, the Republicans don’t want students to vote, either. Students have a way of sympathizing with those Democrats, you know, and Democrats, well, Democrats represent those awful minorities.
The issue is spotlighted in the forthcoming South Carolina primary.
South Carolina is one of the states that recently passed legislation to require a photo ID. They say it’s needed to deter fraud. But there’s virtually no history of voter fraud in federal elections so the obvious motive is to suppress the black vote.
Not unreasonably, President Obama’s administration has moved to block the new state law. Federal officials fear it would disenfranchise up to one-third of minority voters.
As you might expect, the Republican presidential candidates are castigating the president. They’re yelling about states’ rights.
States rights. Wasn’t that the slogan of those who fought against the civil rights movement back in the bad old days? Well, it’s back.
A Reuters story today points out that:
The rallying cry of states’ rights was used to defend slavery before the Civil War and racial segregation during the post-World War Two battles over civil rights. Recently, South Carolina Republicans have argued that the federal government is interfering in their plans for education, healthcare, labor law, immigration policy and voting.
The Reuters report quotes Texas Governor Rick Perry as declaring:
Each of our states are under assault right now by this administration. We may be under assault – South Carolina, they’re actually at war with you.
At war! Sound the trumpet! Bang the drum! The South will rise again!
Reuters quotes U.S. Representative Jim Clyburn as saying some Republican candidates have been using coded phrases to play up racial tension. According to Reuters, Clyburn, the South Carolina Democrat who is the highest-ranking African American in Congress, said:
What we hear more and more today is people picking up what I call 21st-century words and phrases to transmit the same thoughts that went into the political procedure years ago. That’s the stuff of which dangerous activity is built.
Yes, Congressman, these are indeed dangerous times, especially for minorities in America. Powerful forces are working hard to turn back the clock.