Barack Obama Holds Election Night Gathering In Chicago's Grant Park

Shouldn’t the Voting Rights Act of 1965 be Obsolete?

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Before I get into this one, allow me to say that this morning’s episode of MSNBC’s Up w/ Chris Hayes was epic; it was quite possibly the best episode I’ve watched to date. That in itself says a lot since I’m a huge fan of the show; and, the truth is, the show offers a wealth of information pertinent to our political discourse. That plus the fact that Chris Hayes happens to be my imaginary cool-ass-white-dude friend, is why I love the show. As far as imaginary friends, Chris may not be as cuddly as Mr. Snufflupagus, but I dig the brand of hipster white dude he represents — he seems genuine.

Just to piggy back on my earlier post about Mitt Romney’s epic fail of speaking at this week’s NAACP National Convention. I wanted to hit on something Chris pointed out on this morning’s show. That would be, the fact that Mitt Romney never mentioned anything about the Voting Rights Act while speaking to the nation’s oldest civil rights organization. As I pointed out earlier, Romney’s weak (and very lazy) attempt to appeal to the African-American vote shows that Romney truly doesn’t have the interest of the black electorate at heart.

Here’s a good discussion on the black vote being taken for-granted:

As I pointed out a few days ago, as governor, Mitt Romney made attempts to remove Affirmative Action policies in Massachusetts. And, when called on it by the state chapter of the NAACP, Romney pretty much ignored them by leaving anyone from the organization off of the commission he put together to decide whether his plan would have a negative impact on diversity. So quite naturally, given that a landmark case is being heard which involves the Voting Rights Act and the state of Texas who are trying to do away with the laws application entirely.

One would expect Mitt to at least say something as it relates to black folks and the right to vote, right? I mean, especially since there have been many efforts to suppress the votes of minorities this cycle. Hell, one would have expected Mitt to say something simple like, “Er, you black folks better be sure to get that new Voter ID and vote for me in November.”

Romney could have at least spoken to, about, or made brief mention of something (anything) that will negatively impact or infringe on the rights of African-Americans (and other minorities) to vote. But hey, I suppose to do so would be too much like caring, or at least pretending to care. But I said all of that to say this: often, I’m told that there isn’t a need for Affirmative Action policies — mostly from white right-wingers — because we’re post-racial; however, I hear very little talk about doing away with the protections many Americans enjoy thanks to the Voting Rights Act.

So here’s the question: is the Voting Rights Act even necessary in our new post-racial age? Of course I have my own opinions on the subject that is the removal of the Voting Rights Act and states having to adhere to federal rules. But, I’m really interested in hearing your thoughts on the subject. I mean, if the rights of voters are not as sacrosanct as once believed and constitutionally supported, then as conspicuous as that may be, why then is there even a need for voting right protections? Seriously, I would greatly appreciate it if you took the time to answer that question.

But before I go, do me a favor and watch the following video from Chris Hayes’ show before attempting to answer the question posited above. Also, before answering the question here’s something to consider: according to the result of a Harvard study that shows how Texas’ changes affect voters presented this week, former President George W. Bush himself would be ineligible to vote in his home state of Texas (read it here). Now I’m not sure if many of us would agree that George would be a great future president. However, I do think we can all agree that he isn’t a minority, and that he is a Republican. Not exactly the target of disenfranchisement; but hey, so too is a retired World war II veterans in Florida who happens to be white, as well.

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Published on: July 15, 2012

Filled Under: Politics, Race

Views: 940

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  • Asad

    On your observations of what Romney avoided discussing, I think he was observing a fundamental political strategy: Stand on the political platform that you are strongest on, and avoid touching the subjects that you are weak on. If Romney was to approach the issues of voter rights (or other issues particularly relevant to African Americans), he’d open himself up to a whole volley of questions that he doesnt want to go anywhere near! (Mr. Romney, how many of your previous employees at Bain Capital were minorities?)

    • RiPPa

      Ooh… you know, that’s a very good question, and salient point made.

  • Shady Grady

    I don’t think the VRA is obsolete. But I would like to know how can we have Indiana’s voter ID law but get upset when another state tries to do the same thing. We should have uniform standards on things like voting.